FROM THIS AGE

A/N: This is nice and long so I hope you like it!

June 2002

635 Gilbert Road South Park

Life had not changed much in the past year since Carol McCormick's second son Kenneth had been born. Her husband Stuart was still lousy and still couldn't keep a job and she was stuck at home caring for her kids. Of course there wasn't much to caring for five-year-old Kevin and one-year-old Kenny. They always did their own thing and played with whatever toys they could find. Kevin could care less that he had a brother and thankfully never grew jealous of little Kenny once. He liked playing with him for the most part and didn't mind looking after him when his parents were too drunk to care.

Sometimes Carol felt guilty that she didn't spend enough attention on Kenny. He was a miracle child- he was dead when he was born. Surely it meant something great? Surely it was a sign from God or someone? But again, it hardly mattered; she doubted life would ever change. All she knew was she had a good-for-nothing husband and two children to support and they were poor.

"I'm gonna go out to the store, you look after your brother, all right Kevin?" Carol told her oldest son.

"'Kay."

Ten dollars, she sure hoped she could find something that would last all week with ten dollars. She left her kids at home alone. Stuart had the truck and she couldn't hire a baby-sitter.

"You make sure Kenny don't get in any trouble you hear?"

Kevin looked over at Kenny who wore an orange jacket and brown pants and had messy blonde hair growing on his head. He was currently content, playing with a fork. He had dropped it in the toilet before and tried to retrieve it; he almost drowned, but was able to come out of it as if it never happened. Little dangers like that popped up every-so-often so it was important he didn't actually die during the next one. Carol sighed and left for the long walk to Henry's Supermarket.

August 2002

1002 Pine Tree Road South Park

Sheila Broflovski and her husband Gerald had recently settled into their new home in South Park. They had been searching for a home for a few months now and finally found the perfect one in the beginning of May. They had thrown their son's first birthday at their home back in Middle Park before leaving a month later to their new location. Sheila doubted she would like the small town at first, but one week there had proven to her it was what she needed. She never liked busy city life, and even suburbia had its flaws. But a town was much simpler. A better environment for her son. Gerald was especially happy; he would be able to catch up with a couple friends he knew back in collage, one of them being Randy Marsh. He unfortunately hadn't had time to look his name up yet for he was busy with his Law Firm.

Shelia was currently on the floor with little Kyle as he did what he did best- talk.

"Say 'mama' bubbe! Say 'mama!"

A head that was topped with curly red hair looked up. He pointed at his mother and cried, "Mama! Mama!"

"Oh my little bubbe, you are so smart! You must know more words than any other baby your age," Shelia trilled.

"Mama, no! Mama, 'nooing!"

"What's that bubbe?"

Kyle pointed out the window. "No- nooing!"

She gasped. "You're right, it is snowing!" she picked him up and hugged him and took him to the window. "It's going to snow a lot here, Kyle. I know you will have a lot of fun in it."

"No! No, no no no no!" Kyle clapped happily.

Gerald came into the living room at that moment. "I hear someone talking again," he said happily.

"Oh Gerald, Kyle knows what snow is! Show Daddy, Kyle!" Shelia smiled.

Kyle blinked green eyes before pointing out the window. "No!"

Gerald chuckled and ruffled his son's curly hair. "You got that right, son. It's really beginning to snow out there. And it's August! Fancy that huh?"

"I do hope we get some sunshine though, it can't snow all the time out here," Shelia noted.

"Don't worry honey, it won't snow 364 days of the year. But enjoy it while it does."

Little kyle seemed to at least, he was gazing happily at the snow that drifted down.

October 2002

28201 Bonanza Street, South Park

Liane Cartman had been kept busy since her son Eric had been born last year. He was a very demanding child and like everyone's prediction stated, his first word would be 'no.' and it was. Eric loved to scream no at his mother at any possible circumstance. But Liane wasn't too bothered, he was only a baby, he didn't really know what the word meant. Every one-year-old said it. But just to make sure things didn't go overboard; she catered to his every need.

She was currently in the kitchen making dinner. At least there was one easier bit about her child; he was eating more solids now so she didn't have to serve up something different for him each night. As she steamed the carrots in the pot she heard the familiar sound of feet slapping on the tiled floor. She looked down to see a cubby face looking up at her.

"Hello poopsikins," Liane smiled.

"Ma! Maaaaaa!"

"What angel?"

"Maaaa!" Eric pointed at the pantry.

"Oh, oh no, I don't think you need a snack right now Eric, I'm making dinner."

"Maaaaaaa!" Eric yelled and banged his fists on the floor.

"You're going to have some yummy chicken and carrots, mmmm!"

"Buh mmmaaaaaa!" Eric waddled over to the panty and began to bang on it.

Liane sighed, she knew better than to reason with her son, so she went over to the panty and fished out a jar of plum baby food which he loved. He already had a spoon in his hand and slurped it up as soon as she popped the lid open. This made Liane smile, her little man was so smart! He could already use a spoon all by himself! Eric finished the food in seconds. Satisfied, he moved his cubby feet back over to his toys and played quietly. As long as he was happy, Liane was happy. It still pained her he was an 'accident' so she had to continue to make it up to him and give him all the love and attention desired.

December 2002

1020 Krafton Street South Park

Linda Stotch was bustling about her house, happily humming Christmas tunes. Holidays were even more enjoyable now that she had given birth to her son Leopold. As much as she loved her son's name she would call him by his middle, 'Butters', now and again. Her husband Steven didn't like this, stating what the point in giving him the name Leopold if she didn't even use it. But it only happened a handful of times. And it wasn't just her, when the casual person walking down the street would ask what the name of her precious baby was; they gave her a look too.

"Well Butters is a funny name too, so who cares?" Steven had asked.

Linda just rolled her eyes when he said this. She had no desire to change his name and Steven thinking so was ridiculous. But she did like the name Butters, it was cute and innocent, and he had buttery-yellow hair. Her mind was interrupted from this suddenly when her husband came into the living room holding Leopold.

"You'll never guess what he got into Linda!" he called.

"What now?" she sighed, setting down a box of lights.

"The tissue box!"

Linda blinked. "Tissue box?"

"I know! I turned my back for a moment and next thing I knew, he was giggling, pulling out tissue after tissue, all over the floor!"

