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Happy Monday, my lovelies,
Time for another slice of life with the Ferranti fam-lee!
*Nico and the boyss are chilling at The Dower House babysitting baby Eve, while Bronte and Sophia and Auntie Rosie are having a ‘girly’ day*
“So.” Nico rubs his hands and gives Tonio wide eyes. “Soccer or rugby, what’s your poison?”
“Soccer,” Tonio yells and dashes to the closet, pulls out a couple of throws, races back and smoothes them over the new couch covered in a totally impractical velvet the color of pale lilac. And Bronte’s pride and joy.
Nico shoots him two finger pistols. “Good thinking, Batman. Now remember, no soda for Luca and no chocolate ice-cream. Mama left us snacks in the fridge. We’re responsible for the baby so we cannot have the TV too loud or we won’t hear the monitor when she wakes.”
“You should be Batman, papa. I’m Robin,” Tonio says with a logic his papa can get right behind.
Nico grins. “Si, and we will use paper plates and paper cups. Less mess. Sorted.”
*In short order, they organize their favorite space. Tonio lifts the remote, clicks the sports channel. They settle down, making sure their bare feet are not on the table. Nico never again wants to go through what happened last time when Bronte blow torched his ear. Luca pads into the room in bare feet wearing below the knee navy shorts and a white T-shirt proclaiming the words ‘I’m Italian, which means My Family Is Temperamental. Half Temper. Half Mental’. His right fist holds his blankie (a sure sign he’s tired), while his left hand tugs his ear (another sign he’s tired). Nico pats the couch, but instead of sitting next to his papa, Luca stops in front of him, eyeball to eyeball*
“Eve’s pooped in her diaper.”
*Five simple words that brings an icy fist to his papa’s heart, and a clutch of dread to his papa’s belly*
Nico blinks, remembers with a shudder the heavy diaper his daughter had filled not twenty minutes ago. “But, mama changed her just before she left. How can this happen?”
“She had a vaccination shot yesterday, sometimes they give her a runny tummy,” Tonio says helpfully.
*Dio mio, a runny tummy? The mere thought breaks Nico out in a cold sweat. He is a good father, he knows he is. But he’s never really managed to get over the gut churning ordeal of a dirty diaper. A wet diaper, no problemo. His sons are well aware of this, and both are watching him with wide eyes. He stands. He can do this. He is Italian. The boys are hot on his heels as he takes the stairs two at time and enters the nursery. The heady scent of bad news hits him hard. This, boys and girls, is not going to be pretty*
“Okay,” he says. His voice brings his baby girl’s head up, black glossy curls bouncing as she sits and then stands holding onto the bars of her cot. A stain, the color of mustard, oozes from the top of her leg onto her pink sleep suit. Dio mio. What he needs, Nico realizes, is a plan. He strides to the changing table, plucks a couple of wet wipes from the plastic container, rolls them into the size of a pencil, folds them in half and stuffs one in each nostril, much to the choking hilarity of his sons. He sends them slitty eyes. “Grab bottle of aftershave from my bathroom,” he orders a Luca who is swiping tears from his cheeks. Luca races off to do his bidding. Then he turns to a Tonio who is laughing so hard he’s clutching his belly. “We need a clean sleep suit and new diaper, plastic bags for the dirty diaper and plenty of wet wipes. Go, Robin, go.”
*Luca returns to hand his papa a bottle. Nico squirts aftershave on each nostril and inhales the scent through the wet wipes. He can do this. He lifts his excited baby girl from her cot and lies her on her back on the plastic changing mat, and carefully, very carefully begins to unsnap the poppers. The scene of utter carnage has a tiny whimper escape from his throat*
“Whoa,” Tonio says, shock a living, breathing, thing in his voice.
“Si,” Nico squeaks, then clears his throat.
“Luca, you wait outside. Robin, I need at least five wet wipes, hold out the plastic bag and let’s do this thing.”
*Baby Eve’s dark brown eyes are riveted to her papa’s face. He takes his time to release first one chubby leg from her suit before going for the next*
“She’s a wriggler,” Tonio warns. “You need to hold her ankles high, and clean the top of her legs before you undo the diaper.”
*Good advice. Maybe Tonio would like the job? Nico’s tempted, but he refuses not to man-up in front of his son. He can do this. By the time he’s got Eve naked and clean with the contents of two full boxes of wet wipes, perspiration is beading his top lip.*
“She needs a bath,” Tonio says, tying the handles of two plastic bags.
The words bring Nico’s head up with a jerk. “Bath?”
Tonio gives him a funny look. “You bath the twins all the time.”
“Si, but they are old enough not to drown. Eve is like an eel. She never sits still.”
Tonio rolls his eyes to heaven. “Luca and me will help. Nessun problema.”
*By the time Nico and the boys are finish bathing Eve, the bathroom looks like something out of a warzone with baby powder the weapon of choice for mass destruction. Sopping wet T-shirts cling to their skin. But they’re all happy and most importantly the baby’s cheeks are pink, her curls damp. Wrapped in a thick towel of white cotton, she tucks her face in her papa’s neck. Pleased with how they all work together as a team, Nico tells the boys to change into dry clothes, and takes his baby to her changing mat for a clean diaper, and makes short work of dressing her in a clean sleep suit*
“Hellooooooo, anybody home?” Alexander Ludlow yells from the bottom of the stairs. The boys whoop and holler and race down the stairs to welcome their favorite uncle.
*Nico strolls into the family room cuddling his daughter to find Alexander with baby Mila over his shoulder. He’s sitting on the couch with the boys watching soccer*
“Hear you had a pooh-bomb to deal with,” Alexander says with a wicked gleam in his eye.
Nico sits on the short end of the L shaped couch with a now unconscious Eve boneless in his arms. He drops a kiss on her hot cheek. “Si. She is teething and had a vaccination shot yesterday. It wasn’t pretty. I see you have your hands full.”
Alexander gently rubs his seven week old baby daughter’s back. “My princess is the best thing that ever happened to me. No one can tell you how you’ll feel when a man becomes a daddy, know what I mean?”
“Si,” Nico agrees, feeling all lovely and warm inside. “Being a papa is the best thing in the world.”
Tonio’s snort of derision has both men eye him. “You say that now. But in a few years they’ll be like Sophia and Auntie Rosie, or worse. And then there will be… dan-daran-dan… boyfriends.”
*With something like horror on their pale faces, Nico Ferranti and Alexander Ludlow clutch their babies close to their manly chests*
“Nessun problema,” Nico growls. “I am Italian. I have contacts in the Cosa Nostra. Our girls will be protected.”
Alexander turns to his best pal. “Never thought I’d live to see the day I’d say this, but can I have the Mafia’s number?”
The things a man will do for family, eh?
I’ve had readers ask me to put the scenes in a book, and I’ve decided to use some of the sneak peeks in SEAN’s story, coming soon.
Until next week, be good.