Chapter Description: Reality starts to settle in, as the new stars of the show
Sarah stared at the jiggling baby in the carrier. This wasn’t her first, or even second time taking a baby home from the hospital, but inside it felt every bit as nerve racking as Emily’s first ride home. The future was uncertain both trips, although the future was never quite this up in the air the first time.
She could tell that her husband was driving especially carefully. It appears, that much like Emily, their mental states have been thrown backwards in time as well. Even with the careful driving, and knowing that the carrier was buckled in, she couldn’t help but keep a constant grasp on the backwards facing carrier.
While staring the carrier, Sarah knew that she was significantly underprepared for this whole experience. She had only a few hours to purchase the bare necessities, hoping a miracle would occur and that the whole endeavor had been an anxiety riddled dream, wishing for her daughter that was about to leave the nest to be back in her arms. From her perspective now, it didn’t seem like a solution would materialize any time soon. Emily would have to grow up again, and they’d have to deal with and re-litigate everything that they went through the first time.
Sarah and Robert were reaching their middle age. They could handle an infant or a crawling baby, but could they handle a rambunctious Toddler in a few years time? They’d be 50, with a 5 year old daughter and a 18 year old son. She continued to do the math and didn’t like the numbers that came up. Mason would have to step up and be as good of a big brother to Emily as she was a big sister to him.
The SUV pulled around the corner into their neighborhood. While not as busy as the hospital, their street was substantially busier than it was this morning. As the media spotted them the cameras whirled up. It had only been a few hours and they were already sick of being the news of the week.
Police sent to control the crowd cleared a way for them to pull into their garage. They shut off the car and closed the garage so they couldn’t get as good of a look in as they did when they loaded her in. They wanted to save their daughter the embarrassment in the future, but it seems like that ship had long sailed.
They released the infant restraint from the back seat, as they could hear muffled discussions among the media outside. They took her inside. Mason was sitting on the living room couch watching the coverage and greeted them. Sarah had just now noticed all the pictures of Emily through the years that hung around the T.V. and the walls. Mason quickly came out to get a closer look at the sister he once knew.
“I saw you leaving the hospital on the news” Mason told them. “It was a good effort to hide her from the cameras, but they got plenty of shots.” They put the carrier on the kitchen table and stared at the baby while Mason updated them on what he had seen.
“They got a good view of her as she was being put in, and through the window as you were driving away. It wasn’t more than 3 minutes before they had the picture and picture up of her junior yearbook picture and the carrier video. They were looking at her face and trying to make sure that she really was this baby, and this wasn’t some media stunt.”
Sarah leaned over and rubbed her temples.
“Why do they care about Emily specifically so much?” She groaned.
“Well you were the first ones there.” Mason answered. Robert added “and you know tragedies that happen to cute blonde girls is how these channels pay the bills.”
Sarah knew that these were both true. Why did she decide to jump right on top of this so quickly, she could’ve laid low and let Kaitlynn be the center victim of all this.
She looked back to the TV and saw a montage of coverage of various babies being taken from the hospital, in various states of preparedness. Some babies were being carried out in nothing but a diaper, some were riding in the nicest bassinet money could buy, with many colorful toys dangling in front of their face.
She listened to the news gleefully recant all the stories of tragedy. Many of the victims were fully grown adults, ranging in age from Heather Bailey who was 27 to Nancy Taylor the receptionist who was 62, and set to retire at the end of the semester. These adults parents were largely too old to care for such young babies the news said. So some would be raised by their spouse, those who weren’t married would be raised by a sibling, and only children would be delegated to cousins it had seemed. Sarah thought about her parents, and what if this had happened to her. Likely Emily, being the person that she was, would have raised her as her daughter but didn’t want to commit too much thought to this as this made her feel sick again.
The person that Emily was now, was a baby still strapped into her carrier, so they remedied that and let her out. They gathered in the living room and set her on the carpet. She still lacked the strength to crawl so she was mainly stretching around and putting her foot into her mouth.
Mason watched with curiosity, he had not spent much time with babies being the youngest in their family and his cousins being older or only a little younger. This whole aspect of life was as unfamiliar to him as all the aspects of it were to Emily now.
As they watched Emily refamiliarize herself with her new stature, the news continued through various human interest stories and tragedies. They saw the live clip of Amy taking Kaitlynn out, who was also in a carrier. But this carrier had seemed worn, unbleached, and dusty. It was apparent that it was just sitting in the attic for a long time, since Kaitlynn was Amy’s youngest child anyway.
It wasn’t much longer before they checked the status of Emily’s diaper and realized that it was damp. Sarah made a face to her husband that conveyed the message without saying anything, and it seems like Mason understood the signal as well.
“Uh-oh.” Mason uttered with a shocked face. This made Sarah and Robert laugh and inform him that it was time to learn a lesson. She also told him that he was lucky, for now.
They got out the changing pad and opened up the pack of size 1’s right there in the middle of the living room. They obviously didn’t posses and changing table yet, the door at the top of the stairs hid a room much more suited for a college student, unless they wanted to change her on top of her old homework that was never going to be finished.
Sarah instructed Mason to watch closely as she undid the tabs on her Elmo themed undergarments, and wrapped up the soiled apparel using the same tabs and set it aside. She wiped down her daughter and applied some baby powder that Emily had to alleviate gymnastics chafing and rashes, now put to its intended use on its purchaser.
With that, another fresh diaper was slid under her tiny body that was being completely held up by her mother with on hand. It was unfolded to fit a miniature human waist and it went on in a similar fashion to how the previous one came off. The muscle memory was still there after all those years Sarah thought to herself.
“That didn’t seem too bad.” Mason said out loud, as if he was tempting the fates. The old parents laughed to themselves again, silently resolving to let their clueless son find out what happened when Emily couldn’t hold the other part of her body that she lost her mastery of.
At this point Sarah realized something. She had forgotten to buy formula or toys of any sort. The first time around she was able to breastfeed her two kids, but that factory had long since closed down, but nobody told her mind until just now. She realized the lack of entertainment for her freshly diapered daughter as realized the only thing there was for her to look at was the ceiling or the carpet fibers.
At the same time she came to this realization there was a knock at the front door. For the police standing guard outside to let them do that, it must be something important.
Stories of Age/Time Transformation