Reunion

It’s Mumday. You know this because you’re in the Rainbow Room at Daycare, and you’re usually in the Rainbow Room on Mumdays. Just in case, you look up from your pile of plastic blocks on the floor and look at the far wall. Yup. There’s the rainbow, still on the wall in all eleventy colors. Pfft…as if this could be any other room. That meant this was Mumday.

Mumday was your day in the Rainbow Room. Toofsday was for the Caterpillar Room. Wessday was the Kitten Kat Room…and Fursday?..Fyeday…? Ummm… you stop yourself and start over. Mumday was for the Rainbow Room…ummm…huh?

Fursday and Fyeday didn’t matter anyways. They were so far away and a grown-up would remind you what room you got to play in when it was time for Fursday or Fyday anyhow. But today is Mumday, and that means you get to play in the Rainbow Room. You’re sure of that. The big pile of eleventy colored blocks proves as much. Daycare only had the big pile of eleventy colored blocks in the Rainbow Room. Everybody knew that.

It’s a little scarce here in the Rainbow Room this Mumday, at least in terms of playmates. Eleanor, in her super poofy pink party dress with white tights and black patent leather shoes has again taken to hiding in the pile of rainbow horses; her feet still sticking out. The pile moved ever so slightly with each breath she took, and it shook a little whenever she giggled to herself. Eleanor was fun to play pretend with, especially for fancy party stuff, but when she decided to hide in the rainbow horsies, there was nothing short of a grown-up that could get her out of the pile. And you are definitely not a grown-up.

Tyler and Madison were both on vacation. They’d been talking about it for weeks, and finally their Mommy and Daddy had taken the “twins” away. That meant they probably wouldn’t be back tomorrow or the day after that either. Tyler and Madison probably wouldn’t be back for forever. Your lip quivers a bit at this thought. You really like Tyler and Madison. They were two of your first friends when you came to Daycare and the grown-ups took away your big kid pants.

You look up from your pile of eleventy colored blocks- you really should be building something, you realize- and glance over to the T.V. corner. Rigby is sitting there, wearing nothing but his diaper, staring at the screen, mouth agape. A few minutes ago, he leaked, and couldn’t stop screaming, “I’M A BIG BOY!” so Miss Daycare Lady changed him, sat him down in front of the T.V. and held his head straight, focusing it at the screen until he stopped squirming and crying.

Even now, you could make out a few glistening teardrops on Rigby’s cheeks while the T.V. played songs for him.

“Ay-Bee-Gee-Lee-You-Can’t-Read. Be-cause-you-are-a-bay-bee.” You’ve long since memorized that song, and even without looking directly at the screen, you can imagine the funny shapes that go along with the song; “A” and the “B” and the “3” and the “:blush:”. If you had one complaint about Daycare, it was that they never showed any new cartoons. It was always the same silly songs and cartoons with bright flashy backgrounds in eleventy different colors. The songs were fun all the same, but would it kill the Daycare Ladies to have something besides “Five-little monkeys sleepin’ in a crib” or “Peter, Peter highchair feeder”? Rigby’s still kinda new, so the songs are still fun for him to watch. No point in ruining his fun, you decide.

As for you, you’re somewhere between Eleanor and Rigby (not that it’s Rigby’s fault…he leaked). Your Mommy and Daddy dressed you in a yellow onesie with orange socks pulled up to your knees. When you said that it made you look like a duck, all you got was your hair ruffled and a reminder that you’d ALWAYS be Mommy and Daddy’s little duckling. Even your diaper is decorated with ducks today. That must’ve been where Daddy got the idea when after he changed you this morning and dressed you. Such was life.

You pick up one of the plastic blocks and turn it over in your hand. “What am I gonna make today?” you ask the block. “What am I gonna make today?” Maybe a castle, or a high tower. You shimmy over to all fours, instead of your rump, and lean forward on your elbows. “What are you?” you ask the pile of blocks. “Show me…!”

