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Purely by coincidence, it was one day short of a month since your life had changed, Thanksgiving falling on November 25th and today being December 24th. You had lain wondering how many years in a hundred it works out that Thanksgiving and Christmas both fall on the 25th of their respective months while your partner changed you into a fresh diaper. You had been mad at her for all of ten minutes the first time, when she had ambushed you with a diaper as you were about to get dressed for Thanksgiving dinner at her parents’ house, confronting you about the rising frequency of your accidents and reminding you in detail about the prior Thanksgiving when you bottomed out your undies before you’d even finished your pumpkin pie.
You couldn’t help but admit it made sense though, and when your partner told you on Black Friday, as you were about to get dressed to go shopping, that your change of attire wasn’t just for one night but permanent until you didn’t need diapers anymore, the experience of the previous night kept you from a more than a pro forma protest; that and the look in her eyes that told you this wasn’t negotiable and that she’d take the hairbrush to your bare bottom, a rarity but not unheard of, if you refused. And so you went from being someone who had accidents in their pants to someone who uses diapers. “If it happens in a diaper,” she told you more than once until you stopped apologizing every time it happened, “it’s not an accident.” You had to admit that made sense. After all, like she pointed out, that’s what diapers are for, so how could it be an accident? Hence the new euphemism your partner used in public: an incident , not an accident.
No one in public ever seems to notice what you’re wearing, except for that one time three weeks ago you had a very big incident while waiting in line at the department store. What a frightening moment that had been, when you were waiting to check out with the cashmere sweater you were buying her for Christmas, and she was down in the men’s department shopping for you.
You didn’t know what to do, the suddenness of it taking you by surprise and leaving you frozen in line. The few times you’ve had that kind of incident in public, she’s been by your side and quietly whisked you away to get you changed into clean huggies. You don’t mind that she calls them diapers instead of briefs , but it does bruise your ego a bit when she refers to them as huggies or pampers , but it’s far from a concern when you’ve, as she sometimes says, fudged your huggies and just need her help. You’ve never changed a diaper before, let alone your own, let alone such a full one as the one almost sagging around your hips that day in the mall. You didn’t even have the diaper bag with you.
It wasn’t merely wearing one or even a full one but the smell that alerted the other shoppers, even though they were all wearing masks and on the “stand here” decals the store had put on the floor to keep shoppers six feet apart. The woman in front of you lifted her sleeping infant from the stroller and checked her diaper while you looked around as though you were just like the other adults and trying to find the source of the stench. But you fooled no one, nor did you notice the salesperson pick up the phone at the register and quietly say something to someone, so it came as a complete, and completely embarrassing, surprise when a store manager appeared at your elbow.
She was nice about it, recognizing from your watery eyes you hadn’t done what you did for jollies and establishing as she walked you toward the escalator that you needed help. She guided you to the upper floor where the family restroom is located and assured you everything would be okay and asking only for your partner’s name before she left you standing in the middle of that restroom, wondering what was going to happen when you heard her on the public address system. Could your partner “please come to the manager’s office on the third floor behind bedding to meet your partner?”
The entire time between the checkout line and being left in the restroom was a blur, and it was only after your partner had changed you into a clean diaper and held you while you let out a few tears did you realize you no longer had that sweater. The manager was waiting for you at the end of the hall, asking as though nothing unusual had happened whether you still wanted to check out. The manager struck you as unusually empathetic, guessing the sweater was a gift for your partner and taking you into her office to complete the purchase. She even gave you a certificate for free wrapping at the customer service desk.
That fit with what you noticed your first night back in diapers. Your partner had preemptively told her family, taking away the chance of a surprise discovery, and they had all treated you especially gently. Not even the kids snickered. Your father-in-law even called you ‘tiger.’
But that was her family. Thanksgiving with her family, Christmas Eve with yours, and when you come out of the shower on Christmas Eve, she has an outfit waiting for you on the bed. You’ve always been equal partners even if she does take you over her knee a few times a year to correct your behavior, but ever since she’s declared by fiat that you are back in diapers indefinitely, she’s taken charge of a few things, inconsequential things in the scheme of it but all things that make you feel sometimes like a second-tier adult: your hygiene, your clothes, your diet, your sleep schedule, and of course anything having to do with relieving yourself.
