Sorry this took so long, I hope you like it,
Nancy sat chatting with Sharon, while discretely watching Ricky. She was pleasantly surprised at what she saw.
Ricky sat comfortably, watching Billy sleep. He had been only two when Joey was a baby, so he never had the opportunity to care for one. It was pleasant watching Billy sleep. He would lay still for a while, his even breathing the only sound he made, and then would smile around his binky, or start nursing again.
After a little while Sharon stood and went to Ricky. “He feels safe with you, or he wouldn’t be able to sleep.” she told him with a smile.
Ricky looked up. “He smiles in his sleep.” he said with a grin.
“Most babies do.” she told him. “I think it’s time for him to lay down in his crib.”. She gently picked Billy up and stood. “I’ll be right back.” she told them and carried Billy to his room.
Ricky got up from the glider and went to where his mom sat.
Nancy was a bit surprised when Ricky climbed up in her lap and gave her a hug. Hugging him back, she kissed his cheek and said “I love you, and I’m so proud of you, you were so good with Billy.”.
“I love you too.” Ricky said with a smile. When he pulled back after hugging his mom, he asked “Are we gonna come back here?”.
Nancy, with a small smile replied “Ask Mrs. Avery if that’s OK. If she says it is, then I’ll bring you back so you can spend some time with Billy.”.
Ricky smiled at that.
When Sharon came back in the livingroom, Ricky stood before her and asked “Is it alright if I come see Billy again?”.
Sharon couldn’t help smiling, what had started out as a painful thing for Billy, was turning out to be something that could help him get better physically. “Sure Sweety.” she said as she got down on one knee so she was at his level. She pulled him close, hugged him and told him “Thank you for coming today. I really appreciate you taking the time to help Billy feel better. He was in tears when I first told him you were coming, and he tried really hard not to take his binky because he didn’t want to make you uncomfortable. I’m really glad you came over today.”.
Ricky surprised her when he responded with “Me too.” as he returned her hug. After thinking a moment, Ricky told her “Can you please tell him it’s OK if he wants his binky, I’m alright with it.”.
Pulling him back so she could look right at him, Sharon said “How would you like to come over twice a week and see if you can help Billy get stronger. Playing with him will strengthen his muscles.”.
“Sure!” Ricky answered.
“He will probably be a baby most times you come over, are you alright with that?” she asked.
“Yeah, I like making him laugh, it’s fun.” Ricky answered with a smile.
“Alright then, it’s a deal, and I will let you tell him it’s OK to take his pacifier. It will mean more to him.” Sharon said as she patted his back. Getting up, she told Nancy “Thank you for taking the time to bring Ricky over, Billy obviously enjoyed it.”.
“Oh, no problem. I think it helped both of them.” Nancy replied.
“Nancy, I really don’t want to be rude, but I have like a thousand things to do to get ready for a party tonight, and it’s going to take most of the time I have left to take care of them. I hate to end this visit, but If you don’t mind, I need to get started.” Sharon explained with an apologetic smile.
“Oh, don’t worry about that, we’ll get going and let you make preparations.” She said. Turning to Ricky, she told him “Say good bye and take my purse out to the car, will you please Honey?”.
“Bye Mrs. Avery, thanks for letting me come today.” Ricky said as he took his mom’s purse in hand.
“I’m glad you came Ricky, and I’ll see you soon.” Sharon replied.
When Ricky went out the front door, Nancy went to Sharon and hugged her. “Thanks for helping with this, a lot of mom’s would have just labeled Ricky a monster for teasing Billy and not want anything more to do with him.” she told Sharon.
“I couldn’t do that. I will admit that when Billy cried when he found out Ricky was coming, I was worried about how things would go, but everything worked out fine.” Sharon told her returning her hug.
When Nancy stepped back, she asked “When do you want Ricky to come over?”.
“How about Saturday’s and Wednesdays. Billy won’t be in school for some time, obviously, but an hour after school shouldn’t be a burden on Ricky should it?” Sharon asked.
“No, he’ll be fine. I will bring him Wednesday then.” Nancy answered
“Great.” Sharon agreed.
“Enjoy your New Years party.” Nancy said as she opened the front door.
“You have a good holiday.” Sharon responded just before she closed the door.
