Chapter Description: Linda and her regressed husband are still locked in a battle of emotions and arguments to prove the other wrong about parenthood. Will Linda's reluctance of taking care of a child or Andew's conviction that she would be a good mother win?
Andrew woke up with a yawn. Was it a work day? He didn’t know, so he began stretching himself to become ready for the day. His hands and feet touched something soft. Surprised he opened his eyes and looked around. There was mesh netting all around him and a big white plush bunny sitting beside him.
Mr. Hop, Andrew remembered and with it remembered everything.
The regressed adult sat up. His padded material around his waist felt odd, but he didn’t want to think about it right now. Instead, he looked around. It was his bed room, but the mesh netting made it look even stranger than just its now gigantic size. He was very much alone, with the bed unoccupied and the curtains opened, the light showing him it was already morning. The clock showed 7:44 am. Late for him.
Where was his wife?
Andrew wanted to get out of the crib and talk to her about yesterday. Still, he didn’t want to irritate her again by calling for her or escaping the crib. Looking up from his sitting position he didn’t even know if it was possible. He seemed trapped as any baby in its crib. Trying to distract himself from this depressing thought, he touched the ground. The mattress was soft. No wonder he had fallen yesterday. He also realized he had been tired. Being a toddler was more stressful than he had believed. Another reason to be patient with his future child.
Still, it felt harder and harder to be patient now. He looked around again, but the only close think to occupy him was Mr. Hop. Linda’s former white plush rabbit seemed to beg him to be hugged. Though Andrew’s rational mind told him it was his own infantile desire making itself heard, he grabbed it and after giving it a close look, embraced it. The plush felt cuddly on his bare arms and the feeling of the form on his torso was different than anything he could describe.
Andrew relaxed instantly, feeling all the worries of the last day vanish. His struggle with Linda and his feeling of helplessness he constantly felt since regressing, but there was more. His wish to be a father, his work, having to organize them moving. He felt free of it. Vaguely he felt his bladder relax, but this seemed far away. Mr. Hop had made it all go away. Nearly dozed, he looked at his free thumb, the urge to suck it was there, but also the adult reservation. Still there was no one there, so … He let it come closer and opened his mouth …
Suddenly he heard footsteps on the floor outside. The regressed adult pulled his thumb away and managed to throw the plush rabbit into a corner of the crib, before his wife entered.
“Good morning Andrew,” Linda greeted him, leaning over the edge of the crib. “Did you dream well?”
Andrew vaguely remembered two men in suits and a crib, but no details, so he just nodded.
“Need a change?”
Andrew hesitated, only now registering how his diaper felt.
“Yeah,” he admitted. “About yesterday …”
“Hush.” Linda picked him up. “Later.”
His wife first carried him to the bathroom, where she had placed a stepstool in front of the sink, so he could brush his teeth. After not having been able to the day before, this felt great, despite the toothbrush being clearly too large for him and a bit of the toothpaste landed on his onesie. Then she carried him into the living room. They hadn’t spoken a word since leaving the bedroom and in her arms Andrew had to think about the nursery song “Hush little baby don’t say a word”. He didn’t, not even when she picked up the changing mat and placed him on it, or when she removed his bear onesie.
“Hold this,” Linda ordered and gave him a fresh diaper.
Andrew obeyed, holding it in front of him. This one had Elmo on the crotch and Ernie around the waist. Both smiled as if to wish him a good morning.
This is the last diaper I will ever need, he swore them.
The occupants of the Sesame Street just kept smiling.
After the fresh diaper was securely, but not too tight fixed on him, Linda carried him to the table, without bothering to put a new shirt on him. There Andrew was surprised to find she had fixed the tray on the booster seat she now put him in.
“No more messes,” she explained while putting the harness on him. “Wait a minute until I fix us meal.”
Andrew nodded, knowing there was little else for him to do. Still, he felt worried. His wife seemed too easy going this morning. She must have planned something. Something more than the tray. There was also the fact that she still had not called herself mommy again, like yesterday. Sure, it had been mockery, but he had seen it as a good sign.
A bit later she came back, putting down a plate with fried eggs, small sausages and cucumbers, all in pieces. Next to it she placed the sippy cup. Everything seemed fine except …
“Where is the cutlery?” He asked his wife, as she put a towel around his next to again create a bib.
“Well, you had problems with the adult one and you failed to buy one for your size, so …” She smiled at him. “Just use the little hands of yours. Don’t worry. I will clean them later.”
With this his wife took place at her seat, demonstratively slowly picking up her fork.
Andrew starred at her, then his meal, then his hands. He didn’t want to go through this, but suddenly he felt his stomach grumbling and realized how hungry he was. Reluctantly he first grabbed a piece of sausage and put it into his mouth. Eating it made him only hungrier and he began eating it faster and faster. The fried eggs were the hardest part, where his hands became completely messy and he even dropped parts on his bib. Once the plate on the tray was empty, he knew he was dirty, but at least felt no longer hungry.
Linda was already done and suddenly stood next to him with a piece of wet kitchen roll. She began cleaning his face – he was surprised just how dirty the piece of kitchen roll got from it – and then his hands. Once done, she undid his bib, removed the harness and lifted him out of the booster seat to the ground.
“Go play, while I prepare things,” she told him, handing him his sippy cup.
Knowing any protest would be useless, Andrew toddled to the living room. He put the sippy cup far away on the armchair, not to get into temptation to fill his small bladder, then he picked up the ring stacking toy Linda had placed next to the box. He turned the pyramid around and spread the rings on the ground. The regressed adult didn’t feel a splinter of the enthusiasm about it he had had yesterday, when he had played with his wife, but at least it would pass the time.
