Baby Tales: The Shower image created by LaraMee

 

BABY TALES: THE SHOWER

by LaraMee

 

 

A/N: This is the first installment in a series I hope to have done soon, focusing on the arrival of a new member of the “family” that includes the men of the Magnificent Seven.  It is in the Little Britches AU, ATF era.

 

You might want to check out the following links, which include some of the gifts given in this story:

 

The eight point star design:  http://moroccandesign.com/eight-point-star

The Steiff Bear:  http://www.steiffusa.com/

The Blessing Quilt:  http://www.everydayhomemaking.com/articles/blessing_blanket.html

 

 

 

The Shower

 

“Da?”

 

Buck Wilmington looked up from where he was dusting the end table, to find his son squatting on the couch, a concerned look on his little face.  “What’s up, Little Bit?  And, do you have your shoes on the couch?”

 

“Nope, just my socks.”

 

“Okay…” when the little boy didn’t ask his question, Buck prompted, “you wanted to ask something?”

 

“OH!  Yeah, do we all gotta be in the shower at the same time?”

 

“Come again?” When his son just stared at him in confusion, he amended that to, “what do you mean?”

 

“If we’re gonna have our uncles and Aunt Raine over for a shower, do we all have to be in the shower together?  I don’t think we can all fit.  ‘Specially Auntie Raine since she gots a big tummy now.”

 

Buck barely managed not to laugh, turning it into a cough.  “It’s not that kind of shower, buddy.  This kind of shower is… well, it’s a party.”

 

“Then, how comes they don’t call it a party then?”

 

“Uh… well, I’m not certain.  Baby Showers… well, they’re normally a lady thing.”

 

“Then, how come Auntie Raine’s gonna be almost the only lady at the party?”

 

Finishing the table, the big man settled on the couch and gathered up his little boy.  “Well, ‘cause Aunt Raine’s had a shower for all her lady friends, so we wanted to have a smaller one, a special one for her and Uncle Nathan. But Miss Nettie, Casey and Miss Inez are going to be here, too.”

 

“Oh.”  JD frowned up at his father, “so then I should go ‘head and take a shower now?”

 

Chuckling now, Buck said, “Yeah, you need to go take a shower.”  Setting the little boy on his feet, he tapped the little bottom and said, “Scoot now,” smiling as the little brunet giggled as he dashed from the room on stocking feet.

 

~o~

 

Vin stared intently at the table, trying to see if there was anything that needed to be straightened.  His father, nearby, grinned at the child’s quiet study of the decorations.  After several minutes, he asked softly, “So, does it look okay?”

 

“Think so.  It look okay to you, Dad?”

 

“It looks perfect, Cowboy.”

 

“’Kay.  How long ‘til Unka Nathan and Auntie Raine get here?”

 

Glancing at his watch, Chris started to reply but, instead, moved away from the grill that he was preparing for later in the afternoon, and offered his wrist to his son.  “You tell me.”

 

With a heavy sigh, Vin stared at the watch with the same intensity he had used with the decorations.  After four, long, silent minutes, he asked, “two hours?”

 

Grinning, the proud father replied, “You’ve got it, two hours.”  Reaching down, he lifted the seven-year-old into his arms and hugged him.  “You’ve been practicing.”

 

With a shy smile, the child replied, “me and Mrs. Potter work on it for about 30 minutes every day.”

 

Knowing just how long a half hour seemed during summer break, Chris was even more impressed, and said so to the child.  Father and son shared another hug before the little boy was returned to the deck.  Just then they heard an all too familiar noise.

 

“Here comes JD,” Vin offered before trotting off the deck, heading for the big yard, where their two dogs had been banished when the decorating had begun.

 

“Remember, don’t get any dirtier than you absolutely have to,” Larabee called after his son, knowing that completely clean was far beyond reality.  They’d be doing well to get by without a second bath before the party began.

 

“’Kay!” Vin called out as he ran after Ringo, screeching like a “wild Indian” as JD and Elvis joined them for a run around the big, back yard. 

 

~o~

 

The other members of ATF Team Seven arrived just after noon.  Josiah brought Nettie Wells and her great niece, Casey, with him, while Inez Rocillos accompanied Ezra.  The others added to the wrapped gifts that were piled on a table in one corner of the deck, and Nettie sent Casey out to play with the boys.  Last to arrive, Nathan helped his wife from the car and escorted her to the deck. 

