Everything changed in five seconds
Harvey groaned as another one of Mike's kicks hit in the region of his groin. Mike was trying to avoid another diaper change where he was made to lie on his back. He started to get grizzly, kicking and starting to cry.
"Come on buddy, just two minutes. I know you don't like it."
Mike told Harvey exactly what he thought of this by trying to wriggle off his changing mat. Harvey had to keep a hand on his leg to prevent him from rolling away. Harvey sighed, quickly finishing what he was doing; righting Mike's clothes. He lifted him off the mat and put him on the floor to see if he would crawl, but Mike just sat there with a confused look on his face eyeing Harvey with his puppy dog eyes as if to say, What do you think I am going to do.
It had been exactly two months since Mike had been involved in a horrific crash on in which his friend Kyle had died in. Mike had been very lucky to survive. He was not lucky, however, to have been left with major brain damage which meant that Mike now had the mentality of an eighteen month-old baby; he could not talk or do anything for himself anymore.
Harvey could not believe that this had happened to his puppy. Of all the luck in the world, this kid has shit all, losing his parents when he was ten and now this. When could Mike get a break?
Harvey could still remember getting the phone call from the hospital. He had been the first contact in Mike's phone. He was horrible to the kid most of the time, telling him what to do. Yes, that was his job, but the kid had tried so damn hard to be friends with Harvey. He was starving for someone to trust- to look up to and respect. Harvey had been an ass by rejecting him, like he wasn't good enough for him. Mike was the younger version of himself—going nowhere in life until someone helped him. The difference was, Harvey was friends with his 'savior' while Mike had been pushed away by his.
Harvey's blood had run cold when he had learned of Mike's accident. Mike was like his little brother. He felt as though it was his job to protect the kid. He was the reason Mike stormed out of the office and went off to get drunk and high with one of his 'friends'. Harvey used the term loosely when thinking of Mike's friends. They were more like people who used him for his 'freaky brain' which Harvey thought was sad. Mike was a genius, but a normal kid; not some freak for people to prey on.
Donna had been devastated to learn about the kid. She couldn't deny the maternal feelings she felt towards him, even if Mike was only ten or so years younger than Harvey. He just seemed so much younger, like a little lost boy in need of some love.
"Come on, Junior. Let's see what Mommy left for eating. I'm starving and I am guessing you are, too, seeing how you're eyeing up your fingers." Harvey shook his head, laughing as Mike looked at his finger like it was a delicious treat.
"Mmm. Chicken and rice. This looks edible," Harvey said skeptically. Mike had to have all his food puréed until he could stomach solids again.
Mike sat in his high chair playing with a soft rattle, shaking it and trying to eat the little coloured balls inside the plastic.
"You won't get into that, kiddo. It's fool proof." Harvey sniffed the chicken and rice, nearly gagging. It smelled absolutely revolting. Donna was a good cook, but even the mighty Donna couldn't make this look nice.
"I think I deserve a new suit, Mike, if Daddy gets you to eat this. What do you say?" Mike smiled, banging his hand on his tray when he saw his food.
"Okay, Kiddo. Let's see if we can get you to feed yourself today. Chloe said we've got to be practicing your fine motor skills." Chloe was Mike's therapist. She kept an eye on Mike's progress, which would hopefully include walking. He had to learn to crawl before he could walk and eventually speak.
"Pup, watch me. Hold the spoon like this and bring it to your mouth."
Mike gurgled, dribbling on his bib. Harvey was pleased with his decision to put it on.
Mike clapped his hands and opened his mouth obediently, like a baby bird waiting for a worm.
Harvey tried to be patient with Mike as the kid damn near covered everything with his lunch. "Mike. In the mouth, pup. Don't just dribble it out. You need to close your mouth."
Mike grabbed the spoon suddenly and threw it on the floor, giggling, pleased with his actions. Harvey sighed, running a hand through his not-so-perfect hair (after Mike had managed to flick food and rub his drool-covered hands in it).
