[i]“Go on in. I’ll be right there after I put the high chair away,” he said.
Lilly ran out of the kitchen, down the hallway and into the nursery, with her diapered bottom crinkling all the way. She dashed back out of the nursery to the living room where she had left her teddy bear. With bear in hand, she ran back into nursery.
She ran over to the toys that she had scattered on the floor earlier. Then she felt a breeze come from the window. She looked over at the window and saw it was cracked open about a foot. Sitting on the window ledge was the oyster!!!
She ran over the window, and threw it up completely, looking out into the pitch black backyard.
To Be Continued…[/i]
Then she opened the oyster. In it were the two pearls and a little note, which read …
“Lilly, thank you very much for visiting the countryside. Please come back and visit us again and often.”
Lilly leaned out the window, and called into the backyard. “Hello?”
“Hello,” a very sheepish voice said from behind a tree.
Out walked an elf, six inches high. He stopped in the grass about three feet in front of the nursery window.
“Who are you?” Lilly asked.
“I’m a woods elf. Who are you?” replied the elf.
“You can’t be Lilly,” said the elf as he walked a little closer to the window.
“Why not?” she asked while resting her chin on the window sill.
“Because you are an adult. Adults can’t see me,” said the elf as he leapt up onto the window sill to get a closer look at her. “Unless you are a child at heart. Are you?”
“I think I am,” said Lilly with a smile.
“That explains it,” said the elf. “Thank you for coming to the countryside earlier.”
“I thought that was just a dream,” she said with bewilderment.
“It was a dream. It was your dream. The countryside can only be seen in a dream,” explained the elf. “All the butterflies, fish, trees and flowers said you were the sweetest human who ever dreamed.”
“Please tell them I said thank you,” said Lilly as she sat on the window sill. “I think that are all really sweet, too.”
“I will, and they said you are welcome back any time you dream,” said the elf as he sat on the other side of the window sill.
The moonlight shown through the window as the two silhouettes continued to talk.
“I’m a little confused by something. If I visited the countryside in my dreams, then why did I find this on the window ledge?” she asked holding up the oyster with two pearls inside.
The elf’s eyes lit up and he began dancing excitedly. “It means you are a true believer! Only the purest of hearts can bring something back from the countryside. That’s the pearl oyster from the lake! It’s the second greatest treasure of the countryside!” he exclaimed.
“I’ll guard it with my heart,” Lilly promised.
“I know you will, Lilly,” the elf said. “Take care of yourself.”
The elf hopped off of the window sill and back to the grass, beginning to leave, when Lilly called to him again. “What is your name?” she asked.
“I don’t have a name,” he said. “I’m just a woods elf.”
“You don’t have a name? That’s horrible. Everybody should have a name,” she stated.
“Why? What’s so important about a name?” he asked.
“It makes you a very special person, different from everyone else,” she explained.
The elf paused for a moment, scratching his head to think. “Will you give me a name?” he asked.
“I would love to,” she said will crossing her legs Indian-style. “Let’s see. You are a boy elf and you a come from the woods. How about I call you Mr. Woody?”
“That sounds like a wonderful name. Thank you, Lilly. I have to get back to the countryside now. See you in your dreams,” he said as he turned and started walking away.
“Mr. Woody?” she called to him, but he didn’t turn around. “Mr. Woody?”
Suddenly he stopped and laughed. Turning back to her he said, “That’s my name, isn’t it. No one has ever called to me with a name before.”
“You’ll get used to it, Mr. Woody. Will you come see me again soon?” she asked.
"You can count on it, he replied.
“And will you tell me what the greatest treasure of the countryside is some time?” she inquired.
“As you wish, Lilly. Not only will I tell you, but in your next dream, I will show you,” he replied. “Good bye, Lilly.”
He disappeared into the night. Zeke entered the nursery, and Lilly spun around from the window to face him.
“What would you like to do?” Zeke asked.
Without hesitating, she ran over to the book shelf and picked up Dr. Seuss’s ‘The Lorax’, and then pointed to the rocking chair. She then ran out of the nursery quickly to the living room, where she grabbed her blanket off the floor. She ran back into the nursery just as quickly with her diaper crinkling all the way.
