Chapter Description: Johnny is slowly getting used to his training-pants, but a toddler's wardrobe needs more. Shopping clothes was never more interesting and in the end he might even find a friend.
The radio alarm wakes me. This time I remember the last day clearly and feel a wave of relieve washing over me. Following a faint urge I push the blanket away and use the surprising flexibility of my leg to lead my left feet to my mouth, feeling the training pant on me as I do so. I giggle around my food as I manage it, not because it tastes good, but because it feels so natural. If I train -and I will- I will become even better in it!
Wiggling my toes in my mouth I think about how I from now on want to try to think less adult, less big and how best to start it, when the radio begins to play a song. It is a secondary alarm function I didn’t switch off and I now have to put the foot out of my mouth to do it, which is frustrating. Even more it is an adult song, which I instantly combine with the memory of having drinks in some bar last summer. This breaks the spell a bit, making me feel less like a toddler and more like an in between, while I lie there, thinking of what to do next. Deciding I don’t really need the alarm anymore I switch the alarm off permanently, trusting me to wake up in time when I need to or that mother will do it for me, as mothers normally do.
As mommies do. Toddlers don’t call their mommies mothers or even mom. I must really remember this... mommy, mommy, mommy! Mama. I like the sound of this in my mind. I sounds somehow sweeter than the adult version and I try to link it with the last days. Mommy hugging me. Mommy telling me it is sleeping-time and bringing me into bed. Mommy creaming my groin and butt so I don’t get a rush. Mommy helping me play on the playground. Mommy helping me on the potty.
Thinking of her makes me get an idea. Carefully I slide of the bed and sneak over the floor into mothers... mommy’s room. She is still sleeping and I catch myself smiling as I climb into her bed. Mommy looks so beautiful! I crawl under the blanket, enjoying being near her, enjoying being clever. There I sense her moving and grow still, waiting for her to discover me. When she does so and pulls the blanket away I giggle at her surprise.
“What a little monster I have here!” she says.
With this she grabs me close, uncovers my stomach and blows strawberries in my navel, making me giggling to no end. Finally she decides I have enough and embraces me, holding me close and so wonderful comfortable. For a time we lie this way, she stroking my hair, I playing a bit with hers, enjoying the smell and warm feeling. Slowly mommy’s breasts catch my attention, they are without a bra, showing clearly under her shirt. Something about them makes me star at them as I feel something in me I can’t quite identify. Before I can think more about it, mommy rises up.
“Time to start the day!” she announces and so we do.
After brushing our teeth I sit on my potty while mommy makes breakfast. This sort of routine makes me feel unbelievable save and comfortable. I even feel relaxed when mommy cleans my groin and butt, something too strange just two days ago! All done and hungry I climb on my chair, discovering to my surprise a sippy cup filled with milk near my plate. It was pink, had two handhelds for secure grip and the picture of princess Aurora on it.
“Well you had some problems with holding the glass lately sweety,” mommy explains. “So I borrowed Calli’s old sippy cup. I hope you like princess Aurora.”
I nod. I don’t like princesses too much, but she smiles nicely, making me feel good. Cautiously I test it, finding it quite easy to drink from after the first few sips. I can’t help but think that it would be even better to drink of a baby bottle, but this progress at last... or better regress. After finishing breakfast mommy sends me in the living room to watch cartoons to which I gladly comply, taking the sippy cup with the rest of the milk with me.
In the living room I am about to read the TV-guide and look to the clock to check if Dora is running, when I stop myself. Toddlers can’t read, neither letters nor the clock, so I decide to do it like others of my age and let myself surprise. Yet, first I test something else and look first at the TV-guide and then at the clock, trying to not let my mind read it. It is hard, harder than I expected. Most of the time it feels like trying not to focus on the numbers or the letters than anything else and after a minute or so I give up. No reason for too much work at the morning.
