The Boy becomes a bABy
Life can be cruel to the unborn child but not so wicked until it comes to the time to be born into the world.
When that day came Mother Nature had dealt me a cruel blow. My mother had not wanted a baby so didn’t have much love for me, the hospital was negligent in the delivery damaging my pituitary gland which had the effect of stunting my growth to where I stood no more than 29 inches tall. I was fostered out many times but the foster parents didn’t want to have a permanent baby so I was constantly being sent back to the children’s home. I never had a settled life which caused me to be very timid.
On my 16th birthday I had no choice but to leave the children’s home and find my own way in life. This wasn’t going to be easy due to my height and abilities, but the staff at the home were very kind and sad to see me leaving. I was given the government payment of £30 to get me housed and as I was walking out the staff came up to say goodbye and one of the nurses came up to me and handed me bundle. Here this is for you to help you, it contains some clothes for you.
When I turned sixteen it was time for me to leave the center and all the staff were actually sad to see me leave. I was given the statutory £30 the government provided and as I was walking out of the Matron’s office One of the nurses walked to me with a bundle in her hands and said ‘We have all clubbed in and here are some clothes for you and handing me an envelope said we have all chipped in and there is just over £80 in there for you. I looked around and even the matron was there smiling. I gathered up my bundle, envelope and £30 and was about to leave with tears flowing down my cheeks when Matron said ‘Oh, and Terry as autumn is approaching we bought you this’, handing me a thick overcoat. I was totally overwhelmed with the love and kindness shown me and the staff all had tears in their eyes as I said my goodbyes and moved to leave.
The children’s home arranged a taxi to the town where I started my search for a B&B so that I had somewhere to sleep for the night. After having to prove I was old enough to rent the room, I was allowed in and settled down.
I now had to find a job so that I could continue to pay the rent and not end up sleeping on the street thus I found myself at the local job center. There were many jobs available but most were not suitable to me due to my size but after talking to the staff I was found a position as a laborers’ job which I took.
The job was hard work and after a few weeks my hands were developing calluses, blisters and deep cracks and it was obvious to my employer that I couldn’t stay on at the job, so I was given my week’s pay plus 2 week’s severance pay. This left me in deep trouble as I needed to work to pay my rent and buy food.
My next stop was the local Job Centre where I actually managed to get a laboring job and thought this will help pay for food and accommodation for a few weeks at least. This lead to me again having daily visits to the Job Centre once more and unbeknown to me I was being observed by a utility trucked parked across the road every day during my visits. What was interesting but unknown to me was that the driver was on a mission and I was that mission. After he had seen me for a few days visiting the Job Centre he reported to his boss and said ‘Madam, I think I have found the baby you so dearly wish.
Ingrid Watson was delighted when Robert her farm manager informed her and decided that she would go with Robert to see me for herself.
And the next day Robert drove Ingrid to town where she waited for me. As I turned the corner on to the street where the Job centre was Robert quickly pointed me out and Ingrid said “I just have to have that little baby, employ him tomorrow”. Robert drove his boss Ingrid home asking “will the nursery be ready or is there anything else you need doing?” Ingrid replied. “Keep him in the bulb sheds for a few days, and work him hard to make him tired,” “I need to finish decorating the nursery.” Robert then asked “Is there anything more fabricating to be done?” to which Ingrid replied “yes, safety gates for nursery, upper and lower levels of the stairs and one for the kitchen too.” “Also, I want the rails on the cot and playpen raised by another foot.”
Then and there my destiny was determined for me and my fate sealed without any knowledge myself. The next morning following my normal ritual I arrived at the Job centre to look for a job, Robert had already told the staff at the centre that he wanted Robert to employ me and as I waited for my turn, I was called to the counter.
The lady asked for my name and then informed me that she had found a job for me and that I should go to a farm where they were waiting to interview me. She then gave me a bus pass and sent me on my way with a slip for introduction. Unbeknown to me they were already waiting for my arrival.
I caught the bus on the High Street and as it wound out of town into the countryside, I wondered what the job would be.
After about ½ an hour the driver of the bus announced to me that we were at the farm and I should get off. I thanked him and with help from a lady got down from the bus.
Looking across the road, I spotted a man waving at me and after making sure it was safe to cross the road ran over to talk with him.
“Hi, I’m Robert the farm manager, are you Terry?” Already knowing the answer he smiled. “Have you ever worked on a farm?” I replied looking up at him as I had to with even a four year old child “what work can you offer me on a farm?” “Can you sort potatoes’ he asked?” “I replied, ‘show me how and I will do them.” No more to do we walked to farm gate where his utility was waiting. He lifted me in and put my belt on saying it would be easier this way, then we drove off to the farm house some distance from the gate. He explained to me, the farm was owned by a very wealthy lady and is about 2,000 acres, mixed farming, i.e. agriculture, horticulture and livestock, but I would be working in the potato shed in the horticulture section. When we arrived he stopped in front of this very imposing stone built farmhouse, came around my side of the vehicle which was actually passenger side rear seat (I am too small by law to sit in the front of a vehicle) undid my seat belt and lifted me out. He told me I needed to see the owner to get registered on the employment book. We entered the house and I was introduced to this very imposing lady, who appeared smiling at me and said “So, you are Terry the new potato sorter are you?” I replied “I hope so Ma’am.” She looked at Robert with a big smile and said “do you think she whoops he will manage?” Robert replied “I am sure he will but take a look at his hands, I think we will need to get him some rubber gloves or he will get a severe bulb rash.” Mrs. Ingrid then opened my hands and said “good god how did that happen?” I explained to her about my previous position on a building site and how my hands had become injured and the manager had become very concerned and decided for my own good to dismiss me for my own safety.
