Franky was looking forward to his birthday. It was in two days and he was looking forward to getting a year older, getting presents, and his birthday party. He was six and a half years old and couldn’t wait to be seven. Everyone he saw, he announced that he was turning seven.
Seven year olds were big kids. They went to second grade in the 2-3 wing of the building. They got to stay up a half hour later on school nights. They loose more baby teeth and get more grown-up teeth. They were no longer babies, they could sit in the car without a booster seat. Seven year olds never wet the bed like babies. Franky almost never wet the bed anymore, but now as a seven year old, it would never happen again. He would get to order off of the grown-up menu at restaurants and would no longer qualify for a kid rate at the zoo.
Franky was playing on the playground with his friend Milton. He was commenting on how he was looking forward to turning seven years old. Milton stopped what he was doing and looked straight at Franky.
“Did you get your mom’s permission?” Milton asked.
Franky didn’t know what he was talking about and gave him a weird look.
“Did your mom say you are going to turn seven years old?” Milton asked.
“What are you talking about Milton?” Franky asked. He didn’t understand what his friend was talking about.
“I am sure she will let you, don’t worry about it.” Milton said as he ran off to go down the slide again.
Franky had only met Milton at the beginning of the school year and found him strange at times, but he was fun to play with. He still liked to play with toys at recess, when a lot of the other boys were off playing soccer or playing on the jungle gym. Franky was still confused by what Milton said, but shook it off as just another odd thing from Milton and went chasing after him.
The next day was Saturday, and Franky was getting tired of cleaning the house for the party. He didn’t understand why he should have to clean the house for his own birthday party. Finally after what seemed like hours, his mom let him go play with his toys. As he went running off, she told him to not make a big mess.
At dinner that night, Franky was commenting on how he was so excited about turning seven years old.
“Oh, I’m loosing my baby boy.” His mom said looking at him with a strange look.
This was a comment Franky had heard before, but this time he couldn’t get it out of his head. The comment Milton made yesterday was also going through is head. Was his mom going to let him turn seven years old? This was crazy, of course he was going to be turning seven. It was his birthday, and you always get a year older on your birthday. Don’t you?
Franky didn’t have time to think much about this, for his dad started talking about the family trip to the beach during Spring Break. Franky hadn’t been to the beach since he was four years old. He couldn’t wait for the fun. He remembered making sand castles, running in and out of the water with the waves, and burying his dad in the sand. He didn’t like having to wear a diaper while on the trip, but he hadn’t worn a diaper on family outings for six months. As a big seven year old he wouldn’t have to wear diapers or pull-ups again.
Franky was still thinking about the beach when he was sent up to bed. As his mom read the next chapter of the book she was reading for a bed time story, he started to drift off to sleep dreaming about his birthday party. The last thing he remembered was his mom kissing him good night and saying, “Sleep tight my little darling. You have a big day ahead of you for such a little boy.”
The next morning Franky woke up early. It didn’t take long for him to realize it was his birthday. He jumped out of bed and went running down stairs. There was a big “Happy Birthday” sign at the bottom of the stairs. Franky jumped down the last few steps and started screaming, “It’s my birthday, it’s my birthday!”
He then went running around the house looking for his presents. As he turned the corner he ran right into his mom. Slow down little one, there are no presents till the party this afternoon. For now, let’s get you changed out of that wet diaper and dressed for the day.
“Diaper?” Franky asked, he hadn’t worn a diaper since he was five and on his sixth birthday, his mom said he was a big boy and let him wear pull-ups to bed instead of diapers. He almost never wore pull-ups anymore, only if he had two night time accidents in a row and that almost never happened. What was she talking about getting changed out of a wet diaper? Franky looked down and saw a bulge that looked like a diaper under his pajamas.
Franky’s mom picked him up and carried him upstairs.
“Why do I have a diaper on Mommy?”
“Silly little boy, just because it is your fifth birthday, that doesn’t mean you suddenly stopped wetting like you did when you were four.”
