Tantalus Redux

by: Personalias | Complete Story | Last updated Jan 27, 2023

A nastier look at an age regression afterlife, wherein a lost soul is kept in the body of an infant and vague promises of growing up if only she can get some big girl clothes on.

Chapter 1
Whole Story

Chapter Description: Whole Story

Time is meaningless when you’re dead.  “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,” that stupid song went, “We’ll no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.”  They had the right of it, or so Isabelle felt, but they were completely wrong too.

Time is a construct. Any idiot trying to seem sophisticated or smart will say that, usually before giggling smugly and then telling you what time it is.  It’s true though.  Time is just a way of marking or noticing changes outside oneself that occur due to external and internal forces.  Time is what people ascribe to noticing patterns such as the seasons, growth, maturity, entropy, and death.  Time is attaching logic and other basic cause and effect relationships to oneself.

Time was how mortal minds cataloged and tracked basic predictable changes.

When dead, you’re out of time. Literally outside of it.  Upon death, ten seconds and ten thousand years were equally relevant and long and important to each other.  The rules and predictability that govern the passage of time cease and loop back around on each other. 
Someone in Heaven experiencing that Amazing Grace would be in such a state of perpetual bliss and nothing about that bliss would change or shift to the point that ten thousand years would be as inconsequential to them as a single day. Time has no meaning or necessity upon death. That’s how eternity worked.

That’s what the song meant. That was how it was for Isabelle. Literally outside of time.  It was the only way she could comprehend her current eternal situation. Isabelle wasn’t in Heaven, at least not any Heaven she would have selected for herself.

“Wakey wakey,” came an overly cheerful voice from elsewhere in the room.  “Time to get up!”  The woman whom Isabelle knew only as ‘Mommy’ popped her head suddenly over the railing that defined the outer border of Isabelle’s crib .  “I hope you slept well, Izzy! We’ve got a busy day ahead!”  Mommy’s voice was always cheery and bright sounding, her eyes bright and possessed of the curiosity and intensity that a housecat paid to a lizard.  Isabelle was the lizard.

Isabelle squalled from her spot on the mattress, her tiny yet chubby hands balled up into impotent fists as she screamed up at Mommy; hammering the crib mattress beneath her with her fists and feet. She couldn’t so much as roll over onto her side, and it had everything and nothing to do with the bulky infant’s diaper wrapped around the girl’s hips.

“I know,” Mommy cooed. “I know.”  She reached down and picked the tiny blob up off the crib’s mattress.  A tiny blob:  That’s all Isabelle was first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  She had no other choice.   “You want your breakfast. First, let me check your pants, Little Miss Squirmy.”  Isabelle continued to squall while Mommy held the entirety of her in just one arm and pulled back the rear waistband of her diaper.  It was more of a scream than a cry, newborns couldn’t properly cry.

Mommy repositioned Isabelle into a cradle. “You definitely need a change,” she said. “But not quite yet.  We’ll wait till after breakfast.” Inwardly, Isabelle’s heart sank. So that’s how this particular morning was going to go. Sometimes she’d be changed first thing and then given breakfast.  Sometimes she’d be fed and then changed.  Sometimes she’d be whisked out of the house in a pretend rush wearing the same diaper she woke up in.  She hated those mornings the most.

  Isabelle never knew ahead of time which it would be, and nothing she did seemed to matter.  Time didn’t matter.   “That means you get to eat sooner! Isn’t that good?”  Newborns are all but incapable of expressing any emotion beyond quiet or screaming.  Isabelle chose screaming.

That didn’t affect Mommy one bit. “Yeah,” she said. “Someone’s hungry.  Someone needs her morning titty.”’  The air rushed by like a rollercoaster and Isabelle was screaming like it.  Her gumless mouth resembled a caught fish in so many ways.  Unperturbed, Mommy opened her pink bathrobe and exposed her nipple. 

Isabelle felt the tit brush up against her cheek and her mouth automatically turned and latched on, greedily sucking at the breastmilk. “There. That’s better.”

It was and it wasn’t.  Her infant body felt an animal level of satisfaction in the suckling the same way one feels when scratching an itch.  The actions taken though were highly involuntarily. Her mouth and tongue suckled and explored the nipple and downed the creamy fat filled milk in the same way that her knee spasmed when tapped with a hammer.  Speaking of involuntary, Isabelle heard herself grunt slightly as her body pushed out a soft mushy mass into the seat of her nighttime diaper.  Her bottom lit up with pain and itching as her persistent low-level rash made itself known.

