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[i]Billy lay in his crib, nursing his binky, and snuggling with Pooh Bear. He felt warm and safe inside. Mommy had just laid him down after feeding him at her breast. Within two minutes, his tummy cramped severely, and he felt the now familiar feel of poopy push out of his bottom, into the seat of his dipey. Thirty seconds later, he was surprised as poop was still pushing it’s way out.
When a full minute had gone by, and his dipey was packed full of mess, he started to squirm and fuss. Finally, it stopped, but not before oozing out of the diaper at both legs and at the waist, onto his crib sheet. Normally, Billy wouldn’t cry when he was messy, he’d gotten used to it. This was different though. The poop was starting to make him itch. Before too long, he was crying loudly as the mess started to burn his bottom.
“Where’s Mommy?” he wondered as he cried. Would she come? The thought of her not coming to make it all better scared him, making things worse.
The cribside was dropped with a loud bang that startled him. Crying his eyes out now, he looked over and fear crept up his spine. The mean nurse was standing at the cribside, frowning at him.
She reached over and took his binky from him saying “You don’t want that nasty old pacifier, now do you?”.
Billy was frantic! Where was his mommy?!?! He needed her to protect him from the mean nurse!
“I see you went potty in your pants again. You’ve made a big mess of the bed, and that makes me very angry.” she told him sternly. “I’ll just let you lay in your mess for a while and maybe you’ll want to use the potty like a big boy.” she added with a smirk.
Billy tried to tell her “No! It hurts! I’ll be good, I promise!” but all that came out was baby babble.
Seeing her angry eyes flash, his fear doubled as she shouted “Don’t talk baby talk to me little boy!! Use your words like a nine year old should!”
Try as he might, Billy couldn’t make any noises other than infant sounds.
Reaching down, she pinched his face in one hand forcing him to look at her. "This is what happens when a child is allowed to keep baby things and act like a baby. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you start acting you’re age buster! And don’t get any ideas that your mommy will come save you this time, she’s been taken from the hospital and isn’t coming back.
Billy lost control. The fear of not seeing his mommy again pushed him over the edge and he began to scream, flailing his limbs in infantile rage.[/i]
Sharon woke up. She heard Billy screaming in the crib. She was up in a flash, lowering the crib side. Seeing him flailing his limbs with his eyes tightly shut, she quickly picked him up in a tight embrace, rubbing his back. “What’s wrong, Baby?.” she asked, scared to death something was wrong. She had only heard him scream like this once, when Dr. Jennings was hurting him.
When Billy’s screaming continued, she shook him slightly and said “Billy!”.
Terry came in the room as Billy’s eyes flew open.
Billy opened his eyes and suddenly, the burning on his bottom went away. He saw Mommy’s face and stopped screaming. She pulled him closer and he just lay crying in her arms. It took a moment but he finally realized he had had a bad dream.
He knew in his mind he should be able to deal with this better, but no matter how he tried to rationalize that it was just a dream, it didn’t help. He felt more like an infant now than ever before, crying his eyes out for Mommy to hold him and make it all better. He had never been so frightened in his life! When Mommy offered it, he immediately started nursing hard and fast on his binky. It had scared him so much when he thought he wouldn’t be able to have his binky again.
Taking his Pooh Bear and his blanket in hand, Sharon took him over to the rocking chair and cradled him close. She covered him with his blankie and placed Pooh on his chest with the bear against the skin of his cheek. Looking into Billy’s eyes, she saw a truly terrified nine year old, expressing himself the only way he could. “Something scared the hell out of him.” she thought. “Honey, I need you to focus for a second and answer some questions, OK?” she said.
Billy, fighting the fear, forced his thoughts to come together and kicked his legs.
“You had a bad dream didn’t you, Baby?” she asked.
He kicked his legs several times, starting to cry again.
“It’s OK, Baby, it’s all over now.” She told him, her eyes stinging with tears as she felt frustration at not being able to know what was terrifying him. She could see that whatever it was, it wasn’t simply the dream, but something that he felt could be real.
When Billy pushed his arms out in an uncoordinated motion, Sharon knew she was right.