A stern “ahem”, and a warning look from Miss Daycare lady makes you blush a little bit. Oops! You were being a little too loud considering you were playing by yourself. You refocus and whisper your demands to the blocks. “What am I gonna make you into?” And stare at the pile, feeling a case of builder’s block. You’re so focused, you almost don’t notice how warm your diaper is and the spreading wet spot making your crinkly clothes more squishier…almost.

Just when you’ve decided to go for the tried and true block-pony-dog-robot-thing, a new voice breaks your concentration. “LET ME GO! LET! ME! GO!”, you hear. As almost a force of habit, you look over to Rigby, even though the voice sounds nothing like him. Rigby is still placidly watching the T.V., his eyes unblinking while the screen flashes and screams the second chorus of “You’re a Super-Duper-Pooper.” For some reason, his face is turning a little pink.

“I’LL KILL YOU! I WANT A LAWYER!” The voice keeps ranting as you turn around towards the Dutch door to find the source. “I WANT TO TALK TO WHO’S IN CHARGE!” Huh, you think…guess Rigby isn’t the new baby anymore.

The little girl, and it’s definitely a little girl, is wearing a light baby blue dress that doesn’t really cover her diaper. Through her kicking and squirming in the grown-ups’ arms, as one Miss Daycare Lady passes her over the bottom door to the other Miss Daycare Lady, you see that not only do her socks match the color of her dress, but the frills on the ankles match the frills on the hem. Her white Velcro shoes are a bit plain, comparatively, but the frilly blue bows in her pigtails really bring the whole outfit together. “LET! ME! GO!”

Yup. She just got adopted. You can tell. The new babies who just got adopted are always super fussy and scared. It was tough at first, you remember, being the new baby. And even though you’re naturally shy, you feel the need to reach out.

Once she’s safely in the Rainbow Room, the Miss Daycare Lady puts the new kid down and walks away, hardly even looking back as the new girl starts pounding on the lower door, screaming all kinds of nasty. It’s a good thing her first day is in the Rainbow Room, you muse, idly playing with a block that was going to be part of the left foot of your horse-dog-robot.

New girl obviously needs her space, and to get this tantrum out of her system. Otherwise she’s never gonna learn to have fun. The Miss Daycare Lady in the Rainbow Room is okay with little ones having tantrums when they can’t control their feelings, as long as they’re not hurting nobody else. She hardly ever spanked, neither. The Miss Daycare Lady in the Rainbow Room is good like that.

Tantrum or not, though, you want to make friends with the new girl. You’re barely (barely) aware of the crinkle as you push yourself up from all fours and onto your feet, widening your stance as your diaper seems to have gotten a little more puffed out over the last few minutes. (How did they do that?) “I’M NOT A BABY!” the new kid cries as she whams the door with her balled up fists. “I’M AN ADULT! I’M A HUMAN ADULT!”

You smirk to yourself. Definitely a new baby. Definitely just lost her big kid pants. Definitely in denial. Well, you think, maybe that’s how you can help her. There’s something about her voice, and the way she carries herself. Something familiar. Vaguely familiar. “I DEMAND TO SPEAK TO-!“

“Jenny?”

A whirl of surprise, fists clenching ready to swing, and a jungle cat’s snarl greet you. That’s Jenny, all right. Her face softens a bit when she sees you, her eyes still not believing what she’s seeing.

Awkwardly, you twitch your mouth to the side and floppily wave at her, your hand dangling at the wrist. “Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy……”. Like a dog’s tail, your hand keeps waving for a few seconds after you’ve finished your awkward, awkward greeting. Just like old times.

Her face softens. Her eyes and mouth simultaneously go round. “It’s you!” She says. “It’s really you!”

She runs to you.

You run to her.

You meet in the middle, right out in the Rainbow Room floor.