I switch the TV on, eager to see what is running in the cartoon channel. It turns out to not be Dora, but another cartoon I don’t know. Still, the style seems colorful and funny and suddenly I recognize one of the characters to be the little pirate on my pull-up. I switch on to television text, it isn’t what a toddler would to, but suddenly I’m too exited to learn about this show to care. There it is. The show is called Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Neverland! The island where children never grow up! Could my training pant have a more perfect motive? Okay, in the book version the lost boys did grow up in the end, but when it was written the AR-virus didn’t even exist yet, so I decide to go with Disney’s version, it is the one more suitable for my age after all!
The crew, consisting out of Jake, the captain, Cubby, who has a map like Dora, Izzi, a girl who has real fairy dust and Skully, a parrot who is their look-out, lives on an island before Neverland. They have a living ship, a lot of friends and so much fun! In this episode they rescue the pirate princess, changing her back from gold to flesh. In the other they are at the beach with Marina, their mermaid friend, who is teaching them how to surf, when the evil Captain Hook is stealing their surf-board.
I love this show, actually I’m ecstatic about it. Jake is so cool and his crew is great, too, even the girl! When I’m big I want to be a pirate captain like him! Did I really think this? I laugh, thinking about how much more fun this is than working at the library like I did.
Feeling full of energy by this thought I nearly jump up from where I sat in front of the TV and run over to the mirror. I pull off my trouser to look at my training pant, where Jake is smiling at me. Does wearing this mean I’m a pirate, too? A tiny adult voice in me tells me no, that this is silly, but I don’t care if I’m silly. I’m a pirate! Hunting treasures, playing with mermaids, having adventures! I laugh and swing my training pant back and forth, dancing at bit by the last tunes of the show.
“Well someone is having fun!”
I look up, seeing mommy standing in the door and nod enthusiastically.
“I’m a pirate!”
“Of course you are!” mommy agrees smiling. “And I have just the best game for you. Just wait a minute!”
Being a good boy I do as I’m told. I continue to look into the mirror, adoring my training pant. It doesn’t just look fitting on me, but cool. How could I not see it before? Mommy comes back, holding some sheets of white paper.
“Let’s see how good you can play the jumping game,” mommy explains laying the pieces of paper on the floor “These are little islands and the floor is the sea. You don’t want to fall into the sea and get wet, do you?”
I shake my head, noticing something while mother is busy spreading them.
“The look like ice floes, mommy!”
“They sure do! So be careful, they are surely slippery and the water is sooo cold!”
I laugh, pretending to shudder and jump on the first sheet when mother gives the signal. It is easy at first, one floe at a time. Then there are two smaller pieces of papers and I understand it is so I land with my legs spread. I do, but they slip on the carpet, making me fall on my thickly covered butt, my legs forming a V.
“These floes are really slippy!” mommy teases me as I stand up. “Come on, three more!”
I nod, seeing the sheets of paper and at the same time trying not to connect it with the number I had just heard. Making the three more jumps with no effort, mommy kneels in front of me after the last floe, extending her arms.
Without thinking I jump straight into her arms and she catches me easily. Mommy whirls me around and I giggle so much, even more as she begins making raspberries in my tummy. Finally she cuddles me, holding me close and making me feel warm and protected. I love her.
Soon I get a lunch, consisting out of sliced apples and bananas, one of which I let slip and land on my shirt.
“Be careful or I have to buy you a bib,” mommy jokes and I smile, though I think I would like to have one.
After nap she wakes me with a smile by striking my hair.
“Time to go out,” mommy explains. “Do you need to potty first?”
“Then lets go!”
“Where to?” I ask while rising from my bed.
“Be surprised!”, mommy tells me, while beginning to dress me.
It is a surprise. Boy what a big, big, big one! I already thought, the drive was the best. Sitting in my car seat and seeing the big world go by is fun, even more as I know that this world probably sees me as just another toddler. Feeling my training pants secure around me, adds an extra ton of fun. I swing my legs a bit and try to make out where mommy is driving to, but of course the way looks different from my position.