Once Linda was done cleaning, she found Andrew sitting broad legged on the carpet of the living room, putting rings on the stack in front of him with obvious lack of interest. It was only when he noticed her, that he smiled and lifted a blue plastic ring.
“Want a round?”
“Not this time sweety.” Linda knelt down in front of him. “Now it is time to get you dressed.”
True to her word, Andrew’s wife put him back into his Barney-shirt – it hadn’t been too dirty after all – a pair of shorts and sandals. The latter were maybe two sizes too large, but this didn’t bother Linda too much, since it was him who had bought them … and didn’t look as if he could go a long way with these feet anyway.
“We are going on a walk?” Her husband asked, unable to hide the worry out of his voice.
“Better,” Linda replied with a smile. “We are going shopping!”
True to her word, a bit later she and Andrew stepped out on the street. She quickly noticed how he looked around more than a bit intimidated and guessed the outside world was a completely new experience to him, even compared to inside. Linda watched how he starred at the people and cars going by like he had been transported into a world of giants.
“Come,” she said, offering her hand.
Andrew starred at it a moment, then he took it. Linda was amazed, how small and soft it felt in hers. How easy it was to lead him along the sidewalk. She didn’t even mind reducing her walking-speed a bit, so he could keep up with her. Watching him toddling along made her smile slightly, it felt like … no, it gave her a new sense of responsibility.
“Oh, hello Linda.”
Surprised she looked up to find Mrs. Everdale approaching them.
“So glad to see you before you move,” Linda’s and Andrew’s neighbor said.
“Me, too. Sorry it was kinda busy,” Linda replied, noticing the older woman’s eyes now rested on the toddler. “This is And … y. Andy is my nephew and he spends some time with me.”
“Oh, he is so cute,” Mrs. Everdale noticed, her look going back to Linda. “Andrew must be so happy.”
“You can bet on it!” Linda smiled, pressing her husband’s hand. “Say *Hello* to this nice lady Andy.”
“He …” Andrew stuttered. “Hello.”
“Oh, what a polite little man!” Their neighbor chirped, looking back at him. “I bet you have many friends to play with. Does he go to daycare?”
“Sure,” Linda lied. “And he loves it there. Do you Andy?”
She could feel her husband’s grip tightening and noticed how he almost glared at her.
“Me love daycare,” Andrew managed to say.
Mrs. Everdale clasped her hand. “So sweet!”
“He is,” Linda agreed. “But we have to hurry. We have to shop a little bit.”
With this they turned and went to pass wait at the red traffic light.
“Was this necessary?” Andrew asked, when their neighbor and everyone else was out of earshot.
“Well, if you know a better way to handle it, tell me,” Linda replied.
Her husband remained silent and grumblingly looked ahead.
“Your way of speaking was okay,” Linda said. “Use three words max and not big ones.”
“I will not speak to anyone!” Andrew insisted.
Linda smiled. “Look, the traffic light turned green, meaning we can go. You know green, Andy?”
Andrew looked up at her, but had little time to glare, as she pulled him along until they reached the parking lot of the shopping mall, where she put him into the seat of a shopping cart and pushed him in.
“Look at all these shiny lights,” Linda noticed. “So much fun.”
“I don’t have …” Andrew began, but his wife just placed a hand on his lips.
Her husband glared and she could see his little legs swinging widely in his seat. His powerless, infantile anger made this even better.
“Not fun,” he said, sounding as much as a toddler, that a man passing by didn’t bother to look at them.
Emboldened, Linda smiled.
“Oh *Little Man* I think it is and you can just not see,” she insisted. “Let me help!”
Before her regressed husband could do anything, Linda had removed his left sandal.
“Hey!” Andrew protested. “What …”
“Tickle monster!” Linda said, grabbing his bare feet.
“No! I …”
Any further protest was stopped, by squealing, as his toddler body reacted the only way it could.
“Nnnn …Li … da …” Her husband tried. „No.”
Linda reacted by letting her tickling hands wander up, until they reached his sides.
“Ahh … ga… Li… n…”
It was then, when all that left Andrews little mouth were toddler sounds, that Linda finally had mercy and let go. For a moment she looked down smiling at her husband, while the latter, out of breath, looked up at her. She could see he was trying to glare, but the smile on his face betrayed him … Suddenly though, his face first turned into a scowl and then downright in a near cry, as if he was trying to hold up tears.
“What it is?” Linda asked worried.
This was when she noticed his little legs being crossed in front of the seat. At once she understood he was fighting for control of his bladder and losing by the look of it. Already the tears were running down his face, as his eyes were looking around. Clearly, he wasn’t prepared to pee in his diaper in public.
“Oh Andrew,” Linda said.
She didn’t know if he had even heard her, for he already began to cry, which quickly grew into a bawl, as the emotions he was unaccustomed to took over. Linda felt likewise overwhelmed, for she didn’t know how to react. She looked around, but hardly anyone spared her more than a quick glance. Of course, she knew such scenes were quite common here, but she still felt suddenly very alone.
Carefully, she picked her husband up and took him in her arms. She could feel the diaper already swelling slightly and tried her best to fight down the feeling of disgust. She had to take care of Andrew.
“It is okay,” she tried. “No one cares. It is okay.”
He was still shaking and crying, so Linda began to rub his back, as she had often seen people do it in television.
“It is my fault,” she admitted, rocking him slightly. “Everything is mommy’s fault. It is okay.”
Finally, slowly, he calmed down. She looked into his reddened eyes, which looked so insecure and hurt.
