Hope you like this,
Looking to Karen, Charles asked “Will she stay asleep if I lay her down in her crib?”
“Yes, the suggestion makes her sleepy, but the body takes over.” Karen reassured him.
“Good. Well then, unless you have any more to tell us, we need to get her upstairs and get some things moving.” he replied.
“Alright, I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon. I will be working with her every day. Please schedule some time to talk about how things are going every day.” Karen told them both as she stood.
“I will, thanks again Karen, I really appreciate it.” Charles said as he stood.
“No problem Charles. Trust me, we’ll make sure things are a thousand percent better for this little girl.” Karen replied with a pat to Abby’s back, and then made her way out of the office.
“Let’s put her down and figure some things out.” Charles told Adela, and then started for the door. When he got Abby laid down, he stood watching her for a moment. She looked so sweet and innocent, hugging her bear, nursing her binky. He couldn’t help but smile as he gazed at her.
Adela came back from the kitchen with a bottle of juice. She gently laid it down in the crib where Abby could reach it, before covering her with a soft blanket. Kissing Abby on her forehead she whispered “Sleep well Baby Girl. I love you.” and moved away from the crib.
Charles leaned down then and gave her a kiss. “I love you Baby. I promise, you’ll be snuggling and playing with Daddy every day Baby Girl.” and moved to join Adela. “Let’s go next door.” he told her and walked through the door to his own room. When they both were through the door, he closed it most of the way and said “I want to thank you Adela, you’ve been very supportive through this whole process. The kindness that you’ve shown Abby has meant a lot to me.”
“She’s a very special girl Charles, she deserves it. To go through so much and not hate everyone you see is a miracle.” Adela told him.
“You’re right about that.” he agreed. “OK, what does she need besides the highchair?” he asked.
“I meant to tell you this earlier. The Pampers fit her, but just barely. She tends to drink her bottle throughout the night, which means she wets more, and the Pampers don’t contain it. She’s going to need diapers better suited to her larger size.” Adela explained.
“Alright, I’ll contact someone at the office and see what we can get to do a better job.” he replied.
“I’ll also need to pick up a few things like wipe warmers, diaper rash cream, those sort of things.” she added.
“Get whatever you think will help. Don’t worry about the cost, I just want her happy.” Charles replied.
With a worried expression, Adela said “Charles, sooner or later, she’s going to be unhappy with something. Every diapered child eventually gets diaper rash, for example.”
With an apologetic expression, Charles said “Don’t misunderstand me Adela, I don’t expect her to never cry or get upset, I just want to make sure it’s not because we neglected something.”
“You worried me for a moment there.” Adela said looking clearly relieved. “I don’t want to see her unhappy either, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Like when it’s bedtime and she doesn’t want to go. I will tell you, I’ll swat her bottom if she doesn’t mind me. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing right by her.” she explained firmly.
“Hold on.” Charles said, hurried out of the room and quickly made his way down the stairs and out the front door. He saw Karen getting into her car and called out to her to wait. When he approached her he asked “Will it do her harm if we spank her?”
Karen thought about this for a moment. “No, she told me that Nanny spanked her several times. When I asked how she felt about it, she gave me the impression that she understood it was because Nanny cared about her. Why?” she asked.
“Well, Adela just made it clear that she would spank her if she didn’t mind. I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t do more harm.” Charles said unhappily.
“Charles, making her mind will show her you care about her enough to make her do what she doesn’t want to. I suggest that you don’t go overboard, obviously, but if it’s done right, it shouldn’t hurt her, but could make things better. Consider what it would be like if you let her do anything she wanted. Things would end up being a lot worse for her in the end.” she told him.
“You’re right.” he admitted.
“My only requirement here is that if you do spank her, let her cry. In fact let her cry whenever it suits her. She needs to learn that it’s OK to express how she feels, and to let the feelings out.” Karen explained.
She saw that he was unsure of himself, and that surprised her. As long as she had known him, he always followed his instincts. “Stop second guessing your instincts Charles. You’ve given your nieces smacks on the butt before, why is this any different?” she asked.
“My nieces never went through what she did.” he answered.
“True, but tell me, do you love her any less than your nieces?”
“Then why would you treat her any differently?”
“I didn’t see it that way.” Charles said with a smile, feeling much better.
“Just do what you know is right.” she said. When she saw him start to object, she added “No one gets it right every time Charles. And besides, if you hadn’t done what you did, she would still be out there somewhere, perhaps in much worse shape than you found her at Cranston’s. Adela has worked wonders with her, if you doubt what you think, trust her judgment.”