Our goal turns out to be the local shopping mall. Some years ago I used to hang out there quite regularly with some of my friends. It had the fresh feeling of freedom back then. Now, being pushed in there in a shopping car seat, I see it in a different light. It looks gay, friendly, bright and oh so exciting. I still feel the nagging worry that someone identifies me as an AR-Virus victim, but the excitement and the knowledge that it worked the last time pushes it back. Some older children, going at last in the Kindergarten, rush around the shopping cart as mommy pushes it through the floors, paying no attention to me as do the other people around me. First I think we go to the big grocery store, but mommy pushes me into another section of the mall and finally I can see where we are going to. It turns out to be a cloth store for babies and toddlers!
“I think your wardrobe is lacking a bit of colors!” mommy says, when she notices my smile and I nod enthusiastically.
I didn’t like shopping clothes with mommy before, but now I love it! First we get some shirts. One with a puppy on it, playing in a puddle, then one with woody from Toy Story, saying I’m the sheriff, one with Spiderman -cool!- and one with red and white stripes. Socks with animal motives. Three sleepers, one with puppies, one with motives from Cars and the last one, a footed one pieced one, even with stars, moon and astronauts, making me feel like one myself. Then there she shops four body suits, one with the line -I woke up this cute-, one with the superman motive and another with a cute little blue fox. Then she buys two sets of shoes, one blue yellow with red shoelaces -for decoration for it has much easier velo-stripes-, the other red with white velo-stripes. I also get blue sandals and can choose between two sets of rubber shoes. One is blue and has a sailor on it, the other red with a firefighter.
“This one mommy!” I exclaim pointing on the latter.
I can’t help it for the image of me sitting on my firefighter potty wearing them makes me feel unbelievable excited. This causes a saleswoman to turn and look at us.
“Someone definitely knows what he wants!” she says and I’m happy to hear not a hint of suspicion in her voice.
“He does!” mommy says proudly and I smile up at the adults with my most innocent grin.
Then I notice someone besides us. It is a mother with her maybe five year old daughter. The girl, sitting on a little stool for toddlers, has long brown hair, wears a long blue dress without any form of motives on it and looks sad at her mother going through more dresses. I shortly wonder if she is shy.
“I hate it here,” she says and despite the slightly sulky tone in her voice I instantly recognize her as a fellow AR-Virus-Victim. “Why can’t we just use Amazon?”
“We have been over it,” her mother says without looking up. “Besides being too expensive you can never know if it fits you and you won’t grow into it.”
“You can always send it back.”
“No arguing Kathy,” her mother replies sternly. “If you argue I will leave you back home with Andrew next time, while Miss Comber watches over you two and I search out your clothes.”
She says so while holding a very pink dress with frills at he sleeves and the front showing Elsa and Anna from Frozen in a big heart. This makes the girl go quite and she looks around, her eyes lingering on me, as if she saw something strange. Quickly I put two of my left fingers in my mouth and grin at her as if to brighten her up. She scowls and turns back to her mother, her arms on her knees and her chin in her hands, looking, very much against her will, quite cute.
I decide to leave her her privacy and turn back to my own mommy who comes back this moment and makes me try a pair of trousers, which troubles me at first for she undresses me in the aisles where the saleswoman and other grownups, mostly women, are running around. Everyone of them can see my training pants now, making me quite self-conscious again, despite me knowing there is no reason to be for a toddler, that I even should feel proud. I feel a slight cold in my stomach about it which only dissolves slowly. Also despite loving buying the clothes it slowly makes me feel uncomfortable. Putting so much things on and off it tiring even when mommy does most the work for me and I find it harder and harder to give the saleswoman a big toddler smile. Finally mommy seems to notice.
“Well time to stop before somebody gets cranky!” she says half to me and half to the other woman.
I look up surprised, causing the two women to laugh. In an afterthought mommy buys a set of houseshoes looking like made for superman, before pushing me to the checkstand.
“They are growing up so fast!” mommy notices to the cashier who nods and gives me a big smile.
It is then that I notice, that I’m still not wearing trousers again. I’m pushed out to the rest of the mall wearing only a shirt, so everyone can see my training pants. I feel cold again and it doesn’t pass such easily this time. Knowing it is silly, I concentrate on my exposed legs, letting them swing back and forth.
