Edwin’s mother closed the blinds, shutting out the afternoon sunshine. “It’s nap time, sweetie-pie,” she cooed as she laid her toddler in his crib and pulled a light blanket over him. The child smiled sweetly, then closed his eyes and snuggled into the soft blankie.
As soon as he heard her slip from the room, Edwin’s eyes popped open. Mommy had left the door ajar as always. He listened as her soft footfalls moved off down the hallway and through the kitchen. The patio door slid open, then closed. She was outside on the deck. This was his chance.
He sat up and reached for the slats of his crib, gripping two of them in his chubby fists. With a mighty heave he hoisted himself to his feet. Now for the tricky part. Mustering all his strength, he hugged the bars and began to climb.
It wasn’t pretty and took everything he had, but he managed to work his way to the very top. There he lay along the top rail, teetering on the brink of disaster, hands and feet clutching the slats for all he was worth. Now what? He didn’t want to disturb his mother, so he did not cry out. But he whimpered.
In a heartbeat, a familiar clickety-click could be heard approaching his room as his family’s faithful dog Lido, alerted by the child’s distress call, came trotting to the rescue.
The door swung open just as Edwin’s strength gave out. He dropped from the railing, plummeting swiftly toward the hardwood. But Lido was faster than his fall, and Edwin plopped right onto the canine’s back, his landing cushioned by both the dog and his own diaper.
The toddler grabbed a handful of fur in each hand as Lido shot out of the room and into the hall. Skidding around the corner, the dog galloped for the front door.
“Arise, good steed! Arise!” Edwin cried, seeing that the door was near and that the slippery floor would not allow them to stop in time.
The dog leapt. His forepaws struck the screen first, tearing it easily, so that the two literally flew out of the house and onto the concrete walkway. Upon landing, the dog did not miss a beat, dashing down the front path and onto the sidewalk. Edwin wrapped his chunky little legs tightly around his faithful pet’s ribs as they raced along the block.
The dog was swift, and in no time they approached the end of the block, which held another obstacle. Tabinthia, a sturdy eight-year-old girl, blocked their way. She towered over little Eloise, who looked up at her from where she sat on the grass next to the sidewalk. The smaller child, who was only Edwin’s age, clutched a half-eaten ice cream cone, tears streaming down her rosy cheeks. Tabinthia was shouting at her, shaking her fist, holding her other hand open. She was going to take the poor little tot’s ice cream!
“Injustice!” Edwin exclaimed. “Attack, O noble canine!”
Lido launched himself into the air.
Tabinthia’s eyes widened as child and beast soared toward her.
Lido’s paws struck the big bully in the belly, thrusting her onto her backside on the pavement. The dog then darted to one side so that he stood next to little Eloise. “Grrrr!” he said.
Tabinthia scrambled to her feet and tore off down the block yelling, “Mommy! Mommy!”
Lido turned to the little girl beside him and licked the tears off her cheeks. Eloise giggled.
Edwin patted his dog’s side. “Good, boy, Lido. Good boy.” Then, noticing that his faithful pet had finished cleaning the little girl’s face and was gazing longingly at her dripping cone, Edwin proclaimed, “Our work here is done, Lido. Away!”
The dog spun and set off at a sprint for home. Edwin turned, looked over his shoulder, and releasing his dog’s fur with one hand, waved goodbye to his new friend. “Farewell, fair maiden, until we meet again!”
The tiny tot cooed, then dipped her head and set to work on her ice cream.
Mere seconds later, Lido galloped up the walkway of their family home and leapt through the screen, landing almost soundlessly on the hardwood.
No sign of Mommy, Edwin noted. “Well done, Lido,” said Ed, “Quietly now.”
The dog trotted through the halls, and when he entered the child’s bedroom, positioned himself alongside the crib.
Edwin once again seized the slats and pulled himself upright. Balancing precariously upon Lido’s back, he began to climb. First one hand, then the other; pushing off the dog’s back, his feet pitched in. In this manner, Edwin worked his way until up to the top rail, now lodged firmly beneath his armpits.
At that moment, he heard the patio door slide open. Mommy! He struggled to grip the bars with his toes, but as soon as he pushed off, they slipped free. He could hear her footsteps entering the hallway. He was sure to be caught! But then, a surprise. A mighty wallop assaulted his hind parts, and he shot up like a rocket, flipped over the rail and landed on his back on the mattress.
Of course it was Lido whose head (applied firmly to the bottom of the boy’s diaper) had supplied the necessary boost. Mission complete, the dog dropped to the floor immediately.
Mother entered the room and smiled at the scene: her darling boy, sleeping soundly (she believed) with the faithful family dog curled up next to the crib. She bent down and stroked Lido’s head. “Good boy,” she said.
Then she stood up and leaned into the crib, cupping her baby’s cheek softly. “Wake up, sleepyhead,” she cooed. “We don’t want you sleeping the day away.” She scooped Edwin up in her arms, squeezing him so tightly he could scarcely breathe. “Let’s go, my little prince. Would you like a little treat? How about if Mommy gets you some ice cream?”
“Goo,” Edwin responded, before pointing over her shoulder to his dog. “Dubba dubba.”
She smiled. “You want Lido to have some? Well, maybe just a little.”
Edwin leaned into his mother’s embrace and smiled. From now on, nap times were going to be much more fun.
Space Cadets is my first book, but I have a bunch of ideas bouncing around in my head, so more are sure to follow!
Latest posts by Robin Pawlak (see all)
- Writing With Robin, #4: Characters - April 29, 2019
- Writing With Robin, #3: Defeating Writer’s Block - March 8, 2018
- Writing With Robin, #2: “The Adventures of Baby Edwin”, and the Importance of Feedback - March 7, 2018