Randy was having a nightmare-- he had soaked his hateful neighbor with a water hose, and he couldn't run fast enough to get away from her. As he awoke, his first thought was that he wished he hadn't gone over to her home that morning. Now he became conscious of indistinct conversation, and his eyes snapped open. "He's awake!" shouted someone. It was his kid brother, Josh, on the other side of wooden bars.
"I get to hold him first!" said someone else, and he looked up to see his twin sister, Carol, looking down on him from up high. His eyes darted around. He was inside a crib, and Carol was lowering the side-rail. Her gigantic hands reached in and hauled him up, one hand under his back, and the other under the padding he was wearing. He gasped as he realized that his mom hadn't finished dressing him. "Oh... he's wet!" said Carol, then called out, "Mom, the baby needs changing."
Randy was somewhat relieved to see his mom hurry in, and he reached out for her. As she lifted him to her shoulder, he whispered.
"Excuse me kids, I'll take care of our little visitor," said Mindy.
"Need any help?" asked Carol.
"Maybe sometime, but not now," she replied.
Sometime? It was bad enough, thought Randy, that his sister had seen him in diapers, but the idea that she might be changing them if mom was away was frightening. As mom carried him into the room, he said in a bit louder voice, "Close the door!"
"All right Randy, calm down!" she said, laying him on the bed.
"Calm down?!" he said, kicking. "Mom, you didn't put any pants on me."
"I didn't want to wake you up. Besides, they think you're a baby that we're taking care of while big Randy is away at camp. I told them that little baby Randy is here while his mom is in the hospital."
"Little Randy? Is that what you told them my name was?" She nodded.
"Mom, couldn't you have come up with something else while I'm like this?"
"Randy, I named you 16 years ago. I can't give you a different name. Relax, they have no idea it's really you." She removed the wet diaper, did a quick cleaning, and fastened the sides of a dry replacement. Randy recognized the package on the side table and groaned. "Pampers. Jumbo package," he read aloud. "Mom, why did you buy so many?"
Mindy laughed. "You have no idea how many of these you and Carol went through when you were little."
"Is that what I wore back then?"
"You wore whatever was on sale, honey. I always got a name brand, but not the deluxe stuff. I figured you'd be happier in Pampers."
"I'd be happier in regular clothes, Mom. Where did you get the crib and the other stuff?"
"Down from the attic. Your dad and I thought it best to get it back out so we could take care of you."
"You told Dad?"
"What was I supposed to do? I couldn't very well lie to him about taking care of a strange baby for a week."
"I'm not strange!" Randy said angrily.
"You're not exactly normal either," said Mindy, pulling a pair of red denim overalls over him. "There you go," she said, clipping the suspenders over the buttons, "and now you'll have to stop chatting."
"I can't talk to you?"
Mindy held both of his hands as he sat on the bed and looked him in the eye. "Randy, we better discuss your choices right now. If we're going to pretend there's a baby visiting the house... if you don't want this secret out.. you'll have to play along. A baby your age doesn't have much of a vocabulary. So if you don't think you can do the goo-goo stuff, there's no point in my lying. Understand?"
"If this is too much, your other choice is that we tell your brother and sister the truth. They might not believe it at first-- I didn't, and your dad didn't-- but I know they would do everything they could to look out for you until you can be big again. So, decide."
Randy looked down, weighing his choices.
---TO BE CONTINUED---