It doesn’t help much, until mommy stops in front of a clothing shop for grownups, looking in the display window and I notice another toddler of about my age barely four feet away. She sits in her own shopping cart, as a grownup, seemingly her mother, is chatting with another woman. Except for her diaper she is completely naked, smiling at me from around her pacifier. At first I’m confused by her interest, then she swings her own legs back and forth and I understand. I swing my own, stronger this time, causing her to follow giggling. I giggle, too, -it comes really naturally- and am quite disappointed, when her mother pushes her away. I look back, only to discover mommy smiling down at me.
“Seems someone wants to play,” she notices.
I nod, laying my left foot on my right knee and massaging it a bit. Mommy pushes me further and I don’t really care where to. This episode has left me somehow light-headed. It felt good to play with another toddler, a real toddler as far as I know, without fearing exposure. Even more, as I can once again see my goal clearly ahead of me. If I can one day manage to be as uncaring, as innocent, about being just in a diaper in public as she is I guess I will become what I wanted. Right now I don’t care for much besides for my left foot which seems to be quite interesting now and wearing some of these clothes at home. I feel lighter than before somehow, even smaller.
“There we are,” mommy says half a minute later.
Surprised I look up and discover we are at the play area. It consists of some play equipment around a large ship, all decorated fitting to the theme. A large pirate ship! Mommy sets me down and I run to it at once, my bare feet feeling great on the ground. I climb it and stand on the bow, looking down from it. It is barely as high as I am, but in my mind it changes into a real pirate ship with me as the captain. The soft mats on the ground turn into ocean waves and I can nearly hear the seagulls. The way I’m standing everybody can see my training pant, but I don’t care, I want everybody to see that I love pirates and anyhow, it looks cool!
I notice another boy, a little bigger than me, playing on the slide on the ground on the left. Deciding to join him, I jump down the ship. It is not high, but I land on all fours, feeling a little clumsy while doing so, though I admit to myself I was never the greatest athlete. Also I feel my bladder pressing a bit, though it isn’t enough to ask mommy for a potty break, no chance I miss a second of the fun here. So I stand up and walk over to the boy, who looks even bigger up close, maybe four.
“Wanna play?” I ask him friendly.
“Nn,” he notices condescending. “You are a baby.”
“Am not!” I reply. Of course I want to be, but I see no reason to let him speak down on me.
“Yes. You wear diaper.”
I shake my head, proudly proclaiming the truth. “Training pant!”
“You are little, you can’t slide!”
“Can!” I reply, careful to keep my vocabulary and grammar under his level. Taking the dare I climb on the slide.
It looks even larger while climbing the steps, though hardly being half my height when I was still a grown-up. I feel a bit insecure when I arrive at the top, but I push forward, feeling the eyes of the boy resting on me. Suddenly I notice with wonder that his opinion really matters to me, quite a lot actually, probably a normal reaction of mine to see someone older, twice as old maybe. I shortly think about really big kids, going to primary school and feel myself shuddering a bit by imagining what big things they probably can do already. It feels strange to have my thoughts pushed into this direction by some instincts of my body, but strange in a good way. Seeing the other boy still looks up to me, probably thinking I was scarred, I sit down and slide down, feeling as if it goes a lot longer than it should. When I stand up, I look up at him, giving him a wide grin, a part of me hoping for praise.
“You are slow,” he proclaims.
“Am not,” I reply defiantly, trying not to sound disappointed.
“I show you!”
With this he climbs up the slide and I must admit he is quicker, his movement more defined, his steps stronger and when he goes down the slide he actually pushes himself, giving him additional speed.
“Me too!” I take up the challenge and race up myself again.