Leopold laughed.

"You think this is funny? You just made a mess Leopold! You are going to have to clean it!" Steven shouted.

Linda took her son from him. "Really Steve, it's only tissue. It's not like he got into a box full of glass."

"Only tissue? But it's all over the floor now!"

"It can easily be put back in the box. You can't keep blaming him for silly things."

Steven looked at her. "You are going soft on him again Linda, remember what I told you? You can't go soft on a child or he'll think he can get away with anything!"

Linda patted Leopold's buttery puffy hair. "Maybe, but for now, let it go. He's a baby. When he's older and can take orders, then it's okay to punish him. Now, are you over your tissue trauma so you can finish decorating upstairs?"

Steven looked at her for a moment before agreeing and going back upstairs. Linda looked at the baby.

"Your dad's just afraid you'll be a naughty little boy, Butters. But he's just silly. You can't even talk yet!"

"Ma!" Leopold squealed. Linda smiled and kissed him before placing him on the floor and going back to decorating.

January 2003

2001 Bonanza Street, South Park

Poor Sharon Marsh's worst fear had been realized very quickly after she had brought her second child home from the hospital two Octobers ago. Her oldest child, four-year-old Shelley did not like her little brother Stanley at all. Any other sibling would beg their parents to allow them to hold the new baby, but she never did. The only time she did was when she got that mischievous look in her eye and Sharon knew better than to allow her to. And it wasn't just not wanting to hold him, she would often wake him up on purpose, during naps and bedtime. She still continued to do it. It didn't help that little Stanley was a sensitive baby and very fussy and needed his sleep.

Sharon rubbed her tired eyes as she thought about her kids over a cup of much-needed coffee. But the all-too-familiar sound of a toddler's wails filled the house once again. She sighed and went upstairs into her son's nursery where Stanley was currently crying his eyes out, holding onto the bars of his crib as Shelley taunted him with a toy.

"Shelley Marsh, what are you doing in here?" Sharon demanded.

"Stan just forgot his stuffed kitty in my room so I'm giving him back," she said innocently.

"He was already sleeping with it!"

Shelley didn't say anything, just continued to dangle a stuffed smiling kitten over her little brother's head. Sharon took the toy from her daughter and gave it back to her son. But of course now that Stan was awake again he began to scream some more and held his arms up to his mother.

"Ooohhh, Stanley honey, Mommy is tired too. She just put you down."

"Maaaaaaaaa!" Stanley cried, face quickly turning red.

"Okay, okay. Shelley, go to your room, I'll be there as soon as I get him down again."

Shelley stuck her tongue out at her brother before leaving. Sharon lifted her son in her arms yet again and rocked him in the glider across the room, trying to calm him down again. It took a good half hour before the lids closed over Stan's great blue eyes and he was asleep. Sharon stroked the tuft of black hair on his head before putting a pacifier in his mouth and setting him down. She rubbed her itching eyes again- yet another lecture to her daughter she knew would not go over well.

March 22nd, 2004

McCormick House

Carol woke heavily that morning. She knew what day it was, and her second son knew what day it was. It was young Kenny's third birthday. Of course she couldn't throw him a birthday party or anything. The least she could do is give him an extra waffle for breakfast and wrap a toy she found in the trash with newspaper. She wanted to do more; he was such a different child. He still walked into unfortunate accidents that almost always could kill him, but they hadn't yet. She just couldn't keep an eye on everything he did; he got into everything without caring at all what it was. She got up from bed finally and began putting frozen waffles in the toaster.

"Morning Mom," came a small voice at that moment.

Carol looked down to see Kenny standing there, rubbing his eyes and yawning. He still wore the orange parka he was so found of and would sometimes hide his face by pulling the hood over it. She told him to stop it all the time; people would want to see his face. But he found this humorous and hid it anyway.

"Mornin' son. Happy birthday."

Kenny blinked and sat down. She placed two waffles on a plate for him and a glass of milk and he ate it up.

"Hey, that's not fair," cried the voice of seven-year-old Kevin suddenly as he walked into the kitchen. "How come Kenny gets an extra waffle?"

"'Cause it's his birthday Kevin! So sit down and don' complain!" Carol snapped.

After the frozen waffle breakfast Carol turned to her son. "D'you want to open your present now Kenny?"

"Yeah I do!" Kenny smiled.

"Ohh, you're going to like this one son," Stuart winked.

Carol set down the gift in front of him. Kenny tore off the paper excitedly to reveal a stuffed clown that was missing an arm.

"Wow! I love it! Thanks you guys!" Kenny smiled.

Mr. and Mrs. McCormick knew their son wouldn't mind a toy missing an arm, he was weird like that and the weirder and grosser something was, the more drawn to it he became. A clown with one arm was defiantly up his alley. No doubt this was Kenny's happiest birthday so far.

May 26th, 2004

Broflovski House

Shelia could not believe it, her little Kyle was already turning three today! She still looked at him and saw the baby with curly red hair looking up at her. His hair. It had quickly gotten longer and bushier. He now had a small afro on his head. He may now only have been three but Kyle was already aware of his hair and he hated it. He hated when strangers would point out his head of 'fluffy cotton' as he would call it. Sheila did feel guilty about her son's hair as he obviously had gotten it from her, but he was still her perfect child so she loved him even with the hair.

At the moment Sheila was downstairs making Kyle's favorite breakfast- oatmeal. She was happy her son loved healthy food, she knew the horrible sugary, fattening and unhealthy food on the shelves out there. When Kyle came downstairs in his sailboat patterned pajamas, he smiled at the bowl on the table.

"Happy birthday bubbe!" Sheila smiled and kissed him.

Kyle giggled. "I'm this many today!" he held up three fingers.

"I know, it's hard to believe isn't it?"

Gerald came downstairs a minute later.

"Happy birthday Kyle!" he ruffled his son's hair.

"Daddy, don't! Don't like my hair!" Kyle squirmed.

Gerald laughed before turning to his wife. "So, is there going to be a party today or what?"

"Well, he doesn't know that many other kids. But I was planning on inviting that one boy Jake that he plays with. I was going to take them to the park, they love it. After that they'll be cake and presents here," Sheila answered.

