LittleMatt's The Error - New Chapters May 2022

Re: LittleMatt’s The Error (incomplete)

Actually, the black box thing doesn’t mean that. Well in this case it does, but it actually applies to any account that hasn’t been logged into for 180 days unless it’s in one of a few specific usergroups. It only meant that before because every account that hasn’t logged in since the upgrade is considered to have not been used since January 1st, 1970 00:00:00 UTC.

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Please update LittleMatt! We need an ending to this wonderful story!

Well I keep hoping that the story will be updated and it will end us, it’s been several years since LittleMatt’s last connection but hope is the last thing that dies.

Hope is well and good, but I can confirm that his email address randomly bounces messages from the board so I’m not sure if he’s even still checking his email address other than to clean it out once in awhile.

I asked him about it on Daily Diapers, and he is still hoping to finish it one of these day, for the info. :wink:

Well unless he contacts me via email he’s not going to be able to post it here. Discourse deactivated his account due to too many hard bounces on his email address in the past 60 days so it will require manual intervention on my part to get him back into his account.

That’s okay. He will just have to post it on the dailydiaper board.
I just wanted people who are still hopeful for a follow up to know there’s still some chance, and that he’s reacheable over there.

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It’s not that hard to fix his account, and quite frankly, I’m really fucking tired of people being told to go to dailydiapers for updates. That shit is getting old.

No ill intention on my side. You mentioned a problem, so I proposed a solution. Best outcome of course would be for the story to be on both. :slight_smile:

Sorry. Just a bit irritated lately because that particular solution has been suggested a lot by people who just don’t want to learn how to work around a few of Discourse’s quirks. And most of the ones that are an issue I have an automated method of fixing them. :slight_smile:

When @LittleMattt is ready, it will actually be easy to get him back into his account. I just need a working email for him so I can unlock his account. It’s just been so long since his last login that the automated system won’t work in his case. :slight_smile:

I’m really sorry I struck such a chord. I have to admit I’m a complete lurker except for this thread and a handful of others.

Little Matt account being unlocked here of course would be great.

The point of my message is just to let it be known that LittleMatt is still around and reacheable, to fans waiting for an upgrade here, as feedback and encouragements to an author are always greatly appreciated.

Lost access to my old account, so here with a new one.

I’ve already posted this over on Daily Diapers. But I figured I ought to post it here as well.

I’ll be posting bit by bit with the goal of finishing this in the next several months. I’ve already written ahead and am nearly done.

Chapter 19

By late morning at preschool Tom had thoroughly engrossed himself in his favorite toys and he felt a twinge of disappointment as his teachers began herding the children together to begin practicing their Founder’s Day song. He reluctantly trudged toward the piano where a smiling Mrs. Peterson greeted her students.

“OK children” she said clapping her hands together “Today we’re going to learn a new song for all our mommies and daddies. Is everybody ready?”

Tom looked down at his feet and wished he was somewhere else while his classmates all voiced their enthusiastic ascent. Mrs. Peterson plucked out a few notes on they keyboard and began leading the class through the song. The other preschoolers followed along repeating the lines after her while Tom tried to stay unobtrusively in back, moving his lips but barely paying attention at all.

He felt a tug on the strap of his shortalls as Mrs. Hansley pulled him aside to check his diaper. “You don’t need a change, why are you so cranky today?” She asked him quietly.

“I just don’t want to do this song. Can’t I do something else?”

“Don’t be shy.” She said placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder “Think of how proud your mommy will be when she sees you singing.” She turned him back around and knelt beside him. “Just sing along with me.”

Tom, knowing he could no longer get away with faking it, finally paid attention to the words.

“Concordia parvae res crescunt.” Mrs. Peterson sang.

Tom gave Mrs. Hansley a puzzled look.

“It’s Latin” she explained. “Some of the words are kind of big, just follow along and do your best.”

The phrase repeated several time and Tom tried his best to remember and pronounce the words.

“Crescat scientia vita excolatur” continued Mrs. Peterson.

