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How to Be a DiNozzo

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Chapter 10 – Jelly Beans – Easter 2022

"They are all finally in bed," Tony announced as he entered the baby's room where Ziva was nursing LJ one last time before putting him down for the night. "I swear if we could bottle the energy from the twins we'd make millions. Where do they get it all?"

Ziva sighed, "I do not know. And this one is going to be just as energetic…" LJ shifted slightly so he could see his Abba as he fed. His nightly feeding was the last of his nursing; he was beginning to wean to a lidded cup. Ziva knew she would miss the routine and bonding with her baby when he stopped nursing altogether, but at the same time, she was also looking forward to his growth and learning to eat table foods.

Tony leaned in to kiss his wife as the little boy's eyelids drooped; LJ would slide into a milk-induced sleep very soon. "You know you are incredibly sexy when you feed our son," he whispered. He placed a soft kiss on the baby's forehead, "Laila tov, LJ. Abba loves you."

Ziva placed the almost asleep little boy in his crib after kissing his cheek, "Laila tov, motek." LJ grinned sleepily and closed his eyes; the parents quietly left the room after making sure the baby monitor was on.

Tony walked into the playroom to tidy up a bit as Ziva made the rounds of the other bedrooms to kiss each of her children good night. He picked up two baby dolls to put back in the doll beds and heard a crunch beneath his foot as he stepped. He felt whatever it was flatten beneath his foot.

"Damn," he swore under his breath as he put the dolls in the bed. He lifted his foot and examined the underside of his shoe; stuck to the bottom was a crushed jelly bean. He slid the shoe off his foot and held it so the sole was facing up. He put his socked foot back on the floor and took another step towards the box of tissues on the end table by the loveseat. As his foot came down on another jelly bean, he felt the pain ripple through his foot. Who knew that stepping on jelly beans could be as painful as stepping on small toys?

"Damn," he swore again and looked up to see Ziva standing in the doorway to the room. "Jelly beans are painful on shoeless feet," he pointed to the bottom of his shoe and lifted his foot to show her the crushed candy stuck to the underside of his sock.

"I stepped on several earlier today," Ziva commented. "I thought the twins ate their snack in the kitchen, but perhaps they put the candy in their pockets for later." She grabbed a tissue from the end table and handed it to her husband. Tony pulled the sticky mess from the bottom of his sock and then from his shoe.

"No biggie; it hurt stepping on the candy in just my sock. Not as bad as stepping on Lego bricks though."

~Jelly Beans~

A few days later, Ziva was picking up toys in the family room while the twins and LJ napped. She found two piles of jelly beans by the sliding door to the deck that had not been there that morning when she vacuumed while the kids played. Anthony was at preschool and Tali was at her school, so it had to be one of the younger girls who put the jelly beans by the door. She made a mental note to ask Rivka and Beth about the candy.

As she was preparing their afternoon snack, Ziva asked the two little girls about the jelly beans, "Did you put any jelly beans by the patio door?" Rivka and Beth looked at each other and then ran to the sliding glass door.

"Ima, dere no jelly beans," Riv shouted to her mother.

"Yeah, no here. Easter bunny gots dem," Beth added, rather loudly.

The girls ran back to the kitchen and grinned at their mother.

"You funny, Ima. No jelly beans dere."

Ziva looked at the two toddlers, "No there are none now, but I had to pick up two piles while you were napping. Did either of you put them by the door?" She looked from one to the other as the twins shook their heads.

"Easter bunny gots dem all," Beth added.

Riv nodded with a very serious look on her face, "Tali say Easter bunny takes dem."

"I see; the Easter bunny is the one who put the candy by the door?" Ziva asked her little ones.

"No, Ima; Easter bunny take dem," Beth explained as her twin nodded and grinned. "So we get lots in our basket."

Rivka grinned more, "Yeah, Tali say dat."

Ziva placed the snacks for the twins on the table and made a note to self to have a talk with Tali about just what she had told the two-year-olds about the Easter bunny. She had a feeling that the jelly beans appearing around the house had something to do with her eldest's active imagination and knack for telling stories to the younger kids.

As the twins finished their snacks, Ziva got LJ from his crib and changed his diaper. She had him on her hip as she entered the kitchen to check on the little girls. The two were just finishing the last of their crackers and juice. Ziva's phone chimed with an incoming text message.

She pulled the phone out of her pocket to read the message from the neighbor across the street. She was headed to the house with Anthony. Ziva was glad that she and Tony had worked that he took Anthony and the younger son from the neighbor to preschool every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning and then the mother across the street picked up both boys in the afternoons. She then walked Anthony across their street, usually with her son and their Border collie, Daisy, in tow. The DiNozzo kids all loved Daisy and kept asking their parents for a dog.

