A cool, inviting spring breeze whispered its way through the open kitchen window. On the table sat a wicker picnic basket, along with sandwiches, a bag of potato chips, and a few other side dishes for the afternoon outing. You were gathering paper plates and utensils while Ludwig washed the dishes.
From the living room, you heard adorable baby giggles and a familiar laugh. You looked over your shoulder, sneaking a peek at Gilbert playing with your eleven month old son. The Prussian grinned while he attacked his nephew with a small, soft plushy version of Berlitz. Dieter squirmed away and reached for a flying yellow bird that stole his attention, calling out to it in his sweet way. The sight made you smile. With a soft chuckle you started packing the basket.
"Gilbert's going to spoil him," Ludwig brought to your attention as he rinsed off the last dish. "Every time he visits he brings Dieter a new toy."
You giggled. "I see nothing wrong with that. As long as it's stopped by the time Dieter's two, it won't be a problem." You continued stacking the items so all of them will fit.
"Good luck vizh zhat, (y/n)," Ludwig grunted. He turned off the water and placed the bowl on the drying rack. "Gil's a stubborn vone."
"So is someone else I know," you replied cheekily, smirking to yourself. "You were reluctant to say yes to the picnic."
A pair of arms wrapped around you from behind. "I really vas vorried about Dieter. I don't vant him catching a cold."
You turned around and gave your husband a smile. "Like I said earlier, as long as he wears his jacket, he'll be fine."
Ludwig returned your smile. "Alright." He leaned forward to give you a kiss. You wrapped your arms around Ludwig as he tightened his hold on you. Your soft hums were heard in the living room.
"Hey, lovebirds! Are ve going on zhis picnic or not?" Gilbert's voice asked.
Ludwig groaned as he ended the kiss. "Ja, Gilbert. I'm helping (y/n) pack zhe basket."
"It sounded like somezhing else to me!"
You giggled as Ludwig rolled his eyes and packed the rest of the items. "Hey, Gil, could you put Dieter's jacket and shoes on?"
"Sure!" came the cheerful reply.
"And make sure that the drinks are packed in a cooler."
"I took care of zhat already. Zhe cooler's in Vest's trunk."
You and Ludwig exited the kitchen with the basket. While Ludwig packed it in his BMW, you helped Gilbert with Dieter's shoes and diaper bag. "I sure hope you only packed two bottles of beer," you reminded your brother in law.
"I did, (y/n). Trust me." Gilbert's genuine smile eased that worry.
You ruffled Gilbert's white hair affectionately. "Thank you."
He grinned and chuckled. "You're velcome." Gilbert placed Dieter in his car seat while you carried the diaper bag and the blanket.
The three of you walked outside to see Ludwig coming around the corner with Berlitz and Aster. The dogs' tails were wagging and they barked excitedly at the idea of an outing. Blackie had to stay home because of the lack of room in the car. You made a mental note to buy a bigger car so you could bring all the dogs.
The drive to the park was amusing. Berlitz and Aster sat by the windows, sticking their heads out. Gilbert sat squished next to Dieter, who rattled one of his plastic toys and put it in his mouth. You couldn't help but chuckle at the sight.
Ludwig and the dogs lead the way as you walked towards a tree that provided a lot of shade. Gilbert laid out the blanket while Ludwig tied up Berlitz and Aster to the tree. You took Dieter out of his car seat and placed him on the blanket next to you. Gilbert planted himself against the tree and sighed, leaning back with a smile. Ludwig was about to sit down when Berlitz yipped sadly at him. The Hovawart was on his fore paws, staring expectantly at Ludwig. With a moan Ludwig reached for the Frisbee and let Berlitz loose. After walking a bit, he started throwing it for him to catch.
Aster felt left out and started barking and tugging at his leash. Gilbert chuckled and got to his feet. "Alright, I'll play vizh you," he said as he grabbed the tennis ball and headed towards his brother, chucking the ball. Aster took off after it. You and Dieter watched from the blanket with Gilbird.
When they came back fifteen minutes later, the dogs were tired and curled up for a nap in the shade. The three of you ate lunch and talked, catching up on what's been happening with your friends. Before long, Dieter was taking a nap. You, Ludwig and Gilbert made plans for his one year birthday next month.
Once Dieter woke up, you took him on a walk, letting him play in the grass. Ludwig watched you and the miniature version of himself with a loving smile.
"You really need to do zhis vizh (y/n) and Dieter more often," Gilbert suggested. "He's not going to be little forever." You now knelt beside a standing Dieter, who held on to your fingers. You took his tiny hand and waved at Ludwig and Gilbert. They waved back.
"You're right, bruder. He's growing up so fast," Ludwig said sadly. "I don't vant him to." He continued to watch you and his son while Gilbert closed his eyes for a nap.
You helped Dieter walk back and forth for a bit. He had been wanting to stand and walk for a while now, taking two steps before falling. Now he just wanted to go. You turned Dieter towards the blanket. Ludwig's smile was all it took. With a happy squeal, Dieter let go of your hands and began walking on his own towards his dad. You and Ludwig stared at him, stunned. He elbowed his brother. "Gil."
"Vhat?" came the grunt of a reply.
"Look," Ludwig whispered. The groggy Prussian opened his eyes with a squint. They widened as he took in the sight.
"No vay!" he whispered back.
Ludwig got to his knees and held out his arms. With a grin he wiggled his fingers to beacon his son towards him. "Come on, Dieter. Come to Vatti."
Gilbird wanted to fly around Dieter and encourage him, but Gilbert kept him planted on his shoulder. He quickly reached for his phone to record Dieter's first steps.
Dieter walked quite a ways before his feet got tangled up with the edge of the blanket, causing him to fall. Ludwig caught him in his arms with bright laughter. He held him close and planted a kiss on his forehead.
"He did it, Ludwig!" you cheered as you hurried over to your family. You knelt beside Ludwig and hugged him.
Gilbert ended the video so he could tousle Dieter's blond locks, grinning at his nephew. "Vay to go, Dieter!" he cheered.
All of the attention scared Dieter a bit. He whimpered and buried his face in Ludwig's shirt. "Aw!" the three of you harmonized.
You rested your head on Ludwig's shoulder as you peeked in at Dieter. His bright blue eyes smiled as he snuggled his daddy. Your heart saddened at the thought of your baby growing up so fast; but at the same time, it was full of joy with what Dieter accomplished. Now you and Ludwig would have to keep up with him. That was going to be fun.