Mommy peeked back in and examined the mess for herself. “Good girl,” she said. “Knew I was right.  If I’d have changed you first before breakfast I’d just have to change you again.”  Isabelle got out the tiniest scream as she was switched over to the other breast. “And it would probably have been a much bigger mess to clean up,” she said as she let out a pleasant sounding sigh and patted Isabelle’s mushy bottom. The pats were simultaneously affectionate and agonizing as each pat further inflamed her sensitive skin.  The most annoying part was that Mommy was right.

The baby didn’t wince or flinch. She couldn’t. She just kept sucking on Mommy’s tit, her body operating on pure instinct, heedless of the fact that it was in a thoroughly used diaper.  She didn’t care either. The diapers, she decided, were the symptom of a much bigger problem.  It was awful being so completely out of control of her own body. It sucked being Mommy’s personal plaything every single day and not knowing what she’d be subjected to.  It sucked being dead.

“Okay,” Mommy said. “All done. Time for burps! Can you give me some burps?”  She propped Isabelle up over her enormous shoulder and started gently patting the newborn’s back.  Isabelle was tempted to keep her mouth closed and make the gas bubbles come out slower; possibly hold her breath.  It might make things difficult.

Mommy must have anticipated it.  “Give me some burps and maybe you’ll get a bigger diaper,” she said, her voice syrupy sweet with the devil’s bargain..

That was all it took for Isabelle to give in.  “Urp! Er. Urp.” The gas bubbles came out in funny and nearly inaudible pops.  Petite little things, just like Isabelle tended to be this time of morning.  Only herself and Mommy could have possibly heard them.  “URP!”

Mommy readjusted the girl to look at her. “Oh! That was a big one! Good girl!”

Against her will, Isabelle allowed herself a feeling of pride, and with it hope. Said hope was rewarded on the changing table.

The velcro tabs on Isabelle’s diaper came undone and her legs were lifted into the air by the ankles while Mommy wiped her down and cleaned her up.  

Isabelle tried not to inhale the scent of own mess, but it was inescapable.  It wasn’t that bad, actually.  When it was only breastmilk in her system and her digestive tract was functionally under a month old, the poop smelled more like warm dairy than anything else.  Extremely bearable.  What wasn’t bearable was the constant teasing and taunting from Mommy.

“Such a good baby!” she said. “Getting so big! Just was a wiiiiiiddle fussy cuz she wanted her Mommy’s milk. That got her tum tum moving right along and she made Mommy a present. Yes she did!  Yes she did!” She finished wiping the newborn down, balled up the used diaper and threw it away.   “You’re gonna be such a big girl someday. Talkin’ and going to school and even using the potty all by yourself!”

A wicked gleam shone in Mommy’s eyes as she unfolded the new diaper and slid it under.  “But not today!”  Isabelle laid back while Mommy rubbed in diaper cream and dusted on baby powder. She was still too weak to lift her head. Hopefully that would change soon. At least the cream gave her some respite from the rash.

She couldn’t feel herself growing there on the changing table with her legs up in the air. Never could.  Living people never felt it either, but it still happened.   Isabelle’s growth happened much more quickly, even if it was just as subtle.

The changes started as soon as Mommy lowered Isabelle’s bottom down onto the soft padding of the fresh, but much larger diaper.  Dark hair sprouted out of Isabelle’s head, making her realize just how cold her skull had been moments before. She moaned and whimpered a little as a few fresh teeth sprang out of her delicate gums. Yes! That meant that she was at least a crawler! 

Her excitement dimmed, naturally, when the pain stopped and her mouth still resembled a Jack-O-Lantern.  Finally, she was able to crane her head to the side and look at herself. Mommy had a strategically positioned mirror angled towards the changing table, just so Isabelle could see herself as Mommy tended to her. 

Still pudgy, but there was muscle to it.  Just not the lean meat of a preschooler that she’d been vainly craving forever.  Mommy finished diapering her, bringing the front up and tucking the sides down over Isabelle’s non-existent hips snugly enough so that the back ends could fold over to the front and be taped on.  “There we go!”

This, among so many other reasons, was why Isabelle knew she was dead. Everyday she’d wake up as a newborn, Mommy would change her into a different sized diaper, dress her into matching baby clothes, and Isabelle’s body would shift to fit. Then every night, when frustration after frustration had taken its toll, she’d go back into a fresh nighttime diaper meant for a newborn, be breastfed, and then find herself lowered into her crib.  

Her body matched the clothes she was in, and she ended and started each day as the same relative ‘age’.  Those were the only rules; everything else was seemingly random and inconsistent.  Some days she’d be a newborn all day.  Others she’d be a crawler, or a sitter, or a cruiser, or a walker, or just shy of preschool.  But she never got old enough to be in anything other than diapers.