Sharon went back to check on Billy. She knew the monitor would tell her when he made a sound, but sometimes she couldn’t help it, she just needed to look down upon her sleeping baby. When she moved to the cribside, she smiled as she gazed at this beautiful little boy, laying sound asleep on his tummy. His hand was curled up next to his mouth, laying just against his binky. Pooh bear was resting against his forehead. There was peace reflected in his expression. She reached down and patted his bottom gently. She recognized the feel of a swollen wet diaper under his sleeper. “Dream sweet baby dreams, my sweet little pee butt.” she whispered softly and then gently kissed his little cheek. As she moved back, she couldn’t help but smile as he smiled in his sleep.
Sharon went to the kitchen and started preparing what she could. It was only ten in the morning and the party didn’t start until eight. Frank and Rachael would be over at five, and she knew Billy would like to see Bobby again. Her mother would be by at seven or so, as she had volunteer work that she made a point not to miss. Holidays were great, but the need for caring volunteers didn’t just disappear during them, in fact the need was greater during the holidays.
Through the rest of the morning, Sharon alternated between getting ready for the party and acring for Billy when he was awake.
It was about two that Sharon laid billy down in his crib, when Becky came home from Stacey’s house and sat down to help her mom make deviled eggs. As they sat, mother and daughter chatted about her overnight stay. As the topic wound down, Sharon said “Honey, how are you feeling about Billy?”.
“What do you mean Mom?” she asked perplexed.
Sharon took a second to frame her thoughts. “Well, I was curious how you felt about Billy being where he’s at now, and how you fit in to all of this.” she asked.
“I’m fine with Billy being a baby. As far as me, I just want to be sure he doesn’t get hurt. I don’t ever want to have to hear him cry again, like he did Christmas morning.” Becky answered with tears stinging her eyes. She remembered the sound of his hurt like it was this morning.
Sharon found her own eyes burning with tears at that statement. Not just at the memories of her little boy hurting, but at the fact that it meant so much to Becky that Billy never have to go through that again.
“What’s wrong Mom?” Becky asked worriedly.
Sharon smiled. “Nothing Sweetheart, I’ve lost my little girl, that’s all. You are no longer the self centered little girl I knew, but a young lady that cares about others as much as or more than yourself. I am so proud of you.” she said as she placed her palm on Becky’s cheek.
Becky smiled at that. It felt good to hear her Mom tell her that. “Thanks Mom.” she said as she took her mom’s hand in hers.
They continued the preparations, making fairly quick work of what had to be done. Before they knew it, the clock had spun it’s way around to five, and the doorbell rang. Sharon was in the middle of tying a roast, so asked Becky to get the door. A moment later, Rachael entered the kitchen.
“How’s it going Sis?” Rachael asked with a smile.
“We’ve got most of it done.” Sharon answered and then looking curious asked “Where’s Frank and Bobby?”.
“Frank’s laying Bobby down in the playpen. He fell asleep on the way over.” she answered as she started measuring string lengths and cutting them for Sharon.
Rick came in shortly afterward. He had gone to the office to make up hours for some he’d lost while Billy was in the hospital. He was glad that this was the last day he would have to do that. “Hi Honey.” he said as he hugged his wife and gave her a quick kiss.
“Hi, how was work?” She asked as they broke their embrace.
“It was alright, not too many folks there, so I was able to get more done.” he said with a chuckle. “How are the kids?” he asked.
Sharon told him Becky got home at two or so and has been helping her with the food since, and went on to describe the events of the morning with Ricky and Nancy.
“Wow, that had to be hard on him. I’m glad it worked out though.” Rick said.
“That was probably the best way to handle it though.” Rachael added.
Sharon heard Billy cry over the monitor. She stopped what she was doing and told them she’d be right back. When she got to Billy’s crib, he was really upset. She could tell he was messy by the odor in the room, and his pacifier lay a foot from him. As she gave it to him, she said “Here it is Baby.”.
Billy had woken up and saw Pooh Bear, tried to hug his bear and with his spastic motions, knocked his binky from his mouth. As soon as Mommy put his binky in his mouth, he settled to whimpering as he nursed on it. It had been a really frustrating experience.
Sharon picked him up to comfort him for a minute then laid him on the changing table. She quickly cleaned his bottom and got him in a clean dry diaper. Once he was zipped back up in his sleeper, she carried him out to the kitchen.