"Does that mean we don't like this? Or are you just being a naughty puppy?"
Mike smiled adorably, picking up his bowl.
"Oh, no you don't. I know your game, Mike." Harvey took the bowl with him, knowing not to leave it with Mike. He had learned from previous experience that one of Mike's favourite games was throwing food on the floor.
"One clean spoon. Now, are you going to try and feed yourself, buddy?"
Mike stuck his fingers in the bowl, scooping the chicken, which was nearly liquid.
Harvey frowned. "You really don't believe in taking things slow, do you Mike. Not gonna be long until you're eating stuffed crust pizzas and whizzing through my files."
Mike responded by smiling as he scooped the rest of the liquid.
"I guess you did take on board what I said. Start behind the eight ball and you'll never get in front."
"Mike! Good boy! You crawled kiddo!" Harvey had set Mike down on the soft blanket with zoo animals on it while he sorted through some files. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the kid trying to crawl. Harvey had recognized the signs of Mike trying to crawl as witness his niece's first crawl. His niece and Mike had the same determined look on their faces. Harvey observed as Mike positioned his hands on the floor and jerked his bottom forward. Harvey resisted the urge to go get the camera at the risk of putting Mike off. He would rather face the wrath of Donna than delay Mike's progress
Mike had managed to crawl as far as the TV. Granted, it wasn't very far, but it was something.
Mike laughed happily as Harvey tickled his chin, praising him.
Harvey lifted a really cranky Mike out of his car seat. He really hadn't wanted to wake Mike as he had been sleeping peacefully in his crib after his crawling antics. Harvey had quickly learned that Mike crawling equaled him getting next to nothing done in regards to his work. The kid was into everything: pressing the buttons on the oven, playing with the plug sockets. Harvey made a note on his phone to buy some sort of baby-proofing equipment. Harvey carried Mike into the center that they had become so accustomed with. Mike had to attend therapy two days a week, where his therapist, Chloe, assessed his progress.
Chloe smiled brightly as she saw Harvey and Mike. Chloe was the sort of person who could brighten anyone's day. She had that naturally jolly exterior without being in your face and annoying.
"Afternoon, Harvey. Hello, Mike."
"You gonna say hello, Mike?"
Chloe just smiled when Mike hid his head in Harvey's shoulder, sucking his thumb as he cuddled his hippo stuffed animal.
"Shall we just journey into my room?" Chloe asked beaming at Mike. Chloe offered Harvey a coffee and sat down on her leopard print chair. "So, how have we all been getting on?" Chloe asked as Harvey got Mike settled in his lap and began to undo the toggles of his navy duffle coat. Mike whimpered a bit and pushed against Harvey as he temporarily had to remove his thumb from his mouth.
"Shush, shush. There we go, pup. All done." Turning to Chloe, Harvey apologized, "Sorry about that."
Chloe waved it off with a smile. "It's quite alright. We want you to be comfortable. Don't we, Mike?" Mike started pulling at his shoes, trying to unfasten them, Harvey noticed. Smiling, he bounced Mike on his knee and pulled him back against his chest to prevent the younger man from reaching his shoes.
"You can take his shoes off, if he would be more comfortable."
Harvey smiled gratefully at Chloe. "Shall we take your shoes off, kiddo?" Mike smiled dribbling down his top as he did so. Harvey tapped Mike's nose as he bent down to remove the Nike trainers that Donna 'just had to get for Mike'.
Mike kicked his feet happily when his shoes were off and got to work pulling his sock off. "Trying to make ourselves at home, eh, pup?" Harvey said smirking.
"You want to go play? Toys are over there," Chloe suggested kindly, Mike looked back to Harvey sucking his thumb "Daaah!" Mike babbled and pointed over to the box of toys. Harvey smiled "Yeah go for it kiddo"
Harvey gently placed Mike on the floor. Mike sat for a couple of seconds, trying to get his bearings, then began his crawl over to the toy box.
"Well, he is crawling. That is fantastic progress, Harvey. You should all be proud of yourselves, only two months in. That's fantastic."
