I hope you like this,
Lisa looked to Sharon and said “Well, his napping so soon is going to change the plans a little bit.”
“I know, it’s alright though, I’d rather he not be tired.” she replied.
“I agree with that. Let me call Rick and explain. That way, there’s no confusion.” Lisa offered.
“OK, I guess I can sit over there out of the sun.”
“Good enough. I’ll be there in just a minute.”
Sharon rolled the stroller over to a bench that sat under some trees. She pulled a bottle of water from a soft sided cooler under the stroller. The cool water felt great in the heat. She didn’t feel so guilty either because she was drinking like she was supposed to. After a moment, her cell phone rang.
“Hello?” she answered.
“Hi Sharon, it’s Craig. Lisa said you had a difficult incident earlier at the playground.”
“Yeah, unfortunately, there was a seven year old that caused a problem.” she told him. Sharon quickly explained what happened and how she dealt with it. When she finished, Craig asked her to tell him how the rest of the time went.
When she finished, he said “I think I have an idea that will help him come to terms with this.”
“OK…” she responded, wanting to hear more.
“It would be better if you didn’t know what was going to happen, that way, his response will be spontaneous.” Craig explained.
“It’s not like I’d tell him or anything.” she said defensively.
“No, it’s not that, trust me, Billy would know something was up if you knew. Kids always know.” he said with a chuckle.
“Alright, I’ll leave it to you.” she told him.
“Thanks for trusting me.” he told her with an appreciative tone.
“You’ve given me good reason to.”
“Well, I appreciate it.”
“Any idea what we’re doing now?” she asked.
“Hmmm…I think you’re going to come in as soon as Billy wakes up.” he offered.
“OK, well I guess I’ll see you then.” she said and they ended the conversation.
“We’ll walk over to where we’re going, and wait outside until Billy wakes up.” Lisa explained.
“Alright, lead on.” Sharon told her as she stood up from the bench.
They made their way along until they entered Frontierland. Sharon recognized the area as not far from where they first entered Disney. Lisa made a turn and entered what looked like an alleyway. “We’re going to another building that’s not normally used by the public.” she told Sharon.
“How many places do they have like that?” Sharon asked.
“I don’t know, probably ten I think.” she answered.
After walking for a short ways, they stood outside a metal door. Lisa gestured to the door and said “This is where we’re going, but let’s sit while he naps.” and waved toward a bench about ten feet away. This one was also out of the sun and Sharon was grateful.
They sat and chatted as Sharon gently rolled the stroller back and forth, knowing the motion would help Billy sleep until he was ready to wake up. She took the time to explain to Lisa what had happened during Billy’s last hospital stay.
“You know, I’ve noticed since he got back, in some ways he’s just a baby, but in others he’s a lot older.” Lisa commented.
“Yes, emotionally, he’s somewhere between eighteen months and two years. Intellectually however, he’s still nine, and a very intelligent nine at that. I was struck with how unique that is when he was on the race car. Here he was nursing his pacifier and crying like a toddler when he thought we would crash, in fact it scared him enough to make him wet his diaper. But once he understood how to steer the car, and he picked that up very quickly, he did exceptionally well. That’s going to make it interesting when it comes time to get him back in school.” Sharon explained.
“I imagine.” Lisa remarked.
“We’ll get through it though.” Sharon said confidently. After all, they’d made it through everything else.
“It’s really wonderful to hear you say that. A lot of parents would freak out with all that’s happened.” Lisa told her.
“I know, but I don’t have that luxury. Both of the kids depend on us to get them through, and I won’t let them down.” Sharon said with determination.
“Good for you.” Lisa remarked. And a second later added “He’s one lucky little boy.” with a smile.
Not knowing what else to say, Sharon replied “Thank you.”
It was an hour later that Billy stretched his arms and legs, looking like he was having a seizure. Sharon was scared for a moment, until he opened his eyes and smiled at her.
“Hi Baby.” she said sweetly.
Billy smiled at Mommy. He loved her so much! The way she talked to him made him feel warm and snuggly inside and had him giggling.
“Well aren’t you a happy baby.” Lisa said with a smile. She couldn’t get over how cute this little boy was.
“Come here and give me hugs and kisses Sweety.” Sharon said as she picked Billy up.
When Mommy hugged him close, Billy spit his binky out and gave her the biggest baby kisses he knew how. He knew that Mommy liked baby kisses.
“Awww…you’re such a good boy.” Sharon told him, kissing him several times. She loved it when he kissed her like that.
Once Mommy and Baby had a few moments to snuggle, Lisa asked if they were ready to go inside. “Sure.” Sharon answered.
Lisa quickly dialed her phone, spoke several sentences to someone on the other end, and then hung up. “Alright, let’s get going then.” she said with a smile.
When Lisa opened the door, she held it so Sharon could step inside ahead of her. She had grabbed the diaper bag, but left the stroller outside, and entered behind Sharon, letting the door close behind her.
Billy got scared and clung tightly to Mommy. When the door closed it got dark in the room.
