I’m sorry you all had to wait this long for the next installment, Things have been crazy the last few days.
I hope you like this,
Shortly after seeing Billy’s nursery, Sharon had bid the girls all goodbye as they let themselves out. She was surprised that Billy was still wide awake when he stopped nursing. He pushed her nipple from his mouth and nuzzled close to her, bringing a warm feeling to her. She loved how close they were now. When she thought back to how things had been only a month ago, she couldn’t believe she had let them get that far apart.
“I love you sooo much!” she told Billy and then tickled his tummy.
Squealing with laughter, he tried to tell her “I love you too, Mommy!” with his baby noises broken up with big, sweet laughter as she tickled him again and again.
Sharon was glad he was awake. While he spent a good deal of his time close to her, nursing, they hadn’t had a lot of time to enjoy each other by playing. When Billy showed he’d had enough tickling by nuzzling again, Sharon picked him up, remembering that she hadn’t burped him, she set him up to pat his back. Smiling at him after he released air from his tummy, she kissed him gently on his forehead, and told him “You’re such a good baby.”.
Billy felt the warmth of her love all throughout his body, as he smiled a big smile for her. He loved her more than anyone or anything in this world. She was the center of his universe, with the warmth of a sun, and the light that made him smile.
“I think it’s time for you to play on your tummy for a bit Baby. We’ve got to help you to make your arms and neck stronger Sweetheart.” as she got up and laid him on the carpet. Seeing both his sets of baby keys, she put one on each side of his head, not close enough for his head to fall on them, but near enough for him to grab them if he wanted to try.
Billy lay on his tummy, his head turned to the left. Mommy had pulled his hands up so they were at the level of the top of his head. Instinctively, he pushed up with his arms and tried to pick his head up. It took two wobbly tries before he was able to hold his head up and turn to look at her smiling face.
“That’s my good baby boy. You did it!” Sharon told him with a big smile.
Billy giggled, he loved the sound of Mommy’s sweet voice. Within seconds, he was looking around, studying the room, lost in the wonders of infancy. Everything shiny or bright caught his eye. Pretty soon, his neck and arms were shaking with the effort to keep his vantage point.
Sharon quickly took the cloth diaper she had and placed it flat on the carpet where she knew he would lay his head soon. Watching, she saw his head wobble more and more before he gave up, laying his head down on the soft didee.
Billy lay there exhausted for a moment, the effort it had taken for him to hold his head up was immense. In his infantile mindset, he didn’t know or care why, but he was happy to nuzzle his face against the soft didee. A moment later, his baby keys caught his attention. With a huge effort, he reached out to them and managed to catch two fingers on the ring, before instinctively closing his hand tightly and bringing the keys to his mouth. It didn’t take long before he had worked one of the keys into his mouth and was contentedly nursing on it, exploring it’s surface with his tongue.
Sharon heard the doorbell again. She got up and went to the door to see who was there. Seeing a woman in a white nurses uniform, she remembered the home health nurse was supposed to see him this morning. Opening the door, she offered a smile and asked “Can I help you?”.
“Hi, I’m Regina Talbot. I’m supposed to see Billy today.” the nurse answered.
“Oh, hi Regina, I’m Sharon, Billy’s Mommy. Come on in.” Sharon responded.
As the nurse moved through the doorway, she said “Just call me Gina.”.
When Sharon had offered to take Gina’s coat and hung it up, they both walked into the livingroom where Billy lay nursing away at his keys.
“Isn’t he cute.” Gina said softly.
“Oh yes. He’s adorable.” Sharon said with pride.
Gina set her bag down and moved to Billy, and watched for a moment as he alternated between nursing his keys and giggling at the wonderful feel of the textures against his tongue. Moving into his field of view, she smiled and said “Hi Sweety, you love your keys don’t you?”.
“They’re one of his favorite toys.” Sharon told her. “This is his first time playing on his tummy, and he managed to keep his head up for a bit.” she added.
“Excellent. That will help strengthen his neck muscles. I recommend you put him on his tummy at least three times a day for ten minutes each.” Gina advised. “How is he eating?” she asked.
“Oh, he’s finishing a bag of formula every two hours or so, with the milk he nurses from me of course.” Sharon explained.
“Good. You might find he will want more as he spends more time on his tummy. It will increase his exercise, which will increase his need for calories. Let me get his vitals and then we can talk about where he’s at and how to help him get where he needs to be.” Gina said with a smile, as she went to her bag and retrieved her stethoscope and blood pressure cuff.
