I hope you like this,
“There, you’re all set,” the clerk offered as she handed Alex two key cards. “Your room is right down that hallway, about halfway down on the right.”
He glanced at her name tag, and replied, “Thank you Joan. I really appreciate your kindness toward Gracie.”
“Oh, it was nothing. She’s a sweet little girl, and a cutie to boot.” she said with a warm gaze at Grace.
Alex looked at his new daughter, and really felt for her. The frightened look was still there. She really was cute though, hugging her bunny tight with her pacifier moving rapidly in and out, as she sought comfort. Her pig tails, the paci, and the short-alls with the obvious diaper bulge made her look just like a little girl, only bigger.
He had looked in the mirror when he showered earlier in the evening, and for the first time, smiled when he saw the premature gray in his own dark brown hair. It was the only time he could remember being glad he looked older than his thirty one years. If he didn’t look more like forty or forty five, then he could never have presented her as his daughter.
“Oh, I forgot, did the bed rails arrive?” he asked.
“Yes,” Joan informed him, “and the refrigerator is stocked with juice like you asked.”
“Thank you,” he said with relief.
“If you need anything, don’t be afraid to ask.”
“Thanks, you’ve been wonderful.”
“Don’t worry about it, just get that poor baby down for the night.”
“I will. I’ll get the luggage once she goes to sleep,” he assured her.
Alex was taken aback when she frowned at him, and told him, “Nonsense.” She walked to the end of the long counter, stepped through a door into the lobby and approached him. “You can’t leave that little girl alone after such a scare. I’ll go with you out to the car, and help you get your things to the room.” she explained in a tone that left no room for discussion.
“I don’t want to im…” was all Alex got out before he was interrupted.
“I won’t hear of it. Let’s get your things and then she can go to bed.” she said, and headed for the automatic door that led to the parking lot.
Alex followed along, grateful that this kind woman was willing to help. After what happened, he knew he needed to spend some time talking with Grace. Joan’s help would allow him to just get her changed, and then get into bed with her, and they could talk. He kissed Grace on the cheek, and began pushing her stroller toward the outside.
Joan had grabbed a cart as she approached the door, and she was pushing it toward the vehicle when Grace, her eyes full of tears, spoke in a pleading voice, “Bye bye?”
Alex knew the old woman misunderstood when she looked at Grace and answered, “No Sweetheart, you don’t have to go anywhere else tonight. Daddy will have you tucked into your bed in just a little bit,” sounding like a doting grandmother.
“That’s right Baby, no bye bye. It’s night night time. Daddy just needs to get our things from the car so you have toys to play with in the morning,” he explained. He knew what she was saying; she wanted to go home.
He really hurt for her, and leaned down to kiss her wet cheek as he walked. The reality of just how frightened she had been struck him when he considered she was willing to give up being cuddled and changed forever to be able to leave right now.
They got to the vehicle, and he opened the back up. As he loaded the bags on the cart, he watched Grace, and part of him wanted to lift her from the stroller frame, buckle her into the front seat and take her away from there, right this minute.
The part that had spent hours researching her needs kept unloading the bags and boxes. He was certain that she needed this, and was going to hold her to her agreement to go. It didn’t make it any easier to look at her tearful, scared expression though.
“That’s everything,” he said, closing the hatch. He watched as Joan took the handles of Grace’s stroller, and began to turn her toward the lobby.
Alex felt like an idiot. He had watched how difficult it was for Grace to put herself into his care throughout the evening, and now he was asking her to allow someone else to care for her. He hadn’t thought it would be a problem for Joan to push her, but now that he looked at it, it still required her to trust someone else with a part of her that terrified her.
Joan surprised him when she reached into the open diaper bag hanging on the back of the stroller, and pulled out one of the cloth diapers he had packed. Moving quickly around in front of Grace, she got down on one knee, and brought the soft cloth up to Grace’s face, gently wiping her tears away.
“It’s okay Sweety, I promise,” she told his little girl. Alex smiled at Grace when she nuzzled the soft diaper. “Do you see that big old cart Baby?” Joan asked. When Grace nodded, Joan explained, “Well, it’s too big for me to push Sweety, so Daddy’s going to have to push it. He can’t push you and the cart at the same time, so is it okay if I push you? I promise, I won’t bump you into anything,” she finished with a warm smile.