Tom took a moment to wonder what the kids in higher grades were doing and be thankful this was all he had to face. He struggled on through the rest of the song taking some small comfort in the fact that his classmates had some difficulty as well. The class moved on to snack time and Tom pondered how he’d ever learn this song as he ate his milk and cookies.

By the time his mother was taking him home he had a plan, he’d fake sick the day of the performance. He wouldn’t embarrass himself stumbling over some preschool song in front of an audience.

“So how did the rehearsal go?” She asked as she pulled out of the parking space.

“OK I guess he said” he looked over at his mother, the woman who bathed him and changed his diapers, and abandoned his guardedness “Some of the words are really hard. I don’t know if I can even remember them.”

“You’ll do great I’m sure, I’m just so proud of you.”

Tom watched out the window for a few moments before turning back to her “Are you really proud of me?”

She looked genuinely shocked at his question “Of course I do sweety. You’re learning so much and adjusting to all this new stuff so well. I can’t wait wait to see you show everybody else too.”

“Thanks mom” Tom thought for a moment “I’ll do my best for you.”

She smiled at him at him and gave his hair a ruffle “I know you will.”

His thoughts of faking sick began to melt away. He could almost see himself singing his heart out alongside his fellow preschoolers and making his mother proud.

After dinner he sprawled himself out in front of some cartoons and played with his small but burgeoning collection of toys while his mother relaxed with a book. Even if she wasn’t actively watching him, knowing she was close gave him a certain peace of mind.

She noticed him looking back at her. “Do you need a change?” she asked raising an eyebrow.

Tom shook his head “No, I don’t think so.”

She smirked skeptically and sat down to give him a check.

“What do you know? All dry and clean. What were you glancing around for?”

Tom laughed at his mother’s teasing and shrugged his shoulders “Nothing.”

She took one of the straps of his shortalls and rolled him onto his back. Grinning she placed a finger to his side.”Are you sure you don’t want to tell me”

“Mooom” Tom half-groaned half-laughed.

She slid a hand under his shirt and reached under his arm giving him a light tickle. “I’m not really even ticklish anymore” Tom said even as he began to squirm a bit.

“Oh really?” She said as she tickled faster. “Then this won’t do anything at all” She laughed as she twitched her finger across his skin.

Tom resisted momentarily before breaking into giggles and trying to roll away.

“You seem pretty ticklish to me.” She said grinning as she withdrew her attack.

“Maybe a little bit.” Tom said as he caught his breath.

She checked his diaper again “More than just a little” she laughed “It’s probably time to get you ready for bed anyway.”

She got him out of his newly soaked diaper and into a nice warm tub.

“I got something for your room” she said as she started scrubbing his back.

“Really, what is it?”

“You know how you were worried about putting the sides of your crib up?”

“Yeah?

“Well I got something that will let me know if you need me for anything.”

“You mean a baby monitor?”

“Well we can call it a kid monitor if you prefer, but yes. Now lift your arm for me honey” Tom complied and she gently soaped up his side “You don’t mind do you?”

“I guess not” Tom said resignedly.

“Good boy” she said as she squirted a dollop of shampoo into he hand “I know you’re probably disappointed about needing these things, but I just want to make sure you’re safe. And it can’t be that bad knowing I can keep an eye you can it?”

Tom looked down, wondering for a moment if she could read his thoughts.

She saw the bashful smile creeping across his face “I didn’t think so. Now close your eyes.” She lathered his hair. “I need to get you in for a hair cut soon” she commented as she worked.

Tom stepped out of the tub and into the warm thick towel his mother was holding. She dried him off and ushered him into his room. She gave him another pass over with the towel before lifting him onto the changing table. Tom was momentarily surprised by the increasing ease with which she was able to help him up. But his attention was soon diverted to the new device sitting on a table next to his crib.

“It’s got a camera too” She said as she retrieved a thick night-time diaper from the diaper stacker. She slid it under his freshly scrubbed bottom, taped it in place, and dressed him in his Pjs. “Now how about a bedtime story?”

