A novelized version of The New Girl, the first episode of Toddlerhood.
|One day, Ryan McHiggins and Brad Hunter were playing in the sandbox of Ryan's backyard. They were playing with toy trucks.
"Hey, Brad, I could use some more sand." Ryan told Brad. Brad opened his mouth, and his voice was drowned out by the sound of a truck backing up. Ryan was impressed.
"That was pretty good, Brad." Ryan told Brad.
"That wasn't me." replied Brad.
"Then what did make that noise?" Ryan asked Brad. The two toddlers decided to investigate. They came to the fence between Ryan's front and back yards and looked around. Ryan's mom, Wendy was tending to her garden and humming as she did so. Ryan and Brad tried to tiptoe past her, but she heard them.
"Where do you boys think you're going?" Wendy asked Ryan and Brad.
"We heard a noise, Mommy." Ryan told Wendy.
"Yeah, it's coming from over there." Brad told Wendy as he pointed to the house to the left side of Ryan's house. Ryan, Brad, and Wendy all
peered out from behind the bush and saw a pair of movers carrying furniture inside. The sign next to the driveway had SOLD posted over FOR SALE.
"Well, I don't believe it." Wendy said in amazement. Inside Ryan's house, Ryan's dad, Walter, was sitting on the couch reading a newspaper. Wendy walked into the house.
"Walter, could you come out here, please?" Wendy asked Walter.
"What is it, Wendy?" Walter asked Wendy as he walked outside.
"Somebody finally bought the Petersons' house." Wendy told Walter.
"The Petersons' house? That house has been vacant for months!" Walter exclaimed.
"I know! It'll be nice having new neighbors living next door to us!" Wendy told Walter.
"Ryan, who are the Petersons?" Brad asked Ryan.
"I don't know." Ryan told Brad.
"We should make them feel welcome. Walter, you go get Stephen and Ashley. Tell them we've got new neighbors." Wendy told Walter.
"Sure thing, Wend." replied Walter, and he walked over to the Hunter's house, which was to the right side of the McHiggins'. Wendy then bent down to Ryan and Brad's level.
"You hear that, boys? We've got some new neighbors, and we're going to welcome them to our neighborhood!" Wendy told Ryan and Brad. Brad was excited, but Ryan gulped nervously. He was worried the new neighbors wouldn't be friendly. Walter returned with Stephen and Ashley.
"I'm back!" Walter announced.
"Walter told me everything. I can't wait to meet the new neighbors!" Stephen exclaimed.
"Oh, neither can I, Stephen!" added Ashley.
"Great! Come on, boys! We're going to meet the new neighbors!" Wendy told Ryan and Brad. Ryan gasped, then hid behind Wendy's skirt, trembling. Wendy was quick to notice.
"Oh, what's the matter, Ryan?" Wendy asked Ryan.
"I'm a little scared!" Quivered Ryan.
"Don't worry, Ryan. I'm sure the new neighbors are very nice." Walter assured Ryan.
"You want Daddy to carry you?" Walter asked Ryan.
"Yes, Daddy." Ryan said, and Walter picked him up. The McHiggins and Hunter families all walked to the house next door. A workman was hammering a mailbox that said THE FINKLEMEYERS into the ground. The McHiggins and Hunter families walked past the mailbox and up to the front door. Wendy rang the doorbell.
"I'll be right there!" Came a Jewish-sounding voice from inside the house. A married walked up to the front door. The wife had long brown hair and wore a magenta sweater, blue jeans, and magenta high heels. The husband had blonde hair and a mustache, and wore a light blue sweater, khaki pants, and brown shoes.
"Oh, you must be our neighbors! Come on in!" the wife said, and the led the McHiggins and Hunter families inside. She and her husband sat down in chairs that had just been put in the house.
"My name is Helen, and this my husband, Hector. We moved here because we bought a deli, and so I could be closer to my mother, who lives in the retirement center. Have a seat and tell us about yourselves." The wife told the McHiggins and Hunter families as they sat down on the couch. Walter, who had Ryan seated in his lap, introduced his family first.
