Ages & Stages - Part 13
Glancing at her watch, Karen noted that it was lunchtime. She reached into her diaper bag and retrieved a sippy cup. Popping off the protective cap she handed it back to her big baby, who happily sucked down the juice as they drove along. Moments later she pulled into a McDonald's parking lot, retrieved her baby from his car seat, and headed in, to stand in line. As they stood in the que another mother stepped in line behind Karen, holding a baby in her arms, and a three-year-old boy by the hand.
"It's hard enough standing in line by yourself," she quipped, "but having a baby makes it so much more of an adventure!"
Karen turned and smiled, "I know, and then by the time you get them settled in, and, MAYBE, get them to eat, you have to deal with a dirty diaper! Then by the time you get them to finish their food, change the diaper, clean them up, and then, MAYBE, you can eat a cold McNugget or two!"
The other mother laughed, "You too? Still dealing with dirty diapers?"
"Well at least I only have one in diapers, I can't imagine having two at a time!" she answered. "Tell you what: After I order, I will go and get us a big table, and maybe we can help each other out."
"That sounds inviting," the other mother answered. "My name is Barb, and I am going to take you up on your offer!"
"Karen. Pleased to meet you, Barb."
"Welcome to McDonald's, can I take your order?" the clerk asked. Karen quickly ordered a hamburger Happy Meal™ for John, and a medium McNuggets for herself, with a cofee."
"Would you like fries with your order?" he asked.
"Yes, a large please." The clerk gave her the total and after paying and retrieving her order, Karen went off by the indoor playground to fing a large table. A couple of minutes later Barb arrived with her two children. After removing three sets of snow suits, the two toddlers (That would be John and the other boy) sat on a bench seat, and Karen helped Barb put the baby in a high-chair.
Barb looked curiously at John. "He's still in diapers?" she asked, "How old is he?"
Karen wasn't sure how to take the question. Was this mother berating her for having an older toddler still in diapers, or was she just innocently curious? Deciding to take the "high road," she answered, "Yes, he is still in diapers. Just not making much headway. But he did poop in his potty this morning! That's twice he's pooped in the potty since August. Of course, I had to put him on the potty myself each time. So maybe it's me that's getting trained."
Barb looked directly to John, "Good for you! You are going to be a big boy before you know it!"
It suddenly occurred to John that being a "big boy" was not what he really wanted. Besides, what business was it of this stranger as to how old he really was. He felt like a toddler, he was dressing like a toddler, and he even had a wet diaper like a toddler. It took all of the courage he could muster, but he replied, "Not big boy. Me baby." Hearing this, Karen felt a sudden swelling of maternal instinct, maybe John is more of a baby than either of them had suspected. Then, turning to Karen he asked, "Mommy, where my sippy?"
Karen retrieved his empty sippy cup from her diaper bag. She opened the top and poured in the juice that had come with his burger, and then handed it to him. Using both hands, John took a sip. John then reached for his burger and taking a big bite, smeared ketchup across his face. "Oh no, I forgot his bib!" Karen exclaimed, while reaching back into the diaper bag to retrieve one that said "Mommy's Baby Boy" on it. After tying it on, and breaking his burger into bite-sized pieces, she handed the food tray back to John.
"I'm sorry," Barb apologized, "I didn't mean to upset him. I am thinking of waiting a while longer before I start potty training Warren. Apparently it has it's advantages."
"Yes, waiting is much easier." Karen explained, "Keeping him in diapers means you don't have to stop the car at every third gas station. Keeping him in diapers means you set the schedule for voiding. If he uses his diaper, then you get to decide, with-in reason, of course, when to deal with it." Then she laughed, "I guess if he poops on Monday, we shouldn't wait until Thursday to change his diaper though!"
Barb nearly spit out her lunch, and laughed along with Karen. "THAT is funny! What do you think, Warren? Can Mommy change your diaper on Thursdays?"
Warren just looked up at his mom with an expression of "Who are these crazy ladies?"
As soon as the toddlers were finished eating, they were alowed to get on the playset, while their mothers chatted about all things involving child rearing. When Barb brought up dirty diapers, Karen just acted like it was a daily occurance, never letting on that John was potty-trained for poop. "But, maybe that would change as well..." Karen thought to herself. From the conversation, one would gather that John usually used his diapers for their intended purpose, and this morning's potty poop was a rarity. The deeper the conversaton revolved around wet and dirty diapers, the more Karen desired to return John to that level of regression. She really wanted her baby back, fully and completely.