"I'm sorry I have to work today son but you'll tell me all about it won't you? The little talker you are."

Kyle smiled and nodded through his oatmeal. "All about it!"

Sheila did wish she wasn't just a stay-at-home mother at times. That way she could drop her son off at daycare every day and he could meet other children. But he did have his friend Jake and the two loved nothing better than to run around all day at the park. But he was only three; he had plenty of time to meet other children when he went to kindergarten. For now, it was fine to keep him home and look after him herself.

This was going to be Kyle's best birthday so far as well. His present from his parents made him extremely happy. It was a green hat called an ushanka. He pulled it onto his head immediately.

"Look Ma! No more hair!" Kyle smiled.

"I know. But I don't want you wearing it all the time, Mommy still likes to see your hair."

Kyle wasn't listening; he had a hat to hide his horrible hair now! It was better than any toy out there. No one would need to know what his hair looked like now.

July 1st 2004

Cartman House

Liane couldn't believe it- her perfect little man was already three! Each year that went by she loved him more and more. And she wasted no time in showing it. She kept by her word and made sure he was as happy as can be. How could she say no to his round little face? And it was always best to do so anyway or he'd pitch a fit. She didn't need another hole in the wall from him. She didn't have many friends and so she threw the celebration all her own. Sadly his current baby-sitter couldn't come for she 'didn't have the time.' A lot of his caretakers would say that. Liane shook it off and woke her son up.

"Good morning honey bun," she beamed.

Eric immediately shot up and hopped on his bed. "My birdday! My birdday! My birdday!"

"It is. Let's go downstairs to see what the breakfast bear dropped off today."

"Brikfist bear! Brikfist bear!" Eric hurried out his room as fast as his cubby body would allow. He took a seat to see a plate of chocolate pancakes drenched in syrup waiting for him. He began to inhale his food.

"What do you say Eric?" Liane asked him.

He wiped his mouth on his sleeve and held up his plate. "More!"

"Oh, well, alright…"

He didn't have the best manners but, it didn't matter now. There was plenty of time to learn before he started preschool. Liane dished out two more pancakes and he seemed full after.

"Where are my presents?" he demanded.

"Now sweetums, you have plenty of time for presents after"-

"Where are my presents?" Eric asked again.

"The ones from Grandma and Grandpa and your aunts and everyone are in the living room."

Eric ran out and began to tear open the first box. It was full of homemade cookies.

"Yaaaa! Cookies!" he munched on one before opening another gift. It didn't take him long to go through them all.

Liane came from the garage minutes later and gasped.

"Eric honey, you opened everything already?"

"Yeah, they was mostly good ones, but Gramma sent me this"- he held up new pajamas. "And I don' like it."

"Oh, well I wanted to take a picture of you opening each one."

"I can do that!" Eric held up a stuffed teddy bear and smiled. Liane smiled back; her son was so good at taking pictures and posing. After she pointed to the garage.

"There's a real big present in the garage from Mommy."

The words 'real big present' made him drop his fifth cookie. He ran into the garage to see a huge box. He tore apart the paper and gasped- it was a playground that looked like a boat.

"Ohh Mommy, I love it! I love it!" he danced around the box.

"Now it's going to take Mommy some time to put it together but I found a man last week who I know might put it together- if I convince him…" Mr. Charlston sure knew how to 'rock the bed' as they said. He'd have no problem doing anything for her after she satisfied him.

"Okay Mommy. Mommy- thanks," Eric blinked innocent bright brown eyes at her.

It melted Liane's heart. "Ohh Eric, oh it was nothing. You know I would do anything to make you happy!" and she hugged him. She was the luckiest mother in the world.

September 11th, 2004

Stotch House

Little Leopold woke up to a bright sun that morning. He smiled- he knew what day it was! He raced downstairs to find his parents watching TV.

"Mommy! Daddy!"

"Hush Butters," Steven said.

He had finally been convinced many months ago to call Leopold by his middle name.

Butters frowned at his father. "But- but Daddy- today's"-

"Oh don't you know son? Today is the third anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers!" Steven said. "They are holding memorials and specials about it all day."

Linda gasped. "Oh, and today is someone's birthday isn't it?"

Butters smiled now. "Yeah, m-me!"

Steven blinked. "Hey, it is. It is, isn't it Butters?" he lifted his son up. "Happy birthday son!"

Butters smiled bashfully.

"Well now, since no one from daycare seems to have wanted to come over, well, I'm sure Mommy has something special planned doesn't she?"

Butters looked up hopefully at his mother.

"Of course I do. In fact, I found a special present for you! But first you have to get dressed and eat breakfast honey."

"Ohh boy!" Butters raced to get these two tasks down. He met up with his parents in the living room.

Linda presented a present for him which he dug into with gusto. It was his first set of Lego's!

"I've gots Lego's!" he smiled.

"We finally thought you are old enough to play with Lego's," Steven told his son.

"But you have to remember to never put them in your ears or nose or mouth okay? They're very small," Linda told him.

"Okay."

"And guess what else is going to happen today?" Steven asked.

"Yeah?"

"We're going to Grandma and Grandpa's!" Linda smiled.

"Yaaaa!"

"Grandma told me she has a special present for you as well. So we should get ready soon."

Butters loved going to his grandparents, he had such a fine time there. Usually his parents were too busy talking to find something to scold him for. Digging in the backyard was the most fun. Grandma Harrington presented a gift for him when he got there; it was a plastic kiddie pool.

"Mom, stop, you're going to spoil him," Linda said.

"Weee! A pool! A pool! Can we fill it up?" Butters asked.

"At home son," Steven said.

In the meantime, Butters happily played around in his pool, even if it was empty. His parents were too busy with watching TV all day to take too much notice in what he did. But it was alright, he easily had fun playing by himself.

October 19th, 2004

Marsh House

Sharon and Randy snuck into their son's bedroom that morning with smiles on their faces. Their son was a light sleeper so they had to make sure not to wake him up before reaching his bed. Sharon shook his shoulder.

"Stanley, wake up baby."

Stan's eyes parted open. He noticed his room was bright and his mommy and daddy were smiling down at him. He knew what day it was!

"It my birfday finnie!"

"Yes it is your birthday finally, happy third birthday!" Randy said and they both gave him a kiss.