Diapers: She supposed that was the other consistency.  That was her own personal Ten Thousand Years.  Always diapers.  Never training pants. Certainly not big girl panties.  Those weren’t meant for her.

Ten Thousand Years.  Maybe that’s how long Isabelle had been doing this. Maybe longer. Maybe shorter.  Perhaps it had only been ten seconds and in real time her body was still cooling in her death bed or driver’s seat or bleeding out in the street.  Time didn’t matter.

Isabelle didn’t remember how she’d died. It’d been so long from her perspective that she’d totally forgotten. And if forgetting had bothered her, she’d forgotten being bothered by forgetting it too.  She was dead, and to be dead one had to be alive at some point.  It was academic really.  Just like to be alive, one had to be born and have been a baby at some point.

Similarly, Isabelle knew she’d been an adult at some point in her life. It had been so long since she’d been one though, that she couldn’t remember herself as one and any lingering traces felt more like imagination to her than memory.  She knew she used to be an adult and had worn big girl panties and had had a job and her own house and gone potty all by herself and had sex.  She knew that she’d once been a woman with breasts and hips and curves and hair that went down to her back and a voice that did more than just squeal and whine all the time. 

Problem was she couldn’t remember it. In the face of eternity, a human mind can only remember so much with any sort of clarity.  For the last however many forevers, every waking moment of Isabelle’s existence had been filled with diapers, bottles, highchairs, playpens, onesies, pacifiers, and so on and so forth.  Everything even remotely less infantile was all academic at this point.

She was left constantly missing something that she could no longer remember having.  Nostalgia felt like envy.  That’s how she knew that this existence wasn’t heaven.

Mommy wasn’t her real Mommy, obviously.  Isabelle had forgotten her last name, but some part of her still knew how to profile based on appearance. To put it bluntly and engage in stereotype: with her dark hair and caramel colored skin, Isabelle’s last name while living might have been Garcia or Sanchez. Mommy’s milky white complexion and strawberry blonde hair marked her as more of a Rogers or a Smith.  The woman who diapered her every day was certainly not the woman who had given birth to Isabelle the first time around.

Thinking of Mommy as a mother in the adoptive sense didn’t feel right either. She might act kind, but Mommy never lost the malicious edge that convinced Isabelle her sole purpose was to taunt and tempt and tease, and she was magnificent at her job.  If passive aggression, condescension, and infantilization were a person, Mommy would have been it.

Mommy wasn’t a person though.  She was a demon of some sort. That much was clear.  Isabelle only referred to her as ‘Mommy’ because she literally didn’t have another name for the beast that breastfed her.  In all her memory, she had been given no other name.  Even other denizens of this fragrant scented hellscape called the woman ‘Mommy’.

Mommy wasn’t her mother. Mommy wasn’t her caregiver. Mommy wasn’t even a person.  Mommy was just…Mommy.  It was oddly appropriate given how few children at Isabelle’s perpetually young ‘age(s)’ knew their parents’ real names or understood complex family dynamics.  Given that this place was Hell maybe it wasn’t so odd.

Mommy pulled Isabelle into a seated position on the changing table and leaned away to grab a baby dress. “Let’s get my busy Izzy dressed for the day.  Can’t just have you going around all nakied!”

From her seated position, the girl shuddered. She hated that name. It grinded against her brain like no other, and every adult bodied being she encountered insisted on calling her that.

A spare thought: Hey!. She could sit up by herself. That was something. In the few seconds she had to herself, Isabelle began a sort of diagnostic of the body she’d been granted. Looking down at the new diaper she had on, she saw some lines that she knew meant numbers, but it had been so long she’d forgotten what scribble meant what number.  The same for letters.  That was no help.

  Decoration wise, it was mostly white with pictures of fish dotting the waistband.  There were a few fish stencils going down the cloth-like cover, but that didn’t offer any clues to how old she was supposed to be, either. 

Experimentally, she squeezed her thighs together. The nice new diaper was still pretty thick between her legs, but not so puffy as to inhibit movement. That meant she could probably walk or cruise. Babies who were less ambulatory had comparatively thicker diapers down here. She might have a chance.

It still had that yellow line down the middle. She still didn’t know what that line was for, but she knew that the diapers for the older kids, the ones who were precariously close to potty training, didn’t have these little streaks down the center.

Damn.  Rarely.  Very rarely, Mommy would dress Isabelle as a toddler or preschooler, someone who could talk more than a few words, could potentially feed themselves, and the only thing keeping them from doing something ‘bigger’ was lack of ambition or experience; a little kid on the verge of becoming a big kid.