She sat in the rocking chair and motioned for him to sit in her lap. He settled in while she took a book from the table “There’s one more thing” she said getting one of the bottles he’d had at Mrs. Burke’s house from the table as well. “I heard you like these.”

“Thank you” Tom said slightly embarrassed but thankful for the treat.

She began to rock gently as she held the nursing boy in her arms and read from the colorful pages. Tom barely followed the story. He was tired and the rocking was already lulling him to sleep.

She paused “Are you ready for bed sweety? We can finish this book later.”

Tom just nodded and rubbed his eyes.

Karen smiled “OK, up you go.” She rose from the rocking chair, helped him into his crib. Through the encroaching fuzziness of sleep Tom again noticed how easily she did this, his own effort was scarcely required.

She pulled the blankets up to his shoulders and after making sure his teddy was within reach she handed him his still half-full bottle. “Now if you need me you can just call alright?”

“OK mom.” Tom replied.

“Good night.” She kissed him the forehead and raised the rails into place.

“Good night mom” Tom said nestling himself into place.

She turned off the lights on the way out the door and Tom was left gazing through half-closed eyes at the dimly glowing light from his baby monitor. He could remember a time it would have been an unbearable intrusion. Now he seemed adrift in and endless sea of babyhood and the idea of there even being a shore faded further away every day. Some part of him still wanted to be a big kid to the outside world, but here at home this felt right. He drank from his bottle while he contemplated these things and was disappointed when the sweet warm formula ran out. He let the empty bottle roll from his hand as he fell asleep.

Some time in the middle of the night he came half awake and found a full bottle in its place. He smiled as he took it to his lips.

Chapter 20

From the passenger window Tom watched the world pass by, busy with it’s morning routines. Adults rushing to their cars, teenagers loping their way to high school, kids waiting for buses, lives distant from his own.

Up in the sky he spotted something that at first glance looked a bit like a hot-air balloon. He looked closer mystified by the floating contraption. It was suspended from a balloon, like what he’d seen before, but below hung a brightly glinting mass of silver gears. It seemed able to propel it’s self back and forth with ease.

He watched in wonder as his mother pulled into the school parking lot. He unfastened his seat belt amd climbed out of the car as the craft disappeared behind the building. Without a second thought he stepped behind the car where he could get another view.

“Tommy!”

There was a squeal of breaks and a car came a hard stop just short of where he’d inattentively stepped into traffic. He stared at the car in shock for a moment before his mother pulled him aside, giving the driver a wave and an apology.

He looked up at her and saw the nearest thing to anger he’d seen in a long time. He averted her gaze and pointed off to the strange thing making it’s way toward the horizon “I’m sorry, I was just trying to watch that thing over there.”

She took a deep breath, looked up at the odd object, and back at her son. Her expression softened into sympathy. “It’s OK baby, I’m not mad. But…” she trailed off before kneeling down “You still have a lot to take in don’t you?”

Tom nodded, wanting nothing more than to win her approval again.

She put a gentle hand to his chin and gave him a soft but serious look. “From now I want you hold my hand whenever we’re around cars. OK?”

Tom nodded eagerly.

“And whenever else I ask” she raised a finger to make a point “And no arguing, just do it when I say.”

“OK, Mom.” Tom said.

“I was thinking that I should do some more more things to keep you safe anyway.” She stood and extended her hand.

Tom took it without any further prompting. She led him by the hand all the way into the building and into his preschool class. She chatted for a few moments with Mrs. Peterson, still keeping his hand in hers.

Tom looked around at the classroom he could have already been running off to, but knew he had to stay in place. Eventually she let go and put a hand to his shoulder. “Good boy, just hold my like that from now on.” She gave him a good-bye kiss “I’ll see you later sweety.”

Tom watched her walk out the door his mood buoyed a bit by her praise. He was a bit embarrassed that it meant so much to him, but he just couldn’t help himself. He turned around and joined his classmates, sitting on the sprawling carpet and playing with toys. Before long he was collared for a diaper check, found wet, and taken to be changed.