I’m quicker this time, though probably not as quick as he is. Still each of us tries to get quicker and we both laugh when we race down. On the fourth or fifth round he is straight behind me and end up on the top of me once we reach the ground. He at once begins wrestling with me, trying to press me on the ground and I resist. At last I try, for he is much stronger and seemingly more skilled in it than me. When I try to wriggle myself out, he presses a knee on my stomach. It doesn’t hurt, or is even particularly hard, but the pressure is too much for my already well filled bladder and it releases itself fully without a chance of control.
I stay on the ground a moment, even when the boy climbs off me, simply not knowing what I should feel. Realizing it is silly to just lay there I stand up, thereby feeling the squishy warmth of my training pant against my groin. It is then I notice the boy is looking at me, or rather my training pant.
“Baby,” he proclaims.
I shake my head in denial, not knowing what to say. There is nothing to say really, for I can see the superiority of him the way he is looking at me, feel it deep in my stomach. He is bigger than me and now I have proven to be a baby in his eyes. It is silly, but I feel tears dwelling up in my own eyes and instinctively my right thumb find its way into my mouth. With teary eyes I look around searching for my mommy without even realizing it. I can’t see her, which makes me feel even more miserable. Even more I suddenly feel very, very small and lost. The boy begins sliding again, having dismissed me as under his dignity and this does it. Suddenly I know I’m only seconds from bawling outright. Everyone will look at me, but I can’t help. Only a heartbeat before I do so, I’m grabbed under my arms and lifted up in the air, startling me out of my desperation.
“There, there,” mommy says soothingly, holding me near her breast. “Everything is all right.”
Not bawling, but still crying I bury my head in her shoulder, not to see anyone looking at me. Feeling her touch, hearing her heartbeat and smelling her helps a lot, along with her patting my back.
“Could you look after my cart a moment?” she ask someone.
“Sure,” a male voice answers kindly.
With this mommy begins to walk and I just take back enough control of my emotions to look around over her shoulder, though being none the wiser where she is carrying me.
“Did the big child hurt you?”
I mumble a denial in the most intelligent manner I feel able to. It feels as if this outburst somehow robbed me of a part of my mental abilities and I’m only slowly getting them back. Along with this comes the sensation of a very wet training pant against my groin. It feels strange to not have wanted it this time. The first time it felt like an accomplishment, having overcome my mental blocks preventing me from wetting myself, but now I just feel defeated. Is it this way to real toddlers just potty training?
I look around to drag my slow mind to something else and notice we are going down a rather deserted floor. Mommy comes nearer to the woman wc and I guess she wants to clean me there. This turns out wrong as she goes a door further to the baby changing room. I feel totally overwhelmed the second time this day. Entering it I try to see everything in it at the same time. There are colorful walls, decorated with friendly animals, like smiling lions, zebras and ducks. Looking up I even discover a sun and various colorful birds at the ceiling, probably to distract babies a bit during their change.
The changing table is of orange plastic with a wash basin and a paper roll besides it. Mommy makes me stand on it, as she removes my wet training pant by opening its sides.
“You were really pretty full, were you?” she asks.
I want to tell her that I could have kept it if not for the sudden pressure, that it isn’t my fault and that I’m sorry, but even as I slowly calm down the words don’t want to come, so I just nod, feeling miserable. Mommy sees this and gives me a smile.
“It is not your fault at all,” she says. “I should have asked before. Besides that is what training pants are there for, are they?”
I nod, as she disposes the wet training pant in the trash can. Then she picks up a paper towel, wets it a bit and begins cleaning my groin. Feeling calmed by this I relax a bit and slowly my adult thoughts regain control. Wetting my training pants wasn’t anything the adults didn’t expect of me. Even better, if I decided at the end of the week to wear diapers again, no one in the mall will wonder, seeing it just as a further regression due to the virus. Maybe I lost a bit of respect of the bigger kid, but what does he know. Soon he will be too big to visit the playground regularly, while I will have it forever. Also I can make a star on the diaper training chart when we come back home, having not to worry about it for today. Deep in thoughts I don’t notice that mommy is looking at me at first. Once I do, I notice her big face looking curious, only to turn to a big smile.
“Seems like someone is better,” she notices and I nod, smiling a bit. “Do you know who can make you feel even better?” I shake my head in wonder. “The tickle-monster!”