"Pleased to meet you, Helen and Hector. I'm Walter, this is my wife, Wendy, and this is our son. His name is Ryan, and he's two and a half years old." Walter told Helen and Hector.
"Your son is real cute, Walter. He looks just like you!" Hector told Walter. Upon hearing this, Ryan felt less scared and smiled.
"Why, thank you. Let me tell you about how Wendy and I first met." Walter told Helen and Hector.
"It was back in high school. Wendy had just moved into the neighborhood. From the moment I first saw her, I wanted to be with her for the rest of my life, but I didn't know to talk to her. Fortunately, my friend Stephen was very supportive of my crush on Wendy, and was willing to help me. After graduation, Wendy and I got married, and a few years later, we had Ryan." said Walter.
"I work at the local Mega Mart, and as a housewarming gift, I'd like to give you this complimentary coupon book." Walter said as he handed Helen the coupon book he was talking about.
"Why, thank you, Walter." Helen said as she took the coupon book. Stephen went next.
"Hi, my name is Stephen. This is my wife, Ashley, and this is our son, Brad. He's the same age as Ryan." Stephen told Helen and Hector.
"Nice to meet you, Stephen." replied Helen.
"Ashley and I first met at a gaming convention. We were both after the same game. One look at her and I saw someone who shared my love of retro video games, and so we agreed to get married so we'd each have ownership of the game. A few years later, we had Brad." Stephen told Helen and Hector.
"I work at the local GameShop. As my housewarming gift to you, here's a $25.00 gift card." Stephen said as he handed Helen the gift card he was talking about.
"Thank you, Stephen. You've all been very nice to us." Helen told Stephen.
"We have a daughter the same age as your boys." Hector told the McHiggins and Hunter families.
"Alice, could you come here, please?" Hector asked his daughter, Alice.
"Okay, Daddy." Alice said, and she walked in. Ryan and Brad climbed off the couch, and at that moment, they saw a beautiful toddler girl with long blonde hair and baby blue eyes. She wore a red hairbow, a red blouse with a white skirt, a diaper underneath, red socks, and white mary jane shoes. The two toddlers had never seen a girl their age before, and were immediately lovestuck when they saw Alice.
"Hi, my name is Allison, but you can call me Alice for short." Alice told Ryan and Brad.
"Hi, Alice. My name's Ryan." said Ryan.
"And my name's Brad." added Brad.
"Nice to meet you." Alice told Ryan and Brad.
"Nice to meet you, too. You're the prettiest girl I've ever met." Ryan told Alice.
"Hey, I was gonna say that!" exclaimed Brad.
"You really mean that?" Alice asked Ryan and Brad.
"I do. I think everything about you is cute." Ryan told Alice.
"So do I! Your long, blonde hair," began Brad,
"Your baby blue eyes," added Ryan.
"Your red and white dress." added Brad.
"I bet you're beautiful on the inside, too." concluded Ryan.
"Thank you. I think you boys are both pretty cute yourselves." Alice said to Ryan and Brad, making them both blush. All the parents had been watching their children from where they were sitting.
"Your boys have really taken a liking to our daughter. I wish there was something we could do for them." Helen told Walter, Wendy, Stephen, and Ashley.
"Why don't you take Alice to the park? Our sons met there and they became fast friends." suggested Walter.
"Oh, we'd love to, Walter, but Hector and I have to set up our new deli tomorrow." Helen told Walter.
"Walter has to work tomorrow, and so does Stephen, but I could take Alice and the boys." Wendy told Helen.
"You'd really do that for us? Oh, you guys have been so nice to us!" replied Helen.
"Thank you. Well, we'd better let you get settled. Nice talking to you." Wendy said as she, Walter, Stephen, and Ashley got off the couch.
"Come on, Ryan. Time to go home." Wendy told Ryan, who frowned upon hearing this.