"You make Finch toast?" Stan asked his mother.

"Go downstairs and see," Sharon said.

Stan rubbed his eyes and hurried downstairs, not caring that his robot-pattern pajamas hung on him funny. Stan hurriedly got into his booster seat and saw a plate of French toast, just for him. He ate it hungrily. Shelley was already sitting down too and rolled her eyes at him. Their parents came down.

"Shelley, isn't there something you'd like to say to your little brother?" Sharon asked her daughter.

"Moooom…"

Sharon glared.

Shelley sighed. "Happy birthday brat."

"Shelley!" Randy scolded.

Stan blinked but shrugged, taking a drink from his favorite sippy cup. His meanie big sister couldn't ruin his special day today!

"Do I gets p'essents now?" Stan asked after he had eaten.

"No sweetie, you get to open everything at your party, remember?" Sharon asked.

"I still can't believe you decided to throw a party, he's three. He won't even remember it," Randy noted.

"Well I thought it would be a good thing to do. He knows some kids from daycare."

"He spends more time home with a baby-sitter than at daycare since he gets sick so often."

Sharon rolled her eyes. Only four kids were coming over, and her best friend Abbie would be there to help out. When her parents went into the other room for a moment, Shelley got up from the dining room table and socked Stan three times.

"Ahhhhh!" he screamed.

"Don't you know? You get one sock for each year you're turning, every birthday. Next year you get four!" she cackled.

Stan just cried and ran into the living room. "Mommy! Moooommmy!"

Sharon sighed. It was the first 'mommy' of the day. "What hon?"

"Shelley-she- she hitted me- she hitted me free times!" Stan sniffled.

Randy chuckled. "Aw, that's nothing Stanley; your Uncle Jimbo socked me eighteen times when I turned eighteen!"

"Randy!" Sharon snapped. She checked the boy's arm and gave him a kiss. "You're fine Stan. But I'll go talk to Shelley all right?"

Stan nodded through sniffles and went upstairs with his dad to change. Randy had to go to work soon after so Stan was left in the care of his mom and (unfortunately) his sister. Shelley was supposed to 'play' with him so Sharon could get downstairs ready for the party but no way was she going to do any baby stuff with her stupid brother. Poor little Stanley kept suggesting things to do, toys to play with, what stuffed animals were celebrating a birthday too but she would have no part of it. Thankfully the four guests from daycare arrived and Shelley could stop pretending to 'play'.

Sharon looked on happily as her boy enjoyed himself with his playmates, well, as much as any three-year-old could before fights broke out. Two hours was plenty before everyone was picked up by their mothers.

"Where your- your p'essents Mommy?" Stan asked his mother after everyone went home, hugging his favorite stuffed doggie close.

"You can open the presents from Mommy and Daddy when Daddy comes home."

"Aw- awww!" Stan moaned.

"Daddy wants to be here when you do. And there's still the nice big one from Grandma and Grandpa." Sharon looked at the long wrapped box sitting in the living room. She really hoped her parents hadn't spoiled him too much. They lived in California and didn't get to visit often so they enjoyed going overboard with Shelley and Stanley.

Randy come home from work in time for dinner and to see Stan open his remaining gifts. He loved the toy robot, dinosaur, books and new blanket from his parents but nothing lit up his eyes like what his grandparents sent- a racecar bed.

"They have to be joking," Sharon said in shock.

"Oh wow, a racecar bed! Every boy wants one of those!" Randy smiled, looking at the cover of the box of a red corvette.

"I getta be a d'iver! I getta be weal d'iver!" Stan danced happily.

"Well Randy, since it's so cool, you get to put it together," Sharon stated.

"Aww, Sharon…"

He had French toast for breakfast, had new toys and books for his mommy to read him, a racecar bed, and Shelley only hit him three times; it was a good birthday for Stanley all in all.

August 15th 2005

McCormick House

Today was a big day for young Kenny- it was orientation for preschool. Parents all over South Park would be signing their children up for preschool and bringing their kids along so they could meet their teacher and the other kids and hopefully get used to the environment. There was going to be snack-time today too for parent and child. Carol hoped all would go well, she hoped he would be drawn to some kids that day so he could have someone to play with. And not only that, be able to get some food whenever he stayed at their houses. He hoped whatever boys or girls her son was drawn to had mothers who liked to cook. And they would have fun toys for him to play with that he always wanted but she could obviously not afford.

"Are you all ready to go Kenny?" Carol asked her son.

"Ready!" Kenny came from his room with his hood over his head and a scarf wrapped around his face.

"Kenny, it ain't that cold outside. Your teacher will want to see your face today."

Kenny shook his head, hiding his face made him feel safe in the big outside world.

"Well alrigh' then. Get in the truck and let's go."

They arrived at South Park Elementary School. Since they lived in a small mountain town the preschool was inside the elementary school. Kenny looked at the tall yellow building and pulled his hood over his head tighter.

August 15th 2005

Broflovski House

Sheila was exceptionally exciting about today- preschool orientation. She couldn't wait for the teacher to be impressed by house smart her little Kyle was. He already knew the alphabet and numbers and was already working on writing his name and doing simple math. Not only that but it would be a chance for him to get to make real friends. His buddy Jake and his family had sadly moved away to New York a few months ago. Kyle did not think he would be able to find another boy he would be closer to than him. Jake was his buddy, and now he was off to find a new one. He did not like it. But with all the talk his parents made about preschool, Kyle was looking forward to it. He liked being smart. It made him feel special.

"Are you all ready to go bubbleh?" Sheila smiled at Kyle.

"Yes!" he dropped his coloring book and went to put on his jacket and hurried out the door to the car.

When they pulled up to South Park Elementary School, Kyle could feel a mix of nervousness and excitement. He saw other kids his age walking to the school. Would any of them be his new buddy?

August 15th, 2005

Cartman House

It was a bit of a struggle getting Eric ready that morning. Liane had to get him out of bed, much to his dismay, and make him waffles for breakfast. He took a while eating and getting ready.

"Eric honey, we have to orientate you for preschool today, remember?" Liane told him.

He shrugged.

"You'll finally be able to meet new friends and share your toys with them. Won't that be fun?"

"No! They are my toys!" Eric insisted.

"Yes but"-

"No one else's. Mine!"