“Were you having a little trouble with the song yesterday?” Mrs. Hansley asked as she unsnapped his shortalls and pulled them down.

“Sort of, it’s just that the words are kind of weird.”

She nodded as she untaped the sodden diaper “I thought so.” She tossed the diaper away and grabbed a fresh one from beneath the table. “I think I have something that will help. Just let me finish and I’ll show you.”

Tom waited while his bottom was cleaned, powdered, and lowered onto a fresh diaper.

She snapped his shortalls back into place, set him down on the floor, and again reached under the table to retrieve something. Tom watched as she clipped a ribbon with pacifier at the end to his shirt.

Tom looked at it skeptically. “How is that going to help?”

She took it and held it up for him to see. He could see soft colored lights twinkling beneath the translucent outer layer. “This helps children like you say some of those big complicated words.”

“How?” Tom asked.

She tried to explain something about muscles in his mouth and tongue as simply as she could but it was well over his head.

She held it up to his lips “Do you want to give it a try?”

Tom thought for a moment and cautiously took it in his mouth. Almost by instinct he started sucking on it. Immediately it was relaxing, he was reminded of lying in his crib with a bottle. But there was something else, a small pleasant tingle that he guessed was a sign it was working.

“I thought you might like it.” Mrs. Hansley smiled. “Now go join the other children. It’s story time” She turned him around in their direction and gave him a gentle swat on the bottom to send him on his way. Tom found a spot among the other preschoolers and sat with his pacifier in his mouth as Mrs. Peterson began reading the day’s story. He sucked contentedly, feeling peaceful and calm. Around him many of his classmates were doing the same, some even beginning to nod off as nap time approached. And in a few moments they were all herded over to the cribs and tucked in.

Tom lay in his crib with is eyes closed and continued to enjoy his new paci as the lights were dimmed and his teachers turned on soothing lullaby music.

He awoke from his nap feeling especially refreshed. He was changed into a dry diaper and sent to play for a while before the class was again assembled to practice their song. He thought of how much his mother was looking forward to this and tried as best he could. It was still difficult but he could feel the words somehow slipping just a little easier from his mouth.

Late in the afternoon he was playing with a toy train when he heard his mother’s voice behind him.

“How you doing there.” She said

“Mom! You’re early” he said with surprise and impulsively gave her a hug.

She laughed and hugged him back “I thought we might get started on the weekend a little early. So what’s this?” She said looking at the pacifier hanging from his shirt.

“That’s just to help me learn the words to the song” he said blushing “I only use once in a while.”

She smiled “I bet.”

As they exited the building Tom took a few long strides toward the car before he heard his mother clear her throat. He stopped and put out his hand.

“Just try to remember, OK sweety?” she said before leading him on to the car.

“Now there’s one small change I’ve decided to make.” She opened the rear door to reveal a car-seat positioned on the back seat. “I really should have done this earlier, you’ll be much safer back here.”

He cast a glance around the parking lot, wondering who could be watching. This was still the sort of public babying he still felt some resistance to.

“But I like seeing things from the front” he said taking a half step back.

“The view will be even better from higher up.” She said nudging toward to the car.

Tom took a breath and stepped forward and tried climbing in but found it awkward.

“Need some help?” His mother asked.

“Maybe a little” Tom replied as he tried to negotiate the climb.

He was surprised to feel his mother’s hands grab him from behind, lift him off the ground, and adroitly deposit him in the seat. He looked at her in shock. This was the first time she’d helped him up without any participation on his part. He wondered if she’d been holding back, letting him feel more independent than he was.

“There’s a really good gym at work.” She said, noting his astonishment.

She quickly brought secured straps over his shoulders, across his waist, and between his legs; fastening them together in a small hockey-puck like contraption. One look at the strange mechanism and Tom knew he had no hope of either doing it or undoing it himself.

“Comfy?” She asked

Tom nodded.

“Better than that seat up front huh?”

Tom wasn’t prepared to admit it yet, but it was. In fact it seemed shaped just for him. “It’s OK” he offered.