“fifth birthday? But I’m seven.”
“Seven, I’m not old enough to have a big seven year old. Today is your fifth birthday.”
“No Mommy, No No No. Me seven years old today. Yesterday I was . . . . .” Franky suddenly stopped. He couldn’t remember how old he was yesterday. He knew he wasn’t four, but couldn’t remember how old he was. He couldn’t remember yesterday at all. All he could remember was being excited about turning seven years old and going to the beach.
“Now I know you are excited Franky, but you need to be quiet, Alice is still asleep,” Mom said this as she turned the corner into his baby sisters room. Franky’s mom then laid him down on the changing table.
Franky couldn’t figure out what was going on. He was almost sure he went to bed wearing big boy underwear, but now his mom was laying him down on his 2 year old sister’s changing table, to change his wet diaper. He was sure he was supposed to be seven years old today, but mommy keeps saying he is only turning five. Before he could figure it out, his mom had cleaned him up and put a new diaper on him.
“No Mommy, Me big boy. I want to wear big boy underwear for my birthday party. I’m not a baby.”
“Oh Franky, you are a big boy. You are a big five year old today. In a few months my big boy will go off to Kindergarten. But for today sweety, we don’t want you having an accident in the middle of your party. My little four year old, oh I’m sorry – five year old, has lots of trouble getting to the potty on time when he is really excited. I think it will be better if you just stay in a diaper today. Mommy will worry about keeping you dry and clean today, and you just worry about having fun.”
Franky had heard this before. He hadn’t heard it since he was in preschool, but it meant Mommy would keep him in diapers all day no matter what. He could use the potty if he wanted to, but only with Mommy or Daddy’s help (he wasn’t allowed to take the diaper off himself). It was okay to have wet diapers. Poopy diapers were okay too, but Franky tried to avoid these, he thought they were yucky. It also meant that if Mommy and Daddy were busy and didn’t have time to help him use the potty, he would have to just go in the diaper. He could ask to have wet or messy diapers changed, but it would usually only happen when Mommy decided it was time. Franky had to admit he really didn’t mind these days when he was a little kid, but he was a big seven year old now, not a baby who still needed diapers.
While Franky was thinking about this, his mom brought him into his room and dressed him for the day. She dressed him in some of his best clothes. After patting him on his diapered bottom, she sent him off to play till she had breakfast ready. He couldn’t remember the last time he had a just worry about having fun day. He was sure it was a long time ago, but he couldn’t remember. There were a lot of things he couldn’t seem to remember, but he knew something was strange. He was sure he was seven years old today and he was supposed to be going into second grade in a few months. His Mommy says he is only five years old today, and he is going into Kindergarten in a few months. Franky was confused.
As he walked out of his room, he looked around. There was a railing on the side of his bed, so he wouldn’t fall out at night. A talking Barney and his teddy bear were up against the railing. Diapers and wipes were on top of his dresser. A diaper genie was next to his bed. A Fisher Price telephone and popping vacuum were on the floor. Everything looked right, but he also knew that it wasn’t supposed to look like that. Something was wrong, but he couldn’t figure out what.
At breakfast, he had to sit in a booster seat. His mom put a bib on him to keep his clothes clean. Although Franky knew this wasn’t normal for a seven year old, for some reason it felt ordinary and completely acceptable. He was confused.
As the kids for the party arrived, he was even more confused. They were almost all three and four year olds, little babies. A few five year olds showed up, but most of the kids were four years old. This wasn’t a party for a seven year old it was a baby’s party. Maybe his Mom was right, maybe he really was turning five years old. Some of the kids were in diapers like he was, but most were not. There were no six and seven year olds.
The party was fun. Everyone had fun, including Franky. He quickly forgot that he was suppose to be turning seven, and was having fun as a five year old. He got lots of fun presents. Part of him felt like he shouldn’t like some of the presents, but he was having a harder time remembering why.
