Here’s the rest of these stories.
“I’m not arguing with you,” she says, putting her hands on her hips. “It’s time for bed, and you know it.”
I look up at her with a pout, a tactic that sometimes proves useful against you, though very rarely with my sister, who’d had a few more years to get used to it. “Just five more minutes?”
She just shakes her head sternly. “It’s time for bed,” she repeats.
“But…” I start, sitting up on the changing table, a pair of fresh diapers crinkling beneath me.
I get cut off by my pacifier being shoved into my mouth, a sure sign that she is tired of arguing with me. Luckily, I’m at home this time - lately, she’s been making sure to bring it with her when we go shopping, or out to eat.
At first it was just so she could threaten me with it to get me to agree to whatever she wanted, but that had soon evolved to actual action. I hadn’t been amused the first time it had happened, but it certainly had gotten me to quiet down in a hurry, at least until we were in her car. At which point she had interrupted my angry lecturing by doing it again and patting me on the head condescendingly. I’m sure there was a better way to handle it than simply sulking down into my seat and glaring at her, however it hadn’t occurred to me at the time.
One isn’t occurring to me now, either, so I decide to let it be, no matter how not tired I am. I let her slip my legs into my pink, fuzzy footed sleeper, then let myself get lifted down so she can pull it up over my thickly padded bottom before putting my arms into the sleeves and zipping it up.
“There, that wasn’t so bad, now was it?” she asks, gently pulling my hair free from the sleeper’s neck hole. I don’t answer, just stare up at her with my pacifier still in place. “You’re so cute,” she tells me, tapping me lightly on the nose, “I should just keep you like this all the time!”
“You can,” I lie to her, taking out the pacifier. “Just let me stay up a bit…”
“Shh!” she snatches the pacifier away from my hand and reinserts it. “You’re ruining the illusion.”
I remove the pacifier again, just long enough to stick my tongue out at her, before she can pick me up and deposit me in my crib. “Now, be a good girl and go to sleep,” she says, kissing me on the forehead before turning on my nightlight. I’m still standing up, watching her forlornly, when she gets to the light switch. “Lay down,” she instructs to which I cross my arms defiantly.
She shrugs, taking off my glasses and setting them on the crib-side table, and turns off the light anyway, closing the door and leaving me alone in the pale glow of my nightlight. I test the latch on the right side of the crib, mostly for old time’s sake, since I already know from experience that you’ve fixed it to keep me from being able to use it to get out by myself. Sure enough, it hasn’t broken again yet, so I make a few half-hearted attempts at simply climbing over, only to have my sleepered feet keep slipping down the bars and back to the softly crinkling mattress beneath me, until finally, with my last attempt, I lose my balance completely, and it isn’t only my foot that falls.
For a second or two, I’m not sure what just happened, how I came to be sitting down all of a sudden, the sudden disappearance of my pacifier only adding to the confusion.
Apparently I’m not the only one uncertain as to the events that had just taken place, as the door is quickly swung open again, and light floods the room. “What are you doing in here?” my sister asks, approaching my crib.
“I fell,” I tell her with a sniffle, hoping for some sympathy.
Instead, I get a suspicious, “What were you doing?”
“Nothing,” I smile innocently.
“Yeah, I’m sure,” she replies, rolling her eyes. “Are you okay?”
“I hurt my elbow.”
“Aww, poor baby,” she coos. “Which one?” I hold out my right arm and she rolls up the sleeve, but, “Well, you look fine.” She kisses it anyway, before straightening the sleeve back out and spying my pacifier lying on the floor. “Let me go wash this off for you.”
“Can I come with you?” I sniffle softly again, staring up at her pitifully. For the briefest of moments, she wavers.
“No, you stay here, sweetie. It’s beddy-bye time - you belong in your crib.” That hardly seems fair, but before I can protest it, she’s already out of the room, and I can hear the sound of water running in the distance. “Now, don’t try to get out again,” she warns me when she reappears. “We don’t want you hurting yourself, now do we?” I shake my head slowly, getting a smile and the return of my pacifier before she leaves.
