By Joe Shearer, Photo Editor
(Please note this story appeared in last year’s April Fool’s Issue and is not intended to be take seriously)
Charlie Arnold isn’t like most adults.
Although the 31-year-old is educated, drives a car, lives on his own and does many other things that most people his age do, there’s something unique that sets him apart: Arnold spends most of his day mimicking the acts and behaviors of an infant.
Arnold is part of a recently growing “adult baby” demographic where male and female adults engage in the same daily activities that most U.S. babies do. From eating and playing to talking and walking – or crawling – these adults are anything but; and due to an increasing number of recent anti-discriminatory lawsuits, many day care facilities across the country are accepting these people into their child care programs. The UNO Child Care Center is one of those very programs and Arnold is their newest enrollment.
Arnold, or “Lee Lee” – as his fellow day care companions prefer to call him, has raised concern from parents and university representatives with his presence, but he assures that his intentions are pure.
“Most people think we’re up to something sneaky and twisted, but [adult babies] are merely interested in the genuine infant experience,” Arnold said. “We have the freedom to live how we want in the United States, as long as we’re not breaking any laws.”
“And last time I checked, playing with Micro Machines and soiling yourself regularly wasn’t a crime,” he added.
Adult babies like Arnold aren’t just accepted into the day care on a whim, though. They must first go through an interview and examination process to certify the authenticity of their intentions. UNO psychology professor Femi Cootie asserted Arnold’s genuine pursuit of literal child’s play.
“Some of these adult babies’ obsession can be rooted to certain childhood events, while others merely evolve their lifestyle later in life,” Cootie said. “Regardless of how they got this psychological obsession, they’re merely just trying to escape the realities, stresses and burdens of adult life. Lee Lee looks just as innocent as my own grandson when he’s out in the playground building sand castles or constantly bankrupting his bowels into his drawers.”
Arnold’s case isn’t the only one, either. The adult baby lifestyle was recently put in the spotlight when TLC’s show, “My Crazy Obsession,” ran a segment on the issue. The show’s mention shed a positive light toward Arnold and company by letting America see a day in the life of an adult baby.
After a little hesitation, the UNO Child Care Center staff has warmed up to Arnold’s presence. Martha Hubbard, a full-time UNOCCC employee, says that Arnold has come to blend in with all of the other children and that his adult abilities also come in handy.
“The kids have stopped viewing Lee Lee as an adult and now just associate him as being the head kid in charge and also the kid that needs the most diaper changes. Besides his size, really, there’s nothing that separates him from the other children,” Hubbard said. “Well, except that he also drives two of our kids home at the end of the day.”
The other children don’t seem to mind Arnold, either. Ashley Stephenson, 4, enjoys drawing with sidewalk chalk with Arnold on a mild, breezy March 30 afternoon.
“Lee Lee is super fun. When he’s on our Red Rover team we always win,” Stephenson said with a wide smile. “He smells like my daddy, though, but he poops his pants a lot more.”
So unless policies change, Arnold will continue to nonchalantly gallivant through the day with his fellow technical day care peers at the UNO Child Care Center.
“Just because I’m 31 doesn’t mean I can’t mindlessly finger paint or catch some ‘Dora’ rather than work an adult job,” Arnold said. “The kids and adults here like me, so hopefully this will show others that I’m not doing anything weird.”
Arnold hopes that the adult baby lifestyle becomes more widely accepted in society. While he waits for that, he’ll spend his time spilling food and having temper tantrums.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I think there’s something foreign in my diaper.”