"Yeah he's brilliant," Harvey said shaking his head in amazement. Mike really was a remarkable kid.
"How is his eating? Does he eat proper meals?" Harvey sighed. Eating was a tough one. Mike had to be in the mood to eat. If he wasn't, then you hadn't a cat in hell chance of getting him to. He didn't exactly want to say it like that, so in a more diplomatic way, he said, "He prefers his bottles. He will eat, but he has to be in the mood to eat. He eats small amounts at meals."
Chloe nodded. "As long as he continues to eat the small amounts of food along with the bottles he needs, then there should be no problems there."
Harvey fished out the black notepad in his bag. "Donna and I have been keeping a record of mealtimes."
"Fantastic. You could do my job," Chloe said laughing. "Does Mike still fight diaper changes?"
Harvey frowned, nodding. "Yeah, I have some pretty impressive war wounds," he drawled, smiling over at Mike, who was trying to stuff an oversized ball into a cup which was clearly too small, but Mike seemed happy with what he was doing.
"He doesn't seem to like lying on his back for prolonged periods of time. We usually try to get diaper changes done as quickly as possible."
Chloe nodded, taking notes as Harvey spoke. Every so often, she smiled over at Mike who sometimes returned the grin, depending on what new things he had found to drool on and break.
"That probably has to do with anxiety. You could try changing him higher up. Do you usually change him on the floor?"
"Usually just where it's convenient."
"Some children prefer to be higher up so, try on a table or a worktop."
"We never thought of that, did we, kiddo?"
Mike crawled over, kneeling and placing his new toys into Harvey's lap.
"Oh, what do we got here, buddy?" Mike walked the animals along Harvey's leg, smiling as he did so. Harvey took a hankie out his pocket and wiped the drool from Mike's face. Mike turned his face and whined a little, starting to cry.
"You want a pacifier, buddy?" Harvey offered the pacifier to Mike, who latched on, trying to mount Harvey's knee. Harvey helped him, lifting him, pulling him up to sit on one knee. Mike bounced up and down, giggling, Harvey smirked down at him
"Is there anything else which you wish to discuss or bring up?"
Harvey nodded, bouncing Mike as he was grizzling usually a sign of boredom or needing something done. "You need a diaper change, buddy?" Harvey gently maneuvered Mike to check, pleased when he was faced with a clean diaper. "No, we're just getting fed up. Sorry, Chloe. I will try and be quick. He gets grumpy easily. I suppose this is a fine example. He gets grouchy if he doesn't want to do what you're trying to make him."
"Okay. I would presume that Mike's mentality just now is currently at baby level. I would estimate about 15-18 months old and even though this is a great age in terms of development, they can be notoriously grouchy."
I would say that you need to establish a discipline method with Mike. Though, I am not sure as to how effective it would be at this moment in time, but you could still try if you feel as though that is necessary."
"Okay, we will try that. It's just, he kicks out and bites and because he's physically a man, it hurts," Harvey said smiling.
"I completely understand and even if something, say like, a timeout method proved ineffective, then you could still say in a firm voice, 'No, Mike. Daddy doesn't want you to do that.' Harvey nodded his head hoping that Chloe's methods would prove useful.
"Okay, we are done for today. I will see you on Friday. Thank you for coming."
Harvey stood up and lifted Mike back onto the chair. In order to put his shoes on, Chloe played with the farm animals with Mike, making him laugh when she made the animal sounds. "What sound does the cow make? "Cow goes moooo" Mike cried out.
Mike giggled happily and pushed the animal away from his face, clapping his hands for more as Chloe played with him, making them jump up to him.
"Okay, Mike, can we wave 'bye bye' to Chloe?" Mike waved with a little help from Harvey, who gently took the animals out of Mike's hands. "We need to give these back to Chloe, buddy." Mike wailed slightly But Harvey just picked him up walking out the room.
As he strapped Mike into his car seat he pondered over everything that Chloe had said, wondering what development progress Mike would experience.