Zeke had all ready taken a seat on the rocking chair. She wrapped the blanket around her like a cape and crawled up on his lap. Zeke continued wrapping her in the blanket until she was completely swaddled in it; even the tips of her toes were covered. In one hand, she clung to her teddy bear. She took a few seconds to situate herself on his lap until she was contented.
“Are you comfortable?” he asked, jokingly.
She giggled and nodded her head enthusiastically. He handed her a bottle of apple juice. In one motion, the pacifier fell from her lips and she took the bottle tip in her mouth. She curled up in his lap in the fetal position as Zeke opened the book and began reading:
“At the far end of town where the grackle-grass grows,
And the wind smells slow and sour when it blows,
And no birds ever sing excepting old crows…
Is the street of the Lifted Lorax.”
Listening to the sound of his voice, she stared up at him. It felt so good to be in his arms. She laid her head on his chest and closed her eyes for a moment. She could feel his warmth and she listened to sound of his voice vibrating inside him. The story he was telling didn’t matter. The fact that he was telling that story is what she loved. Turning her attention to the pictures on the pages, she traced the drawings of trees and people with her fingers as he read, making certain to point at the picture of the Lorax every time Zeke mentioned him.
Zeke got to the last page and finished the book:
“So plant a new Trufulla tree. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water and feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest, and protect it from the axe’s hack
Then the Lorax and all his friends may come back.”
Closing the book, he gazed down at Lilly who was looking up at him with eyes that spoke a deep-rooted love.
“Now, I’d like to ask you something,” he said as he stood up, still holding her in her arms.
When he stood up, he discovered she had wet her diaper so much that it had leaked into the blanket around her.
“And I’ll ask you that question in just one minute,” he said as he unwrapped the blanket from around her and placed it in the hamper.
She shivered for a moment without the blanket around her. Zeke sat her on the changing table. Her arms went up, her t-shirt came off and as he gently laid her across the top of the table, he guided her head and back down onto the changing mat.
Lilly stared at the ceiling above her. This was a position she was getting used to being in, and it was a moment she was getting comfortable with. Zeke handed her the teddy bear which he clung to dearly. That sense of complete vulnerability came over her as he unfastened her wet diaper, lifted her legs in the air, and threw it away. There she lay, naked from head to toe, but she had grown to overcome that vulnerable feeling. She knew she was in the hands of a very loving and caring guy who understood the meaning of the words - gentle and tender. Most guys didn’t know what those words meant, and you could tell in the way they handled you.
With her legs in the air, Zeke took the time to caressingly clean her bottom and front side. It was a pleasant feeling, not rushed, and not prolonged. She closed her eyes and felt the coolness of powdered on her bottom as he lowered her down onto a diaper she didn’t even know he had placed on the table beneath her. He fastened the diaper tapes, and gave her the traditional post-changing Eskimo nose kisses.
“Shall we go on a trip?” he asked as her eye lit up with excitement. “To Wal-Mart?”
She sat up on the changing table, with wide-eyed anticipation.
“To buy a crib toy,” he said.
She leaped off the table into his arms and wrapped herself around him.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” he said as he patted her diapered bottom while carrying her over to the bookshelf. “Can I leave you here while I go pack a ‘bag’ for our little trip?”
She shook her head yes. He gave her a wink.
“Why don’t you color me a picture?” he asked.
“Okay. What should I draw?” she asked.
“The first thing that comes to your mind,” he said while kissing her on the forehead, placing her pacifier in her mouth and exiting the nursery.
She sat there on the nursery rug for a moment and looked around. Then she looked at the window, and remembered Mr. Woody. Quickly, she crawled over to the crayon basket, grabbed a handful of crayons and a piece of paper. She laid the paper on the floor and organized the crayons by size and color. She made a rainbow shape with them next to the paper. She began drawing the picture of Mr. Woody while squinting her left eye. This helped her to concentrate.
Meanwhile, Zeke had been packing a discreet diaper bag. It was one of Lilly’s purses designated for this use. He re-entered the nursery with her purse and a blue button-down shirt from his closet. He paused at the doorway to adore the sight of her lying on her tummy on the rug, coloring. Her head was bobbing back and forth, and she had drawn her legs up at the knees.
