“Enough giggling already! This is the second time I warned you!”
“I’m sorry. It's just that...”
“I don't want to hear it,” Ms. Bickhaus interrupted me.
“OK, we’ll stop.”
“Thank you.” Ms. Bickhaus walked away.
I burped again.
“You're a naughty little boy,” Beth said.
“Yes… I… am.” I burped.
“Ok, I’ll stop now.”
She continued working on her paper.
“That girl has big boobies!” I whispered in her ear.
I saw a glimmer of a smile before she covered her mouth and waved me away.
I pulled my lower eyelid down so red showed.
“Oh, my God!” she whispered. “I’ll tell your Mommy you were naughty in the library and you’ll be in trouble.”
The bell rang and we closed our books.
“Jade, Beth, come here,” Ms. Bickhaus said and we walked up to her desk.
“I expect better behavior from you both next time, you hear? Or I’ll suspend you two from the library.”
“OK, we'll behave from now on,” I said.
“You two have a good day!”
“It’s a good thing you're cute!” Beth pinched my cheek.
“Hi, sweetie, did you have a good day?”
“Yes, Mommy.” I took my yucky pants off.
“Good boy! I bet you need a dipy change.” She grabbed my hand and took me into my room.
She changed my diaper. “All better!”
“Did you get in trouble at school today?”
“Well, Kathy told me you were giggling in the library.”
Kathy was Ms. Bickhaus’ assistant and Mommy’s friend.
“I have lots and lots of homework to do.”
I put my thumb in my mouth.
“Tell me or you’ll go to the naughty boy corner!”
I said nothing.
“OK, it seems you don’t want to behave!” She grabbed my arm.
“OK, I was giggling in the library!” I blurted out. “It's not my fault.”
“I don’t care whose fault it is! I want you to apologize to Ms. Bickhaus tomorrow."
“I already did.”
“Oh, well, be considerate of other people. Many are probably trying to read or study. Respect Ms. Bickaus. Like every job, being a librarian can be stressful. People return books late or not at all. Some put books in the wrong place, which makes it really inconvenient for her and everybody else. So, it would be nice if there was one less
troublemaker for her to deal with.”
“I didn’t realize being a librarian was so hard.... I‘ll be more considerate.”
“That’s my widdle boy!” She patted my diaper butt.
“Hi, Jade, how are you today?” Ms. Bickhaus asked.
“I’m good. Just looking for a book for my book report.”
“I mean I’m doing well.”
“Oh! That makes more sense. I’m glad you're doing well.”
“Thank you. I'm sorry for my behavior yesterday. It was immature of me and won’t happen again.”
“Water under the bridge.”
“You’re welcome.” She smiled.
“I'm going to look for a book for my book report now.”
“Any idea what you're looking for?”
I shook my head. “No.”
“What are you into?”
(Besides the stories Mommy reads me at beddy-bye-time.) "Uh, I don't know. I’m not much of a reader.”
“What movies do you like?”
“Uh, I don’t watch movies.” (Except for Elmo in Grouchland, Curious George: Royal Monkey, Babar…)
“Don't watch movies?”
I shook my head.
“You're pulling my leg, aren’t you?”
“You're not giving me much to go on. Do you like sports?”
I shook my head again.
“What about sci-fi?”
“British literature? Historical fiction? Chick lit?”
“Well, what do you like?”
“How am I supposed to help you, then?”
“I dunno.” I put my thumb in my mouth.
“Jade, are you sucking your thumb?”
I yanked it out.
“I heard about your infantile lifestyle.”
“Yeah, pretty much the whole school knows.”
”May I ask you why?”
“I just like it.”
“You know, being a baby.”
“Does It make you feel happy?”
“I’m sorry I was sucking my thumb.”
“Don’t be. It's what you like.”
“But, I’m going to ask you not to do it here.”
“I know.” She paused. “But, you're in high school.”
“OK, it won't happen again.”
“Good, now, let's find you a book.” She walked over to the popular American bookshelf and looked. “How about a classic?”
“If you want to read a classic, I suggest you read The Great Gatsby.”
“Is the end sad?”
“I don’t like sad endings.”
“You're probably going to have to read it at some point in high school.”
“What's it about?”
“Follow me… or better yet, look it up on your phone.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I allow students to break my rules sometimes.” She winked.
I pulled my phone out and googled The Great Gatsby.
“Make sure you read the synopsis and not the plot.”
“Mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby… passion with Daisy Buchanan… OK, I’ll read it.”
I read on. “Aww…”
“It says F. Scott Fitzgerald died believing he was a failure.”
“Well, this book is still read. I think there have been three movie adaptations.”