With this she begins to tickle me. First my stomach, then my sides, then my limps. I giggle helplessly, as I sink on the changing table.
“Mommy no!” I protest.
“Oh yes! You are too sweet,” mommy replies “I will eat you!”
With this she begins to mercilessly go at my tummy, making raspberries and growling while doing it. I giggle even more, feeling like I will explode any minute while lying squealing and giggling on my back. It is strange how quick and complete my mood changed. More than this, when I was crying I felt my rational thoughts nearly gone and now I feel better, but it is much the same. Maybe this is another effect of my age. I remember something I learned somewhere about fairies. They are so small, that they can only feel one emotion at a time, so maybe it is the same with me now. Before I can contemplate on this or remember where I have this from, the door opens and a woman with her baby in a buggy comes in.
“Oh hello,” she greets mommy. “They should really add more changing tables here.”
Mommy nods. “Yes, but we are done here anyway. It is really the first time I forgot to bring a spare training pant.”
Adults thoughts once again come to the front of my mind and with it good old modesty, so I sit up and make sure my groin is covered by my shirt. The movement is supposed to look natural, but when the woman is looking at me thoughtfully I fear to have revealed myself. With a nervousness I don’t need to pretend, I pull my shirt a bit to look as innocent as possible.
“I might help out,” she offers a heartbeat later. “Though I don’t know if he will like it very much.”
With this she kneels and reach for under the buggy where her son is looking at me curious, probably wondering what is preventing his diaper change from beginning. Diaper change! I realize he is maybe half a year younger than me, but his diaper would probably still fit me. Of course she is wondering if I would still accept a diaper, but of course I would. If mommy accepts this small break from our agreement. I look at her, but she is only looking at the other woman who just now is rising again.
She holds not a diaper, but a training pant. Yet, unlike mine it has no cool pirate on the front, but three disney princesses, Belle, Jasmine and Cinderella. Even more it is pink and has hearts instead of coins as wetness indicators.
“It is from Kevin’s big sister,” the woman explains “She hardly needs its anymore. Of course I know boys can’t stand pink, also the extra protection is a bit lower for girls.”
“Well, it looks just perfect for me,” mommy notices. “Don’t you think so Johnny?”
I look up at her, speechless as that she even considers me wearing this. Also I don’t can come up with an age-appropriate reply.
“Pfincesses,” I finally come to murmur, trying to look defiant, but probably not doing a good job of it, because mommy and the woman laugh about it.
“Seems he can live with it,” mommy concludes and lifts me up.
This exposes my groin and since mommy is propping me to not fall down, I can’t manage to pull the shirt down to hide it, especially not without looking suspicious. As the other woman hands over the training pant I fee a little bit thankful for it, as mommy makes me step into it and pulls it up.
“There.” mother says smiling. “All better, isn’t it?”
I nod as she picks me up. Still I can’t help but feel like this training pant is somehow softer than mine.
“Thank you.” mommy says, turning to the other woman how is picking up her own son. “Can I repay you?”
The woman shakes her head as she places her son on the changing table and starts to undress him. I notice his diaper is quite soaked and it being opened reveals he made quite a big one of number two, too. The smell coming out of it makes me doubt my resolve to become like him for a moment, but it stops along with the smell, as his mother is quick in cleaning him using the baby wipes she pulls out from under the buggy. Mommy and the woman talk, though I hardly notice it as I watch the diaper change taking place, not knowing when I’ve last seen one. The thought of lying on the table instead makes a part of my spine tingle. I vaguely notice I am sucking my left thumb and wonder when this happened.