“I’m sorry,” Linda told him. “Let us go get you out of it. Okay?”
Andrew just nodded.
Carefully as she had picked him up, she placed him back in his seat and went for the nearest changing room. When she entered it with Andrew in her arms she was surprised by the bright design of many cheerful animals.
“Look these frogs.” Linda pointed to the wall over a changing station.
Andrew didn’t reply, something she could understand pretty well.
“At least, you won’t have to wear one while we are here,” she tried to cheer him up, as they approached on of the free changing stations.
“Great,” Andrew replied sarcastically. “I …”
He stopped at the same time Linda could hear the door opening. Turning around, she could see a woman leading a toddler in. The boy was around Andrew’s age, and wore only a Tommy the Tank-t-shirt and diaper, the latter clearly wet. Quickly she turned back around and laid Andrew on the changing station next to her. No talk with her husband then, but maybe this would be better.
“Hello,” the other greeted her, as she placed her toddler on the changing station next to Andrew’s. “Another early shopper?”
“Oh yes,” Linda smiled. “Right from the breakfast table.”
The other woman laughed and placed a diaper changing bag next to the station. Linda joined in, still insecure. Did mothers chat during changing?
Already the stranger was putting the tapes off the toddler’s diaper, so Linda began to pull down Andrew’s short pants, despite the latter’s look of horror. The prospect of revealing his shrunken jewels probably wasn’t something he looked forward to, but still much better to raise the suspicion of someone who might call the police if she suspected the toddler didn’t belong to her
“Don’t fret!” Linda whispered to her husband, as he crossed his legs.
“They always make it hard,” the other woman commented, just removing the front of the diaper.
“You have no idea!” Linda replied truthfully.
She got rid of Andrews shorts, breaking the barricade of his legs by some tickling of his still bare soles, but as she laid hands on the tapes, his resistance intensified.
“No!” He said, in a too mature tone for her taste.
“Yes,” Linda replied and placed her hand on his belly, while she opened the tapes with the other.
Quickly she opened the front and grabbed some paper towel, being provided by the wall. Linda then removed her husband’s hands he had unsuccessfully tried to protect his privacy with and began cleaning his groin area. A quick glance to her right, showed Linda, that the other woman already put the old diaper away in a movement so much more skillful than hers.
“See,” she told Andrew, as she pulled his own diaper away from his pretty much clean bottom. “No problem!”
“No spare diaper?”
Linda didn’t need to turn around. She heard the suspicion in the other woman’s voice. Since a diaper bag seemed to be the standard equipment for every mother of a baby, she needed a good story. Luckily, she already had one.
“Unfortunately, no,” she admitted, still holding her husband by his stomach. “Andy is my nephew and I thought we could quickly buy some things, before my sister comes back. The diaper bag is back at home. I had no idea he would leak so quick.”
Andrew kicked with his legs.
“Also, I tickled him,” Linda added.
“I see,” the other woman said, pulling a diaper from her bag. “Want one? Gary always messes when he shouldn’t, too.”
Linda threw a quick look at the woman’s son. The toddler laid with his feet to her, so she could see his groin freely, as he unashamed lifted his legs and sucked on his right thumb. He was definitely more carefree than Andrew.
“Thank you,” Linda replied. “But I hoped we could go through the trip without another.”
The woman laughed. “You don’t know boys if you think this!”
Linda hesitated a moment, then she took it without even looking at her husband. “You are probably right. Thank you.”
“No problem,” the woman replied, beginning to put her diaper on her child. “I’m Jessica.”
“Linda,” she said and unfolded the diaper, ignoring the look in her husband’s face, just a s Jessica ignored the one in Gary’s.
Andrew did not have a good time. First Linda had dragged him in the shopping center. Then she had tickled him mercilessly, causing him to lose control of his bladder in public and even more worrying for him was how he had lost control of his emotions! Then the change with another woman seeing his private parts … he wondered how she hadn’t noticed he had become red as a tomato … and now she and her wife had decided to shop together.
The regressed adult knew he should be happy that she seemed comfortable right now with having a toddler around and chatting with another mother, but all he felt was … boredom. He always had enjoyed shopping with his wife, going over the boring parts by simply looking into her beautiful eyes, but now these eyes were high up and mostly directed at clothes or Jessica.
“Wow, this fits,” the other woman noticed, showing a blue blouse. “They make your eyes stand out.”
“I don’t know,” Linda said, taking it. “The material seems easy to tear.”
Andrew would have loved to tell his wife how beautiful it made her look. He was just trying to decide if ‘Aunty pretty!’ might be enough to make him suspicious, when a sudden fear grabbed him. What if they decided to shop for baby clothes next? He didn’t think he could survive that!
Luckily Gary saved him. The other toddler obviously was as bored as he was, but had not adult restrictions of showing his frustration. Jessica’s son began flailing his legs, made protesting sounds and looked quite cranky.
“Shhh … Mommy sees you!” Jessica said, patting her son’s cheeks and looking at Andrew. “Seems our little men don’t like shopping with us.”
“Any ideas?” Linda asked, placing a hand on Andrew’s left leg.
Andrew didn’t smile, when they arrived at the mall’s childcare center. Of course, he knew of it, but so far had never come too close to it until now, that he found the cart he sat in being pushed to the counter. There Jessica and Linda had a short talk with the woman behind the counter, which Andrew couldn’t follow. It wasn’t until his wife turned to him, that he had a chance to talk.
“Aunty no!” He begged.
Linda smiled. “No reason to be scared.”
She picked him out of the seat and made him stand on the counter, then she pointed at something.
