“Hee hee hoo hoo howwww!”
Jacob awoke to cavernous laughing. The sound was unmistakable and could only belong to one person: his uncle Marcus. The laughter boomed through the house, echoes reaching his quiet bedroom upstairs and waking him from a deep slumber.
Jacob wondered what time it was. He recalled saying goodbye to his parents much earlier in the night. They had been in a frenzy, running late for their big night out, his babysitter on the phone ordering the pizza that his mom would have usually already taken care of on any other date night.
Sitting up in bed, he could see a dim glow underneath his bedroom door. Listening more closely, he heard the voices of more than just Marcus. He could detect his dad’s deep, friendly voice, most likely in the middle of telling another joke that was sure to leave Marcus clutching his side from laughter. Even softer, he heard Marcus’ wife, Amy, chatting away with his mom and his babysitter, Veronica. She was likely just leaving for her own house, though some nights she would sleep over if his parents came home late enough.
“Thanks again, Veronica! Drive safely, honey, and we’ll see you next weekend,” he heard his mom announce, followed by the squeak of the front door closing.
“… And then she says, ‘That’s not my car, and that’s certainly not my monkey!’” his dad delivered the punchline of his joke.
“Hee hee hoo hoo howwww! You’re killing me, Brad! Lynne, how do you make it out of the house with this guy?” Marcus shouted to his mom. Jacob always wondered why they talked so loudly when they were right next to each other. And he didn’t think his dad’s jokes were that funny. Sam from school told much funnier jokes. He made a mental note to tell Marcus the ‘Orange you glad I didn’t say banana’ knock-knock joke next time he saw him. If Marcus thought his dad’s jokes were funny, that was would surely knock him out of his chair.
Jacob giggled to himself as he thought about the joke, swallowing his laugh so as not to let his parents know he was awake. It was surely far past his bedtime, after all. Upon swallowing, though, Jacob realized just how thirsty he really was. Veronica had poured him a glass of milk shortly before getting him ready for bed, but had forgotten to leave his usual water cup next to his bed. As the thirst chipped away at him, Jacob was faced with a dilemma: try and survive until morning, or see if his mom would bring up his water cup and risk getting in trouble for being awake so late.
He weighed his options as he continued listening to the conversations taking place downstairs. The talking was winding down, and it sounded like Marcus and Amy might be leaving soon. His window of opportunity was closing, and he decided that, being Amy and Marcus’ favorite nephew, they would surely help soften any of his parents anger at being up so late.
Jacob lifted his blankets off of himself and climbed over the railing of his firetruck bed, carefully stepping down onto the floor. Feeling around in the dark, he made his way to the dimly glowing doorway, stepping over toy cars and stuffed animals.
He twisted the doorknob and pulled the door open just wide enough to stick his head into the hallway. The dim glow of the lights was much brighter at the end of the hallway, and the voices traveled up the stairs more clearly now.
Jacob mustered up all of his courage and meekly called out for his mom. “Mooommmmy?” he called out. The conversation downstairs fell silent.
“Jakey, what’s wrong? What are you doing up so late?” his mom called back to him.
“I’m thirsty, Mommy. Can I have some water?” Jacob nervously asked from his doorway.
“Of course, honey!” his mom exclaimed, “come downstairs and say hello to your aunt and uncle and I’ll get you some water.”
Coming downstairs hadn’t been part of Jacob’s plan. He didn’t want his aunt and uncle to see him in his jammies. They were always talking about how he was such a big boy and how they were so proud of him. Surely that would all change if they saw him like this.
“But mommy, I’m in my jammies! Can you just bring it up to me?” Jacob pleaded.
“Oh, Jakey, surely your aunt and uncle don’t mind! Now come on down and say hello, sweety.” His mom would never understand. She saw him in his jammies all the time, but he didn’t want to display them to everybody in the whole neighborhood!
Sighing in defeat, Jacob pulled open his door and began treading down the hallway toward the stairs. As the light grew brighter, he looked down at himself. His cotton pajama pants were white with light blue stripes and fit snugly against his small legs. The matching blue shirt had a moose with sunglasses on it and ran just barely to the top of his pajama pants.