It seemed like an eternity before grace gave a tentative nod. “I’m sorry Baby, I should have told you before I moved you,” Joan said softly. “Here,” she added, as she took grace’s hand and placed it on the cloth diaper that rested against her cheek. “You hold on to that, okay?”
“Okay,” Grace answered in a little voice.
When Joan stood, she looked at Alex with glassy eyes, and said, “I’m sorry Mister Cleary, I didn’t mean to scare your daughter. I know better than to move a child without talking to them first, especially a little child.”
Trying to make this very kind woman feel better, he replied, “You’ve been wonderful, please don’t apologize, and please, call me Alex. It’s a strange place, with strange people, and it’ll take a little bit for Gracie to settle down. Being tired isn’t helping either, especially after waking up the way she did.”
With a grateful expression, Joan told him, “Okay, let’s get you to your room.” Taking the handles of the stroller, she leaned over so she could look Grace in the eye, and added, “And let’s get you snuggled down with Daddy,” before moving slowly toward the resort.
It took every bit of control she had for Grace not to beg Daddy, in adult language, to take her home when they got outside. She would swear never to touch another diaper or baby thing again, if he would just take her home.
She cried silent tears, nursing her paci, and clinging to Bun-Bun, as she watched him unload the SUV. The determination to stay was clear in the firm set of his jaw, but she felt hope when she looked in his eyes, and saw he was torn. She would convince him to leave in the morning. She had to, this was just too much, too soon.
She wasn’t prepared at all when the old lady started to turn her away from Daddy. He was the only stable thing in her world right now, and the thought of being away from him terrified her.
When the clerk placed the soft diaper against her cheek, the terror became simple fear, and she was grateful. The soft material against her face, the gentleness of the old woman’s touch, and her soothing words, calmed Grace. She felt guilty when she saw the kind woman was upset that she had scared her. It wasn’t this lady’s fault that they had decided to deceive her, or that Grace was finding she was unable to go through with it, and she had no choice but to agree to let her push her in hopes it would make the caring woman feel better.
Grace was never so glad to hear a door close in her life as she was when the clerk left their room. She waited a few second before spitting her paci out, picking up Bun-Bun and putting him on the table next to her stroller, and pleading in a tearful whisper, “Please, take me home. I swear I’ll throw all the baby things away, just take me home.”
She cried harder when Daddy knelt in front of her, placed his finger over he lips, and said, “Not another word Baby. We’ll talk once I get you changed and into bed, I promise.” When he laid her bunny back on her chest, she couldn’t help hugging it. It made her feel safe. It wasn’t enough however, and she took her paci again, feeling utterly helpless that she couldn’t control the need.
Daddy released the harness that held her in her seat, and without a word, picked her up in his arms. She clung to him, crying. “You’re alright Baby, I promise.” he told her, patting her wet bottom as he rocked her. She nuzzled her face into his neck, nursing hard and fast on her paci. A minute later, she opened her eyes as he laid her gently down on a bed.
Looking around, she saw they were in a different room. The décor was blue with gold accents, and the room they had entered earlier was maroon with gold trim. She felt Daddy unbuckle the left strap of her short-alls, as she looked left and saw one of the bed rails he had talked about. It was a long tubular frame that stood two feet off of the mattress, with netting forming a soft wall. Looking right, she saw it’s twin.
“I can’t have my baby girl falling out of bed now, can I?” Daddy asked. It was a rhetorical question, so she didn’t answer. “Lay still Baby, while I get you changed for bed.” When he had her clothes off, and she lay there in just a wet diaper, he told her, “Don’t move Sweety, I need to get your jammies.”
This was torture. His loving touch, and the way he talked to her made her feel so little, and it felt so good. He was giving her exactly what she had wanted for so many years, and she would have to throw it all away because she couldn’t go through with this. The thought made her start sobbing.
“Shhhhh…shhhhh…it’s alright Baby, everything’s going to be alright, I promise.” he said as he gently lifted her head to slip a shirt over it. He push each of her hands through the short sleeves in turn, and when he pulled the shirt down into place, the softness of the material made Grace close her eyes and run her hands over it. A second later, she felt him grasp her ankles, and lift her wet bottom from the mattress. Opening her eyes, she saw him slide a pad under her bottom, and he lowered her to the bed, pushing her legs apart.
