(Silverstone Household, March 29th, 1994)
“Mom? Mom! I’m out of tampons! Did you remember to ask Mrs. Slater to pick some up the last time she went grocery shopping for us?”
Amanda’s mother sat in the living room, staring ahead, eyes wide. She thought of what to say in response. She didn’t ask. Why would she when she was told her daughter wouldn’t have another period after she began the treatment?
“Honey……I did forget…..I’m so sorry” she replied.
Amanda came trudging down the stairs in her bra and panties, stopping halfway down.
“Um, I’m about to have my fucking period and I don’t have any tampons? How could you forget? Are you retarded?” she shot back, clearly agitated.
“Honey it’s not the end of the world, you can use mine, ok? Calm down…….why do you think you’re about to get your period?” Rachel asked, still staring ahead with her eyebrows raised.
Amanda came fully down the stairs, then walked by her mother towards the kitchen. Rachel noticed that her daughter looked thinner. Her breasts had flattened a bit and her curves had noticeably receded. She also looked a tad bit shorter.
Amanda opened the refrigerator and took out the glass of orange juice she hadn’t finished in the morning.
“Um, maybe because it’s almost the end of the month and I still haven’t gotten it? I’m going to get it any day now!” she exclaimed, chugging the remainder of the juice in the glass.
“Just use mine, sweetheart. I’m sorry, Amanda. There’s been so much going on that I just forgot” she explained apologetically.
Her daughter rolled her eyes. “Ok, great. Thanks. I used to just be able to drive to the fucking store to buy my own. Now I have to ask my Mommy to borrow a tampon. I feel like I’m 14 again!”
Rachel’s heart skipped a beat upon hearing her daughter’s comment.
“I feel really fucked up, too. Something isn’t right. I’ve lost weight, mom. I’m down to ninety pounds! Look, my tits are smaller!” she said looking down at her breasts and cupping them in her hands. “Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, half of my fucking pubes fell out in the shower this morning! This home confinement is making me sick! I’m literally falling apart!”
Rachel’s brain raced to find an answer, any logical answer to mollify her daughter’s concerns.
“Well, you’ve been eating a lot better, haven’t you? Now that you aren’t driving and going to McDonald’s every day with Meghan maybe you’ve lost some weight?”
Amanda scowled at her mother. “I wasn’t fat, you fucking bitch…….”
Rachel’s stared at her daughter, her mouth agape. Then, she remembered how hormonal and emotional Amanda was when she went through puberty. She took a deep breath, then looked at her sternly but calmly.
“Amanda, that wasn’t called for. You know what I meant……”
Amanda paused, then crossed her arms. “Well, it’s not my fault I’m PMSing….”
Amanda teared up, clearly struggling to wrangle her emotions. She sat down on the couch next to her mother.
“I…..I just feel so weird. I feel like my life is over and I feel so……left behind. Everyone at school is moving on and I’m just stuck! Like I’m going backwards and they’re going forwards!”
Rachel looked away as she fought to hold back her own tears. For the first time, she felt as if she had betrayed her daughter. An overwhelming feeling of guilt washed over her as she struggled to maintain her composure.
“Honey……I’m so sorry. I really wish I had been able to sell the business earlier, when I could have been around more for you……. I’ve always felt so guilty……. I always tried my best, though” She offered in an apologetic tone.
After a long silence, Amanda sniffled, then swallowed.
“Yea, well……. your best sucked,” she dryly remarked, wiping a tear from her eye. “It’s funny. Now that I’m under house arrest, I’m seeing more of you than I ever did in my life. Maybe when this is all over, I can move away and start my life over again. I’d love to be able to start over again. There’s a lot of shit I’d do different.”
Her mother looked away from her. She grabbed a tissue from the Kleenex box on the coffee table. She dabbed her eyes, then crumpled the tissue up in her hand.
“Me too, Amanda. Me too……”
Second Visit – 14 Years Old (April 1st, 1994)
Amanda sat on the examination table in her underwear, her mother sitting in the chair beside her. Dr. Gembella took notes as the teenager rattled off her physical afflictions.
“So, that’s what’s been happening. I think this whole situation is driving me crazy and making me sick! I haven’t seen my friends in a month, I can’t leave the house, I can’t even talk on the phone. Look at me! I’ve lost weight! My boobs, my ass…. everything is smaller! What the fuck is happening to me?”
Dr. Gembella continued to write notes on her chart.
“Hello? Are you listening to me?” Amanda barked, hunched forward with her arms crossed in front of her breasts.
“I’m listening, Amanda. I’m writing down what you’re saying so that I can help you. Now, I’ll need to ask you a few questions before I examine you.”
“Didn’t know I’d be taking a pop quiz today but sure, go ahead” Amanda quipped, chewing her gum nervously.