 

“Hi, Casey!”  JD squealed as he ran headlong toward the little girl, wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off her feet with a grunt.

 

“JAY DEE!!”  The little girl squealed as she struggled to get loose of the boy's grip.  “Thtop!”

 

Casey's cry, lisping due to the lost of her two front teeth, caught Buck's attention.  “Little Bit, play nice!”

 

“'Kay, Da!”  JD let Casey go and chirped, “C'mon, Casey!”

 

Vin joined the two younger children, and the trio went back to playing with the dogs.  To the adults it looked as if the only thing they were doing was running haphazardly around the broad backyard, the dogs yipping and barking at their heels. 

 

Meanwhile, the adults were settled around the deck, chatting while Chris finished grilling the main course for the meal they were going to begin the festivities with.  Soon they were settled in with a lunch of barbeque ribs, potato salad and a few other things that wouldn't be on the menu of a “regular” baby shower.  In deference to the ladies, there was a green salad and a fruit bowl as well.  Nathan fussed around his wife, concerned about every odd sound or facial expression she used, until she threatened to borrow Chris' service revolver and he threatened to go get it.  Properly chastised, the man settled down, but continued to keep an eye on his wife.

 

JD, Vin and Casey were settled at the boy's small picnic table, eating and chatting.  At least JD and Casey were chattering back and forth.  For the most part, Vin simply listened and ate. 

 

After everyone had eaten their fill, the food was cleared away and the presents were reclaimed by the givers.   JD and Vin giggled and seemed unable to stand still as they  stood on either side of a large box, roughly wrapped in two types of wrapping paper. Likewise, Casey giggled and clutched a smaller package that was just as crudely wrapped.  Truthfully the adults were just as excited to begin this part of the festivities; each one had taken great pains to find the perfect gift to give the expectant couple.  All of the adult were excited with the exception of the guest of honor, Nathan.  He looked nervously around, his dark brown eyes pleading with his wife.

 

Raine simply giggled, patted her belly, and shook her head. “This is all about you, husband, I have one job today.” That said, she pulled a large book from her bag, which Nathan recognized as the baby book his wife had been given at her shower.  She pulled out a pen as well, opening the book to the “shower gifts” page.

 

With a sigh, the expectant father accepted his fate as the main focus of the shower, and looked at the rest of the gathering.  “Well, where should I start?”

 

OURS!”  JD shouted happily, “Open ours, Unka Nathan!”

 

“JD, sh!” Buck scolded gently.

 

“No, that's the perfect place to start,” Nathan said with a smile, some of his nervousness leaving him as he picked up some of the excitement from the bouncing five year old.  The boys half carried and half dragged the gift the few feet to where he sat, then moved back a step.  Taking the card off the top of the box, he opened it and read the card aloud, down to the crudely lettered signatures of his two nephews.  Then, because by this time Vin was beginning to bounce from one foot to the other, he began to unwrap the gift.  Pulling the top open, he exclaimed, “Oh, guys, this is great!” as he removed a small, wooden rocking horse from the box.  The body of the “horse” was a large, flat surface, meaning that even an older infant could rock safely.  He saw quickly that the rocking horse was handmade, and realized the source of the deep cut on Chris' hand a few weeks earlier.  It hadn't needed stitches, but had given him problems since it was his right hand.

 

As if reading the other man's mind, Chris nodded, rubbed his hand, and said, “The boys helped me with all of the work.”

 

That explained the somewhat splotchy paint job, the horse painted a golden yellow.  There were also pink and blue hand prints as decoration.  Raine and Nathan had opted not to find out the sex of their child; Raine wanting to experience that information after their child was born.

 

“Oh, boys, that's beautiful!” Raine exclaimed, clapping her hands together in joy.  “Baby's going to love rocking on their special gift from their cousins!”

 

“I painted this side and then I putted... put... the hand printses on this side, too, 'cos this was my side to dec'rate and Vin dec'rated the other side!”  JD explained in a loud voice.

 

“I can see that, what a great job you both did!”  Raine replied, making certain to include both boys in her praise.