The sound of diaper tapes tearing open came next, and she felt the cool air of the room make contact with her wet diaper area as he pulled the thick padding down between her legs. She lay there in a strange room, completely exposed, feeling more vulnerable than she had ever felt in her life. The one thing that kept her from running for safety was the loving smile on Daddy’s face as he began wiping the pee from her skin. He had never looked at her that way before. It wasn’t the look a man gives to his wife, or his lover.
A vision of a stranger smiling down on his little baby girl as he put her shoes on, came to her. Grace had been at the park, and the little girl and her daddy caught her eye as she walked to where she normally sat beneath an elm tree to do her schoolwork. She had gotten no work done that morning. The man playing with his toddler captivated her, and it was one of the most enjoyable, and yet painful two hours she had ever spent. He had been so kind and gentle with her, speaking sweetly to her, and making her giggle again and again. Watching him cuddle her and holding her bottle had been difficult. It was the picture of what she wanted so much, and it made her hurt inside.
Fresh tears ran toward her hair as she realized that’s exactly how Daddy was looking at her. Like she was the most important thing in the world to him at that moment. Like he would move heaven and earth if she asked him to. Like she was his, to hold and cuddle, to comfort and take her from an uncomfortable wet dipey to wonderful soft dry padding that hugged her bottom. Like he would protect her no matter what the world brought into their lives.
She felt loss when he pushed her feet toward her and looked away. She wanted to bask in his loving gaze forever. It made everything all right. The cool baby wipe felt so good against her wet bottom. His gentle touch made her sigh despite the fact he was cleaning one of her most sensitive areas. Six seconds later, she all but gasped as the soft baby powder was smoothed onto her slightly irritated skin, making it feel so much better. His gentle hand caressing the sweet smelling powder over her bottom brought her to her little place, and she felt the nipple of her paci acutely as she nursed. It was doing it’s job, keeping her anxiety manageable.
Daddy slid a fresh dipey under her bottom, and set her down, the feel of the soft padding making her sigh. She was surprised a second later when he pulled a pamper up between her legs, and she almost lost control. She had wished so many times to be able to wear a baby diaper. The cute designs on the front made her feel warm inside, and she had wanted to see them displayed on her lower tummy. When he pulled the big dipey up to cover it, the added padding pushed her legs wide apart. He pressed first the left, and then the right lower tapes into place, and then grasped the front of the dipey at the top and pulled upward, making it snug against her bottom, before taping each side. She lay there with her eyes closed, feeling smaller than she had ever felt before.
The sound of packing tape startled her and her eyes flew open. “It’s just tape to make sure your dipey stays where it’s supposed to Baby,” he told her as he pressed an eighteen inch long strip of the clear tape across the front of her dipey.
A moment later when he lifted her to a sitting position, she was grateful for the added tape. She had always laid still for as long as possible after taping her dipey on, because the minute she sat up, it shifted, no longer hugging her bottom. This time, she felt the dipey stay snug against her as she moved, and couldn’t help the small smile that creased her face.
“Let me see Bun-Bun for a second,” he said as he gently tugged at her bunny.
With reluctance, she let go and watched him lay the rabbit down on the pad. He picked up the baby powder, and sprinkled a small amount on his palm. Running his hand over the body of the bunny, he worked the powder into the material.
“There. Now Bun-Bun is ready for night night,” he told her with a loving smile, and handed the sweet smelling bunny back to her.
She pulled Bun-Bun close with her left arm, hugging him to her. Pressing her face against his soft head, she drew a big breath in through her nose as she nursed her paci. The sweet babyish smell made her feel warm inside from the top of her head, to the tip of her toes. She reached out with her right arm toward her daddy, needing to be close to him, as happy tears blurred his face.
Her legs wrapped around his waist of their own accord when he picked her up. She clung to his neck with her right arm, not wanting to let go of Bun-Bun with her left. Nuzzling her face into his neck, she was overwhelmed by her feelings inside. How could she give this up? she wondered. The thought of never feeling Daddy hold her like this, or change her like he just did made her tears flow faster.
“Shhhhh…shhhhh…Daddy’s got you,” he told her in a soft voice. “Daddy’s got you, and I’m never going to let you go Baby Girl.”