With a look of concern Mrs. Ingrid went to a cupboard and produced a plastic package and handed it to me. “Please wear these while sorting the potatoes.” I noticed that they were pink marigold gloves. I thanked her and took them.
Having signed on to work at the farm, I was offered accommodation in the farm staff quarters, which I gladly accepted as it was a long way to come every day from the town and then the walk from the road to the sheds. There was a small fee which would be taken from my wages and I was extremely grateful for this and thanked Mrs. Ingrid before being shown to my room where I would stay. This made me feel a little safer although I worried that this job like the previous job would only last a couple of weeks but I would be able to save some of my money. She then with a broad smile told Robert to take me to the staff quarters and show me my bed, and after asking me if I had eaten to which I replied ‘no’ told him to find me a meal. I thanked her very much for the kindness she had shown me and she said ‘worry not sweetheart, you will earn it’. Ba
Robert then told me to follow him to the bunkhouse where he pointed to a bed saying ‘that will be yours’. It was in the quieter part of the room but a look around showed me I would be the only occupant. The room had all the basic requirements of beds, lockers for personal items, table and chairs and an old fashioned potbellied stove for heat. I was then shown where the coal and logs for the stove were and was told I could get it going if I wished. When I looked how high the door latch was I envisaged wrapping a blanket around myself for warmth. Robert then told me as he was leaving he would be back soon with a meal for me and to get settled in. I didn’t take many minutes to put my few possessions away and when Robert returned with a meal for me I was sat huddled in my blanket. He looked and said ‘I told you; you can fire the stove up if you wished to’. I looked at him and told him I cannot reach the door latch. He put the tray with my meal on it on the table and said he would arrange something for me and disappeared for a few minutes. When he returned he was carrying a bucket and said he would fill it with coal for me and put some logs near the stove to make it easier for me. Also he noticed upon his return how I had to stand or kneel on the chair at the table to eat my meal. ‘This isn’t very good’ he said. ‘I will see what can be sorted to help you’. He then left. After my meal I moved the chair from the table to the washstand where I first washed my plate and cutlery, then had a strip wash myself (I had no hope of getting into the bath). I then decided I would have an early night in bed so I could be up really early to show some enthusiasm to my boss. I slept well in the big bed and was up bright and early the following morning. As I was standing on the chair having a wash Mrs. Ingrid walked in and saw me. She looked and said to me ‘Robert told me last night of your problems reaching things so to make things a little easier for you I want you to come over to the kitchen and dine with the regular staff’. I thanked her very much and asked what time I should be there whereupon she replied ‘about 6 am for breakfast and when you are cleaned up after work for your evening meal’. So it was after washing and dressing I walked over to the kitchen where it was lovely and warm thanks to the old fashioned farmhouse cooking range being alight and said to the chef ‘Mrs. Ingrid told me to come here for breakfast’. He replied, ‘yes, I was informed, go sit at the table it will be ready in a few minutes’. I went to the seat the chef pointed to (I assumed each member of staff have their own seating position) climbed on to it and was kneeling on the chair when the chef bought the meal to me. He just looked at me and said ‘you can’t possibly dine like that’ and left only to return with some cushions which he put on the chair and then lifted me up. I told him I did not feel safe like this and asked if he would let me sit on the floor with my breakfast. He put me down and passed my breakfast to me telling me this situation would have to be sorted one way or another as sitting on the floor to eat was both unhygienic and unhealthy and he would not have it in his kitchen. It was while I was eating that Mrs. Ingrid came in and saw me saying ‘what is the meaning of this chef?’ He then explained all that had happened saying I felt unsafe on the stack of cushions, and, that he too was not happy about the present setup. Mrs. Ingrid then hummed and looking at me said ‘we will sort something before this day is out’. It was about ten minutes after I had finished my breakfast that Robert arrived asking me if I was ready for work, I replied ‘yes’. We went out to his truck, he lifted me in and buckled my seatbelt, then climbed in himself and we were off then to the bulb sheds. Once we arrived he showed me a high padded stool he had arranged for me, also a box to allow me to climb up to it, then after showing me what I had to do basically he left me to get on with the job. As I filled the buckets with bulbs a kind lady working next to me would put them on a palette behind me stacking them in fives so the shed foreman would see and give me a token to show how many I had completed, she also told me to put a few less bulbs in each bucket as I was overfilling them. It was a fun job, although a busy one as the people I was working with were kind, chatty and very helpful. When it was lunch time the lady next to me showed me where to go to