That was the trick. That was the torture.  Isabelle became whatever age best suited the clothes she was wearing.  That meant that if Isabelle could manage to get into clothing more befitting a big kid- or better yet, an adult- she’d be freed from the eternal prison her body had been reduced to.  No more pissing and shitting herself uncontrollably. No more drooling and teething.  No more wobbly legs or knees scuffed from crawling on the carpet all day.  No more highchairs or cribs or bouncers or exersaucers.  No more diapers. She’d be a big girl.

There was the rub. That’s why this was Hell.  She’d never managed to pull it off.  Not once.  Not that she could remember.  And every day, a new opportunity would present itself to her…and she’d fail.

If she could get over it and accept her lot, she might be okay.  If she could, though, it wouldn’t be Hell.

Might as well see what she was getting to work with this time. Isabelle ran her tongue over her few teeth. Time for a systems check. “Ma-ma?” she said. 

“Yes Izzy?” Mommy cooed, returning with a dress.

Basic communication? Check.  “Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma! GAAAAAA! Buh!”  More advanced forms of vocalization? Negative.  She was a babbler.  Probably not even a year old.  “Ma-na-ga-ca-ca-ca-ca-ca-ca-ca-ma-ma!’  None of the other words she was intending would come out right.  She’d been trying to recite what she could remember of the ABC song.  She could still remember the words despite not recognizing the letters.

“Somebody’s quite the chatterbox,” Mommy replied.  “Good.  Maybe soon you’ll say your first real word today.”  That made Isabelle’s blood boil something fierce.  She’d had an uncountable number of first words, and not just because it was getting harder and harder to count.

Isabelle held her babbling tongue for Mommy to dress her.  The order of the day was a black and white checkered dress with a white peter pan collar. Mommy slid the dress over Isabelle’s head and guided her arms into the sleeves pulling it down.  It was a snug fitting number but not uncomfortably tight. 

That could be bad. Onesies, rompers, and just plain old t-shirts and shorts were usually indicators that she was expected to crawl.  Crawlers didn’t get clothes that might trip up or get snagged on their knees.  She couldn’t help but smile when Mommy boosted her slightly so that the hem of her dress could settle.

It was still short enough that it didn’t quite cover the very bottom of her diaper but Isabelle had the feeling that it would drag on the ground were she to crawl.  She probably wasn’t just a crawler.

“What am I gonna do with all this hair?” Mommy asked. A rhetorical question meant to torment Isabelle, obviously.  Isabelle got her answer in the form of a matching bow that kept her raven hair up in a single pony tail on the top of her head.  Gingerly, she reached up and patted the single tuft. The ponytail was pulled just tight enough to be uncomfortable, tugging ever so slightly at the hair.

One of the most precious memories Izzy had left to her was the time she’d have enough hair to put up into pigtails.  Her dress had gone down to her knees, a pair of tightshad gone over her diaper and her and her mouth had been coordinated enough for her to scream things like “Big girl! Potty! No diaper!”

She must have been close to two. Mommy had slipped up and left one of her shirts from the laundry folded up on the living room couch.  To this day, Isabelle held fast in the belief that she could have fully grown up if she’d only gotten her head through the right hole in time instead of getting all tangled up in the comparative circus tent.

Her chief tormentor slipped some socks onto Isabelle’s feet and declared “That’s good enough,” brushing her hands.  “Come on Izzy, let’s get busy.”  Socks. Of course it was just socks.  The demon woman liked the subtle nuance of torment.  Shoes would have been a giveaway.  “Up we go!”

Isabelle was on the suburban monster’s hip, but not very long.  The trip was less than thirty steps to the playroom.  Where most middle class families might have a living room or a family room, a space beyond the dinner table for family members to congregate and sit; Isabelle’s personal Hell had a playroom.

It was a white walled space decorated with colorful dollar store alphabet and number posters that were just out of tiny arms’ reach. Much of the floor was covered with foam mats for children to plot and tromp and run around on and two out of four walls were stacked with toy bins full of colorful but functionally useless pieces of plastic or wood.  Another wall was dominated with plastic playsets to simulate kitchens and grills and other suitably ‘adult’ things.  The final one had a mesh playpen and a spare changing table that was primarily occupied by Isabelle when the sun was up.

Within the hollow fiction of Isabelle’s padded prison, Mommy ran an at home daycare.  Isabelle was always the only one who wasn’t at least in training pants. 

With complete automaticity, Mommy stepped over the baby gate and into the playroom. “Here we are, Izzy!” she chirped. “All ready to start another wonderful day!”  Another wonderful day Isabelle’s ass.