Charles felt like Karen had just lifted a city bus off his chest. He hugged her and kissed her cheek. “Thank you.” he said.
“You’re welcome, now get back in there to your little girl.” she told him and opened the door to her car. She watched as he hurried back up the steps of the house. She knew he enjoyed caring for Abby as a toddler. She only had to look at him as he held her to see it. While there was just a tinge of jealousy, she was happy Abby had found someone like Charles to be her daddy.
When Charles came back into his bedroom he immediately kissed Adela on the cheek and said “I’m sorry. I should have trusted your judgment, but after all that she’s been through, I needed another opinion.”
“It’s alright, I would much rather you ask another opinion than be bull headed about things.” Adela told him with a chuckle.
“Hey! That only happened once.” he said.
“I know, I’m just trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” she said with a smile.
Charles relayed what Karen had told him, making sure to include the instructions concerning her crying. “That’s not going to be easy for me.” he told her. He knew his first instinct would be to do anything possible to prevent her from crying.
“If it makes it easier Charles, cry with her, I have. When she reacted the way she did to wetting the bed, I couldn’t help it.” Adela said.
“Alright.” he said softly.
“Go make the calls to get the highchair and things taken care of, and let me get to making a list of things she needs. If I need anything else, I’ll let you know.” she told him, trying to get him to think about something else.
“OK, If you need anything, anything at all, call me.” he said.
“Oh, I will, trust me.” she said with a smile.
Giving her another kiss on her cheek, something occurred to him. “Who do I promote to run the household?” he asked. When he saw the hurt look on her face, he clarified “Being Abby’s Nanny is going to consume a great deal of your time. Do you want to take time from her to be going over purchase orders or employee evaluations? Or would you rather spend that time reading to her, or cuddling.”
“Charles, you are not nice to me some times.” Adela said, knowing he had put it that way to make sure she would agree.
“Well, I’m just giving you the choice.” he said with a grin.
“Fine. Promote Grace. She will probably do better than I did. But I would like to have final say on anything that pertains to the staff and Abby.” she replied.
Charles thought about it for a second, and said “I’ll go you one better. You will be Grace’s immediate supervisor. But she needs to handle the household, leaving you to care for Abby. That way if anything comes up, you have the authority to take care of it then and there.”
“OK, I can live with that.” Adela said with a smile.
“But, if you get caught up in the household, I’ll make changes. I can’t think of a better person to care for that baby girl than you.” he clarified.
Blushing at the compliment, she said “Fine, you win.”
“Alright, let me go check on her and then I’ll make some calls.” Charles replied.
“Go ahead, I’ll get my book.” Adela told him and left the room. She wanted to give Charles some time to be with Abby alone.
Charles went back into the nursery, moving to the cribside. Abby laid sound asleep, not a hint of stress on her face. A moment later, he tried not to chuckle as she started reaching around, without opening her eyes. After a second, she found her bottle, spat her binky out and brought the nipple to her mouth and began nursing, not once waking up. “Adela was right.” he thought to himself. Reaching out, he started gently patting her bottom. She nursed for a minute and then fell sound asleep. Charles replaced her bottle with her binky, making sure to leave the bottle where she could find it.
When Adela returned, she sat down in the rocking chair, opening her book, and began to read. Leaning down, he kissed Abby and whispered “Sweet dreams Baby Girl.” and left the room.
Charles got to his home office, pulled his cell from his pocket and dialed a number. “Hi Glen, it’s Charles. I need you to research something for me.”
Glen Edwards, a longtime employee of Charles’ asked “What do you need Charles?”
“Well, I know it’s going to sound strange, but I need to know who makes the best diaper for a nine year old.” Charles told him.
“Ummmm…Charles, why do you need a diaper for a nine year old? Did you suddenly adopt a child I’m not aware of?” Glen asked perplexed.
“Something like that Glen. Just find out as soon as you can and have the manufacturer get in touch with me.” Charles said.
“Alright, diapers it is.” Glen answered.
“Thanks.” Charles said and hung up the phone. He was embarrassed for a moment before he thought “No. I’m not going down that road. If Abby needs this, then it’s fine with me.” and his embarrassment disappeared.
The next call went to Tom Brand. “Hi Tom, it’s Charles. I have a bit of a different kind of job for you, but I’ll make it worth your while.” he said.
“What kind of job Charles?” Tom asked warily. The last time Charles had said that, he had a crew building a firing range.
“I need a playground.” Charles said smiling.
“What?” Tom asked. “Charles, did you forget that Brand Construction builds banks, skyscrapers, that sort of thing?”