“I need to know some things about it, Sweety. Were you here at the hospital?” She asked him.
Settling down a bit, he kicked again.
“In this room?”.
“Was a nurse with you?” She continued with the questions.
Billy started crying again and spit his binky out as he kicked his legs.
“Was it the mean nurse? Nurse Dearfield?” she asked, picking his binky up, figuring he was trying to tell her something by spitting it out.
Still crying, he signaled yes.
Sharon held him as she thought about what in that interaction would terrify him. It couldn’t be that she wanted to take his binky, Billy knew Mommy would never let that happen. “Was I there with you, Baby?” she asked him.
Moving his arms, he started to cry harder and a second later began to tremble.
“Hey, it’s OK Baby, I’m not going anywhere Sweety, I promise.” She told him, wanting to cry, she felt so bad for him. Replaying the whole scene in her mind, it finally hit her. Trying to control her emotions, she asked “Are you afraid someone’s going to take you away from me?”.
Billy kicked his legs several times, continuing to cry like an infant.
She shifted him, laying him on his back so she could look him right in the eye. “Listen to me, Billy.” She said with a thick voice. “I promise you, Baby. No one is going to take you away from me. I won’t let that happen and Daddy certainly won’t, Do you hear me?” she asked him as tears made their way down her cheeks.
Billy kicked his legs and started to wail long, loud cries. Mommy had understood. He lost control of his concentration, reverting to venting his infantile emotions freely.
Sharon pulled him close and held him tight, crying with him. It was frightening how one bad interaction could have so large of an effect on her son. She knew he looked at the world through an infants eyes at times, but didn’t realize just how impressionable he really was. She would have to be diligent in making sure anyone that interacted with him was not going to put him through this type of thing again.
Billy began to settle down. Sharon laid him down to allow him to nurse. She didn’t put the feeding tube in place as she had just fed him an hour ago. She knew it would comfort him just to nurse for a while. As he started to suckle, Sharon explained “Sweety, I’m taking you home in the morning. You’ll feel better then, I promise. In the mean time, I want you to do what Dr. Richardson asked you to do. I want you to let your thoughts go Baby. Be my little baby for a while, don’t try to be a nine year old right now, it’s too confusing for you.”.
Billy heard Mommy ask him to be a little baby. The request made him feel wonderful. Mommy wanted him to be little. The doctor had told him to enjoy this time. The more he considered it, the more he knew Mommy was right. Trying to think and reason as a nine year old with with the feelings and sensations of a little baby was confusing. He decided then to just let go and be a little baby boy for Mommy.
As he let go, concern was replaced with simple joy as his thoughts wandered to simpler things. The feel of Mommy’s boobie as he nursed, the warmth of her body against his and her hand patting his thick dipey.
“He’ll be alright Hon.” Terry told Sharon.
Looking at Terry, Sharon said “I want to leave here as soon as possible tomorrow. He needs to go home and see his daddy and his sister.”
“I can’t argue with that.” she told Sharon. “I’ll get started with the discharge packet. That will move things along in the morning.”.
“Thank you. Don’t get me wrong, Terry, most of you have been wonderful. It’s just time for him to start his new life now.” Sharon said.
“I understand.” Terry replied.
“Can you do something else for me? Can you find something that will prevent him from falling out of my bed?” Sharon asked.
“Sure Hon.” Terry answered. She understood why Sharon wanted him to sleep with her.
A few minutes later, Terry brought a long pad that she slipped over the bed rails on one side of Sharon’s bed.
Sharon interrupted Billy’s nursing to get his wet diaper changed. Once he was dry, she moved the IV pole with his feeding bag on it over to the bedside, grabbed a couple clean diapers and the wipes, and headed to the bed. Laying down, she positioned Billy on his side, facing her and offered him her nipple.
As he began nursing, she watched his eyes. He had done what she asked him to. He was her little baby again. She hoped that for a little while, he would stay an infant in order to get him home and into a routine that would offer him security.
Slowly, his eyes began to droop as he became sleepy. She gently covered him with the blanket, kissed him on his forehead and fell asleep holding his diapered bottom.