"Well, alright then…"

He still had troubles with manners but it wasn't a big thing, the teacher would be able to teach him all about them. Soon she'd be throwing little get-togethers and play dates with his new little friends. Then he would be thankful and happy. She checked the clock and gasped- they had fifteen minutes to get there! She dressed him up and they ran out the door into the car and sped off to South Park Elementary. Eric looked at the looming building and the kids going into it. He was supposed to make friends with them? They all looked lame. This was going to be a very stupid day indeed.

August 15th, 2005

Stotch House

Little Butters sure was nervous- his mommy said preschool orientation was today. He had no idea what orientation meant but big words scared him. Linda tried to reassure him he would have a fun day today. It didn't work very well.

"You can take your blanket along with you if you want dear," Linda informed him as she put his coat on.

"I can take Boo?"

"Yes, you can take Blue."

"Won't- won't the other kids laugh?"

"I'm sure others are bringing along something from home too. Don't worry; it's not your actual first day of preschool yet. We're just going to meet the teacher and other students and have snack-time. It will be a fun day."

As long as his mommy was going to be with him the whole time. Butters got into the car and the drove off. Butters got a first look at South Park Elementary. He frowned and rubbed his hands together.

"Oh Jesus…" he said to himself.

August 15th, 2005

Marsh House

Today was an important day for her Stanley. Well, maybe not as important as his actual first day of kindergarten but Sharon wanted him to make the most of it nonetheless. And it didn't help that he was taking forever to move along that morning.

"Mommy, I can't buddon my coat," Stan whined, pulling on her pants leg.

Sharon sighed and bent down to do it. "Stanley, where are your shoes?"

He shrugged.

"Don't tell me you can't do those on your own, they're Velcro straps."

"Mommy, what's Velc'o?"

"Don't waste time Stanley. Come on, we have to go."

"Who else is gonna be there?"

"I don't know."

"I don't wanna go if I don't know nobody…"

"Life is about meeting new people sweetie. I'm sure you'll meet someone to play with today. That way, on your actual first day, you'll already know him or her!" Sharon smiled.

Stan put a thumb in his mouth and held onto his stuffed dog. If school meant being away from Shelley for a while… maybe he'd give it a try. Sharon picked him up and buckled him inside his booster seat in the car and drove off. Stan gazed out the window at South Park Elementary. It was a lot bigger than daycare. Maybe all those scary stories about school Shelley had told him were true. He gulped as Sharon took him out the car and held his hand, walking up to the doors.

Stan, Eric, Butters and Kenny stood by their mothers the way up and into the school. Only Kyle seemed interested in what was going on and was excited; he was the only one who shyly greeted their preschool teacher, Miss Claridge.

"Look Kenny, look at all the toys you get to play with," Carol told her son.

Even though he was shy, the look of the toys, all new and shiny lured him away. He picked up a toy airplane and began to control it. Eric was also drawn to the toys. More toys- his favorite thing. He began to dump out a box of blocks immediately and began to play with them in his own special corner. The other boys needed a bit more convincing. Luckily two of them were forced to meet. Sheila looked over and saw a woman with shoulder-length brown hair and a boy holding her hand with short black hair. She nudged Kyle.

"Look over there bubbe, it looks like there's another little boy who might like a friend."

"I wanna show the teacher I know my ABCs!" Kyle exclaimed.

"You can do that later. C'mon, let's introduce ourselves."

Kyle had no choice but to follow after his mother. Sheila smiled at Sharon.

"Hello, my name is Sheila and this is my son, Kyle."

Sharon smiled and shook hands. "Hello, I'm Sharon. This here is Stanley. Stanley, would you like to say hello?"

Stan looked at his mother, the new woman and boy and shook his head no, burrowing his face in his mom.

"You'll have to excuse him; he tends to be a bit nervous around strangers."

"Oh, it's fine. Kyle, why don't you introduce yourself to little Stanley?"

Kyle huffed but slowly walked over to the boy. "Hi," he said simply.

Stan blinked his blue eyes at him. "Hi."

"We'll leave you two boys alone okay?" Sharon smiled.

"No! No, Mommy!" Stan clutched her shirt.

"It's fine honey, I'll be right by."

The mothers forced the boys away so they could talk. Kyle blinked, taking in the boy with huge blue eyes and black hair, clutching a stuffed dog. Stan took in the boy with green eyes and a funny green hat. Stan may have been exposed to more kids due to daycare but it didn't make him any less afraid. He didn't like new people. How was he supposed to know who was good and who was bad?

"I like your dog," Kyle told him after a few minutes of silence.

Stan hugged the dog to him. "His name's Ruffy."

"I have a dog at home. He's a toy, and he's black like your hair," Kyle said.

"Ruffy keeps me safe. But some-sometimes Shelley takes him from me," Stan said softly.

Kyle looked interested. "Who's Shelley?"

"My big stister- she's mean."

The boys didn't say anything for a while again. Finally Stan had to ask about this boy's funny-looking hat.

"This? It's my hat, it hides my hair," Kyle smiled.

"Why?"

"'Cause I don't like my hair."

"Oh." Why would someone not like their hair? He liked his. Stan looked over to spot his mom feet away. She just beamed at him and made a motion that said to keep talking to this boy.

"Are you gonna be my new buddy?" Kyle asked abruptly.

"Huh?"

"Are you gonna be my new buddy? I need a new buddy."

"Um…" Stan bit his lip. "Okay."

Kyle cheered. "C'mon Stanley, let's play with that train over there!"

He grabbed Stan's hand and led him to a toy train on some tracks. Both Sharon and Sheila looked relieved their boys were getting along.

"I was hoping Kyle would meet someone today. He's been a bit down since his best friend moved away," Sheila told Sharon.

"Well I hope Stanley opens up soon. He really is a fun, happy little boy once he gets talking."

"You say your last name is 'Marsh.' Are you by any chance related to a Randy Marsh?" Sheila inquired.

"Why yes, he's my husband."

Sheila beamed and clapped her hands. "Oh! Oh that makes me so happy to hear! Your husband and mine, Gerald, were friends in collage."

"Were they really?"

"Yes. We moved here a few years ago and he's been trying to find any old collage friends again. But he could never find 'Marsh.'"