In short order, the eternal child was placed back in the playpen, bottom first. Stone walls did not a prison make nor iron bars a cage. Mesh netting and fabric over steel frames more than did the job, especially when the playpen was empty of toys or stuffies or anything other than Isabelle herself.  “You be good, Izzy.” Mommy said. “Mommy will be right back after she freshens up.”

Isabelle tried to say something sarcastic, but the words only came out as sleepy burbling.  Sarcasm was hard to convey through tone alone.  Mommy gave her another kiss for her trouble and flounced out of sight.

Isabelle huffed and sighed, staring down at her nearly bare legs.  They might work. They might not. If she was going to be stuck with a body that could only stand for a matter of seconds before tumbling back on its rump, she might as well find out now while no one was around to hear or see her struggle.

Learning forward, Isabelle cocked her legs into a kind of W-sit that gradually shifted so that she was on her hands and knees.  Okay. So she was at least a crawler.  Her dress still dragged on the ground. Experimentally she shuffle crawled a few paces in her pen, feeling her knees scrape and catch on the dress; sometimes stopping her so that she’d have to adjust.

Not optimal for crawling.  That gave Isabelle some hope.  Mommy never dressed her inappropriately for her body’s abilities. That would have ruined the game, Isabelle supposed.  It was only torture if the girl thought she could win.

Isabelle proceeded to curl her toes and push herself back onto the balls of her feet.  Her eyes widened in discomfort for a moment before catching her balance. A sliver more of pushing would have sent her cannonballing back onto her bottom. 

Balance was okay, but only just so. With a nearly explosive push from her legs, Isabelle rocketed herself up to a standing position.  Yes!  She tried to maintain her position and counted.

One…two…three…five…eight….no six!...seven… 

The girl started to tip forward around then and was forced to put one clumsy foot in front of the other until she steadied herself on the playpen railing.  She caught her breath and held herself there, feeling much more secure and in control.

Okay.  Okay.  Good crawling motor skills.  Decent ability to balance and stand. Walking was limited at best; cruising by grabbing onto something preferred, but she might be able to manage.
She could work with this.  She could definitely work with this. She could pilot this body today.  Mommy would have to be more on guard today.


The doorbell rang, and Isabelle heard Mommy’s voice echoing through the house “Coooooming!” She called. “Always early.  Never fails,” she muttered.  Isabelle’s legs started to shake from muscle fatigue. 

Isabelle took a mental note of it and managed to set herself down quietly back at the bottom of the pen.  That was another factor.  Plenty of times she’d gotten painfully close to victory only to have a padded thud alert Mommy. 

She didn’t bother trying to tip over the playpen or climb out of it.  That wasn’t going to happen. Not by herself. Not in this body.  She didn’t have the weight or the athleticism to credibly try. She’d have to be clever and manufacture a way out, preying on Mommy’s need to play the roll or by manipulating one of the other kids into helping her.

Speaking of which…

“Well helloooo!” Mommy said just out of sight.

“Hello Missus Izzy’s Mommy!” a little boy’s voice answered. 

“Hi Damien, would you like to come in and play?”

“Uh huh!” 

Flapping slapping sneaker steps signaled the child’s approach before Isabelle even saw him.  The towheaded boy with a bowl cut couldn’t have been older than three but to Isabelle he was regularly a blur and a giant by comparison.

“Lemme in! Lemme in! Lemme in! Lemme in! Lemme in! I wanna plaaaaaaaay!” Damien was always hyper and always very, very loud.

“Okay,” Mommy called and laughed. “Kind of makes you miss the days when he’d cry as soon as he was out of your arms.  They grow up so fast.”  Mommy was supposedly talking to Daminen’s mother.  Isabelle had never seen or heard the other woman speak or see her or Damian in any of the ‘out on the town’ tortures that she could remember.  Damien was here now, though.

“Have a good day at work!” Mommy called out. The door hinges squealed as the door shut and Mommy came back up.  “Good morning, Damien!”

“Lemme in! Lemme in! Play! Plaaaaaay!”

Mommy smiled and chuckled good-naturedly. “Okay. Okay.  Go ahead. Go play.  Just be careful with Izzy.”

Solemnly, Damien nodded.  “Be careful wif the baby.”

“That’s right.”  Mommy lifted Damien up by the armpits and gently placed him down on the other side of the impassable wooden lattice wedged into the playroom’s threshold.