“I’m going to go change,” you announced when you’d returned from the Black Friday shopping trip.
“Are you wet,” she asked.
“I’m not wet,” you insisted in a childishly petulant tone that just came out. You didn’t speak that way to anyone, and especially not to her, the love of your life.
“Then hold still and lemme check,” she said firmly as she took you by the elbow and cupped you through your pants. Not satisfied, she unbuckled your belt and slipped her hand down your pants while you stood there trying to resist the desire to push her hands away and reassert your own authority over your body.
You were dry, and you knew it. To be fair to her, you don’t always know when you aren’t, and that was true even before she put you back in diapers. She didn’t acknowledge you were dry beyond buckling your belt again and giving you a soft smile. You were briefly taken aback, almost offended, when she didn’t congratulate you or tell you good job. She did that just two days ago when you went almost an entire day without an accident. But underpants are to be kept dry, and keeping them dry deserves at least a verbal reward. Diapers aren’t supposed to be kept dry; using them shouldn’t provoke a scolding, but by the same token, not using them doesn’t deserve encouragement. After all, it’s only a matter of time.
You didn’t know that at the time, the full weight and meaning of this change very slowly becoming clear over the course of the past month. On Black Friday, you just knew that you were dry and wanted to go change into your regular clothes.
“So I’m going to go change,” you said again as she turned away from you after buckling your belt and started sorting through the shopping bags.
“Why? You’re dry,” she said as she searched for something particular in one of them.
“Um, because we’re home, so … I’m going to go put underpants on.”
That caught her attention again. She straightened up and turned back toward you, her expression very like the one she’d worn when she announced you were wearing diapers to her parents’ house the night before, kind but resolved. “Honey, you wear diapers full-time now, even at home.”
“But the bathroom is right there,” you said in more of a whine than you intended.
“Please don’t use that tone with me. You have accidents at home too. You’re in diapers now.”
“But … I don’t want to.” As an adult, that actually is a valid argument, and you knew that. You are an adult; not wanting to do something is a very good reason for not doing it provided you’re not harming anyone else and are willing to accept the consequences.
“I understand that, sweetie, but it’s not up to you.”
“Yes it is too,” you shot back, raising your voice, again without meaning to, an outburst that did nothing to make you seem like an adult but did plenty to make you sound like a child on the verge of a tantrum. Your partner wouldn’t be having that, and faster than your reflexes could respond, she had your wrist in her left hand and her right delivered two sharp spanks to the seat of your pants.
“Do you need more,” she asked with her hand poised. You tried to cover your butt with your free hand, but you knew from experience that wouldn’t stop anything.
“Because if you need more, it will be on your bare bottom.”
“No, I’ll be good,” you promised.
“Come with me,” she said and led you to the sofa in the living room.
“But I said I’d be good,” you pleaded as she sat down. You only ever try to get out of a spanking verbally, not that it’s ever worked even once. You never run away or fight back, not really. Just trying to bat her hands away when she takes your pants down or feebly attempting to block the spanks or kick your way off her lap.
“I’m not spanking you. Sit down.” And you did, quite aware that if you acted up, she was fully capable of changing her mind and pulling you across her lap. “I’m sorry I wasn’t clear this morning. You’re in diapers all the time everywhere, until you stop needing them.”
“Even at home?”
“You have more accidents here than anywhere else.”
“But … But that’s only because I’m here more than anywhere else.” Which upon just a half-moment’s consideration you realized isn’t an argument in favor of underpants.
She must not have thought so either because she didn’t even bother to counter it, merely saying again, “You’re in diapers until you don’t need them anymore.”
“But I’m an adult.”
“An adult who needs diapers. You’ll be much happier this way; we both will. No more stained undies or ruined pants or wet furniture. No more public accidents.”
“People will find out.”
“They might find out, but they definitely will find out if they see you flood your pants or have a brown out in your shorts.”
“Can we just try them for a while,” you ventured, searching for a compromise and fairly certain you could find ways to sabotage a trial period.