Finally he wears a fresh diaper with Mickey on it and so we both leave the changing room with fresh underwear, a thought which brightens me up a bit, despite having to endure wearing a pink training pants. At first I’m sick with fear that people will laugh at me or even -god- think I am a girl, but no one is paying any close attention to me. Still, when I am placed in my seat of the shopping cart, I hope that mommy puts pants on me. Instead she pushes me further, still chatting with the woman, not looking at me. This makes me instantly feel bad and I need a moment to identify this emotion not as dislike of my training pant, but as simple need for mommy’s attention. Recognizing this helps me a bit to control it, but I feel far from happy, as being seemingly pushed as forgotten as I am. The baby in the buggy besides me seems not to mind, or rather is content with looking at a small book being clipped to his buggy. I begin to feel slightly envious of this when we stop.
Turns out our mommies agreed on a visit to MacDonald. With me being placed on a chair and Kevin staying in the buggy, they put paper napkins on our shirts as bibs and give us fries. Yet, while I’m hungrier than I realized before, I feel insecure how to eat, for while Kevin is being fed by his mother, my own places the fries in front of me, clearly expecting me to feed myself. This would be no problem for me, except that I have no idea how to do so as a toddler, especially without Kevin as role-model. Reluctantly, knowing being hesitant is even more suspicious for a toddler, I grab a frie and put it in my mouth, keeping it half open as I do. Mommy presses the ketchup packet out on the plate besides the fries, smiling at me encouraging before turning back to the other woman. This leaves me with figuring out how to properly put the ketchup on the fries. It is so hard to pretend having the skills of a toddler!
This is when I decide to not care anymore for now. I’m hungry, so I will eat and if I look a bit too skilled who cares, mommy can always explain I’m well behaved. I put up three fries at once, having to grab them hard with my small hands, dip them in the ketchup and try to place them in my mouth. This does work with two out of three, one of it smearing ketchup on my left chin. I don’t care much and find myself caring even less as I continue eating, coming as far as instinctively pressing my hand in the rest of the ketchup when there is no frie left. This shouldn’t come so easily, I ponder while I suck at my hand, but it seems the barriers in my head became smaller with my body and it is so much easier just to do what my instincts tell me to do without thinking about it. This way I’m done in no time and mommy cleans my hands and face with a napkin.
We say goodbye to Kerry and Kevin in front of MacDonald and then mommy pushes me further. I expect that we go back to the car and am actually quite happy about it since I begin to feel a little tired. Mommy has other plans though.
“Ready for another round of shopping?” she asks smiling.
I nod, though not feeling like I need another set of clothes.
“Then turn around.”
I do and my jaw drops. We are heading to a baby ’r’ us store!
I look around wide eyed as we enter the first aisle. Mother catches a set of three bibs with various animals.
“Better safe than sorry.”
Then we go to the toy section. So much to choose! Finally I settle on some blocks, a shape sorting cube, a bead maze, some sand toys. As an afterthought mother grabs me a boat and a duck for the bathtub and a ball in blue, yellow and green.
“Only for outside,” mommy notices.
We are about leaving the toy section when I discover something.
“Mommy there!” I say and point to a place in the aisle.
It is a firefighter truck. A red one. It just looks perfect! Mommy lays a finger on a lip, considering it, then she shrugs her shoulders and lays it in the shopping cart.
“Be careful with the kitties you save of trees!”
“Some night time lecture,” she notices, grabbing some small books.
I know most have no letters or really easy ones in it and such look forward reading them.
We seem to be done, but then turn to a last aisle just full of stuff animals.
“Choose!” mommy simply tells me.
It isn’t simple for me. It is hard, maybe the hardest thing I ever did in my whole life. Every of the animals just begs to be hugged and taken home. I’m about to despair when I see it in on of the upper shelves. A parrot with green feathers, yellow beak and a black bandanna with white skulls. Skully, of Jack and the Neverland Pirates!
A minute later we leave the store. I am holding Skully tightly in my arms and feeling happier than I have ever been, while mommy pushes me through the corridors. When she leaves me strapped into my baby seat while she is packing the purchase in the trunk I take a good look at him, as if to burn his picture not just in my mind but my heart.
“You will look for Hook for me, won’t you?”
It for sure is the overboarding imagination of a toddler which makes me hear a yes, but I grin neverless and hug him tightly, finding myself crying a bit for joy. Everything seems suddenly brighter, softer and when I watch the the world go by beyond the window it seems so much more fun, knowing I have a friend to share it.
