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Sharon took Billy back to his nursery to change him. She laid him down on the changing table, smiled and said “I’m very proud of you Baby, you could have forced Ricky to wear diapers for the rest of the day, but you didn’t. I didn’t even have to squeeze your leg to remind you. You couldn’t do that could you Sweety?”.
Billy gestured no. He had forgotten that Mommy was going to squeeze his leg, and was glad that he answered the way he did.
“You like being my baby boy, but Ricky would probably hate it if his mommy treated him that way. Did you notice that she was very careful not to talk to him like a baby?” she asked as she cleaned his bottom.
He moved his arms. Billy hadn’t noticed. He had watched as Ricky drank two bottles, wondering why she made him drink them. Billy’s hearing was still not right, and she had spoken softly, so he didn’t hear what Ricky’s mommy said to him. He was considering this when his mommy took him to the crib. She laid him down and took his sleeper off. He saw her reach down below and she came up with another sleeper. Laying it out, she shifted him onto it.
While she was dressing Billy in another sleeper, it occurred to Sharon that he might not have heard Nancy so she explained “Mrs. Allen only let Ricky do what you can do this morning. That was why he was wearing a diaper, Sweety. You can’t use the potty so she wouldn’t let him. She had him drink from a ba-ba because you need to nurse to eat. I didn’t know if she would make him go poopy, but she did, and that seemed to be the point at which he understood that it isn’t nice to make fun of others that are different.”.
Now Billy understood everything that had happened this morning. He hadn’t understood why Ricky didn’t just hold his ba-ba as he drank it, his mommy held it for him. He knew now that Mrs. Allen wouldn’t let him.
“Sweety, I’m going to give you these.” holding up a set of his keys. “I’ve put a loop on your sleeper right here,” she told him taking his hand and showing him the loop on the sleeve. “that way you can have them anytime you want.”.
Billy smiled as she attached the keys to his sleeve.
Sharon smiled back and said “I really appreciate you trying to stay focused Baby, but I don’t want you to push it, your doctor told you not to, remember? I want you to take these now.” as she gently wrapped his hand around the ring and put one of the keys in his mouth.
As Sharon carried Billy down the hall, he alternated between giggling and sucking on his keys, reveling in the wonders of infancy.
Nancy did her best to be gentle when she laid Ricky down to clean his messy bottom. “I know it feels terrible Honey, but I’ll have it off in just a second.” she said as she saw him wince. She had put the changing pad on the floor this time so she had room to clean up the mess. She pulled the tapes and brought the diaper down.
Ricky really didn’t like the way the messy diaper felt, especially when she sat him down on the changing pad. It had squished the poop all over his bottom. No matter how he shifted, the diaper and the mess clung to his skin. At first he couldn’t figure out how Billy could stand it. After thinking about it, he realized Billy had no choice. He really felt bad for him at that point.
When his mom pulled the front of the diaper back and the smell hit him, he started to cry. Not only that, the bottles he drank had filled his bladder and the cold air made him need to pee really bad! “Mom I gotta pee now!” he exclaimed through his tears.
Nancy, knowing she couldn’t move him, just pulled the diaper back up over his front and held it there and told him “Just go Honey, I can’t move you right now.”.
Ricky, feeling the mess shift when she pulled the diaper back up, knew exactly why she couldn’t move him. Tears running back to his hair, he laid there and wet the diaper.
Placing her palm on his cheek, his mom said “I know Baby, I’m sorry, it’ll be alright, I promise.”. No sooner did she get the words out, she realized with fear that she had called him ‘Baby’.
Ricky, appreciating his mom’s warm, gentle hand on his face, didn’t even realize she had said what she did. He just heard her tell him it would be alright. He closed his eyes and laid still.
Not knowing what else to do, she just caressed his cheek and let it go. He hadn’t reacted, so she wouldn’t either. Gingerly, she pulled the soaked diaper out to be sure he was finished, and when she saw he was done got to work cleaning his bottom.
Ricky was just emotionally exhausted by that point. He just allowed her to lift his ankles and wipe his bottom. He figured if Billy could endure this without kicking and screaming, so could he. Before long, she had finished wiping him down and had him stand up.
Nancy took another wipe and asked him to spread his legs. Making sure she got everywhere, she wiped his front and then his back one last time before pulling a pair of his underpants from her purse and holding them for him to step into.
Ricky was so glad when his mom pulled his underpants up, he hugged her. “I’m sorry mom.” he said softly.
Nancy’s eyes stung with tears when she heard the remorse in his voice. “It’s alright Sweety. I’m just glad you saw what you needed to see this morning. And if it meant I had to clean you up to see it, then it was worth it.” she told him hugging him back. Reaching over, she picked up his sweat pants and held them out. When he stepped into them, she pulled them up and patted him on the butt.
“Why did you have me wear the shorts?” he asked her as she taped the messy diaper closed on itself and laid it back on the changing pad.
“So if the diaper leaked when you made a mess, they would prevent it from getting on your sweat pants. They also cut down on the diaper lines on your butt. I wasn’t trying to embarrass you Honey, and if we had met anyone on the way to the car, or the way to the house here, I wanted to prevent any embarrassing incidents.” she told him.
It was then that he really understood that she didn’t want to hurt him, just to teach him an important lesson. That made him feel good, and he smiled just before giving her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Hugging him back, she kissed his forehead and told him “I love you Sweetheart, and I’m sorry if this was really difficult for you, I tried to make it as easy as possible.”.
“I’m alright Mom. I don’t think I’ll forget it though.” he told her.
“I know, it’s been twenty nine years Honey, and I remember like it was yesterday.” She replied, hugging him tighter.