 

“Thanks, guys, this is awesome!”  Nathan added truthfully, touched by all the work the two little boys had put into the gift.

 

“Open mine next!” Casey cried out, nearly as animated as JD.  “I made it, too!”

 

“Catherine Elizabeth, calm down, child!”  Nettie said with a smile.  “Land sake, you'd think this was their birthday parties rather than a baby shower.”

 

“When there are gifts involved, it doesn't matter whether they're giving or receiving,” Inez added to the discussion.

 

“Okay, Casey, let's open yours next,” Nathan agreed, accepting the package she offered him.  Carefully opening it, he took out a framed neddlepoint picture of a moon and stars with a short verse below that read, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”.  It was easy in this case, as well, to see that the gift had been made by the giver.  Uneven stitches and some completely off the light blue stamp on the cloth told that story.  The gift was precious to both parents, though, because of the love and time put into it by the little girl.  “It's beautiful, Casey, you did a wonderful job.  Thank you!”

 

Holding up pudgy little fingers the child explained, “I poked my fingerth lots of times, but Aunt Nettie said you're th'posed to poke 'em at least once so they get tougher!”

 

“Well that makes a lot of sense, sugar, thank you for the gift.  I'm gonna hang it over the baby's crib as soon as we get home.”

 

Casey squealed and clapped her hands in response.

 

“Where are ya gonna put our horse, Unka Nathan?”  JD asked, not wanting to be upstaged by his little friend.

 

“Little Bit, let's let your Uncle Nathan finish opening the gifts right now, okay?”  Buck said in an effort to distract his son.

 

“Yeah, our turns over,” Vin put in, ducking his head when the others looked at him.

 

“Cowboy, it's not about turns, it's just that I think Uncle Nathan and Aunt Raine are anxious to see what's inside all the packages.” Chris reached down and stroked the little boy's dark, blond hair.  “Okay?”

 

Smiling now, Vin nodded.  “Okay.”

 

“I'll tell you what, boys, would you and Casey like to carry my gift over to Nathan?”  Nettie said in an effort to get things back on track while soothing the children.

 

“Okay!” JD said loudly, trotting over to where the social worker sat.  Together with the other two children, he carried the large, soft package over to where Nathan sat.  They handed to gift over, then stood back to allow the adults to watch as well as he opened it. 

 

“Oh, Nettie!” Raine exclaimed as she viewed the soft, handmade quilt her husband uncovered.  It was in colors of blue, pink, yellow, green, lavender and cream, made in the eight pointed star pattern. 

 

“It's just beautiful, thank you, Nettie,” Nathan exclaimed as he ran his hand over the fabric.

 

Mrs. Wells smiled, “I'm glad you like it.  Of course, you know me, I had to add some moderation to the pattern.”  She went on to explain that the different colors were made of different types of material, from corduroy to satin, which would allow the infant tactile stimulation while the light colors would encourage relaxation. 

 

“Baby will love it, I'm sure,” Raine said with a smile as she wrote the other woman's comments down in the baby book.

 

Next came Ezra's gift.  Of course it was exquisitely wrapped, with a large bow of sapphire and crimson.  It was smaller than most of the others, but Nathan knew that his friend had most likely spent far more than anyone else.  It wasn't that he expected it to be valued more, it was simply the way Ezra Standish most often showed his love to a friend.  It was only with their nephews that he could express his feelings without a price tag.  Nathan hoped that he would learn to do the same with their child.

 

Untying the ribbon, Jackson lifted the lid and revealed a white bear that came complete with a certificate that announced that it was a Steiff bear, a replica of the 1925 model.  He and Raine had seen the expensive bears online when they had been building up a wish list, and he knew that Ezra had given far too much for the little bear for his wife to comfortably allow their child to play with it.  He knew, though, that if the bear wasn't played with, his friend would be hurt.  All he said was, “Thank you, Ezra, this is going to be Baby's favorite soft toy, I can tell right now.”

 

“You're welcome, my friend.  Oh, there's something else in the bottom... nothing particularly spectacular, but given from the heart.”

