Seeing myself in the mirror is such a trip. Everything is so much smaller, from the hair on my head to the nails on my toes. It’s like someone really did take me back to before I even had memories of myself, before I understood that the reflection I saw in the mirror was me.
My wavy curls are shorter, and my normally caramel skin is about two shades lighter. My body is nearly hairless. I’m a lot chubbier, but I guess it’s because I’m so much shorter. Alysa’s reflection contrasted with mine makes her look like a giant. No wonder she can carry me around so easily. I used to be about the same size as her, maybe even bigger, and now tiny compared to her, compared to what I used to look like.
And how I could forget the stupid diaper. This evening’s diaper has little dinosaurs of different sizes and colors decorated on it. I poke at it, and I instantly regret it. It’s soft and squishy and used. I rip at the tape holding it together. I can’t get it off. I try to push the diaper down, and that gives me a little purchase.
I guess Alysa notices me fiddling with it. She turns me towards her and pulls the tape and diaper apart in one swift movement. I have no idea how she did that so easily. She lifts me into the tub, and toes touch the warm water first. She slides me in slowly, and I am grateful for the consideration. Warm or not, it still feels strange to go from dry to wet. Maybe my little kid skin is more sensitive or something.
Once I adjust to the temperature of the water, she lets me balance myself on the side of the tub. Alysa turns and grabs a small washrag from a nearby shelf. I notice that she’s wearing a different shirt from earlier. I wonder what she was up to while I was sleeping. I watch as she adds soap to the bathwater and the bubbles spread from one end to the other.
“Will you be a good boy and sit down for Mommy?” Alysa asks, and I oblige quickly, not only because of the threat of Mr. Tickles hanging over my head but also because the bubbles are so enticing.
While she squirts shampoo on my head, I reach over and hold a bubble carefully with two hands. They seem so big and delicate in my hands. Looking through the bubble makes everything look so silly, even Alysa. I notice that a few strands of her hair have slipped out of her ponytail. Her eyes seem distant like she’s not fully engaged in the activity. I wonder if she’s stressed or upset about something.
She stands me up again, I’ve gotta say, it totally feels so many different kinds of weird being naked and having my junk exposed like this. It feels weird looking at it myself with how much smaller everything is down there. I guess kids don’t really mind that sort of thing because it happens all the time, but I mind, especially when she cleans my junk. It’s weird and so very strange, and I squeeze my eyes close my eyes until she’s done.
When she finishes, she grabs a shower head and rinses me off from head to toe. She works in silence until my stomach makes a loud gurgle.
“Is that a grumble in your tummy?” Alysa sings overemphatically putting her ear to my belly, “My little baby is hungry, isn’t he?”
We make eye contact, and slightly out of annoyance and mostly out of fear, I reply, “Yesth.” I feel so spineless, bending to her will like this, but do I really have a choice? She absolutely and completely has control of my life right now. She decides when I eat, sleep, drink, bathe, …everything.
“Jason is using his big boy words,” she dries my hair with a towel. “Mommy is so proud of you.” She lifts me out of the tub and pulls a comb out of a drawer. She runs it through my hair a few times and rubs some sort of cream through my hair.
“Alysa?” I hear Isaiah call. I guess he’s back home for dinner.
“I’m over here in the bathroom with Jason,” Alysa shouts.
Isaiah walks in and before saying a word, he stoops down to my eye level and puts a finger under my chin. I avert my eyes while he examines my forehead. He tilts my head in almost every direction until he’s satisfied. I hit my head, and now I guess everyone is a doctor. “I got your text, Did he-”
Before he can finish his sentence, Alysa cuts him off and nudges her head in my direction, “Let’s talk about it more after dinner.”
“Okay,” Isaiah says, and goes out the bedroom. “I bought the supplies to fix the crib like we talked about.”
So now, they are hiding things from me. Obviously, they think I understand them a little, even if it’s limited. That’s good to know, but I have got to find out what they plan to talk about. I bet they know more about what’s going on with me than they let on. I’m still butthurt about the blocks thing. I don’t believe she really missed that.
Alysa wraps me in the towel and carries me back to the kiddie room. She lays me on the table where she always changes me. Isaiah is in the room too. He’s taking off some plastic on pieces of foam. Once he starts attaching the foam to the inside of the crib, I realize what’s going on. So, this is their solution to make sure I don’t try that again. Ugh.
This time while Alysa diapers me, I watch solemnly and silently as she strips away more of my dignity.
“Ah, there we go,” Isaiah says and pats the now padded crib, “It’s all ready to go Alysa,”
“It looks great,” Alysa says, tossing some extra powder in my diaper. “Did you get the climb proof one too?”
“Yup, and it was so much easier to than the guy at the home store said it would be,” Isaiah kisses Alysa on the cheek. He turns to me and puts his palm on the side of my face, “Were you a good boy for Mommy today?”