Sharon told Billy “Here Baby, sit with Daddy for a little bit, Mommy has to make food for later.” as she attempted to hand him to Rick. Billy started crying loudly when Rick took him.
Trying to settle him down, Rick hugged him close. That had no comforting effect on Billy. As soon as Rick handed him back to Sharon, he started to settle down. “This is odd.” Sharon thought. She saw the slightly hurt expression on Rick’s face and felt bad for him. She thought she would see if it was just Rick or if Billy just wanted Mommy. Winking to Rachael, she went to hand him off to her.
Again Billy cried loudly when Rachael took him in her arms. Handing him back, she said “I guess he just wants Mommy.” smiling. “Don’t worry about the food Shar, Becky and I can manage it, can’t we Becky?” she asked.
“Sure. Mom, you just make Billy feel better.” Becky answered and started to gather a couple of things together.
Sharon put her lips to Billy’s forehead. He wasn’t hot, so he didn’t have a fever. She took Billy into the livingroom and sat in the glider, rocking him gently. “You having bad time Baby?” she asked Billy. When he kicked his legs, she asked “Can Mommy make it better?”
Billy moved his arms. He was just really frustrated. He’d woken up anxious and without his binky. He wanted his hands to work so he could get his binky whenever he needed it.
“Alright Baby, just snuggle for a while and maybe you’ll feel better.” she told him.
After a couple of moments of snuggling, Billy felt a bit better. Looking over, he saw that Bobby was just waking up. His daddy picked him up and laid him on the floor to change his dipey. Once Uncle Frank was done, he sat Bobby on the floor and pulled some little people toys out for him to play with.
Billy didn’t know what was wrong with him, but he was having a hard time controlling his emotions. Seeing Bobby playing with the Little People toys, he wanted to play with them too. Reaching his arm out wildly toward Bobby, he started fussing.
Sharon seeing Bobby playing, understood that Billy wanted to play with Bobby’s toys. “Sorry Sweetheart, you can’t play with those toys, they have smaller pieces and you could get hurt.”.
Billy cried harder, tears streaming from his eyes. Sharon felt awful. She asked Frank if he could get one of Billy’s block sets. When she tried to hand Billy a block, he just dropped it and continued to reach out to Bobby. Sharon asked Billy “Do you think you can keep the Little People toys out of your mouth Baby?”
Billy kicked his legs, quieting a bit because it seemed that Mommy might let him have one.
Sharon asked Frank if he could hand her one of Bobby’s people figures. She told Billy “If you put this in your mouth Baby, I’ll take it away, just so you understand Sweety.” as she handed the figure to him.
Billy settled down, now that he had the toy. He brought both hands together with great difficulty. With concentration, he managed to move the arms of the figure.
Bobby decided to come over and ask Billy if he wanted to play together. “Biwwy Pway.” he said.
Bobby’s request distracted Billy from his figurine, and he wasn’t even aware of it when his hand moved to his mouth. As his tongue touched the toy, Mommy took it out of his hand.
“Baby, I told you if you put it in your mouth, I would take it away. I’m sorry Sweety, but I don’t want you to get hurt.” as she took the toy from his hand.
Billy started to cry. His emotions surged and he couldn’t control them anymore. He was so frustrated because he hadn’t even realized he was putting the toy in his mouth. Now he wasn’t going to be allowed to play with it.
Trying to placate him, Sharon gave him another block. His hand reflexively closed on it, but with his emotions building, he wasn’t even aware of it. He cried even louder this time and started kicking his legs. When Mommy shifted him to make sure he wouldn’t fall off her lap, he cried even louder, and kicked and flailed his arms. With his eyes closed, his face bright red, Mommy tried to pull him closer, but he swung his little arm at just the right time for the corner of his block to make solid contact with the peak of her cheekbone.
Sharon saw stars for a moment. The pain brought tears to her eyes. Before she knew it, Rick was picking Billy up off of her lap.
Rick didn’t know what to do so he brought Billy into his bedroom and laid him on his back in his crib. Rick figured he would let Billy cry it out. Just before he went to check on his wife, he took the block from Billy’s hand so he wouldn’t hurt himself with it.
