The therapist couple slowly walked to the nursery. Simon was about to lay Jacob in the crib, but he hesitated. "Angelique, would you put a blanket down in there?" he requested, motioning towards the crib. "I don't want him to dirty the sheets. I just changed them," he explained further.
"Good call," she quickly replied, walking over to the closet and unfolding a thick, purple blanket.
After she smoothed it out over the mattress, he carefully laid Jacob onto it, trying not to disrupt his sleep. They stood over the crib for a moment watching him sleep and listening to his small snores. A small moment later, they decided to leave him to sleep, and Angelique quietly closed the door to the nursery behind them until the door clicked shut.
"So, what are we having for dinner," Simon asked, stretching his arms as they walked downstairs.
"I'm thinking we can do some chicken fajitas," she proposed.
"That sounds great. I think Jacob will like it," he replied, nodding his head.
While they were in the midst of quietly working in the kitchen, Angelique turned to Simon and interrupted the silence. "In the morning, I think we should explain to Jacob that Mr. Hammond will be visiting," she said thoughtfully.
"You're right. I don't think he knows," Simon speculated, running a hand through his hair.
"I hope it goes well tomorrow. We've made a lot of progress," Angelique said, wistfully.
"Yeah. It would really be quite the setback if Jacob doesn't take kindly to Mr. Hammond's visit," Simon agreed.
"But we will still be okay if it doesn't go well, right?" Angelique asked, burying her head into the crook of Simon's shoulder.
"Always," Simon whispered, hugging her back.
When they were nearly done with dinner, Angelique volunteered to be the one responsible for waking Jacob up. At this point, they were both very aware that he tended towards a grumpy disposition whenever his sleep was disrupted, no matter how minutely.
She made her way upstairs and opened the door to the nursery. Jacob was still in the crib, but at some point, he had rolled onto his side and curled into the fetal position.
"Jacob, it's time to wake up," she called out to him.
The little boy yawned and rolled over, continuing to snore as if he didn't hear her at all. This caused Angelique to get a little more creative. She tickled the bottom of his foot. "It's dinner time, Jacob," she said in a sing-song voice.
"No," he grumbled, turning onto his belly and wiggling his foot out of her grasp.
"Yes," she responded, lifting him out of the crib and taking him to the changing table.
Opening only one eye, Jacob looked at Angelique and simply said, "I'm hungry."
"That's good," she replied, tossing his dirty diaper before continuing, "Dinner is ready."
"What's for dinner?" the grumpy little boy asked between loud yawns.
"It's a surprise," Angelique said, lifting him into her arms.
It wasn't long before Jacob got his answer. The moment they made it downstairs, he picked up the aroma of the chicken fajitas that saturated the air in the living room. His stomach grumbled at the smell grew stronger in the kitchen.
He could see the small plastic plate on the highchair's tray was already filled with different toppings for his chicken fajitas. The moment he sat down fully on the seat, he grabbed the plastic spork and filled his mouth with some guacamole. He enjoyed avocados in any form. So, it was a nice way to start reducing his hunger.
While Jacob stuffed his face, Simon turned on the radio in the kitchen to the news station. He grabbed two glasses of lemonade and made his way over to the dining the table.
"Chance of rain: sixty percent," the news anchor relayed.
"Well, I guess that means we will be having lunch inside tomorrow," Angelique said, sounding slightly disappointed.
"And we won't have to water the garden tomorrow," Simon added on.
"That's true," Angelique said, smiling at her husband.
They continued to eat, listening to the rest of the news. Jacob finished his dinner before the therapists. While he waited for one of them to release him from the highchair, he kicked his legs rhythmically, humming softly to himself.
"What are you singing?" Angelique asked, surprised to see the boy so at ease.
"I don't know the name of the song," Jacob replied, raising his arms towards her.
She pulled him out of the highchair and released him onto the floor in the kitchen. "We still have to finish the dishes, but you're free to roam the kitchen while we do so," she explained.