I look between Isaiah and Alysa. I wonder if it’s a trick question, and either way I get tickled. Isaiah is still a wildcard; I have no idea what he wants from me. I guess with, “No.”
“Oh, is that so?” Isaiah smiles brightly. They trade places, and Alysa heads downstairs. The transition between the two of them was smooth and wordless. I guess this is how they normally switch off with each other. Alysa in the day and Isaiah at night. Got it.
Isaiah blows a raspberry on my belly, “You were a naughty little boy today, huh?” he asks and tosses me in the air above his head and spins me around. I giggle with every toss and spin in the air. I feel like I’m on one of those amusement park rides. It’s so fucking amazing.
I throw my hands up; I don’t want it to stop, and he tosses me again. I’m laughing and my entire body feels the high of rising and falling. My skin electrifies with the excitement. This kind of play reminds me so much of how I’d feel fighting and roughhousing with other boys in group homes in my early teens. It feels all kinds of mischievous but so very satisfying.
Isaiah finally lets me stand on my own two feet after what feels like a bagillian tosses, and I’m wobbling and unsteady for a little bit, still dazed, dizzy and giggly. I jump around and move my body to the rhythm in my chest. Isaiah holds onto my hands and guides me over to sit on a couch. He sits next to me and pulls me onto his lap in one fluid motion as if I weigh little more than a bag of flour.
“I heard my baby boy was so angry today,” Isaiah rubs my back. His expression is still playful but a little more solemn. “Tell Daddy about what’s going on.”
I try my best to sober myself up as much as I can. This is my chance to have someone really listen. “I noht gebby,” I say and shake my head. “I bihg,” I raise my hands high. I know it’s not great, but it’s the best that I could come up with on short notice. I cross my fingers and hope he gets it.
Isaiah purses his lips and rubs at his beard. “Are you upset because you’re being treated like a little baby and not a big boy?”
I almost burst in excitement. If I was a balloon I would defintiely have popped. It’s finally happening. Someone is listening. It’s happening.
“Yesth!” I shout and nod as hard as I can. “I’m not a baby, I’m a grown up,” I try to say, but in the excitement, I forget that my speech is messed up, and I actually say, “I’m ne gebby, I na goh nup.”
Isaiah nods and looks at me sharply as if he’s trying to decipher what I’m saying. “So, you’re all grown up and not a baby anymore?
Isaiah is the best. I love this man. I almost kiss him. “Yesth! Yesth!”
“Oh that’s it. Hm,” he runs a hand through his hair.
I nod to encourage him. My hope is at the highest point it’s ever been since I woke up like this.
“Well, Mommy and Daddy can try to make you feel more like a big boy.”
I frown. He is too close. I just need him to understand better. “No, I no gebby! I slide off of his lap and onto the floor. “I no gebby!”
I can feel the meltdown starting. I’m angry and frustrated. I was so close to someone understanding, and he still thinks I’m a baby. He’s pacifying me, and it hurts. I trusted him. How could he let me down like this. Why doesn’t he understand me? Why does everyone let me down?
“It’s okay, Jason,” Isaiah rubs my back. “Daddy hears you. You’re okay.”
For some reason those words pull me back from the throes of a temper tantrum. Something about how or what he said actually deflates me before I can explode.
“No,” I mumble, defeated and forlorn.
“Sometimes you get really mad don’t you, Jason?” Isaiah starts and when he doesn’t get a reply, he continues, “I’ll let you in on a secret of mine. You get that from me. Daddy has really angry moments too.” He grabs a teddy bear from a nearby shelf, “You know what Daddy learned to do when he was really mad and he needed to let it all out?”
I shake my head and watch him closely. I’m interested. I never knew Isaiah was much of a hot head.
“I squeeze on a toy and I get all of my frustration out like I’m a lion,” he takes the stuffed lion and squeezes it really hard, “Roar!”
“Here you try,” he hands me the bear and I squeeze really hard and shout as loud as I can, “Rawr!”
Isaiah lifts me in his arms one more time and throws me up in the air, and all the happy brain chemicals start flowing again. I forget about why I was just mad I never imagined I could have this much fun with Isaiah. I mean we’ve shared some pretty cool moments together while he was my therapist and even when he was my social worker, but this is a whole next level.
“That was so amazing! Jason, you’re such a big boy now, aren’t you?” He rubs my head and grabs the pair of PJs Alysa left on the table and makes quick work of putting it on me. “You did such a good job helping me put on your PJs like a big boy! Soon you’re going to be all big like me!”
Even though I know he’s just appeasing me, his praise still makes me feel so good inside. I feel heard and seen, like my efforts aren’t just overlooked but instead acknowledged and appreciated. Deep inside, I really do wonder who I would have grown up to be if I had parents like these when I was this age.
vended · Jan 1, 2022Interesting if they actually know but are just pretending to be oblivious. Look like he's slipping mentally anyways. :]
Ambrose · Jan 10, 2022Great five chapters! I like the interactions Jason has, but also the hints of his *parents* knowing and regressing mentally!