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The Buttons have their son’s white hair dyed black cut short, but there is really no hiding the fact that their baby is a 70-year-old man who stands five feet eight inches tall, despite his stoop.
They end up calling him Benjamin.
The baby nurse quits her position when she sees him.
The power of denial is strong in Mr. Button.
He insists that his son is a baby and will act like a baby. He even buys him a rattle, which Benjamin wearily shakes to please his father.
Benjamin manages to find activities appropriate to his age. He reads the Encyclopedia when his father isn’t looking and even smokes his dad’s cigars once in a while.
Needless to say, this causes quite a ruckus in Baltimore, considering the social position of the Buttons.
But soon enough, the Civil War "[draws] the city’s attention to other things" (1.3.5).
Benjamin manages to reconcile himself to his peculiar circumstances, and "[takes] life as he [finds] it" (1.3.6).
He tries to please his father whenever he can by pretending he is a small boy, as he is "by nature obliging" (1.3.7).
Benjamin and his grandfather take great pleasure in each other’s company. They often sit together and talk for hours at a time.
His parents, on the other hand, feel awkward around their son and often address him as "Mr."
When he is five, Benjamin is sent to Kindergarten. He finds it dull, so his parents remove him on the grounds that he is too young for school.
By the time is he twelve, Benjamin’s parents have gotten used to him. It seems as though life is running "normally" when Benjamin looks in the mirror and realizes that he looks a lot younger than he used to look.
He begins to realize that he's aging in reverse!
Benjamin goes to his father and asks to be fitted for long trousers, since he’s grown up now and no longer a little boy. His father agrees.