Power couple Char-Jo just got news they’re harboring an unplanned, but wanted, Sim fetus.
Josephine left the workforce when Charlie became Chief, s.t. her priorities are now coming up with baby names that accurately reflect her priorities/the geography/modern naming trends, etc., finding a place in the stone-susceptible house for the lil’ scamp, moving her eucalyptus neck pillow between the microwave and freezer pretty much constantly, and distracting herself from the pain by speculating whether Inez will end up with dashing Rodrigo or his secret identical (hence equally dashing) twin, Emilio. She starts researching her temporary disability online. The blogs she finds are positive and supportive, in contrast to the exclusionary jargon of Charlie’s medical textbooks. And the authors—so knowledgable! In a couple days, Jo has notebooks full of facts on symptoms for common problems, a learned instinct for when to track her baby’s breathing, and digital copies of unborn-accessible Mandarin, Spanish, and Korean speech recordings. (Substitute the Sim equivalents thereof.)
Charlie matches her degree of all-consuming focus—but not for baby preparations, because he’s not over that bizarre obsession with his childhood friend Cruz. Mr. Greenwood lives in the apartment adjacent to Shu, a realization that puts Dr. J.-E. in full derp.
Cruz was (in theory) intensely dislikable even before he aged into Hot-Headed. This doesn’t stop Charlie from seeing him as some superhuman role model, having known him as the kid who could talk to anybody and do anything. To lose that faith would destroy his childhood. As such, their relationship neatly mirrors that of Ms. Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way and Mr. Way (no relation) in many respects. But who’s this hurting? A bit of fanboyish glee is just what Charlie needs sometimes.
Charlie returns from his Cruz high to find Jo in the kitchen, single-fisting servings of tajine while the other fist holds a speaker to her rectus abdominis. “Cat, gato. Dog, perro. Big, grande. Little, pequeño,” the solenoid informs her torso. (Her other half bites his tongue at the lack of explanation of gendered words & the decision to make all aforementioned words masculine.) She shows him the echinacea and chickweed balm she made while foraging. It’s great for wound healing! Charlie nods his head at the list of benefits for each plant, slightly bothered that the list is just that, and contains no details of the physiological mechanisms by which each remedy works. In his excitement to have a two-sided conversation about one of his favorite topics, so he presses the issue slightly. Toxins? Which toxins? Is it urea? Because if something makes you sweat or pee, it does remove toxins.
Thirteen unique mentions of the word “toxins” later, Charlie staves off semantic satiation by offering to determine the pre-rugrat’s gender.
Can Charlie deliver his own child? God, he hopes so.
The Outside house is still a hotspot on weekends. Saturday brings all of Jo’s crew. Her best friend, Morgan, reads a book in the airy comfort of a room with walls on three sides. Her brother, Gavin, entertains himself by walking in and out of the studio, because it is the entrance he understands best in this house, and is pleased with himself for doing so.
Her unborn son presses against her cervix. Jo enters the data into her contraction timer app. He’s coming! Put down the damn cards!
Charlie is finally witnessing his job from the other side of the reception desk. He would perform the delivery himself, but labor laws require him to not perform surgery while off-duty. Lawsuits and stuff like that. He finds himself going into a deeper state of panic, manically pleading his co-workers to check his wife in. Dr. Rosa’s pipetting goes from unsettling to downright cruel as she refuses to pause her Sisyphean task of infinity-tuple-checking her blood work even as Joey’s belabored screams echo across the empty walls.
Over two hours later, Nurse Lothario realizes there is someone at the hospital who needs medical attention, and starts administering treatment he’s not technically qualified to administer.
Thanks to some dude in a basketball uniform screaming backseat surgery advice, both mother and baby survive. Don stops himself from chatting Jo up before leaving the room.
Here’s Jasper Jeong-Espinosa!
Jasper has some extended family who are all very excited to meet him—ah, speak of the devil, he’s letting himself in again.
