As I walked out of my office I pulled on my sweater. It had been a long day at work and I was exhausted. The street was noisy as it always was at this time of the day. Cars and people rushed by, dogs barked, and the homeless man sat on a blanket begging for a dollar so that he could buy his dinner. And that’s when I heard it: a wail so faint I couldn’t be sure it was there. But there it was again, sounding even more desperate. It sounded like it was coming from the abandoned building across the street. As I crossed, I wondered what the sound was from- was it an animal or a screaming child whose mother refused to buy a lollipop? I hesitantly pushed open the broken door, careful not to step on any shards of glass. And there, lying in the corner, was the source of the wailing. Wrapped in a blanket and wearing nothing but a diaper was a little baby girl-or boy, I’m not sure.
“No, Alice please!!! Come on, please!!!” Beep Beep Beep Beeep Beep Beep-!! “ALICE!!!!”
I carefully picked up the child the way I thought was right. I used to want children, but now I had no interest. I know nothing about them I had never even picked up a child! As I tried to shush the infant, I noticed a little piece of paper attached to the blanket. I picked it up- it read: Please take care of my child. My heart started thudding. Please take care of my child. This baby was abandoned and its mother had left it here in an abandoned house with nothing but a blanket a diaper and a note. I held the child closer and muttered into its ear
“Now, what are we going to do with you huh?”
The baby whimpered. I sighed.
“Well I guess we might as well get you home. You need some food and some place warm to stay tonight, don’t you?’
It just sniffled.
“You don’t talk much do you? Anyway, we better get going. Why am I talking to you anyway, huh? You don’t answer.”
As I walked to my car I thought over what had just happened. I had found a child, and I knew nothing about children. As if to prove my point, a mother with a stroller walked by giving me a strange look. I guess she noticed how I was carrying the infant. I climbed into the driver’s seat, the baby on my lap. Worn out from crying, it had fallen asleep in my arms. As I parked in my garage, I looked down at the sleeping child in my lap, sucking its thumb and lying on my lap, its head resting on my shirt. I smiled.
I lay the infant down on a towel on my dining room table with a cloth, safety pins and a box of tissues. I took a deep breath and took off the diaper. Quickly wrapping the cloth on and fastening it with safety pins. Well, it was girl. I picked her up and as she looked at me with her big blue eyes I made my decision.
“Hello Alice Lily McKinley, I am your new daddy.”
“Yes Alikins?” I turn away from my baby name magazine.
“How about this one?” She points to a name on a list of girls names.
“Yeah don’t you like it?”
“I love it.”
Little Alice watches me as I rummage through the attic.
“I know it’s here somewhere!”
I curse as a box fall on my foot, and Alice starts crying. I climb over the box to go comfort her.
“I know, I know you’re hungry. But I’m trying to find a bottle I know we have one from-from-never mind.” I kiss the top of her head.
“Just give me a sec ok”
She nuzzles into my neck and I try not to drop her.
“Ok, after we feed you I’m gonna have to find out how to carry you, won’t I? And tomorrow we can learn how to properly change a diaper.”
I lay her back down on the floor and she starts to whimper.
“Alice, let me just find your bottle, ok? Give me one second.”
I kiss her and head back to the boxes, and there, away at the back, is a couple of boxes labeled Lily’s things. I pull them out and cut through the tape as tears start dripping down my face.
“Come on, up you go. Are you ready for some milk, hmm?”
I lift her into her high chair and pour some milk into her bottle. Then I lift it to her mouth she sucks on it eagerly drinking about ⅔. Then she starts howling. I lift her out of the high chair, patting her on the back to try and calm her down.
“Shh Shh Alice, what’s wrong sweetie hmm?”
She continues to sob and I try rubbing her back talking softly to her, and then- she vomits-all-over-me.
How To Carry An Infant:
Slide Your hands underneath their Head and bottom And hold Them Close To Your Chest
“Alright Alice, do you think I can I can do this? Well it doesn’t hurt to try-ok, slide your hands underneath their head and bottom… Ok….Hold them close to your chest…… There we go… What do you think, Alice, am I doing it correctly? No. Ok let’s try this again. Slide your hands…… Ok good-hold them close to your chest……OK yes!”
Alice looks up at me quizzically. I kiss her forehead.
“Now I can finally take you out without everyone staring at me!”
5 years later…
“Daddy, really, it’s fine, I’m a big girl now, I’m ready for school!”
“I know, sweetie. I just can’t believe you’re starting school! Have you got everything? A pencil box, pencils, erasers, crayons, markers? What about your scissors? Have you got a folder?”
“Wait, what about your lunch?”
“It’s in my bag! Come on, I’m gonna miss my bus!”
She tugs on my hand, pulling me after her. The bus pulls up just as we arrive at the bus stop. I pull her into a hug as she gives me a kiss.
“Bye-bye sweetie have a great day!”
“I will! See you later!”
Smiling, I walk back to the house. The little baby I fell in love with 5 years ago was starting school and a new journey in her life.