“Look! A birdy!”
Perplexed Andrew looked into the direction, only to stare into the back of the cell phone held by the woman behind the counter. He only realized what had happened, when thus already lowered the device.
“There is the photo. To identify you belong to him, when you pick him back up,” she said and pressing something on his breast she continued. “And there is for everyone to know him.”
Andrew looked down on his shirt and discovered a sticker with the name ‘Andy’. He began to severely dislike this name.
“This is your name, so the grown-ups know who you are,” the woman behind the counter told him.
Andrew nodded. Not telling her that he knew, having read it, like he had read the nameplate on her breast, revealing her to be Kelly. Also, silent, he watched Gary being likewise photographed and getting a sticker, giving everyone a wide smile, clearly enjoying the attention Andrew could live without.
“Follow me please,” the woman said.
Andrew found himself being picked up again by Linda and carried to a floor spreading into three rooms, followed by Jessica and Gary.
“Here is the room for the infants. 6 months to 1 year. This is the room for the big children of 4 to 6,” Kelly explained, pointing left and right to door of milk glass, before pushing open the one in the middle. “And here is the toddler heaven!”
Andrew didn’t know what a toddler heaven might look like, but someone definitely had done a lot of work here. From his position in Linda’s arms, he could see it perfectly. A pirate-themed wall to the left, complete with miniature ship with pirate flag, ahead he saw a jungle painted on the wall with tigers, elephants and more – all cute and cuddly looking – together with their giant plush toy versions and to his right was a wall decorated with Peter Pan flying with the Darlings above London and Neverland along with a ball-pool. Ahead he noticed a group of tables three toddlers were already sitting and painting with crayons, overseen by another member of the staff.
“Looks like a fun place,” Linda commented. “Give it a try.”
Andrew wanted to say no, but then he saw Gary press himself past his wife’s legs to get in.
“Better let him down, before all the good toys are occupied,” Jessica commented.
Linda did just that, gently pushing him deeper into the room, until finally giving him a soft clap on his patted butt.
“Try to make a few little friends,” she advised. “Aunty will be back, soon.”
Andrew turned around and glared at her, being angrier at her, than ever since their little experiment. This anger quickly turned to fear, as he noticed she had already turned her back to him and walked away. The door closed behind her and her form quickly vanished from the milk glass behind it. He noticed there was no door knob inside, meaning only staff with keys could leave. He was trapped and pretty much alone with strangers he couldn’t even reveal his true self to and who could do anything to him, helpless as he was. Feeling as if ice had suddenly appeared in his stomach, the regressed adult felt tears dwelling in his eyes for the second time this day.
Andrew turned around, discovering the brunette woman kneeling besides him. He hadn’t even noticed her approach. Now she smiled on him, clearly thinking he was scared … he wasn’t!
“Hullo,” he said, trying to sound brave, but realizing it came out weak.
“I’m Yennifer. Who are you?”
“And … Andy,” Andrew quickly corrected himself.
“Such a great name!” The woman said, clasping her hands.
Andrew had to control himself not to roll his eyes. He knew she had read it from the sticker on his breast, just as he could have read it from the id-card on her breast. This all was to distract him from feeling abandoned, which was stupid … except he realized it had worked already.
“I bet you would be a great pirate!” She commented in an excited voice. “Do you want to enter a ship?”
Andrew didn’t, but he knew he had to act like a little boy and which little boy wouldn’t be excited? He nodded and at once the woman took his hand and led him to the pirate ship. It wasn’t a real ship of course, but half a plastic model, with the other half painted to the wall, on which he could see pirates – not even adult ones, but toddlers in colorful uniforms – along with a sea, islands, parrots and more. The effect it was supposed to have – to make the child’s imagination go wild – was clear and as Andrew stepped onto the ship, he couldn’t completely evade it.
“Look there is a steering wheel,” Yennifer noticed. “Don’t you want to be a captain?”
Andrew tried not to grimace and grabbed the wheel, even turning it around a bit. Seemingly satisfied the woman turned to two other of her charges – a girl of maybe three in a flower dress and a boy in Paw Patrol-overalls – who had begun chasing themselves around the tables. The regressed adult, turned pirate captain, smiled at this sight. It made it easy for him to imagine that he was in a wild port on some distant shore. A strong sailor, a brave explorer. He turned the wheel, imagining to direct the ship to even more exciting places. New lands. He could decide where to go and felt totally in control … only for him to realize he wasn’t.
Andrew’s sense of excitement subsided and suddenly the ship became just a piece of plastic again. Well made, but little more. And he wasn’t a brave captain, but a regressed adult who had never been more vulnerable than now, surrounded by adults whom he couldn’t talk to. If Linda never came back …
Unwelcomed pictures flashed before his eyes. Of police and children welfare of orphanages and cribs with bars too high to scale.
He shook his head and shoved these pictures away. His wife would come back. Doubting this was silly. Even more, it was probably better she had found this way of having time off from him, just to show her being a mother didn’t mean she hadn’t had no free time at all. Yes, this was a better way of thinking. He only needed to look happy, when she returned, just to proof it was no problem at all. Maybe he even could keep himself occupied until then. Always trying to see the bright side, he realized it was even a good opportunity to test this facility out for his future child. Just to know what to look out for in a place for his little one, or one day the daycare.
Feeling much better, Andrew left his ship and went to the part of the room with the giant plushies. There was a tiger, a giraffe, an elephant and a snake. All cute and cuddly looking, all giant, the giraffe’s head towering nearly insanely high over him. As the regressed adult still thought what to do, Gary rushed past him and climbed on the tiger.