Within two minutes, she was done with taking his pulse, his blood pressure, and listening to his lungs and rolled Billy back over on his tummy. “His vitals are normal and his lungs sound great.” She informed Sharon. “I’m sorry.” She said to Billy as he started fussing. She picked up a ring of his keys and helped him wrap his hand around the ring, guiding one of the keys to his mouth.
A moment later, Sharon and Gina were sitting, discussing Billy’s situation while he lay kicking his legs occasionally as he sucked on his toy.
“From what I’ve read, Billy seems to have gone through a very difficult adjustment. In looking at him now, I see he’s a very happy little boy.” Gina said.
Just them Billy giggled loudly while kicking his legs. This made both of the women laugh.
“Yes, he doesn’t cry a lot, only when he’s hungry or scared.” Sharon agreed.
“How is his elimination? Any diarrhea or constipation?”.
“No, he does tend to have soft stools about twice a day. And he’s wetting probably six or seven diapers a day.” Sharon answered.
“So, eight or nine diapers all total per day?” Gina asked.
“Yeah, that sounds about right.” Sharon agreed.
“The wet diapers ever have a bad odor?”.
“No. Nothing out of the ordinary.”.
“OK, has he had any fever, or night sweats or anything unusual like that?”
“No. Nothing like that. If he’d had a fever I would have called Dr. Richardson immediately.” Sharon explained.
Gina smile and said “Good. Considering how all of this started, that would probably be the best thing to do.” then looked back at her clipboard and asked “Are you able to bathe him alright?”.
Sharon smiled and answered “Yes, it’s probably his favorite time. I use the bath seat they gave us at the hospital. The massage after with baby lotion is what he loves most.”.
“That’s not unusual. Babies usually love to be touched.” Gina responded with a chuckle.
Sharon noticed Billy had gone to sleep. She got up, picked up his blankie and gently covered him with it. Reaching down, she pulled the key he had in his mouth out and replaced it with his binky. He nursed on the pacifier for a moment as she sat back down.
The two women continued to talk about Billy for a while, Sharon filling in gaps in what Gina had read in his chart. An hour had passed before the doorbell rang. Sharon got up to answer the door.
Seeing Cathy as she opened the door caused Sharon to smile. The two embraced for a moment before walking into the livingroom. “Cathy, this is Gina, Billy’s home health nurse. Gina this is Cathy a friend of the family and Billy’s psychologist.” Sharon said introducing them.
The three talked a minute before Gina said “I need to be going, I have another appointment to make soon.” as she packed her things in her bag. “Can you sign off on this visit sheet before I go?” she asked Sharon.
“Sure.” Sharon said before looking over the sheet, and signing her name at the bottom. As she handed the clipboard back to Gina, she thanked her for coming to see Billy.
“No problem. You two have a good day.” Gina told them as she handed Sharon a copy of the form she just signed.
A moment later Sharon and Cathy sat down in the livingroom. “He looks like a toddler.” Cathy said with a smile.
“Yes, he sure does.” Sharon said as she gazed at his sleeping form, Billy’s mouth occasionally nursing on his binky.
Sharon spent forty five minutes explaining all that happened since they last spoke on the phone.
“How are you with all of this?” Cathy asked.
Sharon considered the question for a moment. “You know, I know it sounds crazy, but I’m glad in some ways that this all happened. I don’t think we’ve been this close as a family in a long time. Rick has been great, helping any way he can, and Becky has been very happy learning to help care for Billy. With the exception of a couple of incidents, Billy has been very happy.” Sharon answered.
Cathy smiled and told her “I don’t think it sounds crazy, it is unusual, but the situation is unusual so you have to adjust to what life gives you. But you didn’t tell me how you feel about where Billy’s at now.”.
Sharon thought about it for a moment and answered “I wish that he hadn’t had to have surgery, but I’m thankful that he’s where he’s at right now. It’s allowed us to bond again. I also think it’s made the whole ‘wanting to be a baby’ thing easier for him to deal with because he really has no choice in the matter for now. Physically, he is a baby in everything but size, and he’s not that far off at that. Heck, emotionally, he spends probably eighty percent of his time as an infant right now. The times I can see my nine year old are few and far between.”.
“Which makes you happier, when he’s an infant or when he’s nine?” Cathy asked.
Sharon looked at Cathy surprised for a moment. “I think it’s easier for him right now to be the infant. He gets frustrated when he can’t make his body work the way it’s supposed to. Why would you ask me that?” she said.
“Shar, I just want to understand where you are with this, that’s all. You didn’t answer the question though. I didn’t ask you what’s easier or better for Billy, I asked you which makes you happier, when he’s an infant or nine?” Cathy responded.