Sharon came walking in to the living room carrying Billy, as Nancy got to her feet. She held him close with his head on his didee, nursing his keys. “Why don’t you bing the two diapers to Billy’s bedroom. I have a diaper genie there.” she told Nancy.
Nancy went to the waste basket and picked up the wet diaper, retrieved the messy one from the changing pad and they all walked down the hall to Billy’s room. As Nancy went to dispose of the two diapers, Ricky’s eyes got wide when he saw the crib.
Sharon, seeing his expression, sat down in the rocker for a moment, shifted Billy so he was laying down in her lap and said “Come here Ricky.”. When Ricky moved to stand in front of her, she started to explain. “Look at Billy and tell me what you see.”.
Ricky looked closely, watching Billy nurse on his keys. When Billy giggled, Ricky laughed. He looked to Sharon and said “I see a happy baby.”.
“That’s right, he’s not able to focus right now like he did earlier. He wasn’t like this earlier, was he?” she asked him.
“No. He was different.” Ricky tried, but he couldn’t figure out how to express what the difference was.
“His eyes have the innocent look of a baby boy don’t they?” She continued.
That was what he couldn’t put his finger on, Billy’s expressions were different. There was no concentrated effort or anxious look to his face. It was just innocent, smiling and giggling and free. “Yeah, he’s not worried about anything, he’s just playing with his keys.” Ricky told her.
“You were surprised when you saw his crib and his changing table. Right now, Billy has no idea what safety or danger is. He doesn’t know better than to put something he could choke on in his mouth. He spends a lot of time as he is right now, more than he does as you saw him earlier. Understanding that, which do you think would be better to keep him safe, a bed or a crib?” she asked.
That was easy for Ricky to see. “A crib so he won’t fall.” he told her.
“Yes, that’s exactly why he sleeps in a crib. The changing table makes it easier for me to change his diaper, and keeps him from rolling off. It has a strap to hold him there.” she explained.
“Oh,” he said. “I didn’t know that.”.
“I kind of figured that, so I thought I would explain.” she told him with a smile. “Are there any questions you have about Billy?” she asked.
“Does that hurt?” Ricky asked with concern as he pointed to the bandage on Billy’s head.
“No, or he would cry. It’s where they did his surgery and it’s there to protect the stitches until they heal.” Sharon told him. “Anything else you’re wondering about?” she added.
“Why do you treat him the same when he’s not a baby?” he asked perplexed.
“Leave it to a child to ask a hard question.” Sharon thought. She noticed Nancy was watching curiously, wanting to know the answer as well. “Because a lot of the time I can’t tell when he makes the change. It’s safer for him if I treat him like he’s a baby when he’s not, than the other way around don’t you think?”.
Ricky thought for a second and answered “Yeah, or he could get hurt.”.
“Exactly, and whether he likes it or not, he will always be my baby boy.” Sharon said with a smile.
“Like Joey is Mom’s baby.” Ricky told her.
That got Nancy’s attention, and she moved to kneel right behind Ricky and turned him to face her. “Yes, Joey is my baby, and you are my big boy and I’m so proud of you today.” as she hugged him.
That made Ricky feel really good. What had started out as a punishment had made her proud of him.
“Can you do something for me?” Sharon asked Ricky.
“Sure.” Ricky said.
“I want you to go to the bathroom and wash your hands for me and then go back to the livingroom.” she told him.
“OK.” he said and walked out of the nursery.
“I’m going to let him hold Billy.” Sharon told Nancy.
“Oh, that’s a great idea.” she replied. “Let me go make sure he does a good job. He is a boy and ten after all, they think that running water removes germs.” Nancy said with a chuckle.
Sharon picked up Billy’s blanket and his Pooh Bear and took them to the livingroom. A moment later, Nancy and Ricky came in. “Come sit here.” she told Ricky.
Ricky did as she asked, and sat down in the glider.
Sharon gently laid Billy in Ricky’s lap, giving him tips on how to hold him. She saw that Ricky was nervous, and told him “Honey, you need to just relax, you won’t hurt him I promise. He can feel when you’re anxious and it will make him scared.”.
Ricky took a deep breath and tried to relax. When Billy giggled, he forgot his nervousness and laughed with him.
Sharon told him “Take his Pooh Bear and make it walk over his tummy, he loves that.”.
Ricky, smiling, picked up the bear and started bouncing it gently across Billy’s tummy. This caused Billy to squeal and laugh big, baby laughs. Ricky couldn’t help but laugh himself.
Sharon and Nancy sat down a short distance from them. Sharon was really taken aback at the difference in their sizes. Ricky had to be at least a foot and a half taller and thirty pounds heavier, even though he was less than a year older.
“He’s so gentle with him.” Nancy said amazed.
“Yes, he’s wonderful with him. What’s more, he really understands. I wasn’t sure how much I could make him understand about Billy’s situation, but he gets it.” Sharon offered.
They watched Ricky play with Billy for a bit, and then saw Billy squirm. Ricky looked up to Sharon and she said “He’s had enough giggles, help him snuggle with his bear.”.
Ricky laid the bear down where Billy could nuzzle it, and moved his arm so it hugged Pooh. He smiled as Billy closed his eyes and rubbed his face against the soft material.
Both Sharon and Nancy smiled as they watched. Their smiles grew bigger when Billy opened his eyes, looked at Ricky and said “Bink.”.
Ricky, smiling, picked up Billy’s pacifier and said “Here you go.”.
Billy instantly started nursing on his binky, and within a minute was sound asleep.
Ricky didn’t know what to think at first, but after a moment, he felt good that Billy felt safe enough to go to sleep in his lap.