Her embrace is tight, her heart his pounding. You can’t stop grinning. Hugs are nice. Hugs from a friend that you haven’t seen in a long time are even nicer. Finally, after much too long, you release each other. She looks into your eyes and opens her mouth to speak. “Not yet,” you tell her. “Follow me.” Taking her hand, the two of you waddle over to your old pile of blocks. Miss Daycare Lady will be less likely to interrupt you if you’re playing.

“Okay,” you say. “Now we can talk.” You bend over and hand her a few blocks. “Put these together while we talk. We gotta keep busy.”

Jenny seems to be following your train of thought. With fumbling, unpracticed fingers, she connects one plastic block with another, its peg going into its opposite’s hole. You do the same, but it’s more second nature to you by now; something you can do without even thinking. “It was awful,” she says.

“Yeah?” you say, before bending over and picking up another block to add to the stack.

Your old friend shudders, as if something is haunting her…or maybe she’s peeing…and recounts her tale. “I was just minding my own business, when the air started to…to…” she pauses, searching for the right word. “to shimmer. Like a mirage.”

“Uh-huh.” You’re searching for another block. Why were there so many one-prongs and so few three prongs?

“And this hand, this GIANT hand reaches out,” Jenny says, “and just grabs me.”

“A grown-up hand,” you correct her.

Your friend winces. “Grown-ups?” she says. “Is that what they call themselves?”

That’s what everybody calls them. That’s what they are. “Yup.” You reach down and hand her another block, an easy two prong. “Keep goin’.”

“So these…these…giants…these ‘grown-ups’…” For some reason Jenny says it a little differently than you do, but you can’t quite put your finger on how. “They strip my clothes off of me. I swear, they threw my bra and panties in a, like, a furnace or something!”

“Uh-huh.”

“And then I’m in a bath…”

“Seems accurate…”

“And all of my body hair comes off in the bath…”

“Me too…”

“And then they…they put a…” she mouths the word “diaper”, “…on me, and then force feed me a bottle of this stuff…and they burp me…”. Jenny’s starting to shake. She’s about to go into a full tantrum. “And then they put me in…in…” she gestures to the cute outfit that she’s wearing, her face contorting into a mask of pain, anguish, and general fussiness.

Gently, you take her blocks from her and add them to your own, setting them down on the floor. The tower is starting to get big enough to where it’ll stand on its own. The dog/horse/robot thing can wait. Quality time with your friend is more important. You give her a hug, and gently rub her back, just like Mommy does when you start to get fussy, thinking about the Before Time.

When she stops shaking on the inside so much, you shift around and rest your forehead on hers. A comforting, intimate gesture that allows you to look her in the eyes. “That all happened to me too.”

Jenny sniffles, a bit. “Yeah…I…I kinda figured…”

“Bein’ adopted is tough-“

You were about to add ‘at first’, but then your old friend recoils a bit, looking at you warily. “Adopted?”

“You know,” you say to her. “When the grown-ups grab you and throw away your big kid pants.”

“Do you mean, ‘abducted’?”

Your lip pouts out as you think about it. “Yeah. I guess so.”

Jenny steps away from you and tries to smooth over her dress in a vain attempt to cover her diaper. A small hint of a smile glances across your lips as you notice the gesture and nostalgia overtakes you. You remember when you tried to hide your diapers, too. That was a long time ago. “How long have you been here?”

Your shoulders bob up and down in the briefest of shrugs. “Just a little bit. I haven’t even had naptime yet. Daddy dropped me off here on the way to his job at the business factory.” Then you correct yourself. “MY Daddy dropped me off to work.” (Though wouldn’t it be cool if Mommy and Daddy adopted Jenny, too?)

Your old friend looks worried. “I don’t mean how many hours,” Jenny says. “I mean…is this where you disappeared to?”

“I guess so.” You say. Your tummy feels kind of funny, and without thinking you give a little push. “Why?” Coincidentally, the back of your diaper starts to fill up. The warm mess is always a little smelly, but it feels good on your bottom.