She smiled. “Good to hear. I should have done this a long time ago.” She paused and smoothed his hair “I thought we could go to the toy store and then get some dinner. Would you like that?”

“Yeah.” Tom said, perking up enough at the mention of the toy store to put aside the slight embarrassment over being stuck in a car seat.

“OK then, let’s go.” She shut the door and walked around the driver side of the car. As the the car pulled into traffic he acquainted himself with this new feeling. His feet dangled in the air, the harness held him snugly in his new softly padded seat. He felt safe. And his mother was right, his elevated perch gave him a better view of his surroundings. He was quickly absorbed in watching the world go by from this new vantage point.

The car came to a stop in toy store parking lot. Tom couldn’t help it, he loved the toys he found in this town, and he was excited to find a new one. His mother came around to the side of the car.

“Need some help? She asked already reaching for the latch.

“Yes, please” Tom responded a little more eagerly than he wanted to.

She chuckled slightly and easily undid the restraints before lifting him from the car and setting him on the ground.

Tom turned in the direction of the store but just before he could bound off toward the store he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder.

“What did I say to do?”

He stopped and took her hand. “Sorry mom.”

“That’s OK honey. But it’s really important so you don’t get hurt.”

She escorted him to the stores entrance and turned him loose on the aisles of brightly colored amusements. As he roamed through the store taking in all the exciting possibilities, he same across an intriguing display. A set of odd looking building blocks had been constructed into a sky scraper with working lights. As he looked closer he saw it could be opened to reveal rooms, and even a working elevator.

He snatched up a box and hurriedly trotted over to where his mom was chatting with the college-aged woman at the counter. “Mom, I think I found something.”

She took the box and inspected it for a moment. “I don’t know, this is kind of expensive. “ she said in a half-kidding tone “Are you sure you’re going to remember to hold my hand?”

He squirmed as he saw the clerk hold back a chuckle. “Mooooom” he groaned.

“Are you?”

“Yes, I promise” he relented.

The new toy was scanned and payed for. She handed it back to him

Tom grinned as he took the box.

“Have fun” the clerk said as she gave gave him a wave.

As they stepped out of the store Tom reached for his Mother’s hand.

“Good boy” she said giving his hand a gentle squeeze “I knew you’d remember.”

Tom was already happy to get his toy, but even the mild praise made him feel a little flutter.

He was led back to the car, set in his car seat, and fastened in.

“Would you like to go get some pizza? There’s a place I heard of you might like.”

“Yeah pizza sounds good.”

Tom’s eyes widened as they arrived at their destination. A towering wall of swirling blinking lights advertised “Barnaby Bear’s Pizza Palace.” A giant animatronic bear smiled and waved into the distance above the words “Pizza, Games, Fun.”

He continued staring as he was lifted out of his car seat and sat down on his feet. The lights shimmered for a moment and slowly transformed themselves into an animated scene of Barnaby Bear playing in a band alongside another character. Tom blinked as he watched it somehow transform into 3D.

“Neat huh,” his mother said as she took his hand.

“I bet this place is really cool inside,” Tom enthused as he tugged with a bit of excitement on her hand.

She chuckled at his evident enthusiasm. “Well lets go get a table.”

And together they walked toward to the entrance.

Hey there. Regarding losing your account, I’d recommend sending a message to @support as it may be possible to get that sorted out.

Please note, I’m not making promises as I don’t know the details on any of your account, nor do I have access to anything to help you get it back. :slight_smile:

@Danni is the one who might be able to help with that.

(Also, if I’ve directed you to the wrong location to get support, that’s on me as I can’t remember if it’s been said before and I’m too tired to go searching.)

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Wow, you’re still around. Congratulations on the long-running story and good on you for committing to steer this one into port. (Seems like we’re getting close because there’s basically no maturity left for Tom to lose)

This is maybe (one of the?) only diaper stories I’ve read where I’m really curious to know the twist. What exactly is going on in Kiddie Town? Anyway the world building is great, thought I’d log in again to give my two cents of encouragement.