“We’ve tried lots of things, and the doctors are out of ways to help you. It’s diapers from now on.”
You knew you were not going to change her mind. “But just until I don’t need them anymore, right?”
“Right,” she said back with a tone that struck you as being similar to the tone one uses when telling a child that Santa might bring that toy that’s way too expensive: upbeat but insincere because like that parent, she knows it will never happen and can neither break your heart with the truth nor lie straight to your face without betraying a hint of her true thoughts. But like that child, you wanted to believe, so you said, “Okay, until then,” and she reached out to embrace you while you cried into her breast.
All to say you aren’t surprised when you find her waiting in the bedroom for you to finish your shower, with your outfit laid out on the bed, so complete with a diaper. Diapers are part of your outfit now as surely as underpants used to be. And because she took charge of your outfit on Thanksgiving and had taken the great liberty of informing her family, you opt to not say anything about it to your own family. She would do it if she thought it was necessary, and you trust her. A good excuse since you’re too embarrassed to tell anyone.
Once you arrive at your childhood home, it doesn’t take long for you to understand from the way people are treating you with kid gloves that she has, in fact, told them. Your dad calls you sport. Your mom keeps placing her hand on your lower back and discreetly, although from whom she’s trying to hide the motion you aren’t sure, sliding her hand down your waist. It doesn’t make any sense that she keeps doing that. As much as you try to take no responsibility for your diapers, figuring that if your partner is the one insisting on them then she can be the one to do all the work they create (with you doing your best to not see how that makes you seem even more in need of her doting care), even you know she can’t tell if you need changed just by putting her hand on the very top of your diaper’s back waistband.
Your big sister solves that mystery by being much less discreet, merely putting herself between you and the center of the living room as she turns you around, the sudden shock leaving you wordless and cooperative as she grasps the waistband of your pants in one hand and tucks your undershirt in with her other. “Your Christmas sweater keeps riding up, kiddo. Everyone can see your diaper,” she says above a whisper but hopefully not loudly enough for others to hear, though they likely saw or at least surmised. And when she gives you a pat on the butt and you almost swallow your tongue, you lock eyes with her daughter, all of five years old, who smiles at you as if she knows how delicate your feelings are.
“Honey,” your partner calls from across the room not long thereafter, “my parents are about to facetime me. Come say hello.” A glance around the room as you cross the rug and followed her up the stairs makes you suspicious as to whether anyone believed her excuse, because you don’t believe it and find you are right not to as you follow her to your childhood bedroom where she has already prepared a diaper change.
“I wanted to get you into something dry before we open presents,” she explains. A day shy of a month, four changes a day, and you are well practiced in the routine. She is already kneeling on the floor as you approach her, and she unbuckles your belt and slides your pants down. “Actually,” she said, pausing, “let’s take them all the way off for this one. Lift your foot.”
She takes your shoes off, then your pants, and you gingerly lay down on the changing mat, a habit from never being entirely sure there isn’t a small mess in the seat of your diaper but knowing as occasional as that is, it’s often enough to have taught you sitting straight down can make a change much longer.
“Hold your sweater,” she says gently as she pushes it up and away from the top of your diaper. She always uses a gentle tone when she changes you, except when she’s trying to cheer you up or is in a silly mood. You always do your best to pretend you don’t like it, but you can never hold in your laughter when she blows a raspberry on your tummy during a change.
“Not so bad after all,” she said the first time she changed one of your dirty diapers, “right? Isn’t this better than having accidents in your pants?”
“Yes,” you’d agreed, and while you meant it, you weren’t happy about it and let that emotion show, so she bent forward and blew a raspberry on your tummy and did it again while you laughed, and she tickled your sides and somehow kept you from rolling away as you giggled and pleaded through tears of laughter for her to top.
On Christmas Eve, she puts her hand on the bottom of your diaper as you lay on your back looking at the glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to the ceiling since you were a little kid. She bends forward and gives your diaper two investigative sniffs. “You’re a little messy,” she pronounces you. The first few times she discovered you were messy after she’d opened your diaper, she’d asked you if you knew you had stinky pants or remembered doing it, but she doesn’t ask anymore, nor did she ever ask if you’d been doing that before going back into diapers, making very small messes without knowing it. She figures it didn’t matter either way. Worst case, the diapers are making your problem worse, but since she never expects you to be out of diapers, it makes no difference.