He slowly walked up behind her, and looked over your shoulder at what she was drawing.
“Hello, Daddy,” she said without stopping what she was doing.
“Who is that?” he asked.
“It’s Mr. Woody,” she replied while sitting up and turning around.
“And who is he?” Zeke asked while setting her purse down. “Arms up.”
She raised her arms in the air and he put the shirt on her.
“He’s my friend, but only I can see him,” Lilly said with liveliness as she lay on her back and stuck her feet up in the air.
He put her sandals on, and helped her to her feet. Attaching her pacifier to the shirt with a clip and string, he then handed her the purse.
“You ready?” he asked.
She put the pacifier in her mouth and nodded her head. Off they went, out to the car, and she skipped the whole way.
They got in his care and it started raining, almost right on cue. Lilly looked out the window, disappointed. She looked over at Zeke, and took the pacifier out of her mouth.
“I guess we’re not going, huh?” she said, saddened.
Zeke looked over at her, cocked his head slightly to the side, and started the car. He smiled at her and winked. She smiled back, put the pacifier back in her mouth, clicked her seat belt into place, and folded her legs up on the seat, Indian-style. Away they went.
Taking trips was always a thrill. They had gone shopping and out to late night diners in the wee hours of the morning before, and every time they made these trips, they got a little more “daring”. Lilly didn’t take her love for being a baby out into public. She didn’t want to do that. Neither did Zeke, but they would sometimes test the limits, and each time they would add a little more.
On this trip, Lilly wasn’t wearing anything over her diaper, just a button-down shirt. It was long enough to go mid way down her legs, but the danger of discovery was still there. It was a thrill to do it, yet still subtle enough to not give it away. During the ride to Wal-Mart, she sat there deciding what she wanted Zeke to buy her. She could see the baby section clearly in her mind and she was going through the contents of each shelf.
Almost as if it were on cue again, the rain stopped just as they arrived. So he parked at the far end of the parking lot, and they walked the length to the entrance. He held onto her hand and she was almost pulling him as she skipped her way along, taking in the fresh air brought about by the rain. Her disposable diaper was crinkling with every stride she took. She had begun the thrill.
They got to the entrance, and she settled down as they walked in. At the last second, she remembered to take the pacifier out of her mouth and drop it into the shirt pocket.
“Welcome to Wal-Mart,” said the greeter.
“Thank you,” said Zeke as Lilly gave the greeter a playful finger-wiggling wave.
They made their way to the baby section, and then everything became serious business to her. She walked each aisle with a deliberately slow stride, inspecting each shelf, searching for that perfect crib toy. It was out there, and she was determined to find it.
Zeke stood back and watched with an almost tell-tale grin on his face. With every “little” shopping spree she went on, she always bought another pacifier. In her mind, she could never have enough of those. And she always bought another stuffed animal. After all, what good is a crib if it isn’t packed full of stuffed animals. So she picked a green pacifier with a smiling fish on it, and an earthworm striped with every color of the rainbow.
Now, that she had those selections out of the way, she could finally focus on the new crib toy. She all ready had the sheets she liked, an activity toy when she couldn’t sleep, a baby alarm clock that played nursery rhymes when it went off, a little book made of cloth that shoe could read, and so many other things that made her crib time restful and fun.
Then the answer dawned on her. She didn’t want another toy for the inside of her crib. She wanted a toy for the outside of her crib, or better yet…a toy to go above her crib! A mobile! That was what she wanted. She turned around to Zeke with a look of exhilaration.
“It looks like you made up your mind. You’re very excited, Princess,” he said as she grabbed his hand and took him over to the crib section.
She began looking through the crib accessories until she found the mobile. She examined every single one until she found the perfect mobile. She pointed to the box on the top shelf, and started jumping up and down.
“That one right there?” said Zeke as he pointed to a mobile that had butterflies, fish, trees and flowers on it.
He took it down off the shelf, and handed it to her. She held the box up and studied the picture of the mobile on the front. Her eyes were big and wide. Zeke stood behind her and read the name on the box.