Like he did every morning he was there, Damien blurred up to the side of the playpen and waved his arm with speed and coordination that Isabelle could only dream of. “Hiiii Izzy!”  Meekly, Isabelle waved back with one pudgy arm.  Damien didn’t say bye as much as he screamed and ran to the toy bins, dumping them all out on the floor before bending over and picking something out to play with.  Damien was worse than the terrible twos. Damien was terrifying. Yet from her spot in the bare playpen, Isabelle felt more than a twinge of jealousy regarding the blue Pull-Up poking up out of his shorts.

The next hour proceeded about as Isabelle expected.  In packs of one and two, each of the usual big kid suspects came in, were placed in the playroom, said “Hi Izzy” and then started running around like crazy.

Besides Damien, there was Lucien who had a full set of teeth, Selene who was by turns a sweetheart and a total brat; Seth who was a big kid among the big kids, Carmilla who had so many accidents in her pants that she should have been put back into diapers alongside Isabelle, and the twins Peter and Pandora.

As with so many other things about being dead, Isabelle had more questions than answers.  Were these actual children?  People like her that had fully lost their minds after several eternities?  Constructs and simulations? Demons like Mommy? None of that had been answered, and on the rare occasion that Isabelle could form coherent words, she didn’t think to ask.

She was afraid to.  These tiny terrors, whatever they really were, were the closest things she had to friends or consistency in all of existence.  Whether she was a newborn blob, a roller, crawler, butt scooter, a cruiser, a toddler, or just a month or two behind Carmilla, they always stayed the same.  Isabelle took comfort in that.  It made them part of the game to her; part of the vast puzzle to figure out.

“Hi Izzy!”  Lucien said for the fourth or seventh time and ran away to play kitchen for not too terribly long.  Lucien was particularly unfocused this morning.  He ran so fast that one of his coal black sneakers slipped right off of him.  Lucien stopped mid stride, frowned and looked over his shoulder.  Instead of doubling back and picking up his shoe, he scraped the other one off with his foot and ran off.

Isabelle’s tiny eyes widened with possibility. This!  This was her chance!  A big kid’s sneakers totally counted!  If she could get those on…!

She rocketed back up to her feet, grabbing the pack-and-play’s railing for extra balance.  She let loose a guttural grunt.  “Uh!”  She arched her right arm up and over the railing, reaching out for the pair of shoes.  “Uh! Uuuuuh! Gaaaaaaaaah!” 

The sneakers weren’t even close to the pen and Isabelle had no means of getting any closer.  She might as well have been Luke Skywalker upside down in the wampa’s lair willing the Force to bring his lightsaber to him.  That wasn’t happening, but neither was it what Isabelle was counting on.

Selene stopped running and screaming and took notice.  “Hi Izzy!” she said.  She did not run off.  Good! Selene was in one of her less bratty moods.  She wanted to be helpful. 

“Uh! Ga ga ga!”

Selene frowned, her curly, dirty blonde locks tumbling into her face.  “Ba-ba?  You want your ba-ba?”  She looked behind her, and much to Isabelle’s eternal frustration, she looked right past the sneakers laying haphazardly on the floor.  “Sorry.  I don’t see your ba-ba.”

“Nnnnn!”  No!  Not ‘ba-ba’!  “Ga ga ga! Uh!”  This wasn’t rocket science!

Selene kept scanning the floor.  Her brow raised and she pointed at one of the discarded shoes  “This? Do you want this?”

Isabelle gripped the top rail with both hands and started bending her knees, bouncing and bobbing.  “Baca!” She babbled.  “Bububububub!”  She made sure to put her biggest goofiest pumpkin toothed grin. 

“Ooooooh!”  Selene bent over and flashed her robin’s egg blue cotton panties in Isabelle’s face. The tormented soul didn’t care.  Grabbing both shoes, Selene started for the playpen.

Closer. Closer! Yes. Yessss!   “Ga-ga-ga!” Izzy was making all the happy baby noises.  Any minute now she’d be making happy big girl noises on top of it!  How old was Lucien supposed to be?  He rarely had potty accidents, that was for sure.  Selene lobbed the first one in over the playpen..  “Here ya go!”

“Hoooooooo!”   One more! One more! “Hooooooo!”

“You want the other one?”

Just over Selene’s shoulder, Isabelle saw Mommy come back in with a plastic grocery bag.  It swayed and its contents lightly clinked and rattled against one another while she stepped over the baby gate.



“Drinks!” Mommy called.  “Come get your juice!” 

Selene’s head whipped around. She dropped the shoe and dashed over to Mommy, while the demon handed out juice boxes and sippy cups to sticky reaching fingers.  Over their heads, Mommy smiled and offered a sly wink.