Then, it happened. Barb cuddled the baby up to her breast, opened her blouse, and started nursing. Karen could only watch in awe as it had not occurred to her how much she had also missed this aspect of John's infancy. The feelings came on stronger, when only a few minutes later, Warren came up to his mother and said, "Drinky." Barb eased the baby from her breast and Warren latched on. Upon seeing this Karen experienced a false feeling of the "let-down" effect, and if she didnn't know better, she felt as if her breasts were begging for a baby's lips.
"How long do you intend to nurse?" Karen caught herself asking.
"I don't really know... as long as he wants it," she replied. "I've been reading articles about extended nursing, and some mothers nurse their children until they are six, or seven, or even nine years old. Is Johnny still nursed?"
"No, we stopped a little while ago, but after seeing how much Warren enjoys it... and besides, Johnny still begs for it... maybe I should allow it. You say children up to nine years old still can nurse?"
"Oh, Honey, they can nurse as long as you let them!" Barb answered.
"But it's been a while, I am afraid that I'm all dried up by now." Karen reasoned. "I wouldn't mind producing some milk for him, even if I had to give it to him in a sippy. I don't like feeding him processed milk, I don't think it's anywhere as good as my own!"
"I have read where some women have stopped for five years or more, and can readily pick up right where they left off, after a little stimulation. If you really want to try to nurse Johnny again, or at least produce millk for his cup, then I would recommend milk-thistle. It really helps to get your milk flowing again."
A few minutes later John arrived at the table, totally oblivious to the conversation that had centered on him. Karen noticed a two wet "half-moons" on the back of his pants, apparently his diaper had reached its limit. She excused herself to go change his wet Pampers™, and Barb offered up a goodbye as mother and toddler headed to the ladies room.
Karen lifted John up onto the changing station and removed his wet pants. "These are going to need washing," she said. Karen taped a new Pampers™ onto John, then taking a small pair of manicure scissors, she cut a slit along the crotch, and went about sliding a second Pampers™ under his bottom to be expertly taped into place. "Wow!" she thought to herself, "That really makes his bottom big. No one could miss that I have a baby with me now."
"Mommy, why did you tell that lady that I poop my diapers all the time?" John asked. "Do you want her to know that I am a baby?"
That last wording was not lost on Karen, he said "want her to know," not "want her to think." Was John really accepting his return to babyhood so easily? Karen countered with, "Why did you tell her your weren't a big boy? Why did you call yourself a baby? Are you a baby?" Karen asked.
"I don't know," was all he could answer. "I feel like a baby. And I wear diapers like a baby. And I pee in them all the time now, like a baby. But I don't poop in them, and you told her I poop my diapers all the time!"
"I most certainly did not!" Karen looked John straight in the eyes, and explained, "I told her you had pooped in the potty twice since last summer, and that is the truth. You hadn't pooped in your potty in the last six years or more. Isn't that true?"
"Well, yes," he answered, "But you made it sound like I poop in my diapers. You made her think I am just a toddler."
"Judging by your size and the way you are dressed, I figure you could pass for a large four or five-year-old. Would you rather I just said,'this is my big baby, he is twelve years old, and he pees the bed, and he pees his pants, and he has to wear diapers, and, by the way, he sucks on a pacifier?" Karen countered.
"No..." John answered. "Couldn't you just tell people I am four years old?"
"No, Baby, that would be lying, and we don't lie." was her quick response.
"Can't you do it with-out lying?" he asked.
Karen thought a moment, and then answered, "Okay, here is what we'll do: When we are out in public I will either carry you or put you in a grocery cart or stroller so you won't be standing up; it will make you look smaller. If somebody asks me your age, I will just tell them that you had your fourth birthday just a while ago. That would be true, because to Mommy, it really wasn't that long ago!"
"Thank you, Mommy," He got quiet for a moment, and then asked, "Mommy, am I really turning into a baby?"
"I don't know. That's for the doctor to figure out." The thought of John becoming fully dependent upon Karen once again brought back feelings of her maternal instincts and nuturing. "I love you no matter what happens. And I kind of like having a baby again. If you go back to being a big boy I will love you, and if you stay a baby for a little while, or a long time, I will love you. If you need to be taken care of like a toddler, or even an infant, I will gladly do it. I am your mommy, and I will always be your mommy, no matter what!"
John reached up and put his arms around her neck, pulled himself in close and hugged Karen. "I love you, Mommy." was all he said.
Even after pulling his snow pants up into place, the buldge of his diapers was still quite obvious. Karen grabbed her own coat and herded John out to the car. After strapping him into his car seat, she handed him a fresh sippy cup, and off they went to the mall.