“Countryside Mobile,” he said as he noticed she was pinching her knees together. Discreetly, he lifted up the back of her shirt and felt the seat of her diaper. It was soaked. She was so excited by this mobile that she wet her diaper.
“Are you ready to go?” asked Zeke.
She nodded enthusiastically, but never took her eyes off the box. They walked up to the checkout, and Zeke sighed. As usual, there was only one checkout lane open in the entire Wal-Mart, thought there were 51 other registers available. They stood behind three other customers, which on the Wal-Mart checkout time conversion chart meant they would be waiting approximately 12-15 minutes.
So they began waiting to purchase three items: a pacifier, a stuffed animal, and a mobile. Lilly was perfectly content with looking at the mobile box. She was entertained. Zeke had learned patience. So this wait wouldn’t be excruciating. Not until Lilly’s tummy made a noise for a second, and her eyes of wonderment slowly faded. She lowered her head, and got very shy, standing as close to Zeke’s side as possible.
The reason for her change of mind became clear. The oatmeal had caught up to her, and there she stood in a slow moving checkout line, pooping in her diaper.
“Would you like to come back later?” said Zeke. “We can leave for now.”
She shook her head no as she buried her body into his side, but there was still one person in front of them and she had a full cart of groceries. Slowly, this lady started putting her groceries on the conveyor belt. Lilly buried her face in his chest. He glanced down at her and saw a tear streaming down her cheek. The scent of her diaper was beginning to permeate the air around them. He looked behind them and there were three other customers waiting. It wouldn’t be long before people would begin to detect something was going on. He was about to put the items back and take her home, which would have been to her disappointment, but just then, the solution presented itself.
A woman walked up to the back of the line. She was carrying a bag of diapers and a package of wipes in her one arm. In the other arm, she held a baby. The baby was crying, really loudly. The sound was almost piercing. As the lady at the register, finally put the last grocery items from her cart onto the conveyor belt, Zeke called back to the lady with the crying baby in the back of the line.
“Ma’am, why don’t you get in line in front of me?” he offered, as everyone else behind him flashed him a look of disgust.
“No, that’s all right,” she said. “I’ll wait my turn.”
At this point, the scent of Lilly’s dirty diaper had grown strong in the air. The others in line were noticing it. The baby stopped crying and started wailing. Zeke turned back to the lady again.
“Ma’am, I insist. It seems your little one might need some attention,” he said to the lady I the back of the line as he turned to the rest of the line behind him. “Guys, would it be okay if she cuts in front of us.”
Everyone in the line, now delirious from the scent of a dirty diaper, agreed to let her in front, believing the dirty diaper to be attached to the baby in the lady’s arm.
“I thank you gentlemen very kindly,” the lady said as she stepped forward and placed her items on the conveyor belt.
Zeke looked down at Lilly who was smiling brightly from ear to ear. He wiped away her tear, and winked at her. And after what seemed like another ten minutes, Zeke and Lilly got to the conveyor belt, placed their items down, paid for them and began walking out.
On the way out, Lilly began to walk a little more slowly, paying careful attention to every step. She was trying to mask the fact that she was beginning to waddle instead of walk, in an effort to avoid making a bigger mess to clean up in her diaper.
They began exiting the Wal-Mart, but not before the alarm went off for absolutely no reason as usual. They had to walk over to the greeter, show him the receipt, and the items in the bag. This time, Lilly wasn’t so friendly with the greeter, but he let them go, since nothing was wrong anyway.
They exited the store, and Lilly immediately spoke up, half-panicked and half-relieved:
“Zeke, I love you so much. I didn’t want to leave because this was the last countryside mobile they had. I thought if we left and came back, it would be gone. And I thought for sure, somebody would figure out that scent was coming from…”
“I know. I know. It’s okay,” he said giving her a hug. “And I love you, too. Nobody would’ve figured it out, but you were really scared they would. I’m glad that lady showed with her baby.”
“Me, too,” said Lilly with a giggle.