“Why?!” Jenny seems offended for some reason. “Why?! You’ve been missing for over a year! We all thought you were dead!” She frowns and crosses her arms, turning a little bit away from you. “I cried at your funeral.” Sheesh. It’s not like you called her a poopy head or something. What’s the big deal? Meanwhile, the back of your diaper keeps getting mushier and mushier. That was the best part about onesies: it was almost impossible for your diaper to sag.

You try putting your hand on her shoulder, but Jenny just shrugs it off. “I’m sorry,” you say. “I didn’t mean to-”

Jenny’s nose wrinkles, and she interrupts you. “Did you…did you poop your pants?” The color is draining from her face and she looks more worried than before.

You stifle your own laughter. “No!” Silly Jenny! The grown-ups took your big kid pants away, just like her!

“But…are you pooping?”

Hmmm? You’d never thought of it like that before. You sit down, feeling the mush in the back of your diaper spread out and thin itself. “I dunno…maybe…”

“Oh God,” she says, looking at you with pity in her eyes, like she’s better than you, like she’s some kind of grown-up. “They really did a number on you, didn’t they?” A shadow falls over the two of you, and you see Jenny stare in amazement, her pigtails almost brushing against her shoulders as she cranes her neck up. A grown-up has come.

Miss Daycare Lady’s voice is deep and caring and full of love. “Uh-oh” she says in her wonderful sing-song, “I think someone’s stiiiiiinky!” Jenny’s hand immediately points at you, her other hand pinching her nose, as if to absolve her from the deed. But that kind of behavior only makes Miss Daycare Lady suspicious. They who smelt it, dealt it. She’ll learn. All babies do eventually.

From your spot on the floor you watch as Miss Daycare Lady reaches over you and picks Jenny up. You crane your neck backward and watch as the grown-up inserts two fingers into the leg holes of Jenny’s diaper. Jenny can only go rigid and lock kneed from nerves as the grown-up turns her over in her arms, lifts the hem of her dress and takes a peek down the back. “Dry and clean,” Miss Daycare Lady says, setting the new baby down.

Now it’s your turn. You don’t struggle as Miss Daycare Lady picks you up and pokes the front of your diaper, feeling it squish beneath her touch. “Wet,” she says. You don’t think to wriggle or complain over much when the grown up takes you over to a chair and lays you across her lap so that she can pull back the leg cuff of your diaper.

This was the downside of being dressed in a onesie: diaper checks were so much harder. “And poopy.” Huh. So Jenny was right. How about that? Neat. A few seconds later, you’re on your back, looking up from the padded mat of the Rainbow Room’s changing table. “Let’s get you taken care of.”

Out of habit, you fold your hands behind your head and let out a deep sigh as the grown-up unsnaps the buttons on your comfy yellow onesie, lifting you up enough to reveal the cute little duckies on your diaper. As the tapes are ripped off, you hear Jenny yelling at you from her spot on the floor. “SNAP OUT OF IT!” she cries out.

Snap out of it? Well yes, come to think of it. That’s how these things worked. The snaps came off, you were out of it, then you were in a new one, then the snaps went back on. You can’t ever remember Jenny being so clever from before.

You luxuriate in the feeling as the baby wipes are dragged across your messy tush, cleaning you, making you new again. Through orange colored socks, you wiggle your toes as wipe after wipe explores every nook and cranny of you, and this delights you in ways you can’t begin to describe. A giggle bubbles up as your front starts getting wiped. It always tickles a bit. You barely notice, Miss Daycare Lady’s so fast, the old diaper being slipped out, balled up, and thrown away while the new one is quickly slipped underneath you; never mind the fresh lavender smell of baby powder being sprinkled on for good measure.

A big goofy grin blooms on your face. It had always been hard for you, at least as far as you could remember, to tell when your diaper was wet or dry or messy or clean, but there was something unmistakably decadent about the feeling of a fresh diaper just as it was being taped on. A diaper change always just felt right.