Sharon held him close, patting his diaper and telling him “It’s OK Baby, I’ve got you.” in a reassuring tone. She didn’t like that it was so dark in there. When the lights came on a second later, she saw Billy’s eyes get wide and a smile find it’s way to his face.
Billy looked around the room and saw brightly colored streamers everywhere. There were several sets of balloons tied to chairs around the outside of the room. A table was set up on one side that contained eight or ten packages wrapped in colorful paper. Over the top of the table, a large banner read “Happy Birthday Billy!!”
Sharon saw all the work that went into the decorations and felt lucky to know the wonderful people that had made this possible. A moment later she heard a chorus of “Happy Birthday” start coming from the other end of the room.
Billy heard the singing and giggled. When he saw Daddy coming with a small cake in his hands, two candles burning atop it, he laughed happily. Daddy walked right up to Billy, and when the song finished, he said “Hi Baby Boy, make a wish and blow out the candles.”
Billy closed his eyes, thought hard for a moment, and then took a deep breath and blew out the two candles on the small cake.
Mommy asked Billy “How old are you Baby?” with a smile.
Giggling wildly, Billy held two shaky fingers up and said “Dith many!”
“That’s right!” she told him as she heard several of the adults in the room say “Awww…”
Rick said “Alright, come say hi little boy.” as he carried the cake to the table with the presents on it.
Sharon walked with him, hugging her little boy close. When she looked to see who all was there, she noticed several adults, some of who she’d met before, but there were six or seven children there as well. She didn’t realize it at first, but every one of them was wearing the same exact thing Billy was, a diaper and a t-shirt. They were all two or three years old. This made her smile.
Rick introduced the parents that Sharon didn’t know, they were all friends of Peter’s parents. “Thank you all for coming.” Sharon told them.
“Well, we heard you had a two year old little boy that was having a birthday today and thought our toddlers would enjoy the party.” a woman named Nancy said as she picked up her little boy. “Say hi to Billy, Larry.” she told her son.
“Hi.” Larry said shyly.
“Hi.” Billy replied smiling around his binky.
Just then, Craig approached and said “I think we might want to do cake real quick, and then it’ll be time to open presents.”
“Good idea.” Sharon replied.
“Bring the birthday boy over here.” April told her from a few feet away.
When Sharon brought Billy over, she saw a high chair set up. “I don’t know…” she started to say.
“Trust me, it’ll be fine.” April said as she gently lifted Billy from Sharon’s arms.
Billy watched as Aunt April sat him in the high chair and put his hands on the rails that the tray slid on to saying “Hold on for a second Baby.” as she let him go.
Sharon watched as Billy held himself in the chair with great effort. She didn’t know what April was thinking until she pulled a wide piece of webbing out of a pocket in back of the seat and ran it across his chest and under his arms, locking it together with three clips behind the chair. This held Billy upright with his back firmly against the seat.
April still pulled the security strap up between Billy’s legs and threaded the second piece through it to make sure he couldn’t slide down. Once that was done, she told Billy “Lift your arms Baby.” with a smile.
Billy tentatively pulled his hands up off the steel tubes and was surprised when he didn’t have to balance himself. While his arms were shaking, his back and tummy weren’t because he didn’t need to hold himself up, the webbing did it for him. He smiled a big smile as he brought his hands up over his head in an awkward manner.
Next, April picked up a very large bib and secured it with velcro around Billy’s neck. With that in place, she slid the highchair tray in place with a click. “There!” she said as she leaned down and kissed Billy on the cheek. “Now you’re ready for cake Baby!!” she said excitedly.
Rick brought the small cake over and set it on the highchair tray. “Alright little boy, eat up.” he said.
Billy looked at the cake, looked around and then looked at Daddy with a confused expression.
Rick smiled at Billy, took both his little hands, and brought them right to the small cake and said “Use your hands Baby, all babies eat their birthday cake with their hands.” with a chuckle as he pressed Billy’s hands right into the frosting and let go.
Billy giggled wildly, his little arms and hands shaking. Taking a handful of cake, he brought his hand to his face and didn’t quite make it to his mouth. A second later, smearing the frosting across his cheek, he managed to push a bite of the sweet mixture into his mouth.
Sharon, with misty eyes, watched Billy smile a huge frosting smeared smile, cake and icing all over his hands and face. She remembered the first time he had done this, seven years ago, and he looked the same then as he did now, to include the giggles and big smiles. “Does that taste good Baby?” she asked sweetly.
Nodding his head, Billy giggled again as he pushed another mouthful of cake into his mouth, leaving a trail of icing across his chin this time.
“Smile Baby!” April said as she stood ready to take a picture. She didn’t know how Billy would respond to getting his picture taken sitting there in just a diaper and a bib, looking every bit a two year old. She was pleasantly surprised when he gave her a big, beautiful, icing laden smile, placing both hands on the cake again. “That’s it Baby! You are soooo cute!” she told him as she snapped several pictures in a row.
Sharon noticed the other parents feeding their little ones cake from a sheet cake on another table. They had gotten this one just so Billy could feed himself.
“My God he’s cute.” Peter said as he approached them. “Is that good Little Boy?” he asked as he gingerly kissed Billy’s forehead, trying to avoid wearing any of the icing. He stepped back just in time to avoid Billy’s nodding head as he giggled.