"Don't worry, you'll see Alice again when we go to the park tomorrow." Wendy assured Ryan, who smiled again. That night, Ryan slept happily in his big boy bed. He thought about all the fun he, Brad, and Alice were going to have at the park the next day. Early the next morning, Wendy came into Ryan's bedroom.
"Good morning, sleepyhead. Let's get you changed and we can go to the park." Wendy told Ryan. She picked him up and lay him down on his changing table. She removed his pajamas and his used diaper and dressed him in his usual outfit of a blue shirt with a smiling yellow sun on it, a clean diaper, aqua green socks, and blue and white sneakers.
"There you go." said Wendy. At the park, Ryan, Brad, and Alice were playing in the sandbox. Wendy was watching them from a distance as she read a book. In the sandbox, Alice was holding a teddy bear.
"That's a real nice teddy bear you have there." Ryan told Alice.
"Oh, thank you. His name is Orville. I got him from the mall near my old home. On my second birthday, my Mommy and Daddy took me to Build-A-Bruin Warehouse, and they let me pick out any teddy bear I wanted, so I chose him. From that day on, we were never apart. I sleep with him every night." Alice told Ryan and Brad.
"What a nice story, Alice." Ryan told Alice. Suddenly, Ryan frowned and trembled. Alice was quick to notice.
"What's wrong, Ryan?" Alice asked Ryan.
"He's coming!" Ryan warned Alice.
"Who's coming?" Alice asked Ryan.
"The biggest, meanest, scariest kid in all the playground... Butch!" trembled Ryan. Sure enough, a big, strong four-and-a-half-year-old boy was entering the park with his mother. He had tan skin and wore a black t-shirt with a thunder cloud on it, mahogany cargo shorts, white socks, and black and white sneakers. His mother, Maxine, looked similar in appearance to him, except wore a black blouse with skull on it, a mahogany skirt, gold loop earrings, and spiked wristbands.
"Now, Butch, Mommy and Mrs. McHiggins have something important to discuss, so play nicely with the little ones!" Maxine told Butch.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever." said Butch as he walked away from her. He laughed wickedly as he walked up to the sandbox.
"Hey, I thought I told you stupid babies to stay off of my playground!" Butch told Ryan and Brad.
"Butch, I've already told you many times, this isn't your playground. This playground is for good little boys and girls who play nicely with each other." retaliated Brad.
"And who's your little friend?" Butch asked when he saw Alice.
"Uh, hi, Butch. My name is Allison, but you can call me Alice." said Alice nervously.
"Well, Alice, let me tell you three things!" Butch said to Alice as he held up four fingers.
"A. My name is Butch, 2. This is my playground, and D. Stupid babies like you aren't allowed to play on it!" Butch told Alice.
"He's not very smart, is he?" Alice asked Ryan and Brad.
"Nope." replied Brad.
"His behavior's so bad, he's been kicked out of preschool, several times!" Ryan told Alice. Butch suddenly noticed Orville.
"That's a real nice teddy bear you got there." Butch told Alice.
"Oh, thanks. His name is Orville." said Alice.
"It's mine now!" Butch said as he snatched Orville from Alice.
"Hey! That's my teddy bear!" exclaimed Alice.
"Well, too bad. You stepped onto my playground, so that teddy bear is my property!" Butch told Alice, and he laughed wickedly as he walked away. Alice was so sad, she began to cry. Ryan put his hand on Alice's back to try to calm her down.
"Don't cry, Alice." Ryan told Alice.
"I can't help it! He took Orville and now I'll never see him again!" lamented Alice.
"Sure you will." Brad assured Alice.
"Ryan, we can't let Butch get away with this!" Brad told Ryan.
"You're right, Brad!" exclaimed Ryan.
"That teddy bear belongs to you, Alice, and he has no right to take it from you!" Brad told Alice.
"Yeah!" said Ryan in agreement.
"Which is why Ryan and I are going to get it back for you!" Brad told Alice.
"That's righ..." Ryan started to say, but then stopped himself upon hearing Brad's idea.
"Wait, what?" he asked.