I pick up my stuffed kitty, Fluffy, from where I’d left her when I’d woken up this morning, hugging her with both arms as I sat there, staring unsleepily into the general semi-darkness of my room. Other than Fluffy, and my blankie and pillow, there’s really nothing interesting in my crib, or within reach. Really, once I’m in here, there isn’t much I -can- do, other than fall asleep - I’m pretty sure you set it up that way on purpose.
There really isn’t anything to see by sitting up, so I finally just lay down, curling up with Fluffy, hoping that you’ll get home soon and make my mean ol’ sister go home, and then I can get you to let me out of my crib so we can eat some ice cream before we go to sleep. I hadn’t even asked her about it, since I already know her answer will be no, since she’d already denied me any when I hadn’t finished my yucky green beans at dinner, but surely she won’t tell you about that.
I raise my head slightly as a thought occurs to me, which quickly causes me to sit back up and call for my sister. “What now?” she asks, sounding kinda annoyed, without even opening the door all the way.
“I’m thirsty,” I pout, unsure if she could possibly see me, but figuring it was worth it, just in case.
She sighs, though her voice sounds more amused when she speaks again. “Of course. What was I thinking? Be right back.”
“Wait!” I call - that wasn’t quite what I’d had in mind. “I don’t know what I want yet! I hafta see what we still have!”
“There’s juice,” she tells me, “and milk. And water.”
“And Mountain Dew,” I add, rapidly followed by, “I imagine.”
“There is,” she concedes. “But you aren’t getting that.”
“But that’s what I’m thirsty for!” I whine.
“I think there’s apple and orange juice,” she ignores me. “If that’s what you want.”
“It isn’t,” I say.
“Then do you want milk or water?”
“No,” I answer mischievously.
Instead of laughing and deciding to give in to my demands, like I’d kinda hoped she would, she says, “Then I guess you’ll get whatever I pick for you.”
That idea becomes incredibly unappealing as I recall that we also have prune juice in the fridge. I shiver as I remember the taste of it from earlier today, when she’d unfairly made me drink some after I’d accidently let a bad word slip out after dropping the handful of silverware she’d entrusted me to take over to the appropriate drawer while I’d been helping her put away dishes. Is she getting tired enough at my antics that she’d give me more?
“Milk!” I yell, hastily choosing as I scramble to my feet. “Chocolate milk!”
Worryingly, there is no response. I call her name desperately; still nothing. Finally, she’s back in the doorway, bottle of dark colored liquid in her hand. I swallow nervously as she steps into my room, lit only by my nightlight and a crack of light from the hallway behind her.
“Here,” she shoves the bottle into my hands.
“What is it?” I ask quietly.
“Drink it,” she demands.
This isn’t a good sign. “I’ll be good,” I promise her, raising it to my lips with shaking hands. “I’ll go to bed, I promise…”
“Good girl,” she nods, patting the top of my head. “But I got that bottle for you, so I want to see you drink it.”
My bottom lip quivers slightly as I slip the nipple in, then, using all my courage, I suck in the tiniest bit.
“Yummy!” I giggle, relieved at the taste of chocolaty goodness flooding into my mouth. “Thank you!”
“That’s what you wanted, isn’t it?” she musses up my hair some more. “What were you so worried about?” She smiles deviously, letting me know she’s well aware what I had been fearing, and that she thought that perhaps it wasn’t such a bad idea.
“Nothing,” I shake my head.
“Hmm,” she nods knowingly. “Now lay back down and go to sleep, or you might get some more nothing.”
But before she can get back out of my room, I hear the front door open and I let out an almost involuntary squeal of excitement. Finally, my evil sister’s evil reign is over!
“Well, look at that,” you say, appearing in the doorway. “Is my little girl actually in bed on time?”
“Hi Daddy!” I smile, bouncing up and down until you come over and pick me up, spinning me in a hug before, unfortunately, setting me back down in my crib.