“Are you having a good time,” she asks as she plucks a few wipes from the packet and sets them next to you. She always does that before she opens your diaper, getting everything ready to make the change as quick as possible and, sometimes, to do everything she can to make sure nothing gets dirty or wet.
“Yeah,” you respond.
“Cuz you look a little mopey.”
“I … everyone saw my diaper … poking above my pants.”
“So? Anyone say anything mean?”
“I don’t know. If they did, they didn’t show it.”
“No one cares,” she assures you. “No one thinks less of you.”
“How do you know,” you say sharply. You trust her to take care of all this because you love her and do trust her, but also because you need to trust her because there’s no one else to trust. But sometimes it doesn’t always seem like she understands that she can’t understand what this is like for you.
She drops the rubber glove she was about to put on and gets back up on her knees, planting her hands on either side of you, straddling you like she does when she wants to make love, trapping you underneath her as though you’d ever want to leave the protection of her arms and looking down into your eyes while you look up into hers. “I love you,” she says, “and so does every person here.” She leans down and kisses you. “I love you even more every day.” She smiles at you again, and you feel a swell of emotion. “Uh-oh,” she said, “I know that face.”
She sits down at your side, and you sit up just enough to bury your face in her lap. “It’s okay,” she coos. Ever since the accidents started, you’ve become more emotional, more prone to tears, and the diapers have only made you more so. You cry more often but rarely for long, and this time like every time she strokes your hair and rubs your back and shushes you until you pick your head up. “All done?”
You nod, and she reaches across you to the wipes she plucked from the packet and wipes the tear streaks from your cheeks.
“Sorry,” you apologize.
“Never be sorry because you have to cry.”
“I love you too.”
“I know you do, sweetheart.” She kisses you on your hair. “Ready to lay back so we can get this yucky diapie off you and go open presents?”
You do, and she finishes putting her gloves on, something you insisted she start doing despite her insisting changing your dirty diapers doesn’t bother her. “I know it’s Christmas,” she says, “but that doesn’t mean you needed to fudge your huggies just for me.” You scoff and chuckle. “Not that I don’t appreciate the present you made me. It’s the thought that counts, right?”
Normally you’d be upset if she made that joke, but the day and the circumstances and the reassurance that she still loves you – that changing your diapers doesn’t change how she feels about you – make the joke funny even to you, and in just a few minutes you’re in a fresh diaper and redressed.
“Where are you taking that,” you ask when you notice her rolling the diaper up into a ball.
“The trash,” she says with a quizzical look on her face as though it was a silly question.
“You want to throw it away at home?”
“No, I just … no. Thanks for changing me.”
“You’re very welcome like always, sweetie. Let’s go open presents.”
You lead the way back downstairs, and while you turn left toward the living room, she walks straight ahead and passes your younger sister, who takes note of what she’s carrying but doesn’t say anything as your partner tosses your used diaper into the trashcan. She doesn’t push it deep into the trash, just setting it on top and letting the lid close. What’s there to hide? Nothing.
Your little sister catches up with you and puts her hands on your shoulders, leaning forward to whisper into your ear, “You’re the luckiest person I know,” before she too gives you a light swat on your butt. Both sisters and your mom and your partner’s mom have now all casually done that, and while you think you should feel offended, you don’t. In a way you don’t understand and you can’t express, it feels good, and you know you’ve done the same to your nieces and nephews still in diapers and don’t know why, as though a diapered bottom needs to be patted for some mysterious, irresistible reason.
Your partner joins you in the living room, and the two of you sit down on the floor together to open presents and enjoy watching everyone else open theirs. You try hard every year to find at least one gift you’re excited to give, and this year you found several. It warms you to see people so delighted with your gifts. As it always does, the hour it takes to open all the gifts seems over too soon. You help gather up all the stray paper, and you dad asks rhetorically, “Who’s ready for dessert?”
“We’ll be down in a minute,” your partner responds.