"Come on, Ryan, let's show Butch he can't just take whatever he wants!" Brad told Ryan as he ran off towards the jungle gym.
"Brad! W-w-w-wait!" Ryan shouted to Brad, but it was no use. Ryan groaned unhappily as he ran off after Brad. Meanwhile, Wendy and Maxine were having a conversation on the park bench.
"Oh, be completely honest with me, Wendy! I am I a bad parent?" Maxine asked Wendy.
"No! Of course not! What makes you say that?" Wendy asked Maxine, trying not to make her feel bad.
"Your son, Ryan is friendly and kind, and does whatever you or Walter tell him to. My little Butch is a terror! He doesn't listen to me or my husband, and he does whatever he wants. He terrorizes other children, and he's been kicked out of preschool because of it! My husband doesn't like to confront him, and as a result, I have to put in all the discipline!" Maxine told Wendy, feeling very upset with herself.
"Calm down, Maxine. People can change. You used to be a bully, too, but you wanted to have real friends, didn't you?" Wendy asked Maxine as she put her hand on her back to try to calm her down.
"I guess I did." said Maxine.
"And you knew that the only way you could make friends is if you changed your ways, right?" Wendy asked Maxine.
"I suppose you're right." said Maxine.
"And that's why you and I are friends. We wouldn't have been now if you didn't change your ways. You'll see, Butch won't be a bully forever." Wendy assured Maxine.
"For your sake, I hope you're right." Maxine told Wendy. Meanwhile, Brad had climbed onto the playground's jungle gym, and Ryan followed behind him, trying unsuccessfully to talk him out of trying to get Orville back from Butch.
"Listen, Brad, I want to help Alice get Orville back as much as you do, but I think you're going about it the wrong way. Don't you think we should tell my Mommy what Butch did?" Ryan asked Brad as the latter crossed the rope bridge.
"Are you kidding? That's exactly what Butch wants us to do! We gotta show him we're not afraid of him!" Brad told Ryan. Ryan gulped nervously, because he had every reason to be afraid of Butch. Suddenly, Brad spotted Orville tied to the bars near the curved slide.
"I see Orville. Come on, Ryan, follow me!" Brad told Ryan. Ryan tiptoed nervously up to Orville. Just as he was about to grab him, Butch's shadow loomed over him. Butch grabbed Ryan by the front of his shirt and raised his right fist at him.
"How many times do I have to tell you stupid babies to stay off of my playground?" Butch asked Ryan.
"And how many times do we have to tell you that this isn't your playground?" Brad asked Butch, angry at the latter for trying to hurt his best friend.
"Huh?" said Butch as he turned to face Brad.
"And that's not your teddy bear. It belongs to our friend, and we're not leaving until we get it back!" Brad told Butch.
"Is that so?" Butch asked Brad. He let go of Ryan's shirt, and Ryan landed uncomfortably on the floor below. Then Butch walked up to Brad.
"Well, if you want it back that badly, I tell you what I'm gonna do; I'll arm wrestle you for it. If you win, maybe, just maybe, I'll give you the teddy bear back. But if you lose, you and your stupid friends have to stay off of my playground, forever!" Butch told Brad as he stared him in the eyes.
"We accept those terms!" Brad replied as he stared back at Butch. Ryan worriedly ran up to Brad.
"Brad, what are you thinking? You're not strong enough to beat him!" Ryan told Brad.
"Trust me, Ryan. I know what I'm doing. I'll hold him off as long as I can. You just get to work untying Orville!" Brad whispered to Ryan. Ryan tiptoed away as Brad and Butch began arm wrestling each other. Brad struggled and sweated while Ryan hardly broke a sweat. Ryan began to untie the rope that Orville was in. Butch won the arm wrestle.
"Ha! I win! And you remember our deal; you have to stay off of my playground, forever!" Butch told Brad.
"Okay, Butch, a deal's a deal." Brad said in an unconvincing tone. He then winked as he looked over at Ryan, who had just finished untying Orville. Butch noticed Brad winking.
