Mrs Smith tightly tucked in his bedding. The bed was low but her face was only inches away from his. She crooked her index finger and gave his chin a tickle, kissing him lightly on the forehead.
‘Night–night babykins,’ she cooed, his eyes already fluttering, heavy with sleep.
Picking up his fleecy, light blue dressing gown from the Bananas in Pyjamas bedspread, she draped the garment over the wooden, white glossed bed end, arranging it neatly so that the smiling teddy bear she had painstakingly sewn onto the front patch pocket smiled up at her.
Mrs Smith checked the curtains were tightly drawn. From the slightly ajar window she could hear young voices laughing, she peeked out and clicked her tongue. Those children should be in bed she thought, and then decided not to worry. As long as babykins was safely tucked up in bed where he belonged at 6.30 she was content.
He stirred slightly, exposing a half pyjama-clad arm from beneath the neatly arranged bedding. Mrs Smith frowned. She untied his lambs wool mitten, pulled down the pyjama sleeve and re-tied the mitten on top of the pyjama cuff. She replaced his arm under the bedding without disturbing him and gave one final tuck to the thick woollen blankets. Rummaging in her apron pocket she produced a white baby’s dummy, teasing it gently over his lips until his mouth involuntary opened, embracing the comforting rubber teat.
‘That’s a good babykins,’ she murmured, seating herself in her rocking chair as she enjoying the sound of his rhythmic, somnambulistic use of his dummy.
It had been an eventful few hours. Of course she had known after a few minutes conversation that she had a room for him, in fact she had the perfect accommodation for him. It had been quite some time since there had been a suitable candidate for the attic room.
‘Just arrived today have you dear?’ She had enquired.
He had just turned eighteen, he readily explained, and needed somewhere to stay for a few nights before he set off on his great adventure around Europe for three months.
‘Is that wise?’ She had asked. He had become indignant when she suggested he looked far too young for such an escapade. Indeed she had insisted on checking his passport to verify his age. ‘And how tall is 150cm in real money?’ She asked, reading his particulars from the pristine document.
He had blushed, ‘five foot,’ he blustered.
‘Almost,’ she whispered as she ushered him inside. She had introduced him to her permanent guests. The four ladies of matronly age, shall we say, but not yet elderly, smiled and nodded their greeting to the diminutive young man.
‘Would you like some milk dear?’
Mrs Smith had felt four pairs of expectant eyes upon her as she returned with a tray of cups of tea and one cup of milk. ‘That one is yours dear,’ She handed him a glass full of milk.
Her very special milk took effect after just a few sips.
Mrs Smith caught the cup as it fell from his grasp. She warned him not to try and speak as she helped him to his feet.
‘You can’t talk, but you can hear everything that is going on around you. The muscle relaxant affects the vocal chords too, you see.’ His boxer shorts were already wet by the time she had removed his trousers but fortunately Miss Trencher was in time with the potty and he was lowered onto it with seconds to spare. Completely voided now the ladies set about removing his remaining clothing with haste.
Mrs Kincaid removed the potty and returned carrying the pink plastic bathtub. He was sat in the tub, bewildered and scared as he was cleaned rigorously.
The women competed around the bathtub to oil his body with a sweet scented fragrance, he tried to cry out as they paid close attention to his private regions, all wanting a turn at cleaning his, ‘little pee-pee.’
His hair was rinsed and washed with baby shampoo several time from a separate jug of water before he was lifted helplessly out of the bath.
He realised his body was as smooth as a baby’s. What scance pubic and body hair he had previously had floated forlornly in the water.
Mrs Smith wheeled in the changing table, the plastic mattress cover, with its nursery rhyme characters appeared to beckon to him as he was lowered onto it.
A soft, deep pillow supported his head. Its embracing flannelette case reminded him of childhood.
Mrs Smith’s face loomed above him. ‘Now babykins, time to get you all nice and cosy for beddy-byes.’
She expertly and slowly worked the Zinc and Castor oil cream into his depilated groin area. Despite his fear of what was happening to him, he found he could now moan a little with unwanted pleasure and his pee-pee was able to respond to her touch.
‘Now now little babykins, we will soon have that covered up you naughty baby.’
Almost choking from the dust of talcum powder as she dusted his body, he was helpless to resist as two pairs of strong female hands raised his midriff, he gasped as he felt, for the first time in many years, the sensation of fluffy towelling nappies being pinned upon him. Plastic panties were raised over his legs and settled snugly over the bulky nappies that splayed his legs.
Mrs Smith raised his legs up as yet another female hand put his held his feet and slipped a one piece, footed pyjama romper suit up his legs before he was sat upright and his arms and torso was enveloped in the soft winceyette fabric.
Still unable to speak clearly, he dribbled saliva down his chin as he attempted to remonstrate with the obviously excited women who faced him, buttoning up his pyjama romper.
‘Not down your lovely clean pyjamas babykins,’ she scolded, wiping away the saliva with a tissue before tying a towelling bib around his neck to protect his pyjamas from the drool.
He stared down at his pyjamas emblazoned with teddy bears as baby blue lambswool baby mittens were tied in place over his hands and felt as if he had been returned to his childhood as the soft winceyette material warmed his body and reminded him of evenings past sitting cosy and snug, safe and cuddled by his mother.
The rustle of his plastic baby pants bought him out of his dream as he was picked up as if he were a doll and for twenty minutes, according to the clock on the mantelpiece, he was pawed and petted and generally passed from female to female as each took a turn at setting him upon their knee, bouncing him babyishly before hugging him so tightly to their bosoms he feared he would suffocate.
They laughed, as he tottered on unsteady feet, to each of their outstretched arms in turn as plastics pants rustled noisily with each gingerly taken step.
Eventually however he had not felt so unsteady, he warily eyed the front door just a few steps away.
Mrs Smith smiled, easily scooping him up she deposited him into Miss Franks enormous lap, returning seconds later with a clean bib and a baby bottle full of her special milk.
He squirmed and twisted as the bib was tied over his pyjamas, but her grasp was too strong, cradled in her arms Mrs Franks fed him the bottle. Once again he felt the strength drain from his body and his nappies serve their purpose.
Mrs Franks patted his nappies through his teddy bear pyjama.
He felt tears begin to well. ‘There, there babykins, time for a nappy change and then it’s beddy-byes for you.’
His arms flopped uselessly by his side as Mrs Frank carried him up through the house to the attic room; a simple ceramic sign was affixed to the door. Baby’s Nursery.
Mrs Smith rocked her chair. She was looking forward to the days and weeks ahead. It would be nice to have a baby in the house again. Of course it meant a lot of work, the nappy changes, not to mention the washing then there was the feedings, the constant demands that babies require. Still, she had plenty of eager helpers, babkins was sure of the utmost attention.
And then, eventually he would leave. Saying nothing to nobody, after all, who would admit to his or her adventures in Mrs Smith’s nursery and not risk ridicule or disbelief?
Nobody had ever done so before.