“Under the circumstances, it really doesn’t matter to me which he is. I love caring for him when he’s an infant, and I love seeing how much he loves being cared for when he’s nine. I don’t want to see him stay where he’s at, but I am glad that for the moment, there’s a need to care for him like a baby.” Sharon answered.
Cathy took a breath and let it out before telling Sharon “Shar, I asked you because with everything you’ve told me, I don’t think Billy is going to want to stop being babied as he gets better. Are you prepared for that?”.
Sharon hadn’t really thought much about that. She had considered it once or twice, but never really addressed the possibility because it wasn’t an issue at the moment.
When Sharon didn’t answer after a moment, Cathy said “You’ve told me that it will probably take a year or more for Billy to get back where he belongs. In that time, treating him like first an infant, then a toddler will become second nature. The question becomes what do you do when he resists moving past the toddler stage. How will you get him potty trained and wean him off the bottle or the binky if he resists that? I don’t expect you to have the answers to these questions now, but I do want you to think about them as time goes on.”
Sharon thought a moment about this and then offered “We did get him potty trained the first time, and we did wean him off of both his bottle and his binky. I don’t know that I will force the issue with the bottle or the binky at bed and nap times though, like we did before. I think this time, he will decide when he’s done with them. I think forcing the issue may be why this came up in the first place.” she started. “Also, with regard to potty training, when it’s time, and we can see that he can manage it, we’ll help him get trained. I don’t know that we can force that, nor if it would be good for him if we did.” she finished.
Cathy waited a moment before responding. “You’re right, pushing Billy to be dry when he doesn’t want to is not going to help him or you. I also think that letting him decide is the best path to take now. Eventually, peer pressure will help him to want to use the potty and to leave his binky and his bottle for private times. My goal is to help you understand what may come up, and how to deal with it. I am not here to tell you what to do, you’ve had enough experience with that. You are his mommy, you need to decide what is best for him, I truly believe that.” she explained.
“I tell you what, I have a family that I want you to meet. They have a son, eight years old, that wants to be babied just like Billy does. It might help you if you see how they dealt with things over time. Obviously, it doesn’t need to happen now, as Billy is functionally a baby, but when you’re ready, I will ask the mother if I can get you two together.” Cathy offered.
“Do they live in the area?” Sharon asked. She was curious.
“You know I can’t tell you that. Patient confidentiality won’t allow it. I have to get permission from the family before I do anything.” Cathy answered.
Billy chose that moment to open his eyes. When he saw Mommy, he smiled and made baby noises as he kicked his legs in excitement.
Sharon got up and picked him up. She sat back down, cradling him. Within two minutes, he was fussing for her breast.
As Sharon was about to cover him to nurse him, Cathy asked her softly “Can you please leave him uncovered? I want to watch him as he nurses.”.
Sharon complied by just lifting her shirt, uncovering her nipple and brushing it against his cheek. Billy quickly started suckling, laying his little hand on her breast, balled up in a fist.
Cathy watched both Billy and Sharon as he nursed. What she saw made her smile. “You know, I was worried that you would have problems with treating him like a baby. Watching you and he as he nurses, I have no concerns now. Tell me, how does it feel to have him back at your breast again after having grown apart for so long?”
Sharon was silent for several minutes as she thought about how to answer that question. Then softly she said “It’s incredible.” trying hard to voice her feelings. “When I first diapered him and he held his arms out and said ‘uppy’ to me, I didn’t think things could ever get better between us. When he ran to me on Christmas morning, I thought that nothing could ever touch the love I felt for this little boy, and again I saw no way to improve on our relationship.” she stopped a moment to wipe her eyes as memories played across the screen of her mind. “But when I held him in the hospital, nursing him for the first time since he was a year old, having been so afraid that I might lose him, the other two paled by comparison.” She said, her voice breaking then. Looking down at Billy suckling her nipple, eyes closed, feeling his mouth rhythmically moving against her, she felt a bond stronger than titanium between them.
“The closeness I feel to him is beyond words. It’s like being in love I guess, but ten times more intimate. When he took my nipple in his mouth and started to nurse, I felt like laughing and crying at the same time. Laughing because he made my heart feel like it swelled to ten times it’s size. Crying because I knew at that moment just what I had let slip away bit by bit.” Sharon continued.
Sharon paused a second to gather her thoughts. “I guess what I am trying to say is, I love him. I love him enough to help him be who he is, whether it’s an infant, a nine year old that wants to be cared for as an infant, or anything in between. If it means changing diapers, or filling bottles, or making sure that his binky and his blankie are near, then I’m fine with that. I love this little boy…this baby boy, with all my heart.” she finished as tears made their way south.