After the party, he was getting his third diaper change that day. Again Mommy had brought him into his baby sister’s room to change his diaper.
“So is my big five year old having fun?”
“Well, after your nap, I have another surprise for you.”
“No Nap Mommy. I am a big boy now.”
His mom chuckled as she was fastening up his diaper, “Even big boys need to take naps, especially on big exciting days like their birthdays.”
“But Mommmmmmyyyyyyy!” Franky whined.
“Franky, if you give me any hassles about going down for your nap and start acting like a baby, I will treat you like one. You will be taking your nap in Alice’s crib.”
Franky stopped the whining. He let his mom finish getting him dressed back up again and then she carried him to his room. After tucking him into his bed and giving him his teddy bear, she kissed him on his forehead. “Try to get some rest little one, you have had quite a day so far and the hardest part is yet to come.”
Franky didn’t understand, but he curled up with his teddy and quickly fell asleep.
************************************************** ************************* Franky’s Birthday
When Franky woke up, he was curled up in a ball with his teddy still in his arms and his thumb in his mouth. He looked down at his teddy and started talking to him. He was telling his teddy all about the birthday party and all the presents he got. In the middle of the conversation, his mom came in and went about changing his diaper with the supplies on his dresser. Franky just kept talking to his teddy. Once he was changed, she picked him up and carried him down stairs, teddy still in his arms.
Sitting on the couch was this woman he had never seen before with a kid on the floor in front of her playing with Franky’s Little People’s garage.
“Franky, this is Jan and her son Milton.”
"Franky kept his eyes on Milton. He was playing with Franky’s toys. There was something about Milton that Franky couldn’t quite place. He knew he had never met Milton before, but he knew Milton. Milton was his friend. Franky couldn’t figure out how this could be. He was put down on the floor next to Milton.
“Hi Franky,” Milton said with a big smile on his face.
“Hi” Franky hesitantly replied. Milton was a big kid. He was much older than Franky, six, maybe seven years old. They started playing together. Franky somehow knew Milton, he couldn’t get this thought out of his mind.
When the grown-ups went off together to get Alice up from her nap, Milton turned to Franky and started talking quietly, “You know me don’t you?” he asked.
“I think so.”
“Okay Franky, think carefully here. Think about yesterday.”
“I don’t remember anything about yesterday.” Franky quickly responded.
“I know, but I bet you can tell me what you were thinking about just before going to bed last night?”
Franky gave him a weird look and then started to smile. Yes, he could remember. He started to tell Milton all about it. He was thinking about the trip to the beach the family was planning and he couldn’t wait to play on the beach without wearing a diaper. At this comment, Franky looked down at his diaper and suddenly realized he would be wearing a diaper on the family trip to the beach.
“Sorry about the diapers Franky, but we don’t have a lot of time before our Mommies come back,” Milton quietly said looking at the stairs going upstairs. “Come on Franky, try to remember the rest. What else were you thinking about just before going to sleep?”
“Seven year olds were big kids. I couldn’t wait to be seven. I . . . I was . . . I was thinking about you Milton,” Franky said even more confused than before. “How could I be thinking about you if I hadn’t met you yet?”
“I will explain everything later, but we are running out of time Franky. Quick, try to remember what you were thinking about. Why were you thinking about me?”
Franky started thinking real hard, “Mommy was tucking me in when she called me a little darling and said I had a big day ahead of me for such a little boy.” Franky stopped for a minute and smiled. “Boy she was right.”
“Come on Franky,” Milton said. “Stay focused. I know it is hard but it is very important for you to remember, and we are running out of time. Focus Franky, focus.”
“Mommy’s comment reminded me about a question you asked me Milton. We were at school, on the playground, and you asked if Mommy had given me permission to get older. At the time I thought it was a weird question, but just before falling to sleep I started to think about it again. I was wondering if Mommy could stop me from having a birthday and getting older?”