 

Retrieving a small envelope from the bottom of the box, Nathan opened it and drew out the paperwork for a 529 savings account; designated for their child's college education.  He shook his head, the money already set aside in the account would go a long way in supplying their child with a college education.  Shaking his head, he said in an emotion filled voice, “Ezra... this is... this is far too generous.”

 

“Nonsense, my friend.  As you know yourself, the funds are the same as those earmarked for our nephews.  How could I do any less for your child?”

 

“Oh... Ezra...” Raine exclaimed as she saw the amount of money the account already had in it.  Rather than arguing with him, however, she simply said, “Thank you, Uncle Ezra.”

 

“You're quite welcome, my dear.  Now, there are other gifts to open and I, for one, am anxious to see what they are.”

 

Next came Josiah's gift, which was unwrapped but decorated with a large, yellow, bow.  He had made the baby a cradle, complete with decorative symbols carved into the headboard.  The cradle was made of cherry wood and stained to accent the wood's deep, rich color. 

 

Vin, unable to stop himself, stepped closer, and began to trace the etched symbols.  “What do they mean, Unka 'Siah?”

 

Touching the symbols as he explained them briefly, Josiah began to identify each symbol.  Starting with the familiar symbol of a fish.  “This is called an Ichthys, people also call it the Jesus Fish.  Christians use it to represent Jesus, his role as a fisher of men, and some of his miracles.

 

Next was a symbol that included a stylized, setting sun.  “This is Chinese and it represents purity and balance, as well as energy.”

 

“Oh great, who wouldn't want an energetic infant?”  Raine pondered aloud, then giggled when the others stared at her.  “Hey, I'll be the one chasing Baby all around the house!”

 

The next symbol resembled a ladder in some ways, with four, larger rungs at the top.  “This is Egyptian and represents stability and strength.”

 

Vin recognized the next symbol.  “That's Native 'Merican, isn't it?”

 

“You're right, Vin.” Josiah traced the stylized bird symbol known as the Thunderbird. “it represents unlimited happiness.”

 

“I can be a Funderbird!” JD proclaimed.  Waving his arms up and down, he raced around the deck, crying out, “Boom!  Boom!  I'm being a Funderbird!”

 

“I think perhaps we'll save the rest for later,”  Josiah said with a shake of his head.

 

“I think you're right.” Nathan agreed.  Then, more loudly, he said, “What shall I open next?”

 

“How about opening mine next?”  Inez said with a smile.  She pointed out the gift she brought and asked the boys to take it to Nathan.  JD flapped his “wings” a final time and came to join his older friend, helping to carry the next gift to Nathan.  They stood near him, curious to see what the package contained.  Opening the gift, he found a second quilt, this one hand made by the Latina.  It was bordered in a spring green fabric, and the squares alternated between a line of flowers and a line of lady bugs and frogs.  Around each square that held one of the little creatures, she had embroidered a verse from the Bible.  As the guests of honor studied the verses, Inez explained, “It's called a Blessing Quilt, made especially for the baby, with verses from the Bible and other books.  They came about back in the 1800s, when children were still seen as miniature adults.  Back then, the quilt was primarily a means to keep the baby warm, especially in the winter.”

 

“How come?”  Casey asked, tentatively fingering the edge of the quilt.

 

“Because there was no furnace to keep the house warm,” Nettie informed her great niece.  “Without warm covers, the baby would get very, very cold.”

 

“Oh.  What do the wordths say, Miss Inez?” She lisped.

 

Coming to stand near Nathan and leaning over the child; making certain there was room for the two boys to join them, Inez pointed to each verse as she read the quote aloud.  When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.  That's from Proverbs 3, verse 24.  This one says The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore,  and it's from Psalms 121:8.  This one says, Children are a gift of the Lord, Psalms 127:3.  And this one says, The Lord will protect you, Psalms 121:7.”

 

“It's a beautiful gift, thank you Inez.  Maybe after I get the rest of these unwrapped we can read it all.”  Nathan smiled, knowing that JD would be getting antsy in another minute or so.

 

“That sounds perfect,” Buck entered the conversation.  “Little Bit, you want to give my gift to Uncle Nathan?”

 

“Sure, Da!”  The little brunet took the gift from his father and carefully carried it to where his Uncle sat.  “Here, Unka Nathan, it's a --”

 

“JD!” Both Chris and Buck interrupted the little boy's chatter.