Neither Gavin nor Moira is blessed with situational instincts, so the fact that the current residents left for several hours and returned with a third resident flies right over their heads. Jo leaves the youngin with his grandfather and the grandfather with instructions to restrict his cooing to a language other than Simlish. Jasper’s aging up with all the phonemes if it kills her.
The new mother’s strategy is to schmooze with the guests just enough for them to catch on to the baby situation, then care for her nooboo as soon as possible. But now a fourth guest, Ana Abrahmacharya, is begging to be let back into the living room.
Charlie has some degree of social awareness, even if it is induced by meddling, so he understands fielding the latest visitor is his job. He grabs Ana by the shoulder and pulls her in for a kiss.
Yes, in front of his wife who just had a baby.
Charlie curses his inability to involve his idiot brain in matters of the heart. He’s supposed to be a genius. What about these women makes his thinking part turn off? A quick glance at Jo suggests she’s too engrossed in conversation with her brother to notice his misstep; he mumbles something unintelligible, focuses on counting the grey tiles as he power-walks toward the bedroom, and ducks behind the door, twisting the handle so as to make as little sound as possible. Turns out he’s not alone, not even here.
He lies awake even as the ombre of the sky shifts to navy and the constellations reveal themselves above his translucent roof. Sagittarius. Fitting.
Several hours later, the grandparents are invited for a private baby viewing. Charlie supports Jasper’s head as Claudia responds the same gushing way she would to a particularly well-done garnish, or a stranger at the airport ordering the same drink. Hard to tell with this one. Her husband has already seen the baby, and heads for the guitar before his son calls him over for a more formal introduction.
Jo’s almost-sixteen hours of experience left her with several questions for a three-time mother like Claudia, along with “help, my areolas are on fire,” which isn’t a question but deserves addressing anyway. How many fractions of a centimeter of cranial growth can we expect per day? Can she make any sense of these 80 conflicting comments on a Daily Mail article about pacifiers? The J.E. matriarch dodges these questions like 1999 Keanu Reeves (i.e., in 1999, not 1999 of him, in case the plural of Keanu Reeves is also Keanu Reeves), depriving Joey of the hyperspecific information she craves with each “oh, I’m sure it will be fine, don’t worry, darling.”
Yeah, Claudia, that’s what someone says in a horror movie right before they get an ax through the skull. The idea that everything will be fine is easier to stomach when you’ve already had three healthy children survive to between 13 and 28. Jo didn’t have that luxury; she was faced with a future where a thousand factors could determine whether her child lives a life of tragedy. Some were avoidable. But the causes and solutions were starting to span multiple notebooks, and Jo couldn’t devote all her time to research, not with all these handmade cloth diapers to wash. She excused herself to fire off a quick question to four different forums.
When she returned, she discovered Charlie had extended the private viewing to include Cruz and, to her horror, Shu. Charlie’s too captivated by Cruz’s story about the rude woman who served him at the DMV to realize his wife is now stuck keeping the trollop busy. Here. Bundle of joy.
Jo tries to avoid all eye contact and give curt, noncommittal reactions to Shu’s hypothetical inquiries re. the owner of these chubby baby legs. Please stop body-shaming the baby! It gets worse when he starts asking the questions she expected from Claudia, and worse still when he actually listens to her responses. You’re really interested in this stuff, Jo. Maybe you should have your own blog.
Maybe she should.
Jo subscribes to every social media platform she can think of under her online handle, JumpingJoey; she registers her domain, snaps a couple Anne-Geddes-worthy pictures of Jasper (in a somewhat post-apocalyptic nightmare twist, it looks like he’s growing in the garden with the watermelons), sets the best one as her site banner, and gets to framing her hundreds of hours of research in the confident folksy way she found so endearing. She looks through her notebooks and decides to present all the information she’s learned as subjectively as possible. If some new mother, somewhere, looked at everything Jo consolidated and was able to come to an informed decision about her choices, the whole effort would be worth it.
She poses a couple medical questions to Charlie for her third post. He’s confused; what do you mean by “prevent autism”? There are hundreds of genetic and epigenetic factors that can influence the development of autism, which, by the way, isn’t the worst thing in the world. He sends her eight review papers and a list of celebrities on the spectrum.