“I don’t need changed yet,” you whisper as she takes your hand.
“I know,” she says and lead you back to your childhood bedroom anyway.
“What,” you ask behind closed doors, eager to get your share and more of the dessert your mom only makes for Christmas.
“It’s getting late, and I want to go straight to bed when we get home.”
“Okay,” you respond, unsure why she brought you upstairs to tell you that.
“So let’s get your jammies on.”
That’s why the diaper bag seemed fuller than usual. There’s been an extra outfit in the back of the car for years, frequently needed and frequently needing to be replaced. For the past month, an extra pair of pants have been in the diaper bag for any trip away from home for more than two hours, but never an entire outfit. You just assumed that was what was in the bag because you never go in there unless she asks you to get something. It’s not because you’re not allowed to but because you don’t want to. You had been upset with her only very briefly when she insisted you go back to diapers; it isn’t pique that keeps you out of the diaper bag. It’s acceptance. She’s in charge of the diapers, so there’s no reason for you to go into the diaper bag.
“Jammies,” you say incredulously. She’s been on you about your sleep schedule since you were first dating, and you’d reluctantly complied over time, realizing she was right and you do feel so much better when you go to bed at her version of ‘on time.’
“Yes, jammies, silly goose. You always sleep in pajamas.”
“Everyone will see.”
“See you in your jammies? What’s the problem?”
“I just …” It’s not being seen in your pajamas, though they do make your diapers much more obvious. It’s that no one else is in their pajamas. It will make you seem more childish. Even if the diapers are a necessity and everyone understands that, they’ll be a lot less understanding of your partner insisting you get dressed for bed before you’re even home as though you’ll fall asleep in the case and she’ll carry your sleeping body to bed.
“Yes,” she says, waiting for you to finish your sentence.
“I don’t want people to see me in my pajamas.”
“Siena saw you in them last week.” Her best friend.
“That was different. We were home, and it was late, and I was about to go to bed.” And you had put on your own pajamas. Does she mean to actually dress you for bed? “And this doesn’t even save any time. It takes less than a minute to get my pajamas on, and anyway,” you sigh, “you’re going to have to change me for bedtime anyway.” Probably, given the hour, but maybe not. Christmas miracles do happen, right?
Just as she is about to respond, there’s a knock at the door. “Can I come in,” your mom asks even as she’s in the act of opening the door neither of you had locked.
“Um, yeah,” you say since it’s too late and you’re still dressed.
“Are you changing into your PJs,” she asks as she closes the door behind her.
“Just about to,” your partner replies as though you weren’t on the edge of a disagreement on that very subject.
“I figured. I always brought their jammies to my parents’ house on Christmas Eve so they could go straight to bed when I got them home. I got something for you.”
“More presents,” your partner asks as you stand there unsure whether you speaking up will make any difference.
“Just a couple gifts I thought you’d like to open without everyone watching, but I want to see you open them. I made them myself.” It’s a large box.
“That’s so nice of you.”
“Um, really nice, Mom.”
“Well, come sit, silly,” she says as you stand in front of her. You sit down on the bed next to her, oblivious to the crinkle from the mattress when you do. You long ago grew so used to it that you don’t notice it anymore. “It’s not much. I had the idea when I saw you two for lunch two weeks ago.”
“Don’t be so modest,” your partner says as you turn the box over and slide your finger under the seam to break the tape.
“You didn’t have to go to so much trouble,” you tell her. She’s always gone out of her way to make each Christmas special, and every year of your adult life, you’ve been profuse in your thanks, understanding in a way you didn’t as a child how much work and love she pours into the holiday. You open the box to find several pieces of clothing, and you hold the first one up.
“A onesie,” your partner practically exclaims as you examine the shirt.
“At lunch I kept seeing your diaper poking out above your pants every time you moved. It’s been doing it all night, too, and it was just driving me crazy. I thought this would be perfect for that, and that you’d feel better knowing no one will see your diapers when you bend over.” Your partner lets out a chuckle.
“Um …,” you say before finding your voice, “thank you. I … Thank you. That will help a lot.” And you mean it. Childish, yes, but also practical, and you know it comes from the heart.