“No, I didn’t. But when I have a really difficult job, I know if I call my friend Tom, he always comes through.” Charles said with a chuckle.
Tom groaned on the other end of the phone before asking “Why don’t you call a company that does playgrounds? Wouldn’t that make sense?”
“Not this time Tom. I don’t want just any playground, I want the king of all playgrounds. Not only that, I want the swings in place to be used by tomorrow at eleven am.” Charles said, enjoying torturing his longtime friend.
“Tomorrow!?!” Tom exclaimed. “Charles, I could probably set up some temporary swings by tomorrow, but not something that would be permanent.” and regretted it the moment he closed his mouth.
“See Tom, you are just the kind of person I need overseeing this project. You think on your feet man. Find someone to design this playground, and send them over here with plans in hand so I can go over them.” Charles smugly replied.
“I don’t know why the hell I let you get me involved with your crazy, last minute, over the top, impossible ideas.” Tom grumbled.
“Well I can give you two reasons. One, we served together, and that counts for a lot. Two, I always make it worth your while, now don’t I?”
After a moment’s pause, Tom answered “Yeah, you pay well, but with this, I don’t know if the money will cover the Tums I’m gonna need. You don’t understand, I’ve got six crews right now working on six different buildings.”
Charles uttered words he never thought possible then. “I’ll double the normal rate.” he said not believing he was actually saying it. When he thought about it though, it would be worth it when Abby saw it.
The next words Charles heard were “The plans will be ready within the hour, where are you?”
“Have them brought to my house. That’s where the playground will be constructed. Behind the house.” he answered. “And Tom?” he asked.
“Yes?” he answered with another groan.
“It needs to have areas for a two year old, a six year old, and a nine year old, but all of them need to be sized for a nine year old.” Charles said.
“What?!?” Tom exclaimed. “Why don’t you just ask me to put a man on the moon tomorrow?!?”
“After all, what the hell?!? I got nothing better to do!”
“Do you have any idea what it will take to have some of these things made in a larger size?!?”
“TOM!” Charles yelled into the phone.
“What!?!” an exasperated Tom asked.
“It doesn’t have to be complete tomorrow, but I do need a slide, swings and a merry go round tomorrow.” Charles offered.
“Alright, I’ll see what we can do.” Tom told him and then quickly added “But you’ll owe me one. On second thought, you’ll owe me two!”
“Fine, I’ll owe you two. I’ll be here.” Charles said.
“I’ll have them there shortly.” Tom grumbled and hung up the phone.
Charles couldn’t help laughing as he pushed the end call button on his phone. Tom had always been the same. He flew off the handle when you came to him with something out of the ordinary, but always managed to come through. He dialed another number and when the secretary answered, he asked for Roger Klien.
“Hi Roger, I need another unique piece of furniture.” Charles told him.
“Let me guess, a highchair or a playpen.” Roger responded.
“The highchair.” Charles confirmed.
“How soon do you need it?” Roger asked.
“As soon as possible. I’ve got a nine year old here that’s an adventure to feed without one.” Charles told him. He decided for now, that’s how he would present Abby.
“Alright, I’ll get someone right on that, and another person making the play pen because sooner or later, you’re gonna call me and ask for it.” Roger offered.
“Hey, can you make a rocking horse?” Charles asked smiling as he considered what Abby’s reaction would be when she saw it.
“Sure. That will take a bit longer though.” he said.
“That’s fine. Any idea on the when the highchair will be done though?” Charles asked.
“Give me two days at the most. If it’s ready by tomorrow, I’ll have it sent by.” Roger told him.
“Alright, thanks Roger.” Charles said and hung up the phone.
He felt good about the way things were going. He was going to spend a lot of money, but these were one time expenditures and he could handle that.
The phone rang several minutes later. “Charles Wilkins.” he answered.
“Hi Mr. Wilkins, my name is Oscar Nelson. Mr. Edwards contacted me and asked that I give you a call. He said you were looking for incontinent briefs for a nine year old.”
Charles looked at this as the first test of his resolve not be embarrassed by Abby’s needs. “Actually, Mr. Nelson, I was looking for diapers for a nine year old. Baby diapers.” he said.
“What did you have in mind Mr. Wilkins?” Oscar asked hesitantly.
“Look,” Charles said, “Call me Charles. Oscar, I have a nine year old girl here that is currently wearing size seven Pampers and they don’t do the job. She’s at a two year old level and takes a bottle. She drinks throughout the night and hence wets a lot. I’m looking for a diaper that will fit her well, be absorbent, and looks like a baby diaper. When folks see the diaper and her pacifier, they will automatically respond to her as a toddler.” he explained.
