As much as Darwin and Clover tried to do all the babysitting by themselves, sometimes the grandparents got their way and watched Dolores for a few hours.
"Your parents are out busking and collecting rocks", Bloom cooed in a sing-song voice, gently rocking his whining granddaughter. "I wonder if they'll ever get real jobs..."
Sure, Darwin was making quite a bit of money with the rare gems he seemed to have a knack for finding, but he always ended up donating a large portion of that money.
Bloom didn't really mind, of course. He had worked hard to amass a comfortable cushion of savings that his family could live on for generations to come.
Dusty's birthday fell on a full moon.
Bloom and Matilda celebrated with him, while Darwin and Clover picked up Dolores, who would also have her birthday that evening.
Suddenly, Matilda wasn't feeling so well.
Everyone looked on in shock as the Grim Reaper appeared.
In the meantime, Dolores aged up all by herself in the room next door.
As the Reaper was about to collect Matilda's soul, he paused and his eerie voice spoke. "What is this you have there?"
"This- you mean this strange flower here?", Matilda asked, holding it out to him. "My husband grew it in his garden and gave it to me."
He snatched the flower from Matilda's hand, his ice cold, bony fingers brushing against hers.
"I will be back another day, mortal." His voice was a whisper, barely audible. It sent shivers down Matilda's spine - her spine, which now felt remarkably corporeal again.
No one could believe what had just happened, but they were glad all the same.
Bloom pulled Matilda into a tight embrace, while Clover and Darwin went to check on Dolores, who was crying loudly.
Bloom hadn't realized that his time left with Matilda would be so limited, so they vowed to enjoy every minute of it.
Now that Dolores was a toddler, Clover liked dressing her up in all sorts of cute seasonally themed outfits.
The little girl was showered with toys and attention.
Dolores was evidently very smart, learning and picking up new concepts exceptionally quickly - provided she felt like doing so.
Nothing her parents told or showed her could ever get Dolores to play "nice" though. Her favorite pastime was decapitating the dolls in her dollhouse.
"Dolores, sweetheart. You have to be gentle with your dollies. They'll be sad if you keep pulling their heads off."
Matilda, who had just walked into the room, let out a tiny squeal. "Look at her talking! Such a smart girl! Amazing!"
"Yeah, mom", Clover sighed resignedly. "Amazing."
In the meantime, Darwin was trying to teach Dusty how to find the precious gems and minerals that were so abundant around Hidden Springs.
But for now, all that Dusty hunted down was the newspaper.
When the first snow began to fall, Clover put an adorable toddler dufflecoat on Dolores and took her out in her new stroller.
At Subalpine Square, they ran into Clover's new aunt-by-marriage Francesca, who didn't seem to mind the cold at all.
Bloom and Matilda usually spent their evenings dancing at The Fountain of Youth.
Darwin and Clover always had their hands full with Dolores and didn't go out in the evenings, but Darwin's new hobby brought a bit of the bar flair into their own home. Having been born in Bridgeport, Darwin almost felt like it was his duty to at least dabble in the mixology skill a little.
Besides beheading her dolls, Dolores also enjoyed screaming. A lot.
As annoyed as Darwin got sometimes, he couldn't resist his daughter's cute smile.
For at least a few hours every day, Darwin took care of Dolores while Clover went out to busk.
Clover was really just playing for her own enjoyment, which was good, because she rarely ever had an audience.
She never stayed out too long though. Dolores was just too cute to stay away from - when she wanted to be.
"Oooni... unicorn!", Dolores squeaked, pointing at her pile of stuffed animals, as Clover was playing with her one morning.
Clover was astounded. Who had taught the little girl such a difficult word?
"Why yes, Dolly, that's a unicorn. Very good!"
Bloom walked across the street to visit Broccoli and his newborn daughter Kacey. She had green skin like a PlantSim, but apart from that, showed every sign of being a regular Sim in all other aspects.
Since Darwin had expressed an interest in learning how to garden, Bloom instructed him by letting Darwin tend to Bloom's prized indoor garden.
Dolores had another favorite toy besides her stuffed unicorns - a dragon.
Darwin watched as the toddler mimed what had to be the dragon spitting fire. Where was she learning this?
Dusty was now getting much better at sniffing out the gems Darwin wanted, and regularly went out to gather them with his owner.
On Snowflake Day Bloom threw a gift-giving party and invited the whole family.
Even Cypress showed up this time, still looking crushed and carrying a lot more weight than when they had last seen him. Was it his job at the bistro or heartbreak that had brought this on? Everyone was too tactful to ask.
Citrus, on the other hand, was happy as usual. He loved his life as a professional photographer, even though he hadn't made it big yet.
Darwin's mother, now an elder, was amazed at how much her granddaughter resembled her. Even down to the yellow ribbons in her hair.
Tyree made an awesome snowman in the front yard.
He missed Citrus' awkward attempts at romancing his own aunt.
Like father, like son, both Broccoli and Sedrick facepalmed at the sight of this.
Bismuth was less than impressed.
But overall, the guests enjoyed the party.
Long after the party ended, Darwin was still up, trying to get a cranky toddler to go to sleep.
The next evening, it was time for a much smaller celebration - Dolores was going to grow into a child! While Clover was upstairs picking up the birthday girl, Darwin voiced his concerns about Dolores to his in-laws.
"She tore off the heads of all the dolls in her dollhouse. And it's not by accident either - I've watched her do it, and she seems to know exactly what she's doing."
"Oh Darwin," Matilda's voice was one of reassurance. "You're probably just exhausted and overly concerned. She's a spirited girl, full of energy."
"Even Clover could be quite a handful when she was a toddler. And look at her now - she's just the sweetest person," Bloom chimed in. "When she's older, Dolores will understand things better and start playing nice."
"That's just the thing," Darwin continued, "I'm pretty sure she does understand. It's just that--"
But he stopped when Clover walked in. He didn't want to worry her with his concerns. Not today.
They cheered and clapped for little Dolores.
And she became a child.