Early morning math classes, taken for long enough periods, will drain the willpower from anyone. This effect was doubled for a Friday session. But it didn’t matter; he was on his way home now. The rising sun and morning dew on the side of the road reminded him of the hours he spent awake, time that could have been put to better use. He thanked the stars his drive was relatively short. He parked in an open stall, sitting for several moments with his eyes closed before gathering his things together. As was typical, his mom was at work, therefore the house was empty, but he knew she’d be excited to have him home for the weekend, she always was. Not bothering to unpack anything, he immediately fell into his bed and took a brief four hour nap.
Making a bit of small talk with his mother after waking up, he hurried the conversation to rush to visit a few friends he had neglected in recent months.
He got home kind of early; everyone had business in the morning to take care of. He pulled a few items out from the shelves of the refrigerator to make a sandwich or two, busily constructing his dinner on a separate countertop. His mother walked into the room and without saying a word pulled a container from the fridge and closed it. She stood in front of the door for several moments without batting her eyes, rapping on the door to make her presence known. Getting the feeling she wanted his attention, he looked over to her, raising his eyebrows to let her know her attention mongering had worked.
She was a typical mother, very nurturing, but had been accused on more than one occasion by more than her own children of being overly protective. Now that her offspring were out of the house, it seemed to only increase. Given the green light, she started in with a familiar dialogue about the dangers of the city and why he refused to call her as much as his sister. Verbatim, he gave the same answers, more focused on finishing his sandwiches. Much to his dissatisfaction she continued. She talked about how happy the three of them were together when they were younger, and begged to understand why the two of them had talked more, and why that chemistry was lost. He continued to shake his head, hoping he would please her enough to leave him alone. Tired of not getting the right response, she moved in and pushed the container in front of him, and before he had the chance to voice his frustration she interrupted him.
“If you were to drink this, everything could be like it was before, you would be young again.”
He stared blankly without response.
“You could live at home, free from expectations and responsibility, but most of all, be safe here with me.”
He hadn’t been expecting this.
They sat and talked for a few hours about the finer details, the risks involved, promises of maintaining independence, so on and so forth. One of his first questions and concerns revolved around how young he would actually get, guessing optimistically with higher numbers. She took a breath before answering, sending a chill down his spine. She asked him how he would feel if it were much lower than he hoped. He dodged the question and asked how young he would get. She replied that he would become five years old and waited for his probable outburst. Instead he remained silent.
They fought the point for some time, but after much deliberation, he agreed to it. With a bit of hesitation he eyed the container. It was filled with brown algae like liquid and didn’t appear consumable in the least, forget sanitary. After assuring him of the contents, he closed his eyes and downed it. He scrunched his face and coughed in a sickly manner. It was less appealing than cough medicine. After getting over his distaste, he looked once again to his mother, who was all smiles at this point, tears of happiness streaming down her face. As his mother rushed to him to give him a hug and a kiss, in his head, the only question he could ask himself was why.
A few days later he found himself back in his apartment, his mind too riddled with questions and thoughts of indecision to accomplish the most mundane of tasks, much less school work. If all that was supposed to happen actually did, none of it would matter anyway.
After the course of a month he was sixteen years old again, a notion he was as equally surprised by, checking his face in the mirror more and more. This was the last day he was able to spend in his apartment away from home; he wouldn’t be able to legally drive after that. The drive home was long and somber, arguably the most depressing moment in his life. Upon arrival, one of the first things his mother did was shred up his driver’s license. She waved him into the kitchen and showed him that she had gone through the trouble of getting an old bike up from the basement for his own personal use, but he was less than enthusiastic. He was home for five minutes and already he was regretting it. He went to his room and locked himself in for the rest of the night.
Two weeks went by and he was still regretting the outcome he had decided on. To make matters worse he was a fourteen year old borderline freshman in high school now and was noticeably shorter than his mother. He walked around the house annoyed, holding up his pants and simply refusing to wear shoes anymore as he continuously stepped out of them. His mother took notice of this and offered him a proposal to drive him over to his friend’s house. His friend had a little brother who was about this age and could potentially lend him some clothing for the time being. When they pulled into their driveway, his mother looked over to him and told him to explain the situation and that she would wait in the car. He stammered a bit at the thought of trying to convince someone but she insisted. He walked to the door in a shuffle, dragging his feet so his heel wouldn’t fall out and knocked on the door.
Within moments, his little eleven year old sister answered the door with the most wide eyed look of confusion she could muster but before she had the chance to ask him a question, he blurted, “Is Larry around?”
She continued anyway. “What happened to you?” He noticed her looking him over and told her that he would explain later but asked once again if Larry was around. Before she could say no, their mother walked into the doorway, her eyes lighting up as much as her daughter’s.
Not seeing a way around it, he told the both of them the reason for his appearance.
“So, you want to be a kid again huh?” She asked him.
He looked down as his face grew increasingly red, “I guess.”
“Don’t worry honey, we’ll help you out, she said, laughing at his honesty. I’ll assume you need clothes then?”
He shook his head and she led him downstairs where she gave him an assortment of his clothing, enough to last a week.