“OK, well the product your looking for is our youth diaper. The only problem is, the plastic back sheet is white with no print. It’s the most absorbent product we offer for children in that age group, had gathers to protect against leaks, and tapes that won’t pop off like other diapers.” Oscar told him.
“What would it take to put a print on them?” Charles asked.
“Hmmm…It’s possible. We could order the plastic preprinted, but it would require that you order a full container of them.” Oscar said with concern.
“OK….is that a problem?” Charles asked.
“Uh, Charles, that’s over thirteen thousand diapers.” he said.
Charles, not seeing what the problem is asked “So she’ll be set for a long time.”
“Charles, more than six years. The problem is, if she’s nine, she’ll outgrow them before she runs out of them.” Oscar explained.
“Oh. I guess I need to explain. I said a nine year old, because she’s physically the size of a nine year old. She’s actually twenty two and won’t be getting any bigger.” Charles clarified.
"That makes it easier. Alright, then if you are willing to purchase a container load, then we can get you what you need. All you need to do is provide a graphic for the outside of the diaper."Oscar said with relief.
“Do you have anyone there that can generate some graphics and send a copy for me to look at?” Charles asked.
“Yes, we can do that. Any particular design?” Oscar asked.
“Hmmm…try to make it look similar in design to the Pampers. Not necessarily in those colors, but along the same lines. Also, instead of the Sesame Street characters, use teddy bears. She loves teddy bears.” Charles told him.
“OK, I’ll get the graphics done and sent to Mr. Edwards in two days. I tell you what Charles, for seventeen five I’ll sell you the container load of printed diapers and six cases of plain white ones to get you through until the others are done.” Oscar offered.
“If you make it seventeen thousand even, then I will have a purchase order sent over within the hour.” Charles answered.
“Alright, good enough. Seventeen it is.” Oscar confirmed.
“Thank you Oscar, where are the white ones warehoused?” Charles asked.
“In New Jersey.” Oscar explained.
“OK, fax Mr. Edwards a full quote and the address of the warehouse. I will send a truck to pick up the six cases today. Please be sure that your folks know a courier will come to pick them up.” Charles told him.
“No problem. Would you rather I deliver them?” Oscar asked.
“Oscar, they will be flown from Newark and be here within three hours, unless you have a quicker way to get them here.” he answered.
There was a pause on the other end of the line. “No Charles, I don’t think I could do better than one of your aircraft.” Oscar said, his smile coming across the line as he realized just which Charles Wilkins he was dealing with.
“It’s been a pleasure doing business with you Oscar.” Charles said.
“Yes, I’ll see that the fax goes out within five minutes.” Oscar told him.
“Thank you.” Charles said and hung up the phone. He immediately dialed Alexa. “Hi Alexa, get with Glen Edwards immediately and get a purchase order for seventeen thousand dollars sent out for diapers to the company he had contact me. He will have the quote faxed to him shortly.” he told her. “Yes you heard right, diapers. Glen will have an address to a warehouse in Jersey. I want a courier sent to pick up six cases, and I want them flown here and delivered to my home today.” he explained. “Also, they will be sending a design over, have Glen get it to me when it come in….Alright, thanks.” and he hung up the phone.
The next call he made went to Margery from the boutique. He explained that Abby would need some more clothing. He told her that it needed to look like it was for a small child, like a toddler, and asked that she have someone come by to show Adela some designs.
With all of that completed, he went back upstairs to talk with Adela. “How’s she doing?” he asked as he saw her still sleeping.
“She hasn’t stirred.” Adela said softly.
“I just ordered her diapers. Six cases will be here in about three hours, so no more leaks.” he told her with a smile.
“That ought to last a while.” Adela responded.
“Adela, that’s the preliminary order. Before those run out, there should be about…six years worth coming that will have teddy bears printed on them.” he explained with a bigger smile.
Adela laughed quietly. “You don’t do anything in a small way do you?” she asked.
“No, I don’t.” he told her. “but with what Karen said, she will probably want to use them, so it’s a good investment.” he added.
“She’ll love the teddy bears.” Adela said with a warm smile.
“Yes she will. I will need your help deciding on the exact pattern. That reminds me, someone will be by to show you designs for clothing for her. Get whatever you think she needs.” he told her.
“I can’t say I’ve ever seen you spend this much money on anyone before Charles.” Adela commented.
“She’s the one.” was all Charles felt he needed to say.