“She’s in bed,” my sister confirms, “but she’s been a bit of a pest about actually going to sleep.”
“'Cause I’m not sleepy!” I pout.
“I just gave her some chocolate milk, so she doesn’t need anything sweet. And she didn’t finish her veggies, so I probably shouldn’t have even given her that, but I thought maybe it would keep her quiet for a minute,” she tattled.
“No fair!” I huff, glaring at her.
“I’ll have to keep that in mind,” you say, looking over at me before turning back to my sister. “Thanks again for watching her!”
“Oh, no problem,” she shrugs. “We had a good time, didn’t we?” I decide to nod rather than disagree. It -had- been fun, mostly, except for when she was mean and made me go to bed. And drink icky prune juice.
You follow her out after giving me a goodnight kiss on the tip of my nose. I let you go, for now, at least until I hear the front door close, and give my sister a few seconds to get gone. “Daddy!” I yell, once I can’t wait anymore.
“What’s wrong?” you ask, popping back into the door.
“I’m not sleepy,” I inform you, since you seemed not to have heard me the first time. “Can’t I stay up with you?” I hold my bottle with both hands to take a drink before smiling sweetly at you. “Pleeeaaase?”
“Sorry, baby,” you shake your head. “It’s time for bed.”
I stare at the door in shock. Well, that hadn’t worked. So I gather myself and try again.
This time, you sound less concerned when you peek into my room. “Yes?”
“How about now?” I giggle.
You sound considerably less amused. “No,” you say firmly.
“I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow,” you interrupt. “When it isn’t your bedtime.”
“You’re no fun,” I pout. I don’t know if you didn’t hear me, or if you chose not to answer, but either way, I find myself standing alone in my dark nursery yet again.
I take another drink of my milk, starting to feel frustrated. Why won’t anyone listen to me when I say I’m not tired? It isn’t fair! It’s probably all my stupid sister’s fault, somehow!
“Daddy!” I call again, defiantly. If I try enough times, surely you’ll give in… Right?
But this time you don’t come. “Daddy!” I repeat. “Daddy!”
At last, I hear your footsteps in the hall, sounding a little heavier than before. Uh-oh… Did I make you mad? I glance around at my crib, trying to think of some actual reason I could be calling you. In the end, I just lift my bottle and drain it as fast as I can, barely finishing before I hear the doorknob turn.
“I finished my bottle,” I announce, before you can ask.
“Good girl,” you say, sounding much less angry than I’d feared.
“Uh-huh!” I nod, holding out my bottle for you to take. Tempting fate, I ask, “Can I have some more?”
You hesitate. “You’re still thirsty?”
“Yeah,” I lie, a little, warming myself up for a bigger one, “She didn’t let me drink anything all afternoon.” It was, I decided, best not to mention the injustice of the prune juice, since I had a feeling you would agree with it.
“That sounds strange. Why would she do that?”
It did sound strange, really - she was usually the opposite. “Well, I forgot to ask for anything,” I mumble.
“Ah.” I don’t think you’re very convinced, but, then, I doubt I would be either.
“But I’m still thirsty!” I conclude, figuring that, if nothing else, you’d believe that.
“Well, we don’t want you leaking, do we?” You reach out, patting the back of my diaper.
“I’m not gonna leak!” I protest.
“If you say so,” you shrug, finally giving in. But when you return, the bottle is only half full, and even that is just water.
“I wanted chocolate milk!” I pout, halfway considering throwing the bottle out of the crib. Luckily, I wait long enough to give it a second thought, which reminds me that you don’t look favorably on tantrums.
“You can have some when you wake up tomorrow,” you say, as if that counts. “And I’ll see you then, too, unless you actually need something. Okay?”
“Okay,” I sigh.
I sit down, setting the bottle down untouched. I’m still not sleepy, of course, but I suppose I should just give up and try to fall asleep anyway.