Chapter 21

They walked inside and were greeted by a smiling hostess.

“Welcome to Barnaby Bear’s,” she said “table for two?”

Tom glanced around. Two entrances led off from the lobby. From one labeled Barnaby’s Big Canyon came a cacophony of digitized explosions and the shouts of older children. From Little Bear Valley from a gentler wave of beeps and bells and happy giggles of preschoolers.

The hostess looked at Tom in his shortalls with a pacifier dangling from his shirt. “I’m guessing you want Little Bear Valley?”

Tom looked up at his mom. He wondered what her response would be, but he was pretty sure he knew the answer.

She thought for a moment. “What do think hon?”

Tom was surprised. He wasn’t sure what to say. Little Bear Valley looked more inviting but he couldn’t quite admit it. “I want to try Big Canyon,” he said with some hesitation.

The hostess looked to his mother for confirmation. “I think we’ll try being big tonight,” she said with a hint of skepticism.

“OK, just follow me” she gathered menus and headed for Tom’s chosen section. As they came through the entrance Tom saw why they called it a Canyon. From the top of a spiraling staircase, he had a full view of a vast cavernous arcade from which a chaotic din roared. Down below elementary school-aged children ran rambunctiously through a maze of complicated-looking arcade games. Their parents were seated in another section leaving their kids to play independently and free of supervision. It was a view into a world Tom had almost forgotten about. Suddenly a pang of worry gripped him. He hesitated at the top of the stairs. His mothered paused “Something wrong?” she asked.

He looked at the ground “I think… maybe Little Bear Valley would be better” he admitted.

His mother smiled “This does look pretty crowded, let’s try the other room.”

Tom was surprised to feel more relieved that he had the option than embarrassed that he took it. He followed the two adults as they reversed course and headed for the other room. There they found a wide-open space, filled with colorful games and other activities. Small children happily ran about playing among themselves, some nestled for a rest in their parents’ laps. From a stage featuring The Barnaby, Bear Band came happy music.

The tables were long with bench-like seating allowing families to mix as their children found new playmates. The hostess led them to a table. As they sat down she knelt next to Tom and strapped a watch-like device to his wrist. “This will let you play all the games and there might be a surprise later.”

He thanked her and after his mother had ordered a large pepperoni pizza she left with a pat on his head. Tom almost immediately started to head over to the games.

“Wait,” she called after him “Just come here for a sec sweety.”

He walked over to her she quickly checked his diaper. “You’re fine for now. Go have fun.” She gave him a swat on the bottom as he hurried off to play.

He spotted an odd-looking machine at the edge of the play area. It had no monitor, no controls, nothing that would give it away as an arcade game aside from the label “Rescue Rick” emblazoned on the side. He walked over to it curiously and examined it for a moment. He stepped carefully onto a small platform in front of the strange thing. Almost without thinking, he waved his wrist over the round pad that protruded from the front. The machine beeped but nothing else happened. He’d decided it was broken when a helmet suddenly lowered onto his head. A goggle-like device fit itself across his face. He blinked and took a moment to focus. He was in a brightly colored cartoon world, as he moved his head around the scenery followed.

As he took it all in he became aware of a voice encouraging him to reach out his hands. As he did he saw two animated hands stretching in front of him. He moved his hands around and wiggled his fingers. Somehow his cartoon world hands moved in sync. A fire hydrant materialized in front of him and instinctively he took a step towards it. He could feel the platform gliding beneath him like a treadmill and he moved forward in the virtual world.

This was the most amazing video game he’d ever seen. The goal, he quickly learned, was to attach a hose to the hydrant and then put out a fire in as little time as possible. It was very clearly geared toward a preschool sensibility. With a cheerful dalmatian tagging along to offer advice and encouragement. But everything about it simply appealed to him. After a few rounds of increasing difficulty, he finally failed to beat the timer. A voice from the speaker gently broke the news and praised his efforts before the helmet was lifted from his head, bringing him back to the real world.