The four adults pulled chairs up so they could sit and watch Billy eat his cake. It took a while, but Billy managed to eat about a forth of the cake, wearing more than half of it, before he laid his arms on the tray with a sigh.
“Are you full Baby?” Sharon asked with a chuckle.
“Uh huh.” Billy said with a satisfied smile.
“Good.” she told him
April asked “Would you like a ba ba of milk Sweety?”
Billy immediately said “Ba ba!”, vigorously nodding.
That brought more chuckles from the adults in the room. April picked up what looked like a gooseneck lamp. Only there wasn’t a light on the end, but a large clamp. She clipped the long flexible device to the highchair tray, and then clipped a full bottle of milk to the other end. Bending the sturdy but flexible tubing, she soon had the nipple at just the right height for Billy to wrap his mouth around it and begin to nurse as she let go of it. A second later, he took his mouth off of it and smiled a big smile.
Sharon was astounded at the ingenuity of the folks that put that together and asked “Where did you find that?”
“Peter’s dad made it.” April answered.
That brought tears to Sharon’s eyes. Charles had gone to all the trouble to make a way for Billy to be able to drink his bottle when he wanted to, not needing to ask someone else for a drink. Looking to Peter, she asked “Where is he?” wanting to thank him for doing this for her little boy.
“He’s a bit busy at the moment, you’ll see him in just a little while.” Peter said with a smile.
Feeling a bit guilty, Sharon asked “Where’s Becky?”
“She’s with Grandma Fiona at the moment.” Peter answered.
That made Sharon smile. “Thank you Peter for asking them to come today.” she said.
“Oh, trust me, if I hadn’t they would’ve been very upset with me.” he replied.
April got up and left through a door at the far side of the room. When she returned a moment later, she had two bowls of water and several washcloths in hand. “Alright Baby, it’s time to clean all that icing off.” she told Billy with a chuckle.
Sharon got up and moved the bottle out of the way, before surveying the damage. Billy had icing on just about every exposed inch of skin above the highchair tray. “You made a mess Little Boy.” she told him. When she saw him look anxiously at her, she added “And I bet it was fun too!” with a tickle to his tummy. As he giggled wildly, she understood he still wasn’t quite there yet. He still worried that someone would get upset with him because he behaved like a baby. “The incident earlier today with the seven year old didn’t help matters.” she thought. She knew it might take a while, but she would break him of that.
It took fifteen minutes, four baby bath soaked washcloths and both Sharon and April to get him clean, but finally they got all the icing off of him, to include out of his hair. When that was done, April told him “Lift your arms Baby, time to get up.” and told Sharon “Get ready to pick him up.”
Sharon held him under the arms as April removed the straps and the webbing. Snuggling him close, she held his bottle for a little bit, giving him time to enjoy being cuddled.
Three minutes later, Peter ushered her over to an open area of the floor where a odd looking seat sat on the floor. It was like the highchair, but without any legs. It also had two tubes that ran along the edges of the seat, but flaired out as they extended two feet beyond the front edge. Sharon didn’t understand what the tubes were for until she sat Billy in the seat and April had secured the webbing around the back. She then took a soft strap, looped it around Billy’s left calf and secured it to the left tube. When she did the right one, he was sitting up comfortably, with his legs spread far apart to give him room to put toys in between them. The straps would prevent Billy’s legs from moving if he got excited.
“That’s ingenious.” Sharon said.
“Charles is a very smart man.” April told her.
A moment later, all of the children were sitting on the floor in a circle, their mouths working binkys or bottles as the adults handed each one a brightly colored package to unwrap. Within seconds, the room was a cacophony of giggles and squeals as one after the other, they unwrapped six different sets of Little People toys.
Billy was giggling wildly when Mommy tore the paper off the box and he saw what was inside. He LOVED Little people! “Open Mommy!” he said, impatient to get his hands on the toy inside. It was the Pop 'n Surprise Train.
Sharon chuckled as she watched the sheer excitement on Billy’s face. “Alright Baby, let’s get it open.” she said as she began opening the box and removing the pieces. The first thing she took out was the train engine.
She had to laugh along with Rick and Peter as she handed it to Billy and he said “Choo choo!” with a big, baby laugh. She certainly couldn’t see the nine year old now, he was all toddler at the moment.
“Good for him.” she mused. She thought it was a wonderful thing that he could see the world as a toddler at times. It would make playtime so much more fun for him.
A few minutes later, Sharon smiled and backed away as Joey, one of the three year olds toddled over and sat down across from Billy’s toy and said “Wets Pway!” and began turning the knobs, opening doors and helping Billy move the small train around the track. The two were laughing and giggling as they heard sounds and made the different pieces of the toy move.
Rick hugged Sharon then, saying “He’ll be fine Honey, it’ll take him a little while to get used to things, but he’ll be fine.” as he gave her a kiss.
Smiling with misty eyes, Sharon said “I know.” as she watched her baby boy playing happily with the other babies as he nursed his binky. “He’s right where he belongs.” she added a second later as she noticed his diaper was wet.