A two-year-old NooBoo Corner post by bo_bo_beans81 says rubbing the baby’s feet with milk thistle will halt the development of autism. Jo shrugs and writes “Milk thistle (Bo_bo_beans81, 2016)” under the eight PubMed links to peer-reviewed articles. Better safe than sorry. Modern medicine doesn’t know everything yet, nor does Charlie, who also has no experience being a mom.
As Jo’s readership reaches the hundreds, Jasper passes the requisite three days of neurological development and materializes a dope hat out of the aether.
The race to getting a toddler to all full skills in one week. Hooray.
Jasper has the most well-documented progress of any Jeong-Espinosa toddler, which gets posted on Jumping Jasper! next to frequent reassurance that just because your tyke cries because you put the plate of chicken nuggets facing the wrong direction, it doesn’t mean things won’t get better. Also, you shouldn’t be feeding them chicken nuggets. Have you tried harvestables instead? Eating a full meal gets in the way of skilling.
Internally, though, as Jo reads through her positive feedback from blog owners whose posts she left positive feedback on, and one from a guy who wants new readers on his weblog about color-sorted ties, she will take any opportunity to talk to an adult in person for one goddamn minute. Like dragging a passing Xiyuan into the house during Jasper’s 2 PM – 4:30 PM nap for an unsatisfying game of cards.
Jasper’s crepuscularity also gives Jo an opportunity to work out. She discovers the punching bag has a special Flirty interaction. Unfortunately, this discovery isn’t thematic enough for her social media empire.
According to Jo’s Simstagram feed, Jasper is finished with four out of five skills. Jo thanks the stars that at least this part of childhood development is well-documented—she doesn’t know what she’d do without knowing the exact amount 1 hour of xylophone practice expands a toddler’s imagination. But her husband’s taking a looser conflict-averse approach. Check it.
Charlie: “What number is this?”
Charlie: “Yes!! Good job!”
You fucking liar.
We’ll give Jo some extra time to saturate everyone’s feed with pictures of Jasper in various hats, and come back to quantify the effects of flashcard dishonesty on childhood development.
13 thoughts on “Charlie & Josephine J.-E.: I Call Shotgun! Pt. II”
I’ve sort of fallen in love with Charlie. How is it that Sims become fanboys/fangirls of other Sims? It’s adorable! In TS3, my Simself had this one college guy that she always idolized. They never had more than a passing friendship, but she’d always freak out with awe whenever she caught sight of him.
Charlie is simply adorable. I love his agreeable lie there at the end.
Yes! Some appreciation for the socially awkward dreamboat!
The Cruz thing cracks me up because Doc Beefcake has been infatuated with this awful dude for 20+ years. It’s great when they do stuff like that.
It’s so great! And it happens in Sims! In my legacy, I had guys with lifelong crushes on legacy heirs or spares. It was both fun and a little heart-breaking.
That fish, man. I don’t know why I find it so funny but I really do. I feel like the fish perfectly symbolizes Charlie, and that’s why he put it there.
Charlie and the childhood bud… always love us some homoeroticism, ey! Feel like it’s safe to say it’s like, the most popular stuff that the, uh, fangirls go crazy for so like… you’re totally good.
Is that a reference to that My Immortal fanfiction I see there?!?! Dude. I’m crying.
So happy for Don Lothario that he somehow managed to be promoted from nurse to surgeon within an instant. Yeah! Go, Don.
Oh Charlie… man, these Sims. I fucking love them. Going in for a super passionate kiss with your ex right in front of your wife who just had an absolutely miserable time giving birth to your child… why not?!
Sagittarius… oh, yeah. It makes sense now.
The autism… had me laugh out loud. This obsession with preventing autism… god, you captured that so well. It’s so impossibly ridiculous, and you really managed to capture that ridiculousness in all its glory.
@ Cathytea’s comment… same, honestly. I don’t know what it is about Charlie but I really find myself liking him a lot. I think it’s his relatability, most of all. For me at least. That, and just the fact that this is one genuinely good person, like to the extent that us humans can be good persons, and that’s something to treasure I feel like.
