A noise pulled Sophia from her dreams. She grabbed her blankie and toddled toward the soft glow that came from the kitchen.
“Daddy?” she said.
The figure behind the refrigerator door jumped. “No, sorry ‘bout that, Little One.” He finished chewing the bite of corndog he held. “Didn’t mean to wake you. Go back to bed.”
Sophia crinkled her forehead with lots of lines, just like Mama always did when she was angry. “Who are you and why’re you in my house?” For some reason she still kept her voice soft.
The man’s mouth made a perfect circle. “Oh, I’m Baby New Year.” His smile had chocolate in one corner and there was hotdog stuck in one tooth.
The six-year-old looked him up and down. He wasn’t tall but definitely weighed more than her Daddy. His belly hung low over his sweatpants and his shirt was two sizes too small. His face had stubble and his hair stuck in strange directions.
He lifted his shoulders in embarrassment. “Oh, well, see…I was a baby yesterday, but ever since I’ve been making my rounds, I’ve grown a little.” His laugh sounded hollow.
“But why are you here?”
“Oh! I’m here to help you with your New Year’s Resolutions. It’s my job.” His grin was back again.
Sophia crossed her arms. “Oh yeah? What’re you doing eating all our food?”
His eyes went wide. “This?” He held up the tub of ice cream that melted on the countertop. “I’m helping your mom out with her resolution to lose weight. If there isn’t any junk food in the house, she won’t be able to eat it, right?”
The girl twisted her mouth in thought. “Okay. What’s with all these books then?” She pointed to a mound of reading material that covered the dining table.
“That’s for your dad. He wants to read more in the New Year.” The man leaned in and lowered his voice. “Although, just between you and me? He won’t even get past book three before he’ll fall off the wagon.”
“The wagon?” Sophia scrunched her face up but the man just waved the comment away. “Well, what about mine?” She straightened her shoulders, her face bright.
The man took another bite of donut. “Depends. What’s your resolution?”
“Not to fight with my sister anymore.” Sophia lifted her chin a little higher. She felt quite grown up thinking so responsibly.
He nodded. “Done. Now run on back to bed so I can finish helping your mom out.” His gaze was on the leftover cupcakes.
Sophia did as she was told and fell right to sleep.
The next morning she awoke to someone screaming in the bathroom. She jumped from her bed and ran to see what could be wrong.
“What happened to me?” But instead of her sister, there was a boy in her place.
Sophia gasped. Baby New Year had done quite a job!
She would never fight with her sister again!
©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017