“Wow! I call that a success!”
“Yes, well, Paradise sold well, but his other novels failed.” She went back to her desk.
“That’s too bad.” I pulled the card out.
“Yes, but at least he’s remembered for this book.” She stamped the card. “Here you go! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!”
“Hi, sweetie, how was your day?” Mommy said as I walked in. She took my pants off, respecting my preference to be in my diaper and shirt.
“OK, Mommy, I’m going to my room.” I rushed in, jumped into my bed, grabbed Mr. Woofums, and started reading the book. It started with a guy named Nick Carraway talking about his moral compass; how he doesn’t judge others.
Since I revealed myself to be a baby, I get judged, but I learned not to let others bring me down. I was not sure if I judge. I make fun of people, like when I was on a choo-choo train and saw a man with a silly red mohawk. He looked like a rooster and I was tempted to crow at him, but I didn’t because he would've probably pounded me into applesauce.
I turned the page. “OH NO!”
“What is it, Jadie-Wadie?” Mommy walked in.
“This page had a tear at the bottom.”
“Oh, how unfortunate!”
“Maybe I should buy Ms. Bickhaus a new book.”
“That’s a great idea. Well, you read and we’ll get her a new one.”
“OK, Mommy. I love you.”
“I love you, too.” She kissed my cheek and left.
I continued reading.
Mommy came in a half-hour later. “How's my busy widdle boy?” She tickled my feet.
I giggled. ”Stop! You’re gonna make me pee in my diapy!"
"Thank you! I started reading and it's pretty good.”
“Good I’m glad. I read it when I was in tenth grade and it was OK, not my kind of book though, but, I'm glad you like it.” She patted my diaper butt. “Have fun reading, sweetheart!” She left.
I continued reading.
“Jade, din-din!” Mommy called.
I glanced at my yellow smiley-faced clock. Oh, wow! Have I been reading for four hours? “Coming!” I said. “Here, Mr. Woofums, save my place while I eat.'' I laid my stuffed dog on the book so it wouldn’t close, and ran out.
“You've been quiet all afternoon.”
“Yes, Mommy, I’ve been really reading!"
“I know. that's good of you.”
“Mommy, Can you take me to Barnes and Noble?”
“Sure, sweetie, tonight?"
“If it won't be too late.”
“It's only eight. We can go after I feed you.”
“Really? You sure you're not too tired from work?”
“No, honey I’m fine.”
“Are you sure?” I started tickling her armpits, getting her back from earlier.
“Yes.” She tickled me harder, and harder, causing me to fall onto the floor, giggling.
So, Mommy fed me and changed me, then we left.
At Barnes and Nobles she asked, “Do you need me?”
“OK, I guess I'll pick a few things up at Sprouts. I'll be back in an hour.”
“OK, I love you!" I kissed her.
“Love you too. Bye-bye!”
I closed the door and she drove off. I walked in and up to the front desk.
“Hi, my name's Hogar. Can I help you?”
“Do you have The Great Gatsby?”
“I’ll .check.” He turned and browsed on the computer. “Yes, we do, would you like me to get it for you?”
He stood up and walked towards the American classics.
“Your shirt rocks by the way!”
“Thanks.” I looked down at my Thomas the Tank Engine shirt.
He went down the aisle and looked. “Let's see… Gatsby… Gastby… Gatsby… Ah! Here it is!” He pulled the blue book out. The correct edition and everything!
“That’s perfect! Thanks!”
As soon as Mommy and I walked into our house, she took my shorts off.
“It's bedtime, little one.”
So I brushed my teeth and Mommy tucked me in.
The next day felt like an eternity! In world history, Mr. Lemon gave a lecture in his boring, monotonal voice. My friend kept poking me every time I dozed off. Then in P.E., Coach Moffatt gave us a thirty-question pop quiz! It was easy, but long!
At lunch, I couldn’t find my friends, so I sat alone and pulled the sandwich Mommy made for me out.
“Whatcha eatin’?” Beth asked me, sitting down.
“A bologna sandwich."
“Ever felt like the day is moving slowly?”
“Yeah, three weeks ago, I had a gymnastic competition after school. I was so excited and nervous, and the day is dragged on and on and on.” She grabbed my sandwich and fed me a bite.
“Just chill and the day will be over before you know it.”
“No prob. Hey, do you think your mommy will let me babysit you sometime?”
I took her advice and quit urging the day to be over. It worked. I paid attention in Latin II and in science, I participated in a group.