For the next short while, he sprinted from machine to machine. Tom knew his friends back home would have dismissed them all for being too cutesy, too babyish. But he was having far too much fun to care. He was so caught up in play that he was slightly startled to feel a hand on his shoulder.

“Having fun sweetheart?” his mother asked.

He nodded enthusiastically as she knelt beside him.

“It sure looked like it.” She checked his diaper and nodded. “I thought you were looking a little droopy. You’re just about to leak. Let’s take care of that,” she said taking his hand.

Reluctantly Tom allowed her to lead him from his fun towards the changing room located conveniently just off the main area. Inside were several changing tables, some already occupied by toddlers being changed. She lifted him onto a table and paused for a moment. Smiling she took his pacifier and popped it in his mouth. “You’ve been playing really hard, just relax a moment baby,” she said.

As she started gathering all the necessary supplies from the diaper bag the door opened again and a tall smartly-dressed woman entered trailed by a boy excitedly relating a story about one of the video games he’d been playing. They walked over to the one available table next to Tom and his mother. As he was lifted into place he pointed a pudgy finger at Tom and exclaimed “That boy is in my class!”

Tom blushed slightly. He was getting used to being changed in front of other people, but to be pointed out was new. He meekly returned the boy’s enthusiastic wave.

The woman looked at Tom nursing his pacifier and smiled. “Cute” she commented “I wish I could get mine to take a paci sometimes” she joked as the boy continued to chatter on.

“Thank you,” Karen said as she pulled Tom’s pants to his ankles “He’s cute too. I’m sure he’ll grow up to be a great conversationalist.”

“Oh no, don’t even say 'grow up,” the woman chided kiddingly “I’m not ready to lose my baby yet. I just love having a little one to look after. One minute you’re teaching them linear equations and the next they’re out of the house.”

Karen nodded. “I feel very lucky.,” She said and smiled playfully at Tom. She shook some powder out onto her son’s bottom before setting it down on a fresh diaper. “I’m Karen Welton by the way. And this is Tommy,” she said as she taped the diaper onto the now blushing boy.

“Nicole Wilson and this is Josh. Nice to meet you.”

They continued to chat as they exited the changing room. Tom felt Josh tugging on his arm “Let’s go play in the ball pit” the younger boy suggested excitedly. He looked up at his mother skeptically. “You two go ahead and play,” she said letting go of his hand “I’ll come get you when the pizza’s ready.”

Tom wondered how a ball pit could be more fun than the games he’d already played. And while it was one thing to play alongside children like Josh when he had no other choice, this seemed different. Josh sprinted towards a glass booth and tugged open the door. “Come on” he shouted.

“Go on,” she encouraged again “I bet you’ll have lots of fun.”

Hesitantly, Tom followed him inside and took a seat amid the plastic balls, feeling rather unimpressed. Josh closed the door behind them and waved his plastic bracelet over the nearby reader. Suddenly he found himself sprawled out on the bottom of the pit as the balls beneath him lept into the air.

Josh giggled at his plight. “You’re supposed to stand up, silly.” He said.

Tom got up on his feet and looked around him in amazement as the multicolored balls began to swirl around the room. Josh squealed with delight as he dashed around. For a few moments, Tom just watched as Josh ran about the enclosure sometimes grabbing one from the air only to throw it back into the whirling current. Other times he’d plow through a cloud of the plastic things sending them ping-ponging into others. Tom stuck out an arm and let a few bounce off his hand before grabbing one and tossing it into the air. He watched it rejoin its peers and felt a grin cross his face. In a moment he had joined in right alongside his companion taking pure joy in the toddler-oriented amusement.

He’d completely lost track of time when he hear a gentle knock on the door. He turned to see both his and Josh’s mothers standing there. Josh quickly swiped his bracelet again and the balls fell back to the ground. The younger boy opened the door and hopped out chattering happily about his experience. Tom followed bashfully, knowing he’d let himself get caught up in something juvenile.

“You must have been having fun,” his mother said “You really didn’t hear me calling?”

“I’m sorry,” Tom said as they both headed back toward their table “I guess I just got caught up.”