“He doesn’t wear much of these so he won’t notice the difference. So tell me, how young are you actually going to get? Am I going to get to see a little baby? She laughed, placing emphasis on the word baby.
He shied away, “I don’t really know,” not wishing to reveal more than he already had. Grabbing the clothing, he quickly scampered up the stairs, busting through the front door, nearly losing a shoe at every turn. As he got to the car door, she opened the screen door in time to tell him that he could come over any time he wanted. Waving without looking, he slammed the door and told his mom to hurry home.
While the clothes fit much better, he still found it difficult to appreciate the situation he was in, but graciously accepted the invitation Larry’s mother had offered. The less he was home the better. Nearly every day he would ride his bike over to their house and hang around with the two until evening, sometimes spending the night. It was an interesting progression for the kids to watch as he regressed down to their age and further. It was only a short time before he passed the thirteen year old Larry and sequentially the younger sister. As he passed back through puberty, their attitudes toward him changed. He was no longer an adult as they would see it, instead his face was childish, and his voice had become higher pitched. He never acted any differently, but it was hard to take him seriously.
Around the time he was eleven himself, his older sister, who was a mother as well, had decided to come visit the family for a Saturday. She had a difficult time coming to terms with the idea that her formally twenty year old brother would only be a few years older than her own son. She slowly accepted the idea on her own terms with time, but refused to talk to either one of them for months.
As the days progressed, he tried to concern himself less and less with what other people were thinking, instead focus on living as he normally would. Much to his dismay, he was being constantly reminded of it. That morning he awoke as a nine year old, and not a minute later his mother walked in to inform him that he had finally reached the single digits. He rolled out of bed and walked into the bathroom. He recognized the figure in the mirror, but wasn’t sure that he had ever wanted to. He brushed his hand through his hair and sighed heavily before getting ready for the day. As he was heading out his mom stopped him.
“Give me a call around 9 o’clock, would you?” He agreed and pedaled over to his friend’s house.
Though they included him, he wasn’t treated as an equal. As they were would walk to the park, he ended up walking in the back of the pack and while they played tag, looked more like a little brother wanting to hang with the older kids. He had a difficult time running around though, as his clothing was becoming increasingly baggy once again and he had left the house without a belt, so he ended up spending a good percentage of the time hoisting his pants back up. Still, he managed to enjoy himself.
About the time they got back it was nine, so he grabbed the phone in the living room and called his mom, not noticing that his feet didn’t touch the ground as he sat.
“Hello? Yeah, Mom, what do you need?”
“Hi honey, I’ll be there in a few minutes, be a dear and wait outside.”
Before he had the chance to speak, she had hung up. He walked awkwardly to the front door, saying his goodbyes before going. Sitting on a bench in front of the house, he sat pouting at the sheer thought. When she pulled up, he slowly walked to the vehicle, holding his pants up all the while. He sat down and looked over at her. She didn’t appear to notice that anything was out of the ordinary.
“Why did you come pick me up?” He questioned, frustrated.
Not taking her eyes from the road, “You’re getting to be fairly young; I don’t want anything happening to you on the way home. And besides, your clothes are practically falling off of you; I’m surprised they stayed on this long.”
He folded his arms, “They’re fine.”
He woke up the next day to his mom closing drawers. “Here sweetie, I borrowed some clothing from the boy across the way, you remember him? They’ll fit you better,” she said with a smile, walking off into another room. Crawling out of bed, he inspected the clothes she had laid out for him. He stood in disbelief at what he held up. Not only did the shirt have an image of Spider Man emblazoned across the front, she had given him Batman cartoon printed briefs. He ran out of his room yelling.
“Mom, I’m not wearing these!”
“What’s wrong with those honey?”
“They’re little kid underwear, what if someone saw me in these!?”
“No one would say anything sweetheart. If it’ll make you feel better we’ll go shopping for new clothes real soon. Besides all that, you are a little kid,” she offered a sympathetic chuckle.
“I am not!” He yelled as he threw them down and stormed into his room. She trailed behind him.
“You’re just overreacting, now get dressed, Lisa wants to see you later.”
With a bit more encouraging she managed to get him to wear the outfit. After he walked out of the room she couldn’t help but give him a big kiss on the cheek. A bit later they walked to the neighbor’s house, the same family he had borrowed the clothing from. As soon as he walked in it started.
“Aw, aren’t you adorable? You don’t look anything like you used to,” Lisa said. He just stared at the ground. “Why don’t you go in the bedroom and play with Dylan while your mom and I talk for awhile? We’ll get dinner after that.”
He started to walk in that direction when he stopped and thought about what she said. She was actually encouraging him to play like a little kid. He tried not to let it bother him and exited the kitchen. Despite his physical appearance he had a difficult time entertaining himself around the younger boy, luckily they were playing video games and kept vocal communication to a minimum. Dinner came and went and afterwards the moms walked into the room.
“Ok boys, we’re going out tonight for a few hours, so Larry and Brandi are going to baby sit you,” Dylan’s mother stated.
“Baby sit? We’re not babies,” he pointed out.