“Well, it’s the type of quiz that you already know all the answers to, fortunately. Date of your last menstrual cycle?”
Amanda’s face turned from anxiety to one of concern, remembering that she missed her period the month prior.
“Back in February, before I started coming here…….” she answered, her voice trailing off, realizing how strange that was.
Dr. Gembella scribbled a few notes. “Ok, so you missed your period last month. Any loss of appetite?”
“No, I’ve been eating fine. Same as I always do.”
“When was your last bowel movement?”
“Seriously?” she replied, her face slightly red.
“Yes, seriously” the doctor replied blandly.
“This morning. So, there you go. My period is late but I’m still crapping like a champ. Any other questions?”
The doctor put her chart down, then stood up and approached Amanda.
“No, no more questions but I’m going to need to perform a physical examination. Clothes off, please…..”
Amanda turned to her mother, then to the doctor. “Does she need to be here for this? Can’t she wait outside?”
Dr. Gembella shook her head and began to put on rubber gloves. “She has to be in here with you at all times. Those are the rules.”
“Ugh, fine. Mom, turn the other way!” Amanda barked as she began to take off her bra.
“I won’t look, I promise!” her mother replied, turning her head towards the wall.
After a few seconds, Amanda was completely nude, sitting on the examination table. She looked up at the doctor, who held her gloved hand out in front of her.
“Gum, please,” she asked, beckoning with her fingers for Amanda to spit it out. Amanda complied, sighed and then laid on her back as the doctor began to look over her.
Amanda stared up at the ceiling as she was examined, motionless. When she felt her genitals being touched, she looked up at the doctor and pointed to her crotch. “See? I’m almost bald!” she exclaimed, tilting her head to the side to make sure her mother was still looking away.
“Yes, I can see that” the doctor replied, applying lubricant to her fingertips. “Lay back down and spread your legs apart, like you’re giving birth” she instructed. Amanda slowly complied, then felt the doctor gently inserting her index finger. Amanda grimaced as the doctor moved her finger inside her. She hadn’t felt so tight since she was a virgin and she was surprised by how much pain the examination caused. When it was over, the doctor removed her gloves, then instructed Amanda to get dressed.
“Ok, Amanda. Everything looks fine. I think you’re just suffering from stress. I’m going to talk to the State and ask them if you can have a bit more freedom in the coming days, ok? Now, go see Doctor Fleming while I go over a few things with your mother.”
Amanda complied, visibly shaken. She somehow felt worse after her exam than she did before. She had a feeling of helplessness and vulnerability that seemed to grow worse by the day. As she pulled her jeans back up to her waist, she tightened her belt. When she let go, her jeans slid down below her waist a bit. Confused, she pulled them back up, cinched the belt another notch and left the room.
EXCERPT FROM POST-VISIT MENTAL HEALTH CHECK TRANSCRIPT
(PATIENT: AMANDA SILVERSTONE) (APRIL 1st, 1994)
So, moving on. How are you feeling today, Amanda?
Pretty fucking bad. I just saw Doctor Gembella and she examined me. I think I’m having a nervous breakdown or something.
I’m very sorry to hear that.
Sure you are.
Amanda, I know you’re having a rough day, but I wat you to understand that I do care about you and I want to help you. Tell me a bit about this nervous breakdown you’ve been having?
Well, it’s…...it just feels bad. It’s bad. I’ve lost weight, I missed my last period…..my whole body just feels wrong.
I see. Well, was Doctor Gembella able to give you a diagnosis?
She thinks I’m just stressed. She said she’s going to talk to the State and see if she can get me time out of the house. I never thought my house would feel like a prison, but here I am.
Well, isn’t your house a place where you feel safe?
I mean…….yea, it can be. Lately it hasn’t felt like that, though.
I understand. Has your mother been supportive?
I guess so. She just leaves me alone and lets me do what I want. Basically, been that way since I was a kid.
Do you like that? Being left alone?
Of course I like that. Why wouldn’t I like it? It’s better than having her up my ass twenty-four seven.
Have you ever wanted her to be more involved with your life?
What do you mean?
Well, you said you like that she’s not constantly lording over you, but is there a part of you that perhaps wishes she was sometimes?
I mean, not really.
When you were a little girl, were there times that you wanted your mother around, but she wasn’t there because she was working?
Here we go. “Tell me about your childhood, Amanda.” I knew this was coming.
I know it’s uncomfortable to think about these things, but try to remember how it felt back then when your mother was working. Would you feel sad sometimes?
Yea, sometimes I did but I knew she wasn’t there because she was working. She had to after Dad left. Otherwise, we’d be on the street living in a cardboard box.
That’s what you know now, but Little Amanda didn’t know that, did she?