"Wha? Why are you winkin' like that?" Butch asked Brad, then he looked back and saw Ryan holding Orville. It was at this moment that Butch realized he had been had. He turned around and growled as he charged at Ryan. Ryan was shocked, but Brad held up his arms and jumped.
"Ryan! Toss him to me!" Brad called to Ryan. Ryan tossed Orville at Brad. Orville flew over Butch's head and landed in Brad's arms. Butch turned around and now charged at Brad.
"Run, Ryan, run! I'll toss him to you!" Brad called to Ryan. Ryan ran towards the curved slide and slid down it. Just as Butch reached Brad, Brad tossed Orville at Ryan, who caught him when he reached the bottom of the slide. Butch had seen this, and just as Ryan was about to reach the other side of the jungle gym, Butch landed in front of him, laughing wickedly.
"No place to run, you stupid baby!" snarled Butch. Ryan looked around and saw Brad climbing down the nearby ladder, holding out his right hand.
"Ryan! Over here!" Brad called to Ryan. Ryan tossed Orville at Brad, who caught him. Butch growled angrily, then ran towards Brad, who ran away. Ryan caught up to Brad as Butch chased him. The two toddlers took turns tossing Orville to each other as Butch got closer to them. Eventually, Ryan and Brad reached the sandbox, where Alice was waiting.
"If I ever catch youse on my playground again, I'm gonna toss your dirty diapers into the diaper pail, with you two still wearin' em!" Butch shouted as he shook his fist at Ryan and Brad. Brad saw Alice in the sandbox.
"There's Alice! Should we give Orville back to her?" Brad asked Ryan.
"Are you kidding? We can't put Alice in danger! Besides, I've got an idea!" Ryan told Brad. He saw Wendy talking to Maxine on the park bench.
"So anyway, I..." Wendy started to say to Maxine, when Ryan and Brad ran to her.
"Oh!" Wendy exclaimed as she looked down, seeing Ryan and Brad panting heavily at her skirt.
"What's the matter, boys?" Wendy asked Ryan and Brad.
"Mommy, Butch took Alice's teddy bear..." Ryan began to say.
"So we tried to get it back..." added Brad.
"But now Butch is chasing us, and he's trying to attack us!" Finished Ryan.
"What?!" exclaimed Maxine as she got up from the bench. Butch had just caught up to Ryan and Brad when Maxine looked down at him and growled angrily.
"Uh, hi, Mom." said Butch nervously. Maxine then grabbed Butch by his ear.
"Ow! Mom, you're hurting me!" yelled Butch.
"That's the idea! You're coming with me, young man!" snarled Maxine, and she walked away, taking Butch home to punish him. Ryan and Brad watched as this happened.
"You were right, Ryan. We should have just told your mommy what Butch did." Brad said to Ryan. The two toddlers walked back to the sandbox, where Alice was waiting.
"Here you go." Ryan said to Alice as he gave her Orville.
"Orville!" Alice exclaimed as she gave him a hug.
"Thank you both for saving him. I saw everything. You two were very brave today when you stood up to Butch." Alice told Ryan and Brad.
"Are you kidding? I was so scared, I thought I was going to wet my diaper!" Ryan told Alice.
"Nonsense. Once you got Orville back, you made sure to keep him away from Butch, like true friends should." Alice told Ryan.
"You know, Alice is right, Ryan. When two best friends, like you and me work together, nothing or nobody can stop them!" added Brad.
"You really mean that?" Ryan asked Brad.
"Of course I do. I couldn't have gotten Orville back without you!" Brad told Ryan.
"Oh, thanks, Brad. And I got to admit, if weren't for you standing up to Butch, I'd be in pretty bad shape. I'm very glad that I have a friend like you, and now Alice is our friend, too." Ryan told Brad.
"It's great to know I have friends who look out for me and care about me, and I want to stay here, with my two new friends." Alice told Ryan and Brad as she gave them a hug. The three toddlers walked off happily into the sunset together.