If he was being honest with himself, he wasn’t actually concerned about his aunt and uncle seeing his pajamas, but rather what he was wearing underneath them. If his shirt rode up even a little bit, you’d be able to make out the crinkly white and green waistband of his nighttime diaper. As he waddled down the stairs, he could feel the bulge of his diaper spreading his thighs apart slightly. Reaching the landing at the bottom of the stairs, he turned towards the kitchen and immediately made eye contact with his aunt Amy.
“There’s my little Jakey-poo!” Amy beamed, picking Jacob up by the waist and burying him in a deep embrace. “I can’t believe how big you’ve gotten since I saw you last.”
“Yep, the pediatrician says he’s grown 3 inches since his birthday,” his mother announced. “Still thin as a rail though.”
“Well, a few days eating like your uncle Marcus would surely plump you up,” his aunt teased sweetly as she carried Jacob the rest of the way into the kitchen, holding his bottom as he wrapped his arms around her neck and held his knees around her waist.
“Hey there, Jakey!” uncle Marcus rubbed Jacob’s disheveled, short brown hair as he retorted, “I’m only plump because your aunt is such a great cook. Isn’t that right?” Jacob smiled groggily, glad that the topic of his pajamas, and the contents beneath them, had remained out of the conversation.
His aunt lowered him onto the ground and he stood next to his mother at the kitchen sink while she filled a Finding Nemo sippy cup with water.
“I’m sorry we woke you, honey,” his mother said as she handed him his cup of water. “I’m sure you were sleeping like a baby before we got in.”
"Speaking of… " interjected his aunt, “I couldn’t help but notice a squishy crotch underneath those adorable jammies when I was carrying you over, little guy.” Jacob blushed as his aunt carried on. “Lynne, shouldn’t he have outgrown that by now? I can’t think of too many five year olds that still wear diapers.”
Lynne responded, “You’d be surprised, Amy. His pediatrician says it’s still pretty common at this age. And can you believe those aren’t even the largest diapers they make?! Our little soaker still has two sizes ahead of him if he outgrows these.”
At this point, Jacob’s cheeks were bright red as he stood next to his mother in the kitchen. His eyes began to well up and a lone tear dripped down his cheek as the feelings overwhelmed him.
“Look what you’ve done now, Amy,” Brad spoke up in a much less friendly voice, clearly disturbed that his sister in law had upset his son. “It’s not like Jakey can help it. He’s just a little boy! This happens!”
“I’m so sorry, Jakey-poo,” his aunt said, kneeling down to him, “That was an awfully hurtful thing for me to say. I think you’re just the sweetest little guy in your diaper and jammies and I love you so much.” She wiped away his tears and wrapped her arms around him until he calmed down. “Now, let’s get you back upstairs and tucked into bed. How does that sound?” Jacob lifted his head from her chest, looking her in the eyes and nodding.
“Hold on, Jakey. Let me just check out your diaper before you go back up,” Lynne said, kneeling down. She delicately pulled back the waistbands of his pants and diaper, peering in until she seemed satisfied. Then, she turned him around by the shoulders and squeezed the front of his diaper and in between his legs. Finally, she stuck a finger down the front of his diaper, nodding to herself.
“Well, he’s not dry,” she announced to the room, “but he’s not totally soaked, either, so I think he’ll be good until the morning.”
“Praised be,” his dad joked. Marcus grinned. “Now go get some sleep, Jakey.”
“We love you, pumpkin,” his mom added, sneaking a kiss on his forehead before he was scooped up by Amy.
“Goodnight, Jakey!” his uncle called out as he was leaving the room.
As his aunt carried him back up the stairs, Jacob sipped his water, feeling relieved that his aunt and uncle didn’t mind his little problem. His eyes drooped more and more as Amy carried him down the hallway, holding his bottom and patting his back. By the time she tucked him into his bed and kissed his forehead, he was already fast asleep.
“Goodnight, Jakey-poo,” his aunt whispered, “I hope you stay this cute forever.”