The toddler grinned on him, while holding on to his mount, clearly proud to have secured the best plush of them all. Not wanting to stand behind, Andrew climbed on the elephant next to him. The feeling of the soft on his hand felt comforting, making him push away all former trouble. Even better: An elephant was bigger and feared even by a tiger, so he had the better mount. Secure in this adult knowledge, he grinned back at Gary.
The toddler reacted by making rocking movements on his mount, as if to order it to press forward. Andrew imitated him, rising up and down on his own. This was exciting and he could easily imagine the elephant coming to life, rushing through a thick jungle with nothing being able to withstand it. He would be like Tarzan! Andrew’s grin widened, even more as he felt his diaper being pressed into his groin by the soft plush again and again, which felt amazing. He quickly looked at Gary and found the same expression on the child’s face. They were in it together, racing against each other through a jungle on their great mounts.
Andrew just swore himself to buy his future child one of these for its nursery, as Gary suddenly stopped. He looked around scowling, as if a thought had just crossed his mind. Then his eyes fixed on something in the room, before turning to Andrew.
“Wanna pway ball?”
Andrew was perplexed by this, but he nodded. Gary practically jumped of the plush tiger and ran in direction of the ball pit. As he slid of his elephant, Linda suggestion of making friends came to the regressed adult’s mind, but he brushed them off. He was simply spending time.
Gary had already jumped into the ball pit, sending some balls flowing. Andrew followed slower, carefully stepping in and sitting down. The balls reached nearly up to his breast. The regressed adult had no idea what to do next, but the other toddler seemed to have much more experience. He lifted a ball.
Andrew nodded. It was indeed blue. Deciding to reply in proper, he picked up a ball himself.
“Re …” He stopped. “Wed!”
Gary grinned, as if he had made the best joke. Was he sensing something was off with this toddler? At least he didn’t seem to care, for he began to shift balls around with arms and legs. Andrew joined in and quickly they were engaged in a sort of game of creating waves of balls.
Andrew didn’t know how long this lasted, but when he just began to tire of it, Gary seemingly did so, too. The toddler, still holding a yellow ball, stopped, looked around and stood up, leaving the ball pit without saying a word or looking at his playmate. Surprised Andrew toddled after him.
Gary led him into a corner with toys. Quickly he pulled out some blocks, clearly searching something. Then his face lit up and he triumphantly grabbed a toy-truck. Still ignoring Andrew, he went on his knees and began pushing the truck around the blocks. The regressed adult watched this a moment, then he went to the toy-box himself and at last found something interesting. A little toy plane.
Unconsciously imitating the other toddler, Andrew went to his knees and began making the plane fly around. As Gary began making engine sounds, he began making shoosh sounds as if the plane had wind under his wings. He had wanted to be a pilot once, he suddenly remembered. It was a long lost day-dream, but right now it was easy to imagine himself sitting in such a plane, flying through the world. Carefully he let it land on a block and made it start again. Not quite satisfied, he put three blocks in line creating a proper runway. He looked at his work and felt strangely proud, maybe even more than on some of his projects at work.
Maybe Linda is right and I should start a new career in construction, Andrew thought amused. This could be my reference.
Both boys played quite a bit side by side, until they heard some giggling. Gary looked up to the tables and Andrew followed his look. He noticed the girl in the flower dress – a big girl from his perspective – holding a crayon in hand and smiling at something the adult had said. Something of this seemed to intrigue Gary, for he stood up and walked to the tables, leaving his toy – just a moment ago his very world – forgotten behind.
Andrew looked after him a moment, just following him again felt wrong, as if Gary would be the one in charge of them. Still, looking at his plane, he found it had already lost a bit of its magic. Just sitting here, playing by himself suddenly felt dumb and boring. Reluctantly the regressed adult stood up and walked to the tables, where Gary was already sitting on one, busy working on a sheet with a red crayon.
“Do you want to make a pretty picture for you mommy, too?” Yennifer asked cheerfully.
Andrew nodded. He disliked the tone, but maybe a picture would really help him with Linda.
The caretaker led him to a free table and made him take place on a little stool she then pushed to the table. Both were made of plastic and of such small stature, that Andrew could sit comfortably. It was a welcome change to the world outside, where even the furniture in his own apartment was now much too large for him to be comfortable. Even the blue crayon the woman gave him, fit perfectly in his hand.
At first Andrew starred at the white paper in front of him and then at the crayon. He had no idea what to draw. Then it hit him. Linda loved beaches, so he could make one for her. Of course, he couldn’t make a good picture or Yennifer would become suspicious, but he could by faking little-boy-skills and make it kinda a secret picture just for the two of them. This thought excited him and he began with his picture by drawing an ocean out of lines of blue. Next, he created a shore out of light brown with towel out of red and yellow.
“Andy,” someone said. “Hey little guy, look up.”
Andrew did, discovering to his surprise Linda kneeling by his side, smiling at him. Behind her Gary had already found his way into his mother’s arm. He had to have lost track of time completely.
“Ready to go?” His wife asked.
Andrew nodded and presented her his picture. “For you!”
Back at home Linda unpacked her bags in the kitchen and pulled out the picture Andrew had drawn for her. It was clear that he had drawn a beach, knowing how much she wanted to spend time there. Doing so, he had probably shown more skill in it than a toddler of his age should – at least Jessica had been surprised when seeing it – and she felt grateful for it, especially given what she had put him through at the beginning of their trip to the mall. She quickly looked at her husband who had just gotten rid of his sandals in the floor and now walked to the living room. She had to tell him something and best did it now.
