I leaned in towards her face, put her pacifier in her mouth, and kissed her on the forehead. “Shh-shh-shh,” I whispered. “You’ve got a busy day ahead of you and it’s only just begun. It’s time to rest.”
In a matter of seconds, she was asleep. I raised the side of her crib, and quietly walked over to the door. I glanced back at her sleeping, and then shut the door.
To Be Continued……
I walked back to the laundry room, and …. (yes, I do laundry!), and picked up her diaper bag and a set of clothing. She and I were going to go on a trip that afternoon. She knew nothing about it. Her nap times were the perfect opportunities to prepare a surprise. I knew when I woke her up and told her we were going on a trip, she would become so excited that I would have to calm her down, and there would be no time to pack a bag.
Every trip we took, even just a small one, out and about, she would find some way to make her clothes dirty. Sometimes I believed she did this purposefully just so I would change her clothes. So I learned that I always needed a second outfit on hand. In the laundry room there was a bib overall shorts outfit that I washed a few days ago. It would do the job, and she would be very happy to wear it. I was able to fit it into the diaper bag with a little room left over. So I prepped a few snacks and drinks to take and left them in the fridge until we were closer to leaving.
Ah yes. A little time for Daddy, and what did I do? I sat down on the couch, put my Zorro hat on, and watched “The Mask of Zorro” because….that’s what I do. I certainly wasn’t going to watch the sequel to it. Everything that Steven Spielberg did to make “The Mask of Zorro” such a success was tarnished by the movie’s follow up.
But I never really had time where I relaxed completely. And honestly, I don’t think I wanted to be that relaxed. So…five minutes into the movie, I paused it so I could check on her in the nursery, and wash some dishes. I was very happy to give up my freedom to do this. And she stayed on my mind. Soon I would wake her up, and I knew what she would want to eat……grapes. She loved grapes. Frozen grapes were a real treat. So I got some frozen grapes from the freezer and put them in a bowl, setting it on the couch in the living room. Next to it, I set a hair brush. She loved to have her hair brushed out. When I did this, I looked over at one of her stuffed animals on the couch. I smiled for a moment, and thought about how much she meant to me.
The loved I felt for her was unlike anything else I had ever felt. It was a combination of paternal pride and paternal love added into a genuine guy’s affection for a girl that never leaves his thoughts. I could “check” on her in her crib, or I could just crack the nursery door open and watches her sleeping. Her body lays flat to the mattress. She’s just a little bump under the covers. Her body rises and lowers ever-so-slightly with each breath, and when she resituates in her sleep, she lets out a tiny little sigh as she relaxes into a new position. The noise her disposable diaper makes when she shifts her hips seems to echo in my ears like the sweet sound of rainfall. She can never escape the beauty she possesses, even in her slumber.
An hour came and went and this girl who didn’t want to sleep was still resting calmly like a baby. I quietly walked over to the crib, lowered the side, knelt down beside her just as when I woke her up that morning. I peeled the cover off of her body, and made a discovery. She would need a diaper change, very soon. The scent in the air told me she had pooped. And past experience had taught me to handle this situation delicately, but also quickly.
I grabbed a diaper and some wipes from the changing table, and began to unfasten her diaper in the crib. She was laying on her tummy. I tried to peel back the tapes on her diaper quietly. If she were to have awoke with a load in her diaper, she would have squirmed as well as been upset. Every tape sounded like a buffalo stampede of noise running through the room. I was sure she would wake up. And of course, the diaper I put on her was the kind with 3 tapes per side, so this was taking forever.
After what seemed like ten minutes of unfastening, I lowered the back of her diaper down very carefully. Luckily she was asleep on her tummy and her legs were bent and parted a little. So I had at least some room to work with here. I took the wipe to her tush. Thinking she would wake up as I did this, I prepared to stop her from startling into movement. That might have created a mess in the crib. But she didn’t wake up, and was now clean.