Little Amanda just thought that that’s the way things were.
Do you ever remember crying because your mother wasn’t there?
Why does that matter? Kids cry about all sorts of dumb shit.
Do you remember?
I don’t remember. Maybe.
Well, I’d like you to think about that before our next visit, ok?
Great. Kicked out of school but I still get homework.
[END OF TRANSCRIPT]
POST-VISIT CONSULTATION TRANSCRIPT
(RACHEL SILVERSTONE, MOTHER OF AMANDA SILVERSTONE) (APRIL 1st, 1994)
So, how have you been feeling?
Honestly, I’ve been feeling incredible. I really feel……well….young again. I can see the physical changes, too. I can’t believe it actually works!
According to the tests we just ran you’re currently 32 years old. You’re actually rejuvenating exactly as we calculated. To the day, in fact which is fairly uncommon. Usually there’s a margin of error of plus or minus a month or so.
I just can’t believe I’ve lost ten years in a month!
Has Amanda noticed? Has she commented that you look younger?
I don’t think she’s noticed. If she has, she hasn’t said anything. She’s been very preoccupied with her own physical changes. Fiona, is she going to be ok? Is she responding the way she’s supposed to?
Everything we’ve seen so far is normal. She’s actually responding to the treatment as well as you are. It’s common for patients to mirror their parent’s response to the formula. There’s definitely a genetic correlation that we’ve confirmed throughout the years.
Ok, ok. That’s makes me feel better. But I just worry so much about what’s going to happen once she puts it all together. Seeing her freaking out about her body really drove home the reality of this thing for me. She’s going to wake up one day and know she’s not just losing weight. She’s going to realize her clothes don’t fit. She’s going to realize that she’s not tall enough to reach up for the kitchen cabinets. What happens then? What do I do? What do I say?
You’ve read the literature we’ve provided. You don’t attempt to explain or make excuses. You tell her what’s happening to her, inform her that she doesn’t have a choice and that you’re in charge now. Any other approach is just going to confuse her and make things harder for her. The sooner you establish that you’re calling the shots, the better. For both of you.
But…….I guess what I’m saying is……what if she resents me? What if she doesn’t accept me in that way? She’s a very independent young woman… well, I mean girl.
Remember, emotionally she’s going to start becoming more dependent on you. I know she’s still cursing and acting defiantly like any other teenager going through puberty right now, but as she goes further backward, she’s going to become more childlike. You’ll need to take advantage of that. You’ll need to start disciplining her and setting boundaries.
Right, meaning what I would have been doing had I been around to raise her the first time around.
Rachel, I don’t mean this to sound judgmental, but I’ve observed your dynamic firsthand. She clearly feels that she can speak to you however she likes. I’m not saying she doesn’t love you, but she certainly doesn’t respect you. That won’t change unless you make it change.
You’re right. You’re right, Fiona. So, what’s next? What should I expect?
Well, I’ll be blunt. Your concerns about her realizing what’s happening to her are definitely going to be realized before her next visit. According to the numbers we’ve run, she’ll be ten years old by the end of next month. Have you managed to do any shopping for her yet? I know the information we gave you had some suggestions.
I have, actually. I went out and bought all her outfits while she was held in jail. Shorts, overalls, t-shirts, that sort of thing. They’ve been sitting in my closet, hidden away. I also bought a few toys, things she used to like to do when she was a little girl. Coloring books, Play-Doh, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Barbies. You know, just like every other little girl growing up when she did.
Ok, good. Just don’t spoil her. Like I said, as she gets smaller, don’t hesitate to put her in clothes appropriate for her age. A lot of mothers in the past have told me that their child will beg to still be allowed to wear their adult clothes, watch adult shows on television, listen to adult music……. you can’t let her do that. What you say goes and the sooner she realizes that, the better.
So, I make her watch cartoons and play with dolls? What if she doesn’t want to?
Rachel, again. You’re her mother. You say “no” and that’s that. You set the rules. You decide what she gets to do and not do.
I know, I know. It’s just so hard to think about. She’s been a teenager for so long I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be in charge. Well, come to think of it I never really felt like I was in charge of her.
I understand, but again…..she’s not just changing physically, but mentally as well. Her brain is going to be reforming itself as she regresses. As she becomes smaller, she’s going to become more and more fearful of the world and naturally look to her mother to protect her and keep her safe.
And by showing her I’m in charge, she’ll make that connection sooner and become more obedient?
Exactly. You want her to realize that you’re her caregiver and provider and that she needs you to survive. It’s a basic instinct in all of us as children.
Well, I guess I’m about to find out if I’ve got what it takes to raise a little girl again.
Everything is going to be fine, Rachel.
[END OF TRANSCRIPT]