eat the packed lunch chef had given me and to my surprise there was a high stool at the table for me. My work friend (the lady) lifted me up gasping with surprise at how light I was and sat me on the stool. I remember thinking this would be a solution to eating at the regular table in the kitchen for my main meals. I also noticed on the table there was a large tea pot and several cups/mugs near it. It was explained to me that the boss (Mrs. Ingrid) provided all hot drinks for her workers. So Molly (the lady working next to me) reached over and filled two ‘cups’ after first asking if I could manage a mug (ha ha) and passed one to me. With lunch break over we returned to our work and the happy atmosphere continued but I did notice my hands were getting a little sore. However I carried on knowing I could wash them clean at the end of work and just put it down to the cracks and sores I already had on my hands. It was around six fifteen when Robert arrived to take me back to the bunkhouse and enquired how I had got on. I told him I had met some very nice and helpful people to which he simply replied ‘good’. When we got back to the main house Robert told me to hurry up and get cleaned up as chef was waiting to serve staff’s evening meal and they had decided to wait for me so we could all sit down together which I thought was wonderful. I dashed (for me it was a dash) into the bunkhouse and quickly washed and changed my clothes then made my way to the kitchen. I had to knock on the door for someone to open it for me and when I walked in there was Chef (Charlie), Mrs. Ingrid and another lady who was introduced to me as Cherie the housekeeper. Mrs. Ingrid then said to me ‘Terry we have found a solution to your dining problem’ and pointed to a ‘special’ chair at the table.
Initially it just looked similar to the high stools I had been using but a closer look showed me it was decorated with bouncing lambs, teddy bears and other nursery characters. Chef picked me up and sat me in it, he then proceeded to fasten a safety strap which he pulled between my legs and fastened back to the chair around my waist. At this point I began to struggle as I realised this was a ‘baby’s high chair’. But before I could do anything he had the tray in place and locked in position. Mrs. Ingrid then pointed out to me that in this chair I would be able to eat my meal in comfort AND be able to see and chat to Chef and Cherie. I could not argue with the logic behind this move but I did feel embarrassed sitting there and especially knowing I could not get out by myself. Chef then served me my dinner, a nice casserole but everything was cut up small and I only had a spoon and fork. When I mentioned this Cherie said ‘that is my idea after watching you struggle with your breakfast and the difficulty you had not just using but even holding the knife.’ I could not argue the point as I had struggled and was now having difficulty holding the spoon too. Cheri spotted this and moved her plate next to my chair and said ‘let me help you’.
At this tears formed, I felt so helpless and embarrassed. Cherie then said ‘Look at your hands and now look at mine, do you see a difference?’ So I sat in the high chair allowing her to feed me.
I have to confess that the first time in several months I was getting a good meal and pain free. Just a bruised ego.
Mrs. Ingrid arrived during the meal (she had already dined) and saw me, and said ‘Now, isn’t this more comfy and sociable Terry?’ and I had to confess it was true. She also said I could have the little room annexed to the kitchen instead of going all the way back to the barn.
I didn’t know what to say for this kindness, for now my heating problems were solved too. I just stammered a thank you as Cherie took a cloth and cleaned my face.
Then surprisingly she said ‘would you like a drink?’ to which I replied ‘yes please’. She disappeared for a moment and when she returned holding a baby’s Sippy cup in her hand. I said ‘I cannot drink from that’. ‘OK’ she replied, sorry I just thought with your hands it would be easier, just a moment’. She then put the drink in a mug. I finished up spilling a lot of it because of my poor grip thus proving Cherie’s point.
I was in tears again and both Cherie and Charlie came over and told me to calm down.
Cherie then took a cloth, cleaned me and refilled the Sippy cup and said ‘now relax and enjoy’. I still felt foolish drinking from a baby’s cup, but, at least I was getting ALL the drink and not spilling any.
I thanked Cherie for the thought and she smiled and said ‘that’s alright pet, but tomorrow we will have to put a bib on you to keep your clothes clean’.
I looked aghast at her but realised she was making sense and with her spoon feeding me I would be clean all day. Lunchtime sandwiches do not stain clothing usually.
Once both Chef and Cherie had finished clearing away, Cherie turned to me and said ‘Terry, when was the last time you had a ‘proper’ bath?’ and I explained being so tiny I usually have a strip wash as I cannot manage a bath.
‘Ok’ was her reply, ‘but tonight you have a proper one’. I immediately panicked and said to her ‘How?’ She replied ‘I will give you one’. I screamed ‘Nooooooo, I am not a baby.’ To which she replied ‘I never meant you were but wouldn’t you like to lay and have a nice long soak in warm water?’
How could I argue as it was one of the things I cherished while in the care centre and so I had to agree with her?
‘So!’ Cherie said ‘sit there then and I will run you a nice warm bath’ (as if I had a choice).