Sharon rolled her eyes. "My husband doesn't think it's safe to leave our names in the local phonebooks."

"No wonder! Oh, he'll be so happy to know this."

Sharon smiled. "Actually, you look a little familiar too. Have we…met before?"

"I can't say that we have."

Sharon rubbed her chin, she knew she saw that red hair somewhere before. Her eyes went wide. "We did! At Henry's Market a few years ago! Oh, I remember now. You had your son with you. I was with my daughter and Stanley. He was only a baby."

Sheila remembered now too. "Yes! I remember asking about the cute little thing in the care seat. I even think I remember the name Stanley."

Eric looked up from his pile of blocks. What he needed was a train for his city, and then it would be complete. He looked around the room then spotted one that two other boys were playing with.

Well, they won't be playing with it anymore, he thought smugly and got up and took it from their hands.

"Hey!" Kyle cried.

"Dat's ours!" Stan said, getting to his feet.

"Well now it's mine."

"Dat's not fair, it's ours. We was playing wif it," Stan said defensively.

"Go cry home to mommy. It's mine now dummy-brain."

"We're gonna tell," Kyle said, standing too.

"Teacher said we havta share, so you gotta share this train with me," Eric grinned evilly.

Kyle and Stan looked at each other. He was right; Miss Claridge said they had to share. Eric then spotted Stan's dog Ruffy.

"I think I'll use this too," and he grabbed him from the younger boy's hands.

"No! Give it back!" Stan cried. His sister already stole and broke his toys, why did someone at preschool have to do the same?

"Nenenneneneneeeeehhhh! I have your doggie! I have your doggie!" he waved it above the black-haired boy's head.

Stan was still three, so he didn't take teasing lightly at all. He broke down and began to cry. Kyle didn't know what to do, all their mothers seemed too busy talking, but he couldn't just let his new buddy cry. He glared at the fat boy and pushed him down. The two quickly got into a fist-fight fast.

"Kyle!" Sheila yelped suddenly.

Seeing her son was in trouble too, Liane got to her feet. They broke their sons off each other. But Kyle had won; he successfully handed back Ruffy to Stan.

"Here you go Stanley," the boy in the funny green hat said.

Stan hugged the toy to him. "Thanks Kyle."

"Kyle, what on earth did you do?" Sheila cried.

"He stole Stanley's dog!"

"You do not fight with your classmates, you hear? You do not want a bad reputation already."

Sharon hoped something like that wouldn't happen, it made her think if she should wait a year before she signed her son up for preschool. She knew he might have more tantrums and problems than the other children since he was still a toddler, but he would be turning four in October, it shouldn't make that big of a difference. The rest of the afternoon was a tad bit better. The kids happily enjoyed their snacks and Kyle and Stan had quickly bonded since the older boy 'saved him'. Kyle and Eric however kept glaring across the circle of kids and parents. Neither was hurt in any way but they still stuck tongues out at each other when the adults weren't looking. All in all, it had been a good first meeting, minus a few bumpy incidents. Both Stan and Kyle could not wait to see each other again during their first real day of preschool.

"He had a funny hat Mommy, I want a funny hat," Stan had told Sharon all the way back home.

"Now why would you want a funny hat sweetie?"

"That way- we can be brovers!"

Sharon chuckled. Did they really bond that quickly in that one afternoon? But Stan kept asking for a hat and Sharon simply said 'we'll see'.

Each mother spent the next few weeks getting their sons prepared for their real first day of preschool. Kyle and Stan were looking forward to it so they could see each other again, Eric was so he could play with more toys and show everyone who was boss, and Kenny wanted to play with the toys too. The only one who seemed just as nervous as before was Butters. No one really played with him during orientation and the only other boy he saw holding a 'lovey' seemed to have already made quick friends with a boy in a green hat. But Linda kept reassuring him he'd find someone to play with soon. Steven of course wasn't too sure but tried to keep a positive beat about it.

The other two mothers who had a problem with their boys were Liane and Sharon. Liane tried to unsuccessfully teach Eric manners in those short weeks. She was now regretting waiting so long about his behavior. If he got a call from the school that he had gotten into another fight…Sharon meanwhile had to potty train Stan. She had lied to Miss Claridge and said he already knew how to use a toilet but she knew if they found out he was still in diapers, he would not be allowed in. It was just another drawback she had to overcome for putting him in preschool when he still had to turn four. But by the last two nights before school, Stan had finally been able to battle the potty. And to show how grateful she was, Sharon finally allowed him to pick out his very own 'funny hat' he'd been begging for weeks. He chose one that was blue with red trim and had a funny fluffy pom-pom on top. It was almost two sizes too big but he didn't care. He couldn't wait to show Kyle his new hat.

School started September 3rd. It was difficult for the boys to say good-bye to their mothers for four hours but it had to be done. Sharon had to keep reminding Stan that Shelley had to be in school six hours so he would see his mom sooner. Plus he was going to see Kyle again! Stan was just worried he'd have an accident in school. He still was not used to wearing underwear.

Miss Claridge greeted everyone with a smile after they had their tearful goodbyes to their parents.

"Hello Stanley. Nice hat," she told him.

"Thanks," Stan said slyly, gripping his new hat. He looked around the heads of kids and spotted the funny green one. He hurried over. "Hi-lo Kyle!"

Kyle turned around. "Hi Stanley! Wow, what a cool hat!"

Stan beamed toothily at him. "My mommy bought it yesserday."

"But I thought you liked your hair."

Stan blinked, finger in his mouth. "Yeah, but I faught- if we bof had hats, we'd be brovers."

Kyle looked at the younger boy. He smiled. "That's a great idea Stanley! I wish I thoughted of that."

"That's a great idea Stanley, I wish I thoughted of that," came a mimicking voice.

The boys looked around to see Eric Cartman standing by, smiling smugly.

"You bedder not do anyfing again or we're telling," Stan told him.

"Yeah. And this time I'm really gonna hurt you," Kyle warned.

"I'm soooo scared. Stupid babies." He was about to push them both to the ground when their teacher interrupted them and told them to sit down.

"I thought the first thing we should do today is get to know one-another. So here is what we're going to do: each child will stand up in the front and tell our new friend- Mr. Friendly Fox"- Miss Claridge pulled out a fox puppet on her hand. "-their name, age, and favorite color. Can you children do that?"

