Chapter Description: A surprise package arrives, and some decisions are made
Sarah left her family sitting on the carpet as she went to answer the door. When she opened it, she discovered nobody there, besides the media being kept at bay at the end of her driveway. She looked down and saw several cardboard boxes. She was startled by this and looked at one of the police officers who had now turned around, and gave her an approving thumbs up, signaling the boxes were safe.
She and her husband dragged them inside while Mason kept an eye on his baby sister. They pulled them into the entryway before cutting them open.
The boxes were filled with all kinds of baby essentials that they were going to need. The supplies varied from aged, the children models on the boxes likely being so old by now that they would have been one of Emily’s former peers, and some supplies that looked familiar to Sarah from her visit to the store yesterday. Large numbers of diapers in all sizes, some effeminate baby clothes, a smaller amount of masculine baby clothes, a few baby bottles, bottle warmers, child monitors, etc.
Within these boxes a note was discovered. It indicated that this was from their friends in the neighborhood that had heard what had happened to Emily and knew that the Andersons were certainly short on baby supplies and were going to struggle in public for a while. This was a truly altruistic gesture, and one that would not go unappreciated by the two parents in the future.
Some of these items were certainly from families that Emily had babysat for in the past, that their kids grew out of before getting use out of them. Emily had babysat kids that ranged in age from Emily’s own current age, single digit months old, to her new older brother Mason’s age, 13. Sarah figured Emily had a lot of experience with some of these products, but she certainly had no experience with being on the receiving end of them.
Sarah was thankful that her community had bailed her out of her boneheaded mistake, forgetting some of the essentials she needed, given that she was past her days of lactation.
She happily took the formula and prepared it in a bottle for Emily. She certainly must have been thirsty, considering she now had much less liquid in her tiny body if her first diaper change was any indication.
Opening the package of formula, she began the process through long dormant muscle memory. Neither one of her babies primarily used formula, but it was a lifesaver for her somedays. Now, it would be a lifesaver everyday.
Finishing the process she held the bottle in her hand, again looking like some relic of a past life as the mother of a young family. She made her way over to the changing pad where Mason had dutifully watched over Emily, and made sure she wasn’t getting into any trouble. Emily fussed and made some noises, and looked excited to see her mother again, likely forgetting that she was never more than a room away in the first place.
“I hope you’re learning a lot, Mason.” Sarah told her son. “You’re going to have to be doing a lot of this for the next few years.”
Mason returned with a sort of knowing nod, not particularly excited about the extreme change in family dynamic but also willing to take on the responsibility.
Sarah lifted Emily off the ground carefully, and took her into her lap while she laid back into the couch cushion.
She then positioned her arms so that Emily lounged back on them, like she was on a couch made of her mother’s arm. Her new diaper was getting powder on her mother’s leg, but while a few days ago that may have been an annoying dusty mess, it was now far too small to be concerned about on anybody’s part.
Emily excitedly accepted the bottle into her mouth and began drinking down the imitation breastmilk. Sarah realized that she didn’t appreciate how easy it was giving Emily her lunch and having her eat it on her own.
As Emily took her time with the milk, mother and daughter stared into each others eyes. Sarah flashed through her memory banks, into her past. She saw these same eyes 18 years ago, bottle feeding Em in her first infancy, she saw them in her 5 year old daughter’s first day of kindergarten, she saw them as she headed out the door for the first day of middle school. She saw her daughter hugging her, scared, as she confronted the new challenge of high school. She saw them as they were now, just like her memories.
Sarah didn’t think there was much behind them, a naïve baby girl with her whole life ahead of her, but also so much of it also behind her, hidden to the infant herself, but something that everyone will remind her of as soon as she’ll listen.
Emily was full Sarah noticed, and pulled the bottle away. Her daughter was happy. Sarah bounced her on her leg for a while, and then made her feel like she was flying. Sarah felt good, her body was telling her that she should be happy. But she would go back and forth, between the sadness of what Emily lost, and the hopefulness of what they all can regain.
“Mason, watch Emily for a while, and let us know if anything big comes across the news.” Sarah said. Mason accepted the challenge.
“Robert, let’s go look at her room and figure some of this out.” She instructed her husband, and he agreed.
They stared into their daughter’s teenage room and discussed what they should do. She had all her textbooks organized on the bookshelves and walls. “Molecular Biology” and “Astrophysics”, things that she certainly wouldn’t have a use for now, or at least for a few decades. They looked at her decorations, posters of trendy teenage heartthrobs that she was fixated on. By the time that she was interested in boys again, these kids would be old men in a teenage girl’s eyes, and their cultural relevance would be gone.
She had picture frames filled with memories that she made with her friends, a few escaping unscathed and a few new infantilized. These would be the only evidence to Emily that these events even happened. Should they be thrown away? Hidden until the time is right? Left out to see? This was entirely unprecedented and these parents had to confront these issues that they did not have to deal with last time.
There was evidence of her various hobbies left scattered around, an acoustic guitar, Rubik’s cubes, fashion catalogues. They had to figure out how to reset her room into a nursery.
They figured the crib could go where her bed was, her large wardrobe would be entirely unnecessary, since baby fashion is certainly not as complicated as teenage fashion. Her changing table could replace her desk. They could leave the pastel pink paint color, they weren’t even sure if they had changed it since it was a nursery the first time. There was still room for a rocking chair, for the many sleepless nights that are yet to come.
This would have to be done soon, as Emily couldn’t sleep in her pack n’ play playpen for the rest of her infant life. They would have all of this stuff put into storage, no use rebuying a queen size mattress in however many years. They figured they’d keep the heartthrob posters in storage even though Emily would no longer have any use for them, just in case.
As they were finishing planning the bedroom to nursery conversion, they got a call from the police again. They wanted to give all the new parents more announcements before they came out to the press, so nobody was surprised by anything in the media. They would have to meet at the police station in a few hours.
Baby Sofia · Mar 20, 2023Thanks for continuing the story! I'm curious what they'll say at the meeting. Tell them who did it? Cure possible? Not growing ever again...? Lots of possibilities here! Looking forward to more!
Stories of Age/Time Transformation