Arriving home, mommy reminds me of making the star at the diaper training chart and then makes me choose again.
“One toy this evening,” she says adamantly when I’ve finished drawing the star. “It is already late and you had already so much excitement today.”
I push down the urge to look at the clock, already knowing it is barely six pm. I don’t need to, because I’m not feeling tired, but full of energy. Still it was such a great day, that I decide to let it pass.
Mommy fishes the box out of one of her bags, putting the rest in her room. The she leads me into the kitchen.
“First a little potty break for my big firefighter,” she says.
With this she takes the potty from under the sink, places it in the middle of the room, removes my trousers, pulls down my training pants and places me on it as if it was the most natural thing in the world. There is still a little shyness in me, but having Skully placed in front of me, looking on me over his big yellow beak calms me down, even when I’m done and mommy cleans my groin.
“You know,” mommy muses, looking at my princess-training-pants. “You could have become a little girl instead of a little boy.”
I nod. The AR-virus has a variant called AR-TG-virus. It is much rarer than the normal one and makes men turn into girls and women into boys.
“I’m a boy”, I say.
Mommy smiles. “Sure Johnny, but just imagine. Would you have become a little girl we would have bought a doll instead of a parrot and a tea set instead of a fire-truck. You would have gotten dresses, most in pink, and maybe a tutu. You would be a beautiful little ballerina! My little Jolie!”
My mind shies away from this. But to my surprise not completely. It could have happened and what then? I can see myself as a girl wearing a pink tutu, pretending to be a ballerina instead of a pirate. I would make tea-parties with my doll and with mommy. Having a baby-doll I could hold it close and be a mommy myself, holding it, giving it the bottle, or even pretend to breastfed it and change its diaper of course. I could even drive it around in a little buggy like Kevin has and show it to the people. Mommy and I would be even closer, because we both would be mommies.
“I could make you Jolie for a while,” mommy continues. “A dress and bit longer hair and no one would notice.”
Deeply confused I still shake my head.
“I boy!”, I declare.
Mommy smiles on me and ruffles my hair.
“You sure are”, she confirms. “Now you can play!”
I grin on this and leave for the living room with Skully under my left and the box with the toy truck under my right. There I open it with a bit help from mommy -since opening the box you need something sharp for and this isn’t for toddlers- and am nearly overwhelmed when the firetruck finally stands before me as I’m sitting on the ground with my legs spread wide. The strange talk about being a girl is all but forgotten and I’m only vaguely aware that I’m still wearing the princess-training-pant, but don’t really care anymore, since it is just mommy and me. Yet, even if it were a dozens of strangers, I guess I wouldn’t care, for right now it is just me and my firetruck. And Skully whom mommy places on the table, so he can watch me play.
I drive the truck around the table and under it, leading it away from the couch and to the TV which is forgotten right now. This is better than the TV, for I don’t watch something happen, I’m making it happen while being in it at the same time. I’m a firefighter, driving the vehicle in a wild speed to be at the place of the fire at the right time. Naturally as breathing I make droning noises, noises of burning wheels and sirens. The training pants isn’t hindering me in my movement as I crawl around on all fours and I only once look up to see mommy smiling on me from the door. Skully is smiling, too, so I know everything is okay and continue. Stopping the firefighter-truck in front of a plant I imagine is really a big burning tree I see myself stepping out of it, holding a hose and extinguishing the fire. To do so I lay my face on the ground watching the firetruck from this position, then closing them, only a bit and only a second to get a clearer picture of the fire.
Next thing I’m registering is the feeling of being undressed and having something pulled over me. It must be my night time pijama, but since my eye-lids are too heavy to open and I’m to drowsy to figure this out, instead only feeling a slight unease, which causes me to whine. Mommy makes soothing noises in response, rubbing my back and softly rocking me as she carries me somewhere. Then I’m placed on what I thing is my bed and the last thing I notice is a kiss placed on my forehead.
To be continued...