Mommy was still at work when I came home, so I rushed into my room. Homework took longer than I expected because there was a couple biology questions that gave me a headache. I normally breezed through them, but I just couldn't wrap my mind around them. Finally, I finished just before Mommy came home and called me in for din-din. She fed me a bottle and burped me.
“Thank you. Where’s your bag?”
“Oh, it’s on the table in the living room.”
I walked in and saw it. “Thankies.” I grabbed it.
“You’re welcome. You have an hour, then it's beddy-by time.”
“OK, Mommy.” I kissed her, adjusted my Paw Patrol diaper, and carried the Barnes and Nobles sack into my room. I pulled the book out and tossed the sack. “Google, play This Old Man.”
“OK. Playing This Old Man”
Cheery music played as I grabbed the scissors and paper. I cut a small square out. I bent the top flap and folded it. Then pressed down. Then grabbed the glue sticks and pasted it on the side.
I folded it, over then did the same to the other side. “With a knick knack paddy wack give a dog a bone, this old man came rolling home,” I sang.
I turned the glue bottle over and squirted a zigzag inside the cover of the new book. Then I laid the pocket on it and pressed. “There!”
“Jade! Snack time!” Mommy called and I toddled in.
Sometimes, Mommy feeds me something extra yummy before I go ni-ni because I’m special.
“What have you been doing? You’ve been so quiet.”
“Working on a project.”
“What kind of project?”
“I’ll show you when it’s done.”
“Ooh, I can’t wait!” She picked me up. “Oof! Getting heavy!” She carried me to the table and sat me down. “What yummy snack do I have for you tonight?”
Mommy’s phone played some song I didn’t recognize.
She grabbed it from the counter and answered it. “Hello?” She paused. “Oh my
God! Is she alright?... Oh, thank God! Well, give my best wishes... OK, thank you.
Bye.” She put the phone down. “Jade, Ms. Bickhaus had an accident.”
“What?” My heart sank.
“She’s OK, but she did fall from her ladder and broke her leg.”
“I know, sweetheart.”
“Do you know what hospital she’s at?”
Tears welled up in my eyes.
“Sweetie, what’s wrong?”
I started wailing.
“Oh, honey, it's OK. She’ll likely be back at the library again in a few weeks.”
I worked really hard on her book, and I can’t give her it tomorrow? "WAAAHHH!“
“Hush little baby, don’t you cry. Mommy’s gonna sing you a lullaby.”
Mommy’s singing didn’t help. “WAAAAHHH!”
“Do you want your binky?” She left me screaming my head off.
It's not fair! Tears ran down my heated face.
Mommy rushed back and stuck the pacifier in my mouth.
I stopped and sucked.
“There we go.” She picked my teenage body up and her hand passed through my hair. “Better?”
I nodded as the rubber dummy soothed me. I sucked on the binky as Mommy wiped away my tears.
“Now, tell Mommy what’s wrong,” she said and pulled out the pacifier.
“I… was… going… to… give … her…” I sobbed.
“Give her what, darling?”
“A new copy of The Great Gatsby!”
“Oh, yeah! I'm sorry, sweetie!"
“I even made a new pocket!”
“I’m sure you can give her it when she recovers enough to go back.”
“But I wanna give it to her when I’m done reading it!”
“How far are you?”
“About three quarters through.”
“Wow! You’ve been really reading! You like it?”
“That’s fantastic, darling! You can tell Ms. Bickhaus you liked it so much you couldn’t put it down!”
“Yeah, I can!"
“I’m so proud of you, my little guy.” She pinched my cheeks, and I giggled.
After snacktime, I went back and glued the pocket on. “There. Done!” I grabbed Mr. Woofums. “What do you think?” I held him over my work.
She’s gonna hit the ceiling!
Three weeks later, I walked into the library. “Ms. Bickhaus, I finished The Great Gatsby.”
“Wonderful! Did you like it?”
“Oh, well, it’s not for everybody I supp—“
“I loved it!”
“Well, great! I’m glad you loved it! Have you done your book report?”
“Yes. Mr. Malone let me give it early, and I got a one hundred.”
I pulled my paper out.
She took it from me and read it. “Jade, this is wonderful! I didn’t know you were such a great reviewer!”
“Thank you. My mommy — er, mom says to do my best!”
“Well, you’ve got a good mother.”
“Thank you.” I reached into my backpack. “I got you something."
“A couple pages were ripped, so I bought you a new copy.”
“Oh, you shouldn’t have."
She did and gasped. “You glued the pocket on.”
”I made a new one.”
“I made a new pocket because I wanted it to look nice.”
A tear welled up in her eye. “You did this for me?”
“Oh, Jade!” She paused. “That’s very thoughtful of you. Thank you.” She hugged me.