Billy was screaming now, in a full blown tantrum. He didn’t understand at that moment why mommy wasn’t there. He wanted his mommy and the little people toys and that was all that mattered. Kicking his legs out repeatedly, thrashing his arms, he screamed his rage at the world.
Sharon stood up and went to the kitchen. Getting some ice, she wrapped it in a paper towel and applied it to her cheek. Just a small amount of pressure hurt immensely.
Rachael looked at the cheek and told her “You’re probably gonna have a bit of a shiner Sis.” After Sharon moved the ice back in place, Rachael asked “What happened?”.
“He wanted to play with one of the little people toys. I told him if he put it in his mouth, I would take it away. Naturally, he got distracted and in the mouth it went. I took it away, gave him his block and then he went into a full blown tantrum. I really don’t think he hit me on purpose, he was just flailing his arms all over and I just happen to be at the right place when he swung.” she told both Rachael and Rick.
“Peter said this would happen again. I didn’t realize he could hurt you though.” Rick said.
“Hey Big Brother, he may have the control of an infant, but he’s not one physically. In the throes of a tantrum, his movements are fueled by adrenaline.” Rachael told him. Turning to Sharon, she said “The next time this happens, and it will, trust me, just wrap your arms around him to trap his arms so neither of you get hurt. We have to do this in the ER sometimes with kids, it’s to protect them as much as us.”.
Sharon hadn’t even thought of that when it was happening. “You can bet I’ll remember that next time.” she thought to herself. “I’ll be OK, it just hurts, that’s all.”. When she heard Billy start to calm down over the monitor, she made her way to the nursery.
Billy had stopped screaming and lay in his crib sobbing an infant’s cry. His eyes were closed when Mommy picked him up and held him close, with his head on her chest. He was getting control of his emotions now and felt terrible that he had gotten so upset. He hoped Mommy wasn’t angry with him, the thought of that made fresh tears fall as she picked him up.
Sharon sat down in the rocker, holding him close with both arms, just in case he went off again. She didn’t think that would happen, but she wanted to make sure. “Awww…Baby I know you wanted to play with Bobby’s toys, but it isn’t safe Sweety.” she told him. That had no effect the last time, so she tried a different tack this time. “Baby, your just not big enough yet to play with them.”. She realized what she said sounded strange, but maybe that would get his attention where logic didn’t. Physically he was big enough, but developmentally he wasn’t.
Billy heard Mommy tell him he wasn’t big enough to play with toddler toys and he cried. For the first time since this all happened, he wished he wasn’t a little baby. He wanted to be a toddler like Bobby, who could play with Little People toys.
Sharon told him “I know, Baby. I know.” as she rocked him back and forth while patting his bottom. It took a little while, but he calmed down and just snuggled closer to her.
When Billy fully calmed down, he understood that Mommy was right, he wasn’t able to play with those toys. He felt terrible that Daddy had to take him and put him in his crib until he settled down. He pulled his head off of Mommy’s chest and looked up to her. He wanted her to see he was so sorry. When his eyes made contact with her face, they were drawn to her cheek. He froze. He remembered his hand hitting something, but in the moment, he didn’t have the ability to concentrate enough to see what it was. His crying started up again when he realized he had hurt Mommy.
Sharon watched him raise his head up and look at her. She felt so bad for him, she saw the hurt in his eyes. She watched as his eyes diverted from hers and knew he was seeing the mark on her cheek. “It’s OK Baby, Mommy’s alright.” she told him.
Billy didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t believe he had hurt his mommy. His heart ached as he looked at the bump on her face. It was red with a small dark area right on her cheekbone. The thought that struck him was frightening, but right, from his nine year old point of view. Still crying, he tried to push away from Mommy. He didn’t think he deserved to snuggle with her after he had hurt her.
Sharon increased her hold on him to keep him from falling saying “Stop it Billy, you’re going to fall.” not understanding what he was doing. She told him two more times to stop, while trying to tell him it wasn’t his fault. She was pretty sure, with his loud crying, he hadn’t heard anything she said. She decided she would just wait it out, holding him tightly against her, until he could listen to her.
Billy tried with all of his might to push away. Nothing he tried succeeded. She held him securely against her and he wasn’t able to break that hold. Finally, his arms completely exhausted, he lay crying in her arms, his head on her chest.