So I curl up with Fluffy again, pulling my blanket over myself, even closing my eyes for a second or two before getting bored and turning onto my other side. That didn’t help matters significantly, nor did laying flat on my back. I didn’t even bother trying my tummy - it hasn’t been feeling too good for the past little while anyway.
“Daddy!” I wail.
But you don’t come. “Daddy!” I call, more insistently. Still nothing.
“Daddy, come on!” I try again. “This is serious!”
“What’s going on, sweetie?” you ask, that last one finally convincing you to listen. “Are you okay?”
“Uh-huh,” I nod, but even from across the room, I can see your expression darkening in a way that had, on occasion, led to spanking. “I’m just wet,” I quickly add, “An’ I don’t wanna get a rash.”
“That would be bad, wouldn’t it?” you agree, crossing to me, while I desperately try to make my declaration reality. I can’t recall ever having so much trouble wetting my diapers - to be perfectly honest, I usually have the opposite problem. And yet, as you turn me around and unsnap the back flap on my sleeper, I’m still struggling, at least as much as I can without being too obvious about it.
“Wait!” I say, turning back around to face you. Unfortunately, that was all the further I had thought out that plan, and you only wait so long before reaching for my diapers again, this time with a reason to be suspicious. Your fingers sneak past the elastic around my legs, then back out so that they can start re-snapping the back of the sleeper. “Well, I will be soon…” I protest.
“You’re double diapered,” you observe. “You should be fine until morning.”
“I dunno,” I say, “I’ve had a lot to drink.”
“Have you?” You raise an eyebrow. “I thought you said…”
“Well, I did,” I correct myself, “but…”
I blush, stare down at my feet. “I’ll go to bed now.”
“There’s my good girl.” You give me one more goodnight kiss, another, firmer, pat on the back of my diaper, and a rather final sounding, “Goodnight,” and then you’re gone.
This time I start out on my tummy, which is even less interesting than any of the other positions, and much less comfy. I wriggle onto my side, stomach grumbling at the pressure in a worrying way. I hug Fluffy to my chest, starting to chew on my bottom lip.
Could I wait until morning? I’m not exactly what might be called “good” at judging that, really, but after lying perfectly still for a minute or two, I decide that, yes, I could, and let myself relax. No big deal.
There really isn’t anything better to do, so, after a bit of squirming, I close my eyes.
I don’t know how long I stayed like that, not quite asleep, not wanting to admit I’m still awake and feeling my tummy working beneath the pink fuzz of the sleeper, and eventually the additional fuzz of Fluffy, as I curled up tighter beneath the blanket and she migrated that direction. ‘Just go to sleep,’ I tell myself. ‘It’ll be fine.’
“Daddy!” I yell at last, pushing aside the blanket and Fluffy.
“Come on, Daddy!” I call, getting up onto my knees. “I hafta go potty!”
I pull myself to my feet, standing in my crib, grabbing the rails as I bounce in place. “Daddy, I’m not joking this time!”
I start bouncing a little faster, then try once again to climb over the bars. “Daaaaddy!”
But you still don’t come, and already, I can tell that it’s too late. My eyes go wide as my hands move down to the back of my diaper, and I give out an urgent, utterly hopeless, “Daddy!”
Of course, it’s already too late. My next “Daddy” takes on a new tone, as it isn’t easy to shout with a wrinkled nose from the mess in my diaper. I whimper softly before trying again.
I stare across my half-dark room at the door that still won’t open, sinking to my knees to watch a little longer before carefully lowering myself onto my tummy. It’s the best I can do, though still hardly the way I would prefer to try to fall asleep. You told me once that what prunes were for was testing diaper capacity… Right now, I can believe it.
I try a final call for help, but it barely comes out loud enough for me to hear it, much less you. After all, why should you believe I actually have a reason to ask for your help, after so many false alarms? I guess there’s probably a lesson to be learned in all this, but pretty much all I can think right now is:
“This is gonna be a long night.” I pout, wriggling uncomfortably in my pink, fuzzy, squishy prison, waiting for the all too far away morning to come.