Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble…
‘Chris!’ called Angela.
‘There you are, darling,’ she said, approaching her husband.
Chris turned and looked at her unhappily.
‘What on earth are you doing on the floor, baby?’ Angela said. ‘Come on, up you get. You’ve got a party to go to.’
Angela’s instincts told her what might be wrong as she helped Chris to his feet.
‘Have you wet your nappy, honey?’ she asked, looking at Chris’s back and front.
Seeing nothing, she took his hand and led him towards the living room.
‘You’ve got a nice thick nappy on, Chris, so you can last a little longer. Come and sit down with the others, they’re waiting for you,’ she said.
Angela smiled as she watched Chris waddle to the living room, where streamers and balloons decorated the walls and ceiling and in the middle of which was a small table set for three. Tenille and Candy were already seated, and greeted the sight of Chris waddling towards them wearing his toddler’s shortalls and bulky nappy with nothing more than enthusiasm.
‘Sit down, Chrissie,’ said Tenille. ‘You have to have a drink,’ she added, carefully pouring Chris a fruit drink in a plastic cup.
‘Wait a minute girls,’ said Angela, and quickly went to the kitchen, returning with a large bib which she put on a protesting Chris.
‘Chris when you can show you can go through a meal without making a mess we’ll think about letting you eat without your bib,’ she said.
‘Tenille hasn’t got a bib,’ Chris said.
‘Chris, don’t be grumpy. Tenille is four today, and she’s being a grownup. Now don’t complain, and enjoy the party,’ said Tracy.
‘And look!’ said Tenille, standing up and grabbing the hem of her tartan skirt.
Tracy looked quickly at Angela,
‘Tenille, no, sit down please,’ said Tracy, moving towards her daughter, but it was too late.
'I’ve got big girl panties on, ‘cos I’ve been dry for a whole…,’ her forehead furrowed in thought, ‘Three days!’ she said triumphantly, pulling her skirt up to reveal white tights stretched over her plain cotton panties.
‘Tenille, that’s enough young lady!’ said Tracy, reaching Tenille and pushing her hands down.
‘And I’ve I haven’t wet my bed for two weeks, isn’t it Mummy, two weeks!’ Tenille continued, her small face shining as she looked around the table and at the three adults looking down at the three partygoers.
Chris felt as if he’d been shot. He shifted in his chair, feeling as though he were sitting on a big, wet pillow. He felt himself peeing some more, and wished he cold disappear. Then he looked up and saw Candy smiling at him. He understood at once. It was a childish kind of smile, indicating in a language he was only beginning to understand, or to remember. Candy’s smile said ‘It’s alright, Chrissie, I’m still in nappies all the time too. Isn’t Tenille a big fat silly-pilly.’
Chris understood immediately, and felt an instant bond with Candy that they didn’t share with the older child. He giggled with Candy, and thought it hilarious that she had put her fingers in her jelly and fruit. On an impulse, Chris did the same, continuing to giggle as he took his fingers out of the sweet, sticky stuff and licked the bits that hadn’t dropped onto his bib.
Mandy caught the illegal action.
‘Hey, girls, that’s enough. You’ve got spoons, use them!’ she said.
She realised she had said ‘girls’, but needed to say something quickly.
‘Girl and boy’ was clumsy, and privately she had been thinking of all of them as ‘the same’ anyway. Gender didn’t seem to matter much, at least not in Chris’s case. She looked at him, giggling away with his long blonde hair and his girlish clothes. The thick nappies he always wore and constantly wet only emphasised his childish genderlessness.
Soon, it was time to give Tenille her presents.
To be continued.