Proudly I stood up, and took a moment to simply be proud that I was able to unfasten her poopy diaper and wipe her clean without stirring her. As I stood there, being proud……she shifted her legs. A look of silent panic came over my face as she rolled on her side. Then, at that moment, I knew there were greater forces than I out there, who were trying to help me. She rolled on her side and off her diaper completely, which made it easy to roll it up and get it out of the crib.
It was at this moment, when the “coast was clear” that she woke up, very calmly. She looked up at me and smiled, reaching out for me to pick her up. It was at the moment I picked her up that she realized she wasn’t wearing a diaper. In my arms, she looked at me confused, then down at her bare bottom, then down at the rug of the nursery, then back to me. I could tell she was really trying to figure out what happened to her diaper.
She was wearing it when she went to sleep. It stood to reason that she would be wearing it when she woke up. She looked inside my shirt pocket, and I started to laugh. This was hysterical to see her trying to wake up and trying to figure out this mystery.
She shrugged her shoulders and laid down on my chest. She put her head on my shoulder and felt the material of my shirt with her fingers. I walked over to the changing table, laid her down, and put her in a diaper. I picked her up, carried her out of the nursery, and down the hall to the living room.
All along the way, she would look down at her diaper. Then she would look away. Then she’d look down at her diaper, wondering if this one was going to magically disappear, too.
When we got into the living room, she saw the bowl of grapes. I sat down on the couch and put her on my knees, facing her towards me. She grabbed the bowl and began eating the grapes, stuffing six of them in her mouth at once. Her cheeks puffed out from the grapes, and she tried to smile, but obviously couldn’t. Instead, she laughed. I sat there with a grin on my face.
“I have a surprise for you,” I said as I took the hair ties out of her hair, letting her pigtails down.
“Mur Graps?” she mumbled with a full mouth, followed by more laughter and a snort which only made her laugh more.
“Chew, BabyGirl,” I jokingly instructed as I picked up the hair brush and began the feather her hair down over her shoulders. She began to chew the grapes, and closed her eyes, anticipating how good it was going to feel to have her hair brushed.
I began to slowly brush out every lock of her beautiful hair. She gracefully reached up to touch my face with her fingertips. She opened her eyes and looked at me. “Thank you for being so sweet to me,” she said while lightly biting her lower lip.
“Thank you for owning my heart and never leaving my soul,” I said as I put the brush down and kissed her forehead. As I did this, she touched my cheeks with her fingertips again. She collapsed into my chest and hugged me. I wrapped my arms around her and gave her the diapered bottom pat. She smiled sweetly.
“Thank you for that, too,” she said softly. Then suddenly, she sat up. “What’s the surprise?”
“A trip,” I said.
“Where we goin’, Daddy?” she asked with a bounce of excitement.
“It wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you,” I said in a sly manner.
“But,” I began while pointing to the clothing I had on the other end of the couch. “We need to get you dressed, don’t we?”
She crawled over to the clothes, took her t shirt off in a flash, got into the yellow summer dress, slip the sandals on her feet, crawled back over to me and plopped back down on my lap.
“Ready to go, Daddy!” she exclaimed as she stood up and grabbed my hand lifting me to my feet as well.
“Where’s my diaper bag?” she said as she headed for the door. I picked up the bag, and she practically ran us to the door. Then she stopped, and began to buckle at the knees. I grabbed her before she fell.
“What’s wrong?” I said dropping the bag and holding her to my chest.
“Nothing. It’s the first time I walked today,” she said. “I bet there’s a bag of drinks and treats you almost forgot in the fridge.”
“The drinks and treats can wait. Are you all right?” I said getting ready to abandon this trip.
“I’m fine!” she said. “I got light-headed. I’ve been crawling around all day.”
She ran over to the fridge, got the bag of treats and snacks, ran back to me, picked up the diaper bag I dropped, put everything in my hands and went to the door.
"I know you’re not going to tell me where we’re going, but I want clues, she said opening the door.
“Okay, I’ll give you clues on the way there,” I said following her out and heading to the car.
To Be Continued ….