"Anthony is home," she said to Riv and Beth as she headed to the front door to meet her older son. LJ knew the routine and started bouncing in excitement on his Ima's hip. The two little girls ran ahead of their mother and LJ.

Ziva opened the front door as the neighbor, boys, and dog walked up the walkway from the driveway. Daisy wagged her tail when the twins ran out to greet everyone.

"Thanks, Donna," Ziva greeted her neighbor. She held a hand out for Daisy to sniff as LJ leaned towards the dog. Beth and Rivka were petting her back and giggling. Ziva hugged Anthony and greeted him, "Hello, motek. Did you have a good day?"

"Yes, Ima. We played with slime today. First we made it and then we got to play with it," Anthony grinned. "Mine is orange!"

Ziva helped LJ pet the dog's head as she listened to Anthony tell about his day. "Did you have a nap today?"

Anthony shook his head, "Just a rest, Ima. I wasn't sleepy, so I just rested my eyes. I was quiet like I am supposed to do though." He grinned at her again, his best DiNozzo grin, so much like his Abba. Ziva was thankful her son had listened to their talk about disturbing other children who were trying to sleep during nap time. Anthony had been getting up from his cot and trying to get others to play; they'd had three notes from the preschool teachers so far since winter break. Tony had also had a conference with the lead teacher that morning.

"Very good, thank you for minding your teachers," Ziva hugged Anthony again as the DiNozzos headed inside. "Would you like a snack?"

"Yes please, Ima. Do we have any cheese crackers?"

"Ken; you may also have some jelly beans if you want," Ziva poured some cheese crackers into a small bowl for her son. She put it on the table in front of him and helped the boy with the straw for his drink box. LJ reached for the crackers from Ziva's hip.

At the mention of jelly beans, Rivka and Beth sat at the table and looked at their Ima with puppy eyes. All three children responded, "Yes, we want jelly beans!" Ziva put a handful of the candy in three small paper cups to give to them. She put LJ in his high chair and gave the baby some O-shaped cereal as a snack.

While the kids were eating their snack, the alarm on her phone signaled time for Tali's school bus to arrive. She left the four younger kids with their snacks and opened the front door just as Tali stepped off the bus at the end of the driveway.

"Ima!" Tali ran to greet her mother, giving and getting a hug before mother and daughter went inside.

"Come get your snack; your brothers and sisters are in the kitchen finishing theirs." Ziva put some cheese crackers and some jelly beans into a bowl for her eldest while Tali got a juice box from the refrigerator.

Riv and Beth finished their jelly beans and placed the paper cups in the recycling bin. Anthony soon finished his snack and the three went to play. Tali ate her snack while Ziva checked her backpack for homework; she had none so she was allowed to go play with the others. Ziva took a prepared casserole out of the freezer and set it on the counter to thaw before baking for dinner. LJ was ready for a diaper change, so she carried the baby to his room, checking on the older four first.

Ziva was walking from the family room to the kitchen when a spot of pink caught her eye. She back-stepped and looked at the window sill; seven jelly beans were lined up along the sill.

"DiNozzos, front and center," she called to the children who were playing a video game. Tali, Anthony, Rivka, and Beth put the game on pause and looked over at their Ima. LJ even stopped playing with his shape-sorter toy and looked up.

"Who put the jelly beans on the window sill?" she asked the four older children. She started to pick them up when the twins ran over.

"No, Ima. Dey for Easter bunny," Beth tried to stop her mother.

"Yeah, Tali say dat Easter bunny…" Rivka added. Both girls looked to their older sister.

Anthony nodded, "Ima, Tali says that we have to leave the jelly beans for the Easter bunny so he knows to bring us lots of candy." He looked at his big sister.

Ziva also looked at her eldest, "Explain, please."

"Ima, I just told them a story. I didn't tell them to put the jelly beans in the window. I told them that the Easter bunny looks for all the colors of the jelly beans so he can know where to leave lots of candy in Easter baskets," Tali tried to explain. "Abba told me that the jelly beans had lots of colors as special messages to and from the Easter bunny."

"You were not quite three when Abba told you that story in Paris," Ziva was surprised that her daughter remembered the story about the jelly beans Tony made up when they had to hunt around the city for the candy. She turned to the others, "Please, no more jelly beans any place other than in the kitchen or in your tummies. We do not need to attract ants or other insects into the house. Understand?"

"Yes, Ima."