Damn it!  It definitely wouldn’t count if she couldn’t get both shoes!

Mommy finished by adding insult to the injury.  She waded through the thirsty toddlers and lifted Isabelle, out of the playpen.  “Awww, can’t leave busy Izzy over here by her lonesome!” she cooed.  Down from the bottom of the bag, she produced a baby bottle full of milk and shoved it into the girl’s face.

Izzy had no choice but to accept the rubber teat and start suckling.  Her body went on a kind of autopilot and her hands reached up to grasp the cylinder.  “Such a big girl!” Mommy lied. “Holding your bottle all by yourself!”

She lowered Isabelle down to the floor where the girl helplessly emptied her bottle with almost the exact same intensity as she’d latched onto Mommy’s breasts.  At least this milk was chilled…

Isabelle finished her bottle and let loose an annoyed growl. Lucien’s other shoe was right next to her and completely useless.  The other was stuck in the playpen, denying her the set.  None of her big kid friends had the ability to climb back into the playpen from the outside and Mommy was keeping watch to prevent them tipping it over.  She’d be in the playroom with them until she snuck out to make lunch.  That other shoe might as well be a world away.

Time to come up with another plan. Isabelle took stock of the room, looking for an opening.  That shoe idea was a good one.  Too bad she’d been denied it. Her rash was starting to itch again. It made it hard to focus.

“Pee-peeeeee!  Damien was in the middle of the floor, pants down around his ankles. True enough, he was peeing. Problem was he wasn’t aiming for any kind of potty “I’m going pee-peeee!”

“Oh!”  Mommy dashed and grabbed a potty to catch the stream and minimize the damage.  This is why so much of the play room was covered in foam tiles; easier to clean and replace than carpet. “Good job Damien!” Mommy said. “But next time go pee-pee in the potty!”

It was things like this that made Isabelle question whether or not her daycare playmates were in on the cruel joke or not.  A bit of blue caught her eye and she turned her head.  Damien had ripped open the sides of his Pull-Up right off and tossed it aside. 

“Hmmmm….” Izzy wondered. Could she wear that?  Would his broken Pull-Up count?  Would she have to put it back together? Still pondering, she turned her head in the opposite direction towards the changing table.  There was a small pack of boys Pull-Ups on the upper shelf shoved in the back behind several stacks of diapers.  Unlike Carmella’s pink Pull-Ups, the bag had already been ripped open with a few of the not-diapers poking out.  The dead girl considered today’s pudgy, indelicate fingers. The odds of her being able to sneak a training pant out and slide it up over her diaper without getting caught a million times over were incredibly low.  Would it count if it was a boy’s Pull-Up?  She felt and feared there might be some kind of gray area regarding gendered clothing.

Seth walked up and patted the girl on the head. “Hi Izzy!”  Izzy rolled her eyes. Seth was the oldest and knew it.  He was the least likely to help her in any way that mattered.  “How are you?  Can you say ‘Hi’?  Say ‘Hi!” ‘Hi?’  ‘Hiiiiii!”

Isabelle grumbled and mumbled her annoyance.

“You’ll get there!”  He started to go away but stopped before he’d turned all the way around.  “Miss Izzy’s Mommy! Miss Izzy’s Mommy!” He shouted. “Izzy needs a change! She’s wet!”

Izzy felt her face grow incredibly warm. How had he known before her? She hadn’t even felt it.  Curiously, she lifted the hem of her dress and stared at her diaper. The blue line running between her legs told her nothing. Whether by magic or just general atrophy, Izzy’s brain refused to make the connection between the wetness indicator on her diaper changing color and the state of her pants.

“Oooooo!” Carmella said.  “Busy Izzy is a potty pants!” 

Mommy scooped Izzy up and carried her over to the changing table. “She’s just a little baby,” Mommy lectured the second littlest girl in the house. “Not a big girl like you.” 

“Yeah!” Carmella proclaimed. With zero modesty she yanked down her pink shorts and pointed to her training pants. “That’s why I’ve got my-” she gasped. “Oh no my stars! They’re gone!”  Carmella waddled over to the nearby pink princess potty.

“Such a big girl,” Mommy praised her. “You had an accident but you’re taking care of it yourself!”

Isabelle peed her pants and was a baby. Carmella did the same and was praised as a big girl.  So unfair!  She harrumphed as she was laid down on the changing table and her dress was hiked up.  “Ga poo!”

The velcro tapes ripped open with a scritch and a scratch. Isabelle shivered as the open air hit her urine soaked diaper area.  She couldn’t remember it, but she was sure she missed having pubic hair something fierce.  “That’s right baby girl.  Let’s get you cleaned up. Babies love having their diapers changed, don’t they?”