“Really? You really like it,” your mom asks.
“I love it.”
“O thank goodness. I was so nervous. I was afraid you’d be upset with me.”
“What? Never. I know you’re just thinking of me. I really appreciate this. It’s a great idea.”
“There’s a few in different colors and few plain white ones, and I made one just for Christmas.” She takes the box off your lap and digs through the folded diaper shirts until she finds the one she’s looking for: green and white stripes with red piping along the sleeves and neckline, with a reindeer applique in the center of the chest. “Well,” she asks with a beaming smile.
“Did you do this needlework by hand,” your partner marvels at the reindeer.
“Yep, and I can teach you. I have the pattern, so we can make more.”
“That would be great.”
“We can make other things too,” your mom explains. “If we have a pattern, we just need to change the measurements to fit. I’ll show you.”
“I’d like that.”
“There’s one more thing in the box,” your mom says excitedly. “And I know this isn’t exactly cool, but I know you like to be warm.” She’s rambling now. “And it’s okay if you don’t like it. Really. You won’t hurt my feelings. It’s not to everyone’s …”
“Mom,” you interrupt, “I’m sure I’ll like it.” You put your hand on top of hers, and she looks back at you with a warm Christmas smile before she starts taking the onesies out of the box and laying them on the bed.
“It’s on the bottom,” she apologizes. “Here,” and with that she lifts a footed sleeper out of the box by its shoulders. The one she used for a pattern was for a toddler, and the zipper on that one was in the back, so she made one in your size with the zipper on the back too, not thinking you wouldn’t be able to get it on and off without help.
“O my goodness, that is so cute,” your partner gushes.
“Wow,” is your clever response. “That will definitely be warm.”
“You like it?”
“You really like it?”
“Really,” you try to convince her but aren’t entirely sincere. What matters is she made it, so of course you like it. Love it even. But perhaps won’t like actually wearing it.
“O, that makes me so happy.” She leans forward to hug you, and you hug back. “I just want Christmas to be perfect for everyone.”
“I know. You always do such a good job,” you say and rub her back. When she leans away, you get a better look at the sleeper. The pattern is the same as the Christmas onesie, except the sleeper also has a reindeer tail. Snaps extend across the crotch and down both legs, at the end of which are soft-soled slippers below an elastic ankle cuff.
“Try it on,” she urges you.
“Tomorrow,” your partner interjects. “When we come back for Christmas morning. In fact, I’ll wear my pajamas too.”
“We all will,” your mom agrees. Her, your dad, your younger sister, you, and your partner. Your older sister will be opening gifts with her own family, and in the afternoon, you’ll head over to spend the evening with your partner’s family.
“But we can try on the onesie right now,” your partner decides. You turn to look at her over your shoulder, and the look she gives back says yes, you will too . It’s not so much that you don’t want to argue in front of your mother as you don’t want to risk hurting your mom’s feelings, so you nod.
“Of course,” you say.
“I can’t wait to see you in it,” your mom says. “Lay back.”
“Lay back, sweetie.”
“We were just about to …” you say.
“O, don’t be so silly,” your mom says as she bends down to pluck the diaper bag from the floor. “I did this every night when you were a kid.” You look at your partner for support, and she shrugs. “That was one of your birthday presents one year, remember,” your mom says because she’s a mom and is oblivious to when she’s embarrassing you. She turns back toward you and puts a hand on your shoulder, gently pushing you back. “Lay back. It’s okay.”
You do, and she starts taking out everything she needs for a diaper change. “What birthday was that,” she asks absentmindedly. “Do you remember? You said all you wanted was to be allowed to put your nighttime diapers on yourself. It had to be after thirteen or I never would’ve let you. Of course that’s not all we got you, but I did give in and just checked that you did a good job before you went to sleep. Remember?”