 

“Oh, sorry Unka Nathan!” JD clapped pudgy hands over his mouth and trotted back to where his father sat.  Pale features blushed as he said in a stage whisper, “Sorry, Da!”

 

“It's okay, Little Bit, but let's let Uncle Nathan and Aunt Raine be surprised, okay?”

 

Nathan began pulling at the wrapping paper, not wanting his nephew to be in suspense for long.  He laughed as he pulled the things out of the box.  It was a tiny, pink cowboy hat and a pair of soft, pink “cowboy boot” booties, complete with soft, silver, cloth “spurs”.  “Buck, you just don't give up, do you?”  Buck had been saying for months that their first child would be a daughter. 

 

“Hey, I've been right a lot more times than I've been wrong, and I've been tellin' women the sex of their babies longer than doctors have been able to.  But, just in case this is one of those odd times when my spidey sense is off, I kept the receipt, and Janice is keeping a blue set back for me at the shop.”

 

The others chuckled at his sheepish grin.

 

“Okay, so we have one more gift,” Chris said.  “Vin, can you take my gift to Uncle Nathan?”

 

“Sure!” The seven-year-old cheerfully accepted the gift and carried it to his uncle.  “Here, Unca Nathan, this is from Dad!”

 

“Thank you, Vin!” Nathan matched the child's exuberance as he took the gift and began to unwrap it.  Opening the box, he whistled softly.  “Chris, this is... this is amazing.”

 

“Oh, Chris!” Raine added as her husband lifted out a delicate, simple, white, Christening gown.

 

Everyone turned to Buck as he sucked in a breath and exclaimed “Adam” before he caught himself.  He looked at the deck and muttered, “I'm sorry.”

 

When the entire gathering grew quiet, even the children, Chris straightened in his seat and said evenly, “yeah, it's Adam's.  Sarah made it as soon as she learned she was pregnant, by hand.  She worked on it a little each night and finished it three weeks before he was born.  It's been stored away since Adam was Christened.  I thought it was about time it was put to good use... unless...” Suddenly he wondered if he had done the right thing.  The question was answered quickly.

 

Raine eased herself out of the chair and padded across the deck to stand before him.  Placing a hand on each side of his face, she leaned down and kissed him lightly on the cheek.  “Thank you, Chris.  We would be honored to Christen our child in this beautiful gown.”

 

Larabee ducked his head, hiding the tears that threatened to spill.  “I'm glad,” was all he could manage to say.  He excused himself to go inside. 

 

Vin started after him, sensing that something was wrong, but Buck stopped him.  “He'll be back in a bit, Cowboy.  Why don't you help clean up the wrapping paper?”

 

“Okay, Buck.”  Continuing to watch the back door for sign of his father, he went to gather up the gaily colored paper.

 

The shower wound down after the gifts were given.  Chris returned in a few minutes, carrying the cake they'd had made at a nearby bakery.  It was in the shape of a teddy bear, chocolate cake with butter cream frosting.  There was also punch and more fresh fruit, all of it happily devoured by the party goers.  Josiah and Ezra helped carry the gifts to Nathan's SUV, while Chris and Buck cleaned up the deck and Nettie and Inez went to take care of the leftovers and dishes.  The children were sent back out to the yard to play and run off some energy.

 

Later, the two fathers and their sons stood in the side yard, watching as their guests drove down the long drive toward the main road.   Then, the little patchwork family moved toward the house, each father walking with their son.

 

“Why don't you boys go get a shower and put your pajamas on –“ Chris started, cut off by the twin groans of the children. 

 

“But we took a shower this mornin'!” JD protested, wiping a dirt-encrusted hand beneath an itchy nose.

 

“And if you were still clean it would be fine, but I think that a second shower is in order,” Buck continued the parental side of the argument.

 

“If you get it done without any argument, we'll have time to watch a DVD before bedtime,” Chris enticed the children.  It worked.  With twin shouts of joy, the two boys raced toward the back door, their pups scrambling along beside them.

 

The End

 

 

HOME / ARCHIVE 

 

Authors Appreciate Feedback. Email LaraMee here.

 

© LaraMee 2011