Just then they heard their Mommies coming down the stairs. Milton put his finger to his mouth and turned back to the cars. They didn’t have a chance to talk again for about half an hour. Alice had a poopy diaper that needed to be changed, so the Mommies went upstairs again.
“What happened Milton?” Franky quietly asked once the Mommies were out of sight. “Am I really seven years old?”
“I’m sorry Franky,” Milton said after taking a deep breath. “Yesterday you were six years old and in first grade. Today you are five years old and in Preschool. Mommies and Daddies get to decide every year if you get older or not. Your age has to change on your birthday, so if they don’t let you get older, you get younger. The hardest part is you lose two years. You were about to turn seven, now you are a kid who just turned five.”
“Why can’t I remember being six years old?”
“When you get younger you lose everything that happened to you since the first time you had the particular birthday. With you, since you had your fifth birthday today, you would have lost all your memories of being five and six years old.”
“Why do I remember you Milton?”
“When you are thinking about something during the transformation, it stays. You were real excited about the trip to the beach, turning seven, and curious about my question. Those are the things you remember. The only things.”
Franky again looked down at his diapers. They were wet at the moment, and he didn’t remember wetting them.
“I don’t know why you are back in diapers,” Milton said. “Your five years old, not a baby. That has never happened to me.”
“I am a BIG boy. I can use the big boy potty, but sometimes Mommy puts me in diapers just in case. I don’t always get all my pee-pee in the potty, so mommy says I sometimes need diapers.”
“I’m sorry Franky, it must be tough being back in diapers.”
“Mommy says lots of little boys and girls like me still wear diapers. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to wear them during the day once I turned five, but Mommy thought I should today.”
Listening to Franky talk, Milton could tell he was no longer the kid he used to play with. Franky was now just a little kid. A little kid in diapers. Milton was almost seven years old, again. Franky was the best friend he had ever remembered having, and now he was just a little baby. Milton didn’t understand, he didn’t know any five year olds who still wore diapers. Franky seemed just fine with them, like he wore them all the time. Watching him, Milton could tell Franky’s five year old attention span would keep him from retaining any memory of the transformation. He really was a little four year old who just turned five.
When the Mommies came back down, Franky’s went right over to him and checked to see if he needed changing. She picked him up and brought him upstairs. This time Milton’s mom stayed to watch Alice and Milton. She was holding Alice in her arms rocking her back and forth. Looking down at Alice and over at Milton, she seemed to be thinking about something. Milton didn’t like the look on her face.
“I remember when you were this age Milton,” she said fondly. “I miss having a baby around the house to take care of.”
“Mom! You promised me I could turn seven on my birthday.”
“Oh, come on Milton. If you turned five you would be the same age as Franky and both of you could go to Preschool together.”
“Mom, I want to go to second grade, not Preschool. You promised Mommy. I don’t want to be a baby again.”
“Five year olds are not babies Milton.”
“Franky is wearing a baby diaper. He’s a baby.”
“Well, he has accidents when he can’t get to the bathroom quickly. Like on shopping trips or long car rides. He usually wears big boy underwear like you. He was put in a diaper today because he still has accidents when he gets really excited. He is a big boy like you. You occasionally have accidents too.”
Milton turned red when she said this. He did occasionally have accidents, but fortunately he never had to wear diapers.
Just then Franky came running down stairs, all excited, “Mommy let me go potty on the big boy potty.” He was so proud of himself for using the toilet, Milton knew his friend was gone forever.
Milton’s mom congratulated Franky, and then looked up to Milton. “Milton, why don’t you go in and try to go potty too, before you have an accident.”
Milton knew the tone in her voice. He almost never had accidents, but he had better go try to go potty now or he would be in trouble. As he headed toward the bathroom, he could hear his mom talking about his potty training back when he was three years old. Milton wondered how many years ago that was and if he would ever have to go through potty training again. He could remember getting younger twice, but wasn’t sure if it had happened more than that.