Linda walked into the living room, seeing Andrew standing by the box with supplies, probably looking for a toy. Watching him searching for it, made her stop a moment. He looked so innocent in his quest, that she didn’t want to disturb him at first, but he must have sensed her, for he turned his head and smiled.
“Everything okay?” He asked.
“Yes,” Linda replied, walked to the cupboard and took out the amulet from its chest, before turning to the couch. “Come, we must talk.”
Andrew joined her on the couch, again having to climb. His wife noticed the worry in his face, and gave him a reassuring smile.
“First I wanted to excuse myself for causing your little accident at the mall,” she began. “It was just wrong.”
“It is okay,” he reassured her. “You were excited and I overreacted.”
“Then I wanted to thank you for the picture.”
“You really liked it?” Andrew grinned. “I always wondered if I should have gone to art college, so …”
“Oh yes! I will frame it and hang it in our house and …” She stopped briefly. “You won.”
At first Andrew just starred at her, then he blinked.
“You mean …” he began.
“I think I’m ready to be a mother,” Linda said. “I guess I was it already before we went shopping, but talking with Jessica really sealed it.”
“Oh Linda!” Andrew embraced her.
His wife smiled, enjoying the feeling of his warm, small form on hers. Instinctively she patted his back.
“You can turn back now. Though …” She stopped, seeing in his wide eyes. “I would like to ask you something.”
“Jessica told me how taking care of her April – this is her daughter – is different. I would like to test it out.”
Andrew’s eyes grew wider, as he first looked at her and then at the amulet.
“Different …” The concern nearly made his voice creak. “Because she is a girl?”
“Oh no. No!” Linda laughed. “God the look on your face! It is because she is only six months.”
This relaxed Andrew a bit, but he still didn’t look convinced.
“This is even two years younger!” He noticed.
“I know,” Linda admitted. “It would just be for the rest of the time … but you don’t have to do it.”
Her husband looked at her. He had clear reservations, still …
“Okay,” he gave in. “But only two hours.”
“Promised!” Linda handed him the amulet.
Clumsily he laid it over his head and held the pendant. His wife could see him take a deep breath and was about to tell him to stop it, when the green stone began to glow. Like before, the changes happened quick and were in their way easily as radical as that from adult to toddler. His hair receded and his head seemed to grow bigger and rounder. He became even chubbier, his features becoming less pronounced. His Barney shirt became a tent over his shorts. As he seemed done, he couldn’t even sit straight anymore, but leaned forward, needing his hands to prop himself.
“God Andrew!” Linda said, shocked. “How do you feel?”
“Aga,” he said. “Ib neeeb staka.”
For a moment both were too shocked from what had come out of his mouth to speak.
“Aiw na speaw,” Andrew tried again and she could see his gums were teethless.
“It seems you have lost control over your vocal cords or …” Linda swallowed, remembering the air pipe shifted in a child’s throat over time. “If you want you can change back.”
Her husband looked at her. Still shocked, but suddenly determined, he shook his head.
“Okay then.” Linda picked him up and thereby lifting him out of his shorts and even diaper. “Let us get you in something fitting.”
Andrew wore only his birthday suit, as he lied on the changing mat. Linda was in the kitchen, fetching his new clothes and diaper, giving him time to explore his new body in private. It was definitely a downgrade as far as he could tell, not just he was even smaller, something which had been hard for him to imagine before, but he felt so much weaker and it seemed hard work just to coordinate his movements.
Sitting up was impossible, but as he tried to turn around, the combination of legs and arm movement seemed to be just enough. He put more strength in it and was rewarded by turning on his stomach. Feeling oddly proud, Andrew still wanted his old body back … or at least the agility of toddlerhood.
“Oh Andrew,” Linda said, coming in just in this moment. “This is something all athletes should be proud of. Can you turn on you back again, too?”
Andrew felt positive he did. He strained the muscles in his legs and arms again, felt he rose … and fell back on his stomach. The regressed adult tried again and again, but every time his muscles became weaker and his limbs less coordinated. He looked up at Linda, feeling even lifting his head this way now becoming hard work.
“It was a long day. Let me help,” his wife offered, gently lifting one side of his body, so he again landed on his back. “There all better.”
Andrew had to agree. Lying on his back felt better, maybe it was because this way babies of six months still spend most of their time. He smiled at his wife and she smiled back at him. This smile felt warmer than before. Larger. Suddenly he understood why so many children drew a smiling sun, because it towered about them as their mothers did, gigantic and warm. Already she grabbed a bottle of baby lotion. With much more skill than she had yesterday, she put him in a fresh diaper – Pampers Swaddlers size 2 with a cute bear on the front – and a blue onesie with yellow stars on them.
“Fits perfectly,” Linda noticed. “Do you want to play now?”
Andrew nodded. Before he had wanted to pick up the toys to make his wife play with him again. A try to get her in the right mood she had had the day before. Now he found it would be a good way to distract himself during the next two hours while he was completely helpless. But what could he even play?
As if to answer his thought, Linda grabbed behind herself, taking something from the back pocket of her jeans. As she presented it to him, he was confused for a moment. It was a wooden stick with red and blue parts. Maybe it was due to the size difference or how everything seemed stranger now, but he didn’t recognize it at once. It was only when his wife moved it and it made a rattling sound, that he realized it was the rattle they had bought in the shop along with the amulet!
Andrew wanted to protest that this was just too infantile, but before he could do so, Linda shook it again. The sound was so enticing and the colors – red and blue parts danced in front of his eyes – just hypnotized him. He began laughing uncontrollable. His legs and arms twitched likewise without his control. Just as he feared he would wet his diaper again, Linda stopped.