“That’s OK. I’m glad you were having fun.”

As they approached the table Tom noticed two pizzas and two sippy cups alongside. “Mrs. Wilson and I were talking and we thought we could all sit together,” His mother explained.

It hardly mattered to Tom he was beginning to realize that he was starving. He sat down and the group began eating. The conversation drifted to and fro over various subjects until the topic of potty training came up. Tom tried to focus on the animatronic band that had just started playing but he couldn’t help listening in on what the two mothers were saying.

“I think it’s going to be a while before we’re even thinking about getting this guy in big boy pants.” She smiled at her son who sat enraptured by the show oblivious to the topic under discussion.

“Even then it might not stick” Karen averred “We hit a little snag and had to go back to diapers. And I think it might be some time before he’s out.”

Tom blushed a crimson red “Moooom.”

Nicole chuckled slightly “There’s no reason to be embarrassed. No matter how big you think you are all I see is a little boy like Joshy. He’s not embarrassed at all.”

“It’s just that…” Tom trailed off unsure of what his point was.

“You’re way too cute to be thinking you’re a big boy. You should just be happy you have a good mommy to take care of you.”

Tom just blushed brighter.

“That’s what I keep trying to tell him,” Karen spoke up “And sometimes I think you’re starting to get it,” she added poking him in the ribs.

Tom squirmed in his seat. To his relief, the music started to pick up causing the conversation to pause. Slowly he was finding himself more and more drawn into the show. The characters on stage were so lifelike, and the music was catchy. Before he knew what he was doing he was swaying along and even mouthing the words of the chorus. He glanced around the room and realized he was doing the same thing all the other children were doing. A sense of self-consciousness began to intrude on his fun until he noticed his mother smiling at him enjoying himself and continued doing as he was.

After a few songs, the music faded away and the stage lights dimmed. A happy voice came over the speakers “OK boys and girls it’s time to play Musical Catch,” Tom just gave a puzzled look around the room as all the other children began to eagerly raise their bracelets in the air. “Now everybody reach up really high, and whoever has the ball when the music stops wins a Barnaby Bear Teddy Bear.”

Tom sat frozen, unsure whether he should participate. “Go ahead honey,” his mother encouraged. And he hesitantly raised his arm. A jaunty tune began to play and to his astonishment, a blue ball of light began to bounce around the room from bracelet to bracelet monetarily causing each to vibrate and flicker.

The ball hit Tom’s bracelet three times, each time flying off towards another child’s. On the fourth time the music came to a sudden halt and his bracelet grew bright red.

Tom just stared in disbelief for a moment. The waitress who had shown them to their seat stepped out into the middle of the floor in front of the stage holding a small teddy bear and beckoned him over. Not knowing what to do next he looked to his mother. “Go on honey,” she said “You won.”

Warily he got up and slowly made his way across the floor. A wave of “awws” came over the room as he did. The waitress knelt as he approached. “And what’s your name,” she said into a small microphone before tilting it towards him. Tom looked over the crowd and saw the sort of gentle smiles one reserves for small children. He realized that no matter his size or age, they saw something truer about him. He breathed in slightly. “Tommy,” he said surprised at how naturally it came.

“Well congratulations Tommy, here’s your Barnaby Bear Teddy Bear.” the waitress said as she handed him a big brown teddy dressed in a flannel shirt. Tommy took it and quickly walked back to his mother to another chorus of “awws.”

She smiled at him as he sat down next to her. “That’s a cute bear,” she said as put an arm around him. Tommy nodded and smiled back at her. He set the bear in his lap and nestled up against her as he watched the rest of the show.

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Last chapter was missing a paragraph. Think I accidentally cut it in some last minute editing. It’s right where he wins the teddy bear. Sorry if that didn’t make sense.

Just a note to head off some confusion: This was originally reposted by JustMe a long time ago. As they have not been around in many years I changed the ownership of the actual story posts originally made by JustMe to @LIttleMatt so that he has control of them and can edit them as necessary. :slight_smile:

Can’t wait for more chapters please amazing story!!