When Billy stopped pushing, Sharon took a second to offer him his binky. He took it, nursing on it for comfort. She let him lay against her for a few moments more until he settled down to whimpering. Shifting him so he was laying on his back, she looked at him and he shifted his gaze away.
It took Sharon a moment to see that he was reverting to the same behavior that he had when this all started, he was shutting her out. Taking his little face in her hand, she turned him toward her and said “Look at me Billy.” with a thick voice.
Billy raised his eyes to hers and his tears started again and the speed of his nursing increased. Mommy was upset, and it was his fault.
“Can you understand what I’m saying, little boy?” she asked him.
Billy kicked his legs out in answer.
“Good, because I don’t want you to ever forget what I’m going to tell you right now. How would you feel if I told you I was going to take your binky away and you would never get it back?” as she pulled his pacifier from his mouth and put it out of his sight.
Billy started crying very loudly, saying “Bink” several times, the thought of not having his binky again frightened him immensely and his wailing showed it. Six seconds later, he felt the binky back in his mouth and immediately began nursing furiously on it, hoping that he never had to experience that again.
“You didn’t like that at all, did you Baby?” Sharon asked as tears ran down both cheeks.
Billy moved his arms wildly, whimpering.
“That’s how you make me feel when you try to shut me out Baby, when you pull away.” she told him through her tears. “It…” she started and swallowed then tried again “it hurts!” and started sobbing. After a moment, pointing to her cheek, she said “This, this is nothing compared to how much it hurts when you pull away from me.” as she continued to cry.
Billy couldn’t help it, he started to cry and let his binky fall from his mouth as he reached his arms up toward her. He didn’t want to hurt Mommy, the thought of that broke his heart.
Sharon, crying freely now, picked him up and hugged him tight. “I love you baby boy, promise me you won’t ever pull away again, please promise me.” she said, the last part an anguished whisper.
Billy crying a painful cry now, one that was long and hard, kicked his legs several times to tell Mommy he promised. He would promise her anything, and deliver it, if it stopped her hurt.
Several moments later as they both settled down, Sharon picked up a didee and wiped his tears away. “Baby,” she started as she pointed to her cheek, “this isn’t your fault. I expected to see you behave the way you did earlier, just not at that time. Your doctor told us that you don’t have the ability to control how you feel right now, and to expect what I saw earlier. The owwie on my cheek was an accident Sweety, it happened more because I didn’t know what to do when you lost control of your emotions than any other reason. I know now what to do, you saw that when you tried to push away from me.” she told him, gently wiping new tears away with the soft cloth diaper.
When Mommy wiped his tears away with the soft didee, he couldn’t help but make more. Here she was with an owwie on her cheek and she was trying to make him feel better. Billy listened to Mommy, and was surprised when she told him it wasn’t his fault and that she expected his earlier behavior. When Mommy told him what the doctor said, he felt a lot better about what happened. When she finished speaking, he snuggled closer to her.
Sharon saw he was feeling better about things now. She felt horrible about scaring him half to death by taking his binky and letting him think he wouldn’t get it back, but he needed to understand how she felt. Wanting to make sure that this event ended on a much better note, she laid him down to nurse.
When Mommy offered Billy her boobie, he nursed furiously. He didn’t feel hungry right then, but he wanted to feel close to Mommy. The feel of her nipple as he suckled, calmed him considerably and the taste of her sweet milk pleased him greatly. It was the sense of being so close that healed the hurt, and made him understand that he couldn’t pull away anymore. The thought of being away from Mommy almost had his tears flowing again and he knew that even if, in the moment, he thought it might be better, he could never go through with it. He loved her with all of his heart, and needed to be close to her.
“Baby, I love you so much.” Sharon said. “I know this is going to be hard sometimes, with everything different than it was, and things changing, some too fast and some not fast enough. But I need you to understand, no matter what toys you are able to play with, no matter if I need to change your dipeys, or feed you, or bathe you, I love you. I enjoy taking care of you Sweety, I really do. So please, just be my baby boy for a while. If you start feeling like you did earlier, nurse on your keys for a while and see if that helps. Can you do that for me?” she asked him.
Billy kicked his little legs and smiled around Mommy’s nipple.
When Sharon saw that smile, she felt a whole lot better. Bending down, she kissed him softly and whispered into his ear “That’s Mommy’s good baby boy.”.