At the same time, Simon changed the radio and began playing a CD filled with some older reggae songs.
While his caretakers stood in front of the sink, he walked to the opposite side of the kitchen, noticing the "naughty stool" that was still in the corner. His curiosity got the better of him, and he opened the pantry that was next to him. When the door squeaked while he was opening it, he cringed, afraid that he might get in trouble.
He waited a few seconds, expecting a reprimand, but neither of them said anything. He figured it was a silent endorsement of his exploration. So, he went to nearly every cabinet within his reach to open, peak inside and close them back. Most of what he discovered were just small appliances for the kitchen. He saw a coffee maker, a slow cooker, a waffle maker and many fancy dishes.
He honestly wondered where they kept the snacks, and he was a tad disappointed he didn't run into any candy. Jacob imagined that since he was the size of a kid, his sugar highs would once again be legendary.
As if Angelique could read his mind, she asked, "Are you still hungry, Jacob?"
He looked at her with a confused expression on his face. Drying her hands for a second, she opened one of the cabinets Jacob couldn't reach and pulled out a cereal container. "Would you like to try some prunes?" she asked.
The little boy screwed up his face, clearly disgusted by the mention of prunes. He never liked them, even after his adult palette had kicked in.
"These are very sweet. Try one," she encouraged, handing him a small prune.
He hesitantly took the prune out of her hand and made a very tiny bite on the edge of it, fully expecting to spit it out, but it surprisingly wasn't bad. He ate the whole thing, genuinely shocked at how candylike it tasted.
"Do you want some more," she asked.
"Yes, please," Jacob replied, trying to use his manners to appease her.
He watched as she grabbed a small plastic bowl and poured a few prunes into it before handing it to him.
"Thank you," he said, while taking the bowl from her.
"Enjoy," she replied, grabbing a rag and walking towards the dining table.
Jacob was in his own world while he walked in circles around the kitchen munching on the prunes. He was thinking about how nice it felt to have the freedom to walk around more. He did notice how his caretakers seemed to be giving him more privileges in response to his good behavior, but he didn't think too hard about it. He was playing the part. So, he might as well enjoy the perks that come along with it.
When he reached into the bowl one final time, and realized it was empty, he was almost overwhelmed with disappointment. He walked over to Angelique and tugged on her pants. She immediately looked down to acknowledge him and said, "Yes, Jacob."
"I'm done," he replied, holding the bowl up above his head for her.
She took the bowl from him and turned to Simon then asked, "You're giving him his bath, right?"
"Yup," he confirmed, drying his hands and lifting Jacob into his arms.
As Simon walked upstairs, Angelique called out to him, "I'll get Jacob after I'm done showering."
Simon wasted no time walking to the bathroom near the nursery with the little boy in his arms. While Simon was undressing the boy he proposed, "How about a shower this time?"
Jacob nodded, looking forward to escaping the bath. He wasn't keen on standing in the water that was typically filled to almost half his body height.
The West Indian man lifted the showerhead out of its holder and turned the water to a warm sitting. He tested it on his forearm then turned it towards Jacob's legs.
The water pressure was quite relaxing, and Jacob enjoyed the nice warm water, but when Simon aimed the showerhead towards his fresh haircut, he groaned in protest.
"Hey, you're the one who took a nap in the backyard. You should have known that you'd need your hair washed after that," Simon explained.
"I know, but it still sucks," he muttered, shutting his eyes tightly.
"Besides, we still need to get out all those little hairs from the haircut. Either way, you were going to need to have your hair washed," he continued while pouring shampoo into his hands.
Simon was gentle while he massaged the shampoo and conditioner into the boy's much shorter Afro. It was much quicker the second time around. That time, the rinsing and drying process was significantly faster.
"Wow! The difference a haircut can make," Simon enthused, wrapping Jacob in the small blue towel.