You’re blushing, and your partner is doing a poor job of suppressing a smile. “Did you know they make diapers for adults with cute designs on them,” your mother asks. “I saw them online when I was doing some searching for onesie patterns. Not that you’d like those probably, but they are cute, and the reviews say they work very well. People are in such a fuss that this new one is only available in Japan right now; it is adorable, but people just need to be patient. It’ll get here.” She spots the packet of rubber gloves and pauses, understanding what they’re for and turning her attention back to you as she puts an empathatic hand on your thigh. Her eyes tell you she’s sorry you have to deal with this, and she keeps her hand there as she turns toward your partner. “I’m so glad the two of you have each other.” She turns back to you. “I couldn’t have picked a better partner for you.”
A tear once again appears at the corner of your eye. “Hhh,” your mom pretends to gasp, “you always were mommy’s little crybaby.” She leans down to kiss you on the cheek. “Everything is going to be okay because you two have each other, and of course I’ll always be your mommy. That’s just how it works.” She sounds almost choked up herself. “Anyway, we’re holding up dessert,” she says and clears her throat.
“You’re making everyone wait,” you ask as though that’s the nicest thing she could do for you in the moment.
“Of course. I know you look forward all year to my Christmas cake.”
“Here,” your partner says, “lemme help.” She gets your shoes and socks off, and wanting to not seem completely helpless, you begin to unbuckle your belt. Your mom bats your hands away, and with nothing to do until she tells you to lift your hips, you have a moment to consider why you’re allowing this to happen. You turn your head to look away, and with your ear to the mattress you hear the crinkle of the plastic sheet under the bedclothes.
You know exactly why. It’s embarrassing but not mortifying – not what you’re wearing nor why nor that your mother is about to see your nudity – because the two of you have done this many times before. She did let you put on your own bedtime diaper when you pleaded for your fifteenth birthday. Not that it was the last time your mother did this as she sometimes insisted when you were under the weather or just very tired right up until you dried up at night towards the end of your senior year. You knew you must’ve been the only senior who had to wear a pull-up on that right-of-passage road trip with your parents to visit colleges. How relieved you were to be dry by the time you filled out your residency form, thrilled to be able to leave off any reason why you couldn’t share a room with someone else and have a regular college experience.
Your problem got better for a number of years before beginning to get worse than it had ever been, leaving you in the position you find yourself now. And that fifteenth birthday wasn’t so long ago in the scheme of things, and even less time from your mother’s perspective. For you it’s half a lifetime, but for her it’s yesterday because that’s how time works for moms.
“Just wet,” your mother announces when your pants are off.
“Usually,” your partner says, “but sometimes there’s a little present in there waiting for you. There was earlier.” Whether the last time your mom changed you was recent or not, that was embarrassing, but saying so would only be more childish than what was already happening, so you don’t say anything.
“So how has it been going,” your mom asks as she tears the tapes open on your diaper, and you know the question is directed at your partner and not you.
“We’ve both adjusted and gotten used to it. We had some hiccups early on, and there was a blowout at the mall …”
“O goodness. I’m sorry to hear that.” But not as sorry as you were to endure it.
“…but you live and learn.”
“And then get Luvs,” your mom finishes with a chuckle as she wipes down your diaper area.
“Ha! It’s the social aspect we’re still working on. Just a couple friends know so far.”
“Your friends won’t care, sweetie,” your mom tells you, “And if they do, then they’re not your real friends.” Which is such a mom thing to say, and you manage to not roll your eyes.
“I brought a nighttime one,” your partner says as she gets the right diaper out of the bag.
“Goodness,” your mom says again, the closest the woman has ever come to a cuss word in your presence. “I wish they’d made them this thick when you were younger. I had to double diaper and get some plastic panties so we wouldn’t have leaks more nights than not.”
“Plastic panties,” your partner asks.
“You don’t know about those?”
“Still new to this.”
“Such a lifesaver, and with the mush tush accidents they’d help hold the smell in.”
“We don’t call them accidents anymore. If it happens in undies, it’s an accident, but diapers are supposed to be used, so these are incidents.”
“That’s very sweet,” your mom says, casting a grateful look at your partner, glad she’s so understanding and doing so much to help you through this adjustment. “Anyway, if there’s a dirty diaper incident,” she says, stressing the word, “in public, plastic panties would maybe save some embarrassment. Nothing quite as unpleasant as everyone smelling you have a poopy diaper, is there sweetie?” Now you’re not sure what’s worse: being included or excluded from this conversation.