“But you are still too young to be alone by yourself and we’d feel better if the two of you were being watched,” his mom pointed out. Within ten minutes they were pulling in the driveway. He just realized that he hadn’t been there since his recent wardrobe change, and the mood of the room proved that. The two older kids exchanged silent laughter at his new choice in attire.
“I didn’t realize you liked Spider Man so much,” Larry said through breaks in his laughing fit.
Turning slightly red, he spoke up, “Come on guys let it go, it isn’t that bad. They fit me and that’s the only reason I’m wearing them, alright? He noticed the game on pause. Now give me a controller, I want to play too.”
The three proceeded to play all night, telling Dylan off and not involving him in the fun. He ended up on a chair, silent until his mother arrived.
The next day both mothers scolded him for treating Dylan like he had, berating him until he finally apologized, just so they would stop. Not taking the low road, his mother punished him further by refusing him the privilege of playing video games until his behavior improved, an act which completely floored him. He tried to reason with her but she argued they were negatively influencing him, hiding his system on the top shelf in a closet where he couldn’t possible retrieve it.
Another two week period had come and gone, and much like the last, was only more humiliating. The only difference was he woke up at the age of seven. He had fallen into the routine of wearing whatever his mom had laid out for him, despite him telling her not to. After getting ready he walked into the family room.
“Good morning honey, are you ready to go shopping for some new clothes?”
He thought about the Pokemon shirt and Mickey Mouse underwear he was wearing, “Yes! I don’t even like Mickey Mouse!” She smiled to herself and they left.
At the store, perusing through the boy’s section, she held up a package of Star Wars briefs.
“How about these, you still like Star Wars, right?”
“No, I want something normal!”
She laughed at the comment, “Oh, you’ll love them.”
As she tossed them into the shopping cart, he became frustrated and pulled them out, replacing them with a set of single colored boxers. She replaced them again as he screamed and began to attract an audience. She took his hand and pulled him over to a bench.
“If you want me to treat you like an adult then why don’t you start acting like one? She motioned toward a few younger children in the store. They’re better behaved than you are and you know better. If you don’t shape up I won’t hesitate to spank you right here in front of everyone.”
It wasn’t the idea of getting spanked that scared him more that the threat actually made him listen. Was he really scared of that?
that evening while the two of them were sitting at home watching television, she noticed that he was slowly growing more tired and urged him to go to bed earlier than he normally would. It was only 9:30 at the time, but he was truly tired and didn’t want to go through the hassle of making his mother unhappy. Due to his rapidly changing age, she hadn’t really invested in any nighttime wear for him, so he usually threw on one of his old shirts that came down to his knees and went to bed.
When he woke up in the morning he quickly noticed that the air smelled differently. It didn’t take him long to realize that he had wet the bed overnight. He shot up and examined the stain on the front of his briefs and on the bed. It was all he could manage to not start crying. His mom was at work at the time and he didn’t want her finding out later. He quickly changed and hid the wet pair in the garbage. He tore off his sheets and hid them in the closet, hoping they would dry before she got home. Those hours felt like minutes home. He was acting as casual as possible, constructing something out of Legos in the living room as she went about a routine. As she was making herself a bite to eat, she smelled it. She moved around the kitchen suspiciously. She knew the smell but couldn’t pinpoint it. Wafting above the garbage can and digging a bit, she revealed gold. She pulled them out and walked into his bedroom to check for more evidence before approaching him.
“Hey, is there something that you want to tell me?” She asked him, hoping he would confess.
“What do you mean? Nothing out of the ordinary happened.”
She held up the briefs, “So you didn’t wet the bed then?”
“No, he swallowed hard, it wasn’t me.”
“Don’t lie to me.” As he swore to her he broke down into nervous jitters as single tears rolled down his cheeks. With that she pulled him up from the floor, put him over her knee and gave him a few quick slaps on the behind. In tears at this point, she let go of him and he proceeded to curl into a ball on the couch. She gave him a quick peck on the forehead, “Don’t worry honey, I still love you.”
The days went by and he continued to get younger, dropping to six and finally five. He woke up that morning to find that all of his clothes were gone, and just as she heard him shuffling through his drawers, she walked in the room.
“Mommy, where are all of my clothes?” He asked with something of a lisp.
“I gave them back to Dylan’s mommy while you were sleeping. His big boy clothes were much too big for you.” Awaiting a further explanation, he continued to listen contently.
“But I have all new clothes for you, follow me!” She stated excitedly as he followed her into her bedroom. Sure enough, she brandished an array of little kids clothing, all laid out on her bed.
“Here, this is what I picked out for you, go change and meet me in the kitchen.” She said handing him a pile of clothes with a Sesame Street shirt on top. When he walked into the room, she could barely contain herself.
“You’re completely adorable!” She gathered him up and gave him a big hug.
“You know what today is?” He shook his head.
“It’s the last day of your regression; you’re my little boy again!” This made him excited.
“So I’ll be getting big again?”
“Not for a long time sweetheart, not for a long time. Hey, to celebrate, how about we go eat at McDonalds, would you like that?”
Excited for the moment, he shook his head, bearing a wide grin.