There was a murmur of response.

"Okay. How about you first?" Miss Claridge nodded to the girl nearest her. A little blonde girl nervously went up to the class. "What is your name missy?" the teacher said in the Fox's voice.

"J-Jessa Algery."

"And how old are you Jessa?"

"Four."

"What's your favorite color?"

She blinked. "Yellow."

"Good job! That wasn't so tough was it?" smiled Miss Claridge. She shook her head no and immediately sat down.

Other kids got up with their turn with the puppet. When Kyle got up Stan perked his head up to listen.

"My name's Kyle Brof-Brof-Brof-lovski," he struggled to say.

Eric cracked up when he heard this.

Kyle glared. "I'm four and my favorite color is green."

He sat back down next to Stan. Eric however was still giggling.

"What's so funny?" Kyle spat.

"You have a stupid name," Eric stated.

"Ignore him, he's a poopy-head," Stan said.

It didn't take long for Eric to find another name to make fun of. When Butters told everyone his name, he really began to laugh.

"Do you have a problem young man?" asked the teacher firmly.

"N-no. I'm fine."

"Then please be quiet."

Butters looked down sadly as he sat down again and clutched his blanket. "Aww geez…"

Stan was more than happy to go up and tell everyone about himself. "I'm Stanley Marsh. I'm free and- and I like blue. And red."

"Thank-you Stanley," Miss Claridge said.

Butters leaned into Stan. "You're free too?"

"Yeah. You?"

"Well uh, I'm gonna be four next week," Butter said.

"Oh. I fought I was the only free-year-old," Stan said.

"Boys, please," Miss Claridge said.

When Kenny went up, he told everyone his name and his age and favorite color, but no one could understand him.

"Could you say that again Kenny, without your scarf over your face?" Miss Claridge said in the puppet's voice.

Kenny just shook his head no and sat down. Eric chuckled again. Two boys with funny names, one with a stupid stuffed dog and now a kid who hid his face! This was all too much. Miss Claridge had had it.

"Alright young man, why don't you go next since you seem to want the attention?" she said sternly.

All the kids looked at the fat boy. He got to his feet. "I will!" he cleared his voice and recited, "My name is Eric Cartman, I'm four, and I like red."

"And cake," Kyle whispered to Stan who erupted in giggles.

During snake-time Eric came over to Kyle and Stan who were happily eating their triangle sandwiches.

"You thought someding was funny about me?" he demanded.

The two boys shared a look.

"You thoughted my name was funny," Kyle pointed out.

"Cause it is dummy! Bofliski? What a stupid name."

"It's Boflofki," Stan 'corrected' him.

"You have a stupid name too. Cartman? That's funny," Kyle smiled.

"Yeah, it's real funny. Cartman. Haha, how stupid," Stan chimed in.

"It's not stupid, you're stupid!" Eric cried.

Kyle and Stan only laughed; happy they could make fun of him now. Throughout the rest of the afternoon they continued to tease Eric by calling him 'Cartman.' It wasn't really a funny name, but since it made him angry, it was worth it. Eric was crossing his arms angrily when Liane picked him up at 111:00.

"How was school today honey bunny?"

Eric 'humfed'. "Two boys made fun of me Mommy. They kept calling me Cartman!"

"Now why would they do that?"

"I don't know! I was just tryin' to be their friend. Then they poked fun of me."

"Well it was only the first day, I'm sure things will be better soon."

Things did get better, for Kyle and Stan anyhow. They quickly became very close and on their first weekend from school Stan had to invite his 'bestest' friend over. This made Shelley very angry, two annoying little boys running around and bugging her was not cool. If that Kyle boy came over again she would kick his and Stan's bottom across the floor. Kyle and Stan continued to call Eric 'Cartman' and there weren't any signs they would stop. Kenny only liked coming to school to play with all the toys his parents couldn't afford and snack time. He kept to himself for the most part. He had big, bright shiny blocks to play with, he didn't need friends. Butters on the other hand needed friends but couldn't find them. He thought he was going to be friends with the Stan kid since they were both three and carried a lovey around, but that quickly fizzled out when he turned four. Stan said he wasn't cool anymore since he was still three so Butters was just another kid. Plus he and Kyle hung around a lot; Butters didn't have the heart to force them apart. So he hung by himself most of the time, trying to be anywhere other than where the mean kid Trent Boyett was. He was really scary to Butters.

For Stan's fourth birthday, Sharon decided to invite his whole class over. Randy thought she was crazy but she knew with the help of a few other mothers, she could handle it. It was only going to be ten kids after all the RSVPs. Stan was upset when he found out Cartman was coming as well.

"But Mommy, he's the kid who's really mean!" he told her.

"I thought that was Trent-something?"

"Well, he's mean too. But Cartman likes to make fun of me n' Kyle!"

Sharon smiled. "Oh sweetie, it's just what kids do. School only started a month ago; you'll be friends before you know it."

We'll be friends as soon as Kyle takes his hat off, Stan thought bitterly. He had yet to see Kyle's 'horrible' hair. Kyle was of course the first guest to arrive at Stan's party. Sheila volunteered to help Sharon out that day so she came an hour before it started.

"What did you get me?" Stan asked as he held up the box in yellow paper.

Kyle opened his mouth to answer but his mother stopped him.

"Don't tell Stanley what you gave him Kyle!"

"Oh, right."

They laughed.

"You're finally four like the rest of us Stanley! That's cool huh?" Kyle beamed.

Stan looked at his feet before looking up. "You don't hafta call me Stanley."

"Why not? That's your name."

"Yeah but you can call me Stan. It's my nickname."

Kyle looked confused. "It is? But your mom and dad and the teacher and my mom all call you Stanley."

Stan shrugged. "Sometimes my parents call me Stan."

Kyle blinked. "Okay then- Stan."

Both boys smiled. Nine other classmates arrived to celebrate Stan's fourth birthday, including Butters and Kenny. Kenny's parents thought it was great he was invited and should not miss another free meal opportunity. Butters' parents hoped he would make at least one friend at the party. He had told them how pretty much everyone in class had gravitated towards someone but he had still yet to find that someone. He still wanted to be Stan's friend and now, at his birthday, it was the perfect chance.