Izabelle did not dignify this with a response, and instead stewed in silence, only letting out a tiny whimper as the demon woman wiped between her legs.

Clad in a denim jumper, the ever curious Pandora toddled up to the side of the changing table
“Missus Izzy’s Mommy?”

“Yes Pandora?”

“Why does Izzy wear diapers?”

Oh no. Not now.  Izzy slammed her hands into her face in an infantile attempt to hide.

Mommy went on wiping and changing.  “Because she’s a baby.  Babies wear diapers.”


“Because babies don’t know how to listen to their bodies like big girls do.”  Izzy felt her legs crossed and lifted so that her bum could be wiped.


“Because they're too little. So they wear diapers and when they get wet or stinky, grown-ups clean them up.”  The wiping finally stopped.


“Because it’s our job.” Izzy felt and heard Mommy ball up and toss the old soiled diaper away.

“Why doesn’t she just go potty?” Pandora asked.

Mommy slipped the new diaper underneath Izzy. “I already told you. She’s not a big girl.  She’s a baby. Just like you used to be.”

Pandora audibly gasped. “Really?”

“Yes ma’am,” Mommy said.  “You used to be a little baby just like her, and I changed your diapers.” She added another soothing layer of diaper cream and some powder for good measure.

“What happened?”

Mommy finished re-diapering Izzy. “You grew up.”

“When will Izzy grow up?”

Izzy peaked from behind her hands.  Mommy answered Pandora but looked directly at the baby.  “Someday…maybe. If she wants it badly enough.” She lowered the girl onto the floor on all fours.

Annoyed and frustrated, Isabelle tried to push herself back up to her feet. She hated being on her back with her butt up in the air and wanted to get as far away from the changing table as humanly possible, even if it meant her weebling and wobbling until she fell back down.

Her body wouldn't cooperate, however.  She could get on her hands and knees, but no further. Oh no! Mommy must have changed her into a smaller diaper without her noticing! She could only crawl now.  Isabelle probed with her tongue and could swear that she felt fewer of the tiny bumps called teeth than before.

No! This wasn’t fair!  Mommy wasn’t supposed to switch diaper sizes in the middle of the day.  “Waaaaaaaaaaaaah!” she bellowed. 

Her cries went unheeded, however, mostly because someone was yelling in joy louder than she was crying in anger.  “I did iiiiiiit!”  Carmella looked almost like the kid on the side of the Pull-Ups box.  She sat there on the pink princess potty with her fists raised high up in the air.  The biggest difference was that she wasn’t wearing anything below the waist.  “I got ‘em pants all the way off!”

Isabelle’s eyes felt like they were going to explode.  Carmella had taken her shorts all the way off and flung them across the room. More to the point, she’d kicked off her shoes. Today she’d come dressed in flip flops.

“Oh Carmella,” Mommy said. “What am I gonna do with you?”   Mommy started to trudge to the middle of the playroom and slowly, oh so slowly, bend over to pick up the discarded shorts.

This was her chance! Going at the crawling equivalent of a sprint, Izzy shuffled across the carpet, not daring to lift her knees for fear of tripping over her own dress.  Flip flops! Literal flip flops! So easy, even a baby could put them on! She wasn’t thrilled about aging up to only Carmella’s stature, but starting potty training was still better than hopelessly diaper dependent.

Greedily, Isabelle snatched the things up and rolled onto her back.  She didn’t have the coordination to easily shift back to her bottom, and didn’t care. She didn’t need it.  The first flip flop went on her foot, no problem!  The second did too!  She took special care to put her big toe up against the little foam pole near the front that held the straps together.


Her feet did not grow.  Nor did her stature.  Nothing about her changed at all. She looked at her feet, still pointed to the ceiling and wondered what was wrong.

Mommy walked by and snatched the flip flops off with ease. “Ah-ah-ah!” Mommy said. “Musn’t play with other people’s shoes.”  She smiled cruelly. “You couldn’t even get them on all the way because of the socks.  Flip flops are supposed to go between the toes, not over them.”

The socks?  The socks. It didn’t count because she was still wearing her socks!  Izzy started to wail inconsolably. This only served to land her back in Mommy’s arms as she trembled with rage and frustration. Mommy smoothly teased a pacifer over Isabelle’s lips and gently pushed it into place, holding it with two fingers to muffle Isabelle’s cries . 

“Good try, baby girl,” Mommy whispered. “Maybe next time.”

(The End)



End Chapter 1

Tantalus Redux

by: Personalias | Complete Story | Last updated Jan 27, 2023


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