“At least this way you would never have to wait for something on the tv again to have fun,” his wife commented.
“Awe awa fu wi da ga!” Andrew said, meaning to say: ‘I have always fun with you!’
“Let us see what else we can have fun with,” Linda suggested and turned to the box with baby supplies.
It turned out with more than Andrew would have guessed. Once Linda had helped him to sit upright, she also helped him putting one block on the other and putting the rings on the stack. Both was so much more demanding to the regressed adult as infant than it had been as toddler, but at the same time much more satisfying as he had achieved it.
When he had put the last ring on the stack, Andrew suddenly felt something aside from his pride. It was something in his belly. Did he need to poo? The thought of going through this again, terrified him, but then he identified it as hunger.
He looked at Linda. “Iii aw wunu!”
“Is my little man proud on his tower?” His wife asked.
Thinking quickly, Andrew showed on his stomach and she understood.
“Hungry?” Linda asked.
“I will bring you something,” Linda promised, grabbing in a shopping bag. “Just that you are not lonely.”
She handed Andrew a yellow plush star. As he grabbed it, it made him lose balance and roll on his back, still holding star.
“Have fun you two!” Linda said laughing and left.
As Linda entered the kitchen she still smiled. If her and Andrew’s child would be just half as cute as he was right now, she would probably eat it up. She knew there was still trouble ahead, but trusted they would manage it. Of course, first she would have to manage to get something for him to eat. She walked to the refrigerator and opened it, only to find nothing there for an infant to eat. While preparing for this she hadn’t thought of infant formula or baby food. They didn’t even have any milk left! She remembered just now that she had planned to buy milk while shopping, but forgotten it.
Just great, Linda thought, as she closed the door. Seems I will be the perfect mother.
She knew she was unfair to herself, yet she felt the positive mood drain.
This wouldn’t have happened to Jessica, Linda admonished herself. She would have thought of food for April. Or milk. Of course, she still nurses her, so …
The thought hit her like a hammer and as she turned her head, she discovered the amulet lying on the kitchen table, where she had left it. Could it even do it? It was supposed to change a body’s age, not state. Still, the way it had changed Andrew was much more radical than what she intended.
Linda took the amulet, put it on and held the pendant. She made her wish: An image of herself altered oh so slightly. A mother. At first, she felt nothing, but then there was a warmth in her breasts and they began pressing against her bra. She loosened it and inspected them. They were larger and felt even heavier. Filled. Would this work? One way to find out.
Linda put the amulet back on the table and walked into the living room. Andrew was still occupied with the yellow plush star, pushing it with his bare feet and even sucking at it. His wife smiled. The instincts seemed to be there.
“Time to drink,” she said, as she approached him.
Andrew quickly pushed the plush away, embarrassment clear on his face, which seemed strange on a face such young. Linda picked him up, careful to prop his neck as she had seen mothers do it on television. She saw the question on his face and smiled as she took place on the couch.
“I made a little change with the amulet,” she explained, holding him on her lap while removing first her shirt and then bra. “Guess what.”
She could see his eyes grow wide as they focused on her breasts and realized he had understood.
“Goo!” He clearly protested without adult words. “Ai nahh waa …”
“Hush.” Linda placed a finger on his lips. “We tried out so many new things. Let this be the last one.”
Her husband’s eyes wandered from her face to her breasts and back again. She could feel his hesitation and decided to help him, by gently guiding him, taking him into her arms and positioning him just right. No one had ever told her what was the right position, but as he rested in her arms – he was so small and warm, his skin so soft – she just felt it was the perfect.
Linda watched Andrew’s mouth close around her areola and felt his little tongue caress her nipple which erected nearly at once. It was a sensation unlike any she had ever felt, only being enhanced, when he started to suck and she felt the milk begin to flow out of her breast. Briefly she closed her eyes, enjoying the feeling the fullest.
How can any woman deny herself this pleasure?, she wondered.
The feeling of pressure on her breast made her open her eyes again. She noticed that Andrew was now completely concentrated on nursing, his little hands having started to kneed her breasts to maintain the flow of precious milk in what was most likely infantile instinct rather than conscious decision.
Such a precious thing, Linda thought, as she began to softly caress his head. Such a precious, precious thing … Too precious!
Overcome with an emotion stronger than anything she had felt before, she made her decision. This was a too precious baby to be taken from her by letting it become an adult again, even when the adult was Andrew. A too precious baby to … No! This was not a baby, but her baby and whatever promise she had made to the man it once was, was meaningless compared to the promise she now gave in her heart to this bundle in her arms. She would always be there for him and not allow the cruel world to take him in its clutches and wear him down with its work, stupidness and meanness. He would be allowed to stay innocent forever, always protected.
Andrew continued sucking, blissfully unaware, that the love Linda had had for him as her boyfriend in this moment gave way completely and irrevocable to the much stronger love of a mother to her child.
Still caressing his head, Linda began to hum a soft lullaby.
Andrew sat on the soft ground of the playpen and felt confused. Something in him told him to be angry, but every time he tried to grasp why it evaded him like the sunbeams he sometimes tried to hold. It couldn’t be that he sat here, that made him angry. Mommy placed him in his playpen every morning after she had fed him with spoonful of soft baby food and had cleaned his face with a soft tissue afterwards. He knew Mommy would pick him up soon, so he couldn’t be angry about this, so …
Sudden realization made Andrew smile. It was Linda, Mommy’s other name, which made him angry. He didn’t often think of this name anymore, but when he did strange pictures and ideas crept into his head. There were more once he realized without knowing how, but now they were still enough to turn his smile into a scowl. He vaguely remembered that Mommy had treated him differently, when he had still called her this other name. Even her smile had been different than now. They had cuddled in bed, too, but it had been a different cuddling, along with something big which seemed to be just outside his mind. Too far away to grasp or even see more than vague, confusing shapes.