They made their way to the end of the parking lot, and to his car. He opened the back door and placed the bag on the floor. He picked her up and laid her down, ever-so-gently, on the back seat. Gathering up the two tails of the button-down shirt in his hands, he tied them in a knot just above her belly button. This would keep the shirt out of the way.
He handed her the earthworm they had just bought, and he put the pacifier (that was tucked away in her shirt pocket) between her lips. Instantly, she relaxed her body as he unfastened her diaper tapes. Digging into her purse-turned-diaper bag, he pulled out the pack if wipes.
He folded down the front of her diaper while lifting her legs and bottom in the air. Using the front of her diaper, he wiped off the excess from her bottom, and slid that diaper to the floor for the time being. He then took a wipe and began to soothingly clean her bottom.
She looked up at the dome light in the middle of the roof. Zeke had turned it off, but she still had the nervousness of the public “thrill” inside her, and as he continued to wipe her clean, she began to get that “baby feeling”. It made her feel little and though her heart was pounding, it was a feeling that she craved like no other. Soon the sweet scent of baby powder filled the air, a much nicer aroma. Then she heard the rustling of her new diaper. Lowering her down onto the new diaper, Zeke gave her another wink. He fastened the tapes in place, and then wrapped up the dirty diaper into a ball.
He lifted her up into his arms. She knew where they were going. There was one last “thrill” to be had. She wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist as he shut the door, and carried her over to the trash can to dispose of the dirty diaper. Whereas before, the button-down shirt covered her diaper, now it didn’t because he tied the ends of it into a knot. So there was, wrapped around his body, with a completely exposed diaper. They made their way to the trash can, and he threw the diaper into it. Walking back, she had a grin on her face once again. The “thrill” was now complete.
They got into the car, and drove off. She turned on the radio, and the song “If I had a million dollars…” was playing.
“What would you buy if you had a million dollars?” Zeke asked.
“I would buy every kitty and puppy in the world,” she answered.
“And a whole lot of dog and cat food too, I bet,” he said.
“Nope. I would cook their food myself,” she stated.
“Really?” he asked.
“Uh-huh, and then I would feed them all and teach them to be nice to each other,” she said as she put her legs up Indian-style.
Then Bruce Springsteen’s “Working on a Dream” came on.
“And what dream would you work on?” Zeke asked.
“I’m living that dream with you,” she replied. “But when I sleep, I go to a place in a countryside where I dance with the butterflies, and swim with the fishies and Mr. Woody said he was going to show me the greatest treasure of the countryside.”
And with that, she yawned.
“Mm-hmm. And when we get home, I think it’s bed time for you,” he said “Would you like that?”
“Yes, Daddy. I would like that very much,” she responded.
For the rest of the drive home, she fought off sleep, nodding in and out.
They pulled into his driveway, and got out. He grabbed the bag with the pacifier and the mobile in it with one hand, and carried her in his other. They entered the house, stopping by the kitchen long enough for Zeke to put a bottle of milk together, and then headed straight to the nursery.
Undoing the knot in her shirt, he took it off of her, and reached in the top drawer of the dresser. He slipped a nightie on over her shoulders and arms. He laid her down in the crib, and placed the nipple of the bottle to her lips. She took it in her mouth and grabbed the bottle with both hands. She curled her body up in a ball and she nursed on it.
In a matter a minute or two, Zeke had put the mobile together and attached it to the headboard of the crib. He wound it up, walked over to the doorway, dimmed the lights of the room, and returned to her crib side. She handed him the empty baby bottle, and he leaned in. He tucked her under a blanket, put the new green pacifier in her mouth, kissed her on the forehead, and said:
“Sweet dreams, BabyGirl. I love you.”
She took the pacifier out of her mouth, reached her hand up behind his head, leaned up to his face, and kissed him very sweetly on the lips.
“I love you, too,” she said as a tear formed in her eye.
They embraced, and he tucked her back in again before exiting the room and leaving the door slightly cracked. She looked up at the mobile that was quietly playing a silly little tune. With her earthworm stuffed animal in one arm. She curled up, ready to return to a place she could only visit in her dreams….The Countryside.
She closed her eyes and drifted off the sleep……
To be continued…