|Original Source: Syosetu
|English Source: Re:Library
I had to wonder if being a baby was really something this boring.
It seemed that I was born as Leafa in a peaceful place of a peaceful era, one that left me with nothing to do.
I felt so bored that I wanted to read something, but I could only lie on my back1, so reading a book was difficult. It would be nice if someone could put something on the ceiling to pass the time, I thought as I gazed up. Perhaps because of that, one day, Rudra began putting up hanging toys on the ceiling.
They were made by combining threads and twig-like materials, with colorful stuffed animals hanging from them. The indoor air made them sway and change their movements in unpredictable ways.
It might be fun to try to express this complex motion with equations2. I had a feeling it could be a good way to pass the time.
“…How is it? Are you having fun?”
As I gazed, trying to figure out the equations, Rudra leaned over, apparently thinking that I was interested. Instead of answering his question, I decided to make eye contact and smile.
“Look, Natal! Leafa smiled!”
It seemed like I managed to smile well, Rudra’s eyes widened and he exclaimed loudly.
“That’s amazing, Leafa. I wonder if you’ll smile for Mom too?”
Natal quickly rushed over and smiled at me. I worked the muscles in my face to mimic that expression, attempting to create a smile.
“Oh my… Leafa!”
My mother, with a mix of surprise and joy, lifted me from the bed and hugged me.
I had been contemplating equations based on the movements of the ceiling toys, but it seemed like it would be better to postpone that for now with this scene. I abandoned my thoughts and surrendered my body to my mother’s arms, and soon, drowsiness overcame me.
When I woke up it was already midnight.
It was so dark that I couldn’t see anything, but I could hear the sound of the two of them breathing from somewhere. My diaper was uncomfortable, but I decided it would be a nuisance to wake them up in the middle of the night, so I endured it silently.
However, something like a cold and itchy sensation began to spread along my buttocks. It was getting painful to stay still, so I squirmed a little, and my mother noticed and quickly changed me to a fresh diaper.
“…Sorry, for not noticing it.”
I tried to be considerate, but both of my parents got up and took care of me. Rudra prepared warm milk and brought it to me, so I took a few sips.
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I did want to drink a bit more, but it was getting late, so it seemed best to finish up soon. After taking three small sips and sticking my tongue out to indicate that I didn’t want more, my father leaned closer and spoke.
“It seems like you have a small appetite, Leafa. How about a little more?”
I felt like he had seen through me, but I pursed my lips to indicate that I didn’t want more.
“Rudra, let’s stop there. Forcing it will make her throw up.”
Mother gently restrained my father, who still seemed unconvinced, and lifted me from his arms.
“Leafa, if you’re hungry, wake us up immediately.”
When she spoke kindly, I felt a warm light in my chest. Instead of replying, I smiled and made a small sound.
“…Such a well-behaved child you are. Weren’t babies supposed to cry more…?”
I didn’t know what a so-called normal baby was like, but perhaps I wasn’t ‘typical3.’ I wondered what I should do, and my father, with a cheerful voice, tried to reassure my mother’s concerns.
“She must be as clever as you, and see, she seems to be listening to our conversations.”
“Hehe, you’re right.”
Mother, who agreed, gently smiled while stroking my cheek with the back of her hand.
“Hey, Leafa. Being well-behaved is great, but when you’re wet or hungry like today, don’t hesitate to let us know. Can you do that?”
I intended to reply, but only a pathetic sound came out.
“Hahaha. Amazing, Leafa. Can you understand Mommy’s request properly?”
I gave up on speaking and tried to blink slowly, but it didn’t seem to convey my message. It seems that, for a baby, smiling was the best way to communicate.