He had been bigger, too, Andrew suddenly remembered. He had done stuff grown-ups did and which to look at now only confused him most of the time. Much more he preferred to look at plushy blocks and colorful plastic rings and his great rattle. Had he been grown-up? Andrew looked up, seeing the edges of his playpens and realized adults could easily reach over it. The idea of being this big felt scary and suddenly he felt the front of his diaper growing warm. He thought nothing of this sensation, but enjoyed its familiar comfort.
Maybe he had he been as big as the big kids running around with balls? Andrew looked at his chubby legs, being bare through the yellow onesie he wore. He could crawl really fast with them, though never quick enough to escape Mommy who always caught him and blew raspberries on his stomach, making him laugh. He moved his toes, feeling the slight urge to suck on them as he did often. Maybe he had been a big kid once, though even this thought felt somehow wrong.
Did he change? If so, when? Ghosts of memories crept to Andrew’s inner eyes. He remembered a yellow necklace with something green hanging on it. It had been important somehow. What sort of toy had it been? Something for pretty sounds, or feels or even both? He also remembered drinking Mommy’s milk from her breasts and her telling him to try something new. That was silly! He couldn’t imagine ever not having drunken Mommy’s milk. It was his favorite, for it made him all warm inside and lying in her strong arms made him feel protected.
Still, there was now the ghost of a thought. Vaguely he felt him changing, the toy and Mommy giving him milk were somehow connected, that it had even changed the way she thought of him. Was this true? Did the toy-necklace change her thoughts? Was it when she lost her other name … he couldn’t remember the name anymore but also wasn’t sure if he wanted to. Mommy’s milk should be more important than any silly name. Shouldn’t it?
Feeling confused by such big thoughts in his small head, Andrew looked around in the playpen, noticing a soft little ball next to him. He grabbed it and for a moment starred at it in wonder. It had so many colors he couldn’t name. Still, they were pretty colors, so he took the ball in his mouth to taste them. Drool ran down his cheek as he did so, but then he remembered that it wasn’t what big children did with balls. He looked at it again and then he threw it with all his strength, as he had seen them do sometimes. The ball landed next to his feet.
A gasp above him made Andrew look up and he noticed Mommy leaning over the edge of the playpen.
“Did my baby throw the ball so very wide?” She asked.
Confused Andrew looked at the ball. It hadn’t felt wide, but the tone in Mommy’s voice seemed impressed to his ears, making him feel all warm inside. He looked up again and smiled, instinctively extending his arms. His mommy laughed, picked him up and gave him the best of cuddles which made him squeal, instantly pushing away any anger or confusion.
It was a warm day, as Linda pushed the prom through the park. A baby was sleeping in it under a flying green balloon fixed on its side. Suddenly she noticed someone standing by the tree next to her, a woman with long brown-grey hair, smiling at her.
“Hello,” the shop owner greeted her.
“Hello,” Linda began startled. “I …”
She looked down in the prom. She had never told Andrew of her decision, as much due to her wanting to treat him according to his age from the first moment, as to not knowing the right words. He had been fussy at first, and prone to cry. She had had a hard time to distract him with the rattle, nursery songs and the warmth and nourishment of her breast. In the end the latter had always worked.
Over the weeks, with her never once treating him other than his age or even saying something which would hint, he had ever been something else than her baby, he had begun to fuss less and less. When he had finally begun to laugh more than scowl, Linda knew that he had begun to forget his adult past. Yet, if he saw the woman who had sold them the amulet and recognized her …
“He is dreaming innocent dreams of balloons and your smile,” Selene said in a soothing tone. “Don’t worry, he won’t wake up for a while.”
For a second, Linda how the woman could possibly know, but then she remembered the nature of the talisman and its vendor and relaxed a bit, only for a new fear rise in her heart. What if she wanted to change him back?
“I know it is not what you sold us the talisman for,” she said in a defensive tone, trying to keep the fear out of her voice. “I just …”
“No mother needs to explained herself for wanting the best for her baby,” the woman reassured her. “I’m just checking if the talisman brought you the clarity you wished for.”
Realizing she meant it, a ton lifted from Linda’s heart. She looked down on her son. He wore his blue-white sailor onesie, his diaper clearly bulking beneath. His sleeping face was total innocence.
“Yes,” Linda whispered, feeling tears of joy flowing down her cheeks. “Oh yes!”
She looked up, but the older woman had vanished.
Linda looked around startled, only to stop and smile. Andrew stirred in his sleep. Soon he would wake up and be hungry. She began to push his prom in the direction of some benches near a little lake. Once he awoke, she would breastfeed him and show him all the pretty birds. Babies loved to watch pretty birds.
vended · Jun 1, 2021As much a great read as the first time!
maja · Jun 5, 2021wow. I'm stunned. This is a very long story and I usually give up relatively early on those, but this one caught me. I just wanted to continue and continue to know what she would to to him. In general really well written an a great idea and concept behind the story as well. I really liked the further regression at the end, but to be honest, the ending made me a little bit sad. Although a part of me liked it and especially liked how it was executed, it's really unfair and not a classical happy ending. At least not for everyone. But a great job overall nonetheless.
Ouroboros · Jun 10, 2021This was a very good story and fun to read. I hope you continue to write more. ^_^