“All done,” your mom announces as she seals the last tape on your diaper. “You look kind of cute in your diapie, just like you used to.”
“What do you say,” your partner asks.
“Uh, thanks, Mom.”
“You’re very welcome. Just a mom’s job … Ope, and a partner’s if needed.” She takes your hands and helps you sit up. “Stick ‘em up.”
You do, and she helps you take your Christmas sweater and undershirt off while your partner unsnaps the Christmas onesie and rolls it up in her hands. “Keep ‘em there, buster,” she says, and your mom pivots out of the way, rolling up your used diapers and repacking your diaper bag while your partner slips the onesie over your head and helps you get your arms through the sleeves. She hasn’t been helping you dress until tonight, and it doesn’t occur to you to wonder whether you should expect more of that treatment.
Your mother hands her the pajama pants from the diaper bag and folds your actual pants to put in the diaper bag. You reach for the pajamas, but your partner holds them back. “Not yet. We haven’t seen yet. Stand up.”
You do, and your partner leans down and reaches between your legs to find the back flap of the onesie, her forearm pressing firmly into the front of your diaper as she does. A tap on the inside of your thigh tells you to open your legs for her, and as you glance down and back up, feeling self-conscious again, she closes the five snaps.
“Let’s show your mom,” your partner says as she straightens up and turns you toward your mother, who is zipping up the diaper bag and turns to see at the same time.
“O, it’s perfect,” your mom says. “You look so cute.” She steps toward you gives you another hug, and you don’t jump this time when she reaches down to pat your diapered bottom, not just once this time but six times in rapid succession as she practically beams with pride, of her handiwork of or of you, you’re not sure, but it’s for you. She’s always proud of you. She leans back again, keeping her hands on your shoulders. “Does it feel alright?”
“Yes,” you say as you nod quickly.
“And you really like it?”
“Yes, Mom, I do. Thank you again.” This time you initiate a hug, and it’s your mom who has teary eyes.
“I’m so glad. I just want to help. It’s hard seeing your baby go through things like this.”
“We appreciate any help you offer,” your partner reassures her. “Ready for pants,” she asks you. She holds open your pajama pants, and you step into them.
“I need bigger ones,” you say absentmindedly, something you’ve said several times over the past month. They fit too snugly around your bedtime diapers.
“We’ll see what Santa brought in the morning,” your partner says as she puts warm socks on your feet because they always get cold at night.
“I really have to go down there like this?”
“You can wear your new sleeper.”
“Honey,” your mom says, “everyone here loves you. No one would dream of making fun of you, and if they do, they’ll have to answer to me.” She always was protective when it came to making sure no one made fun of you for your problem.
“That’s what I said,” your partner chimes in.
“You ready for cake,” your mom asks. She opens the door, and your big sister walks by with your five-year-old niece in her arms. The little tyke is also wearing her jammies so she can go straight to bed when she gets home. She’s already almost asleep in her mom’s arms.
You all head downstairs, and you get complimented on your new ‘shirt,’ and everyone congratulates your mom for doing such a good job on it. Not a word is said about your diaper bulge or the two diapers, one dirty, in the kitchen trash.
You’re almost ready to fall asleep when you get in the car for the ride home, and though you’re a little damp when by the time she steers you to the bedside, your partner yawns as she says, “You’ll last til morning.”
And in the morning, you’ll wake up and open presents at home with her before heading back to your parents’ house for yet more presents, this time wearing your new sleeper, and who knows, maybe some of those cute diapers your mom mentioned will be waiting under the tree. Maybe you’ll have a dirty diaper while opening presents – you usually do that time of morning – and it will go unremarked while you all finish opening because some things are more important than getting you into clean pants right away, like Christmas and presents and family. Maybe your partner will change you, maybe your mom, or maybe even your little sister, just two years younger than you but still living at home. It wouldn’t be the first time, and after all, your partner already packs a box of changing supplies to leave at your parents’ house.
But no matter. Whatever happens, it will be fine, and so will you. That knowledge and the sense of peace it creates in your heart is the best Christmas present you could hope for.