For some reason though, Jenny’s not happy. You turn head and look to her, curiosity mixed with concern. She’s crying. “Please!” she calls out. “Don’t let them do this to you!” Do what? Then you see what she’s staring at and you realize the truth. As the giantess pulls up the fresh, crinkly diaper up between your thighs and begins to fasten on the tapes as she has done countless time before, a new, alien thought enters your consciousness.

THIS IS WRONG. THIS IS ALL WRONG!

“NOOOOOOOO!” You cry out. You start to kick and wriggle and squirm. “NO! STOP IT! NOOOOOO!” All you get for your trouble is a pacifier shoved into your mouth, and your thighs swatted as the impossibly gargantuan woman reaches back behind you and swiftly tugs the two ends of your onesie back together. You are Mommy and Daddy’s little duckling again, but now you’re so much more, and are poorer for it.

Jenny’s there for you the instant your jailor places you back on the Rainbow Room floor. “That was awful!” you confess, barely containing your sobs. You grip the baby blue sleeve of her dress, trying to contain your indignation.

“Oh thank God,” Jenny whispers. “You really are in there. It really is you.”

“How could they do this to me?”

“I have no idea, but we’ll get through this together. I promise.”

“I’m some kind of freak….”

“No, no, no, no,” she shushes to you, sounding so much like Mommy after you have one of your nightmares. “This isn’t your fault. Not your fault at all.”

“WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE TURTLES?!” you let out a sob.

“….Beg pardon?” Jenny seems confused, but how can that be? She saw the problem before you did.

“WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE TURTLES?” you bawl. “I HATE TURTLES!” Too embarrassed, you withdraw and hide your shame in your hands, sucking on your pacifier to calm yourself down.

Your friend stands back up. Her tone goes flat. “What are you talking about…?”

Red faced and cringing with embarrassment, you pat the abomination wrapped around your crotch. “I got a turtle diaper! I wanted duckies!”

“You’re…you’re upset because of the decoration on your diaper?”

You sniffle and lower your voice. Finally! “Yeah…”

“But…you’re diaper’s covered up. I can’t even tell what’s on it…”

Cheese and crackers! What was wrong with her? You take a drag off of your paci, look her dead set in the eyes, and in your most serious voice, you tell her your truth: “I’ll know, Jenny. I’ll know.”

Jenny puts her hand, gently on your forearms. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t get here in time.”

Sadly, you smile at her. “Thanks. I’m sorry, too.” Miss Daycare lady is back, and taking her hand, leading her away towards Rigby.

“I miss you,” she says, stepping away, toddling over to the T.V. Maybe it’s the curiosity of what cartoons are playing (they’re new to her), or maybe she doesn’t want to look at some kind of freak in a duck onesie and turtle diaper…but she breaks off her gaze and starts staring at the T.V. closer to the screen.

She squirms and grunts and groans a bit as Miss Daycare Lady makes her sit in front of the screen and holds her head street, but just like Rigby, just like you when you were first adopted, she can’t bring her self to scream. She can’t bring herself to drown out the wonderful catchy little educational songs. “Suck you thumb doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo; suck your thumb doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo; suck your thumb.” And soon after the first verse, Jenny’s not struggling any more. She’s watching the cartoons and sucking her thumb. Just like a good baby.

“I’ll see you soon,” you whisper into your pacifier. You watch as Miss Daycare Lady checks Rigby’s diaper, pulling it back and looking down, her nose wrinkling, but her lips smiling contentedly. Looks like Rigby needs changing too.

Jenny doesn’t even seem to notice, though. She’s too busy, learning the songs that you’ve long since outgrown, the songs you’ve already learned by heart, etched deep deep deep into your very soul. And deep in your soul, you’re happy. Soon enough, you’ll have your old friend back. She just needs to learn a few things.