"It's so stupid my mom made me go to your stupid birthday," Eric told Stan while all the kids ran around outside.

"I didn't ask for you to come," Stan told him, rolling his eyes as he and Kyle played with balloon animals.

However Eric still stood around. "It's so stupid, you two playing with balloon amminals."

"You're only saying that 'cause your fat butt already sat on yours and popped it!" Kyle told him.

"Yeah Cartman, dummy," Stan smiled.

"Ay! My name is not Cartman! It's Eric!" Eric said, hands in fists, face red.

"Why don't you stop buggin' us and go play with someone else?" Kyle asked.

"Like he has someone else," Stan added and they sniggered.

"Ay! I do so have someone else to play with!" Eric looked around and grabbed the closest arm to him- Kenny's. "I play with Kenny all the time."

"No you don't," Kenny told him, shaking his arm off him.

"C'mon Kenny, you're really cool… 'Member, 'member when I laughed, at that one thing you said Monday?"

"That my mom doesn't have enough money to make next week's snack?" Kenny bit back.

"Yeah, that. That was pretty funny," Eric said.

"It's not funny fatass! It's true!"

All boys gasped.

"You said a curse word," Stan pointed out.

Kenny blinked. "My parents say things like that all the time. They don't care if I say it."

"Wow… that's so cool," Stan said in awe.

"You don't get in trouble?" Kyle asked.

Kenny shook his head.

"If my mommy caught me saying that, I'd be in time-out for ten minutes," Stan said sadly.

"My mom would put me in time out for a week," Kyle said.

"My mommy would ground me for two weeks," came a small voice.

All four boys turned to see a small boy with a puff of blond hair wearing overalls and holding a blanket.

"My- my mom would ground me forever. I can't say b- bad words like that or it'll make Jesus sad," Butters said, wringing his hands together.

Eric rolled his eyes. "How lame. My mom wouldn't care either."

"Nuh-uuhhh," Kyle protested.

"Yeah huh. She'd just tell me not to say it again."

"You're so stupid! You're always lying an' everything!" Kyle pointed a finger at him.

"I never lie!"

The two began to argue but Stan intervened. "C'mon you guys, it's my birfday, I don't want any fighting. My sister already gave me four birfday hits this morning."

When Sharon came around to gather the kids inside for lunch she smiled at her son who was surrounded by a few other boys, one of them being Eric Cartman.

"See honey? I told you that you'd make friends with Eric!" she said proudly.

Stan and Eric looked shocked that she had said that. When everyone began to get inside they glared at each other, not wanting to be labeled 'friends' at all. But that quickly changed during lunch. Eric stuck pretzel sticks in his sandwich and made it hop around the table, pretending it was a horse. Kyle found it very annoying and told him to stop many times but Stan was laughing, as was Kenny. Kyle glared at his new buddy as he laughed at someone else's antics, not his own. And it didn't stop there; he kept making funny faces and sounds when Stan was opening birthday presents. Kenny particularly enjoyed all the farting noises as well as when he pretended he was wiping boogers on the carpet. Butters sat around while Stan enjoyed the other boys. On occasion he would acknowledge him. Butters didn't know what he did wrong, Stan was quickly growing closer to that mean fat boy but he didn't like him. He was a nice boy, he carried a lovey to school like he did, and they were only a month apart… but Stan didn't seem to care. He had Kyle, and now, by the looks of it, Eric.

At the end of the party Stan happily waved good-bye to Eric and Kenny.

"See you at school!" Stan told them. He then ran to his mother and tugged on her pants leg. "Mom- Mommy, you're right, Cartman is funny."

"Oh?"

"He was makin' funny noises and- and during lunch, he pertended his sannich was a horsey! It was funny."

Sharon smiled. "Well I'm happy you made a new friend today Stanley."

"And there's another kid who was cool too. His name is Kenny. The one wif the scarf over his face. He's really fun. He kept saying cool things."

"What cool things were they?"

"Oh, just things…" Stan put his arms behind his back and moved his foot around. If she knew the kinds of things Kenny said she would not want him to play with him again. He looked up at her again. "Mom- can Cartman and Kenny come over again?"

"Of course. I'll talk to their mothers later."

"Thanks! And thanks for the party; it was my favorite birfday yet."

Sharon chuckled. "Of course sweetie."

Kyle marched to Stan and pulled him to a corner. "What are you doing?"

Stan blinked. "Talking to my mommy."

"Dude, why do you want to play with Cartman again? Kenny, I can understand, he was cool. But Cartman?"

"He was real funny."

"Stan, he makes fun of us! Es-pecial-ly me!"

"Well, maybe we just don't know him enough. He's not that bad."

Kyle was already jealous though. "But we're best buddies!"

"We are best buddies Kyle. If we wasn't I would have this"- he pulled out his large poof-ball hat and put it on his head.

Kyle looked at him suspiciously for a minute. "Sure Cartman isn't your new best friend?"

"I'm sure. He was pretty cool but he's too fat. He might sit on me."

Kyle laughed. "So we're still best friends?"

"Of course Kyle. Better than best!"

From that moment on, four of the five boys became friends. When school resumed Monday, Stan (and a reluctant Kyle) allowed Cartman and Kenny to play with them. Kenny didn't want to be separated from his favorite toys during playtime but he did find it was a lot of fun to play with others as well. Cartman was happy he had made friends too although tried not to show it. He didn't want that boy with the funny hat and name and the boy with the stuffed dog to think they were close or anything. He was happy too that he didn't have to pretend to be nice to hang out with anyone. Even when he had squabbles with Stan and Kyle they still allowed him to hang around. Butters sadly did not become part of the new four-some. While they were nice to him now and again they were too content hanging with each other to allow him in. Butters was sad because his parents thought he was trying hard enough when he was. He knew he was. All he could do was hope that kindergarten would turn out better.

All five women still lived only miles apart, and they still had no idea what troubles their sons would get themselves into, weeks after starting preschool. For now, they were happy that their sons had become friends with one another, and enjoyed their children like any mother would.

I hope you liked it. I really had fun writing the boys as toddlers. If I can come up with more ideas I'd love to write them at this age again. Please tell me what you think!

Magical love: Rose, May 29, 2010