It’s something I’m not very used to myself, given the fact that my simlit’s insanely large ensemble cast still somehow has no more than like, one? Maybe two actually predominantly good-natured characters in it.
It was…………………………………………………. DUMBLEDORE!
I love how, in this comment, you clustered together stupid shit sims do (MF why are you kissing your ex) with stupid shit humans do (the autism thing). I’m excited for you to read snippets of Jo’s actual blog. It’s funnier to people who can analyze writing styles.
It’s fascinating to hear what other people think about these characters. I’m too close to them. I can relate to everyone at some level and don’t trust my own value judgements. Charlie being popular was a surprise. I found him less interesting because it took so long to figure him out, and yet not knowing who he is makes him relatable.
If I rewrote the early stuff, it would be less clear-cut. Charlie was his asshole dad’s favorite and enables Mike’s self-absorption; if he doesn’t yet see why his father’s behavior is problematic, he may end up emulating it himself. And Shu spent his childhood cooking, cleaning, and caring for his troubled single mother; his epic capacity for emotional labor is what attracts women and he’s a caring enough partner to be in several stable relationships at once. (Contrast with Charlie’s ???? attitude towards Ana and Josephine.) These elements were only roughly implied in Book I but may become a BFD later.
Is Guthrie one of the good-natured characters? She seems like a good gal.
im so excited to read that actual blog! sounds like itll be super intriguing.
thats so interesting about charlie and shu… id never considered that, but you’re actually very right about that. i guess charlie’s relatability allows us to see him with a considerably kinder eye than we do shu, even though shu is really overall not THAT bad of a dude.
yeah, i guess guthrie would be one of the good-natured ones… the more i think on it, though, the more i realize that literally ALL of my actually good-natured characters are generation 2+ sims. all of my founder sims/CAS sims are assholes. 😂
“For more information, consult this goofy-ass fish” This made me laugh out loud more than it should 😆
I enjoyed your dry sense of humour when describing the ridiculousness that is taking your sims to the hospital to have a baby. Welcome to the madness, Jasper!
Haha! Yes, 2 is totally 4. I can see how much sense of reality Jasper is going to grow up to have already 😆
The deliveries just don’t make sense, do they? XD
I know we’re supposed to be using the game to act out our YouTube MUA celebrity and mermaid fantasies, but I still can’t get over the stupid-looking fish faces. So sue me.
“You’re really interested in this stuff, Jo. Maybe you should have your own blog.”
Eh?? Did that advice come from Shu to Jo? Or was it Watcher to Jo? If she hates him that much it must’ve come from watcher right? Unless the narrator is Jo herself so she’s actually talking to herself.
I agree with Charlie, there are worse things than autism. Some of the sweetest people I came across are autistic. But okay this isn’t something I want to participate in. Too touchy subject
Also Jo’s obsessiveness reminds me of patients who google their conditions before heading to the doctors for a diagnosis and ends up diagnosing themselves and telling the doctor what to do. I really wish there was a tiny paragraph somewhere which elaborates on what Charlie thinks of the entire situation. She must share her findings with him right? Or maybe what he’s thinking when he comes home to find her playing recordings to their baby. Do those work? Maybe I should file this info for the future haha!
I really like how you marry in game elements with story telling. Although hip bumping the punching bag is just… weird. This is the first time I know about this haha!
Also I can relate to Jo’s desperation for adult communication. Very, very relatable.
That line of dialogue was Shu to Jo. I really hope these guys can’t hear when I talk to them.
Knowing Charlie, he probably has no idea what to think about the entire situation. Haha! Though I wanted to imply with the autism paragraph that he was kind of meekly backseat driving, trying to steer her in the right direction while ultimately letting her do what she wants.
noooo stop this hurts to read
i’m not going to comment on this.
lastly, i too, like charlie.
It aged well for something written in 2019. Silver lining, I guess?
Reluctantly adding another pin to the Team Charlie board, watching y’all slowly overtake Plumbob and me.
I sure wish it hadn’t aged so well 😅