Reunion (cross post from DeviantArt)

So I just got done reading @CampersPampers1 I am not a baby! There are some similar thematic elements shared between our stories - so I thought I would crosspost my story over here as well (especially since it had been a while since I posted anything here!!)

Hello, reader. I am for the moment going to assume you have been exposed to some form of Multiverse theory. Multiverses pop up in television shows like Sliders or Star Trek. Both major comic houses do it, consider Dc Comic’s infinite earths or Marvels Omniverse as examples. Traditional long form fiction has done it to death, but perhaps none better than Roger Zelazny in his seminal Amber series. So I will not reinvent the wheel here, and do a bunch of exposition you don’t need to read and I certainly don’t need to write. If however you don’t know what any of that means, please use the list above as a jumping off point so that you might educate yourself in the mythology of the here and now - any of the above is probably a better way to spend your time than reading a diaper story, and if you haven’t read Zelazney’s Amber you should do that NOW, this story will still be here when you get done. :slight_smile:

So now that we are on the same page, let’s just say that Reunion takes place on an earth that is very much like our own, in the year 1987. A person who somehow accidentally crossed from Our Earth (OE) to the Earth in Reunion (RE) could go weeks, or months even, before they even suspected anything was different (provided they were not particularly fond of raspberries, for RE produced raspberries that were inedible by most people’s standards and thus were not really considered a food, or a flavor for slush drinks.) If you looked through the history of the last 20 years on RE, most everything would be the same as OE, although you might wonder if Watergate didn’t happen on RE as there would be no mention of it anywhere, and Nixon won reelection and stayed in office until 1976 when Jimmy Carter won just like on OE. Well Watergate the scandal didn’t happen, but Watergate the crime did, or to put it more succinctly in RE the Nixon administration was simply never caught. No Watergate, no Raspberries, other than that pretty much the same. Good? Good.

Well mostly the same.

There is one other curious, yet minor set of differences. Differences, which, rest assured, the vast majority of people on both OE and that of RE would find neither curious nor interesting, but which you, who have sat down to read a diaper story, are bound to appreciate the way a home cook might appreciate a new recipe.

The diaper market, specifically the disposable diaper market, evolved slightly differently on RE. On OE, standardized sizing across brands didn’t happen until the late 1990s, whereas on RE it happened in the 1970’s, with sizes 0-5 becoming standard, size 6 would be introduced by Kleenex’s Huggies brand in 1981 and in less than two years the other big three brands (Pampers, Luvs, and Windells) would all have a size 6 on the market. RE would also employ the same scheme for youth diapers small 7 and medium 8 and adult diapers small to extra large as 9 through 12. The mid 80’s would see the introduction of super absorbent polymers (SAP) on both earths, greatly increasing diaper capacity. However through a small variation in regards to whom a patent was granted, the industry on RE never gained access to inexpensive nonwoven textiles the way OE did.

Without those nonwovens there was never a transition to cloth like covers, nor was there a move away from pulp cores in favor of a nonwoven core treated with SAP, instead retaining the thicker pulp core and treating that with SAP instead. The net effect being that on RE the ‘super trim’ and later ‘thin’ diapers simply never happened as the products would have been far too costly to produce. Another side effect is that when they are finally introduced at the end of the decade, pull-ups, will not be anywhere nearly as successful a product as on OE, due to the fact that the stretchy sides and ‘real underwear’ feel both require a nonwoven backsheet, which are not attributes of RE’s pull-ups.

And now you know.

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Sharon eased onto the couch beside a fresh from the dryer basket of laundry, which sat there waiting to be folded. She felt pretty good about ‘being done with the house’ so early in the day, especially since she thought she would be cleaning right up until the very minute that her mother and step father would arrive with her younger half brother in tow. Idly folding a pair of socks she calculated the time again, she didn’t see a way they would be here any earlier than 6pm, since plans communicated from her mom were that they were planning on being on the road around 7am, to hopefully miss rush hour by the time they hit Chattanooga, although Atlanta traffic would always be bad. After Atlanta, the rest of the trip to Bonita Springs Florida should be pretty wide open.

She mentally ran over her checklist, for what she hoped would be the last time, but she knew it probably wasn’t. The living room was good, as was the kitchen and hall bathroom, Drew had even finally fixed the toilet to where you didn’t need to jiggle the handle to get it to stop running. Her and Drew’s room and bathroom were fine, no one would be in there much anyways except to maybe use the bathroom if the hall bath was tied up. The dining room and more importantly it’s table had been cleared of papers and office supplies, switched back to a place suitable for meals from the impromptu office it had been serving as since Sharon had started to pick back up work earlier in the year. The guest room was fine and Andy’s room was a mess, but who didn’t expect that of a five year old? Finally the family room was in top shape, except for the laundry basket so she assured herself that she was ‘done’ and could take it easy until this evening.

Sharon kind of half frowned when she pulled a pair of training pants from the basket, they were still a bit damp due to their thickness, so she might as well fish all the others out of the basket too so they could be returned to the dryer to finish drying. It was 1987 for god’s sake, why was she still having to use cloth training pants? Seems like they could make those disposable too and save her some time and a lot of extra hassle doing laundry. The little nagging voice in her mind chimed in to remind her that what she should really be asking herself was, why are you using training pants on a five and a half year old still? After all kindergarten is this fall, and you can’t hold him back again this year because he is not dry during the day.

Once Andy’s third birthday had come and gone and they were still buying Huggies every time they hit the grocery store, Sharon was seriously beginning to question her abilities as a mother when Drew’s mom had finally confided just how much trouble Drew and his brothers had been to train. Daytime dryness was delayed for all her boys until they were almost five and that even after that accidents were frequent. She had even told her that two of the four, Drew and Elias, had wet, at least at night, almost into high-school, something Drew himself had failed to mention during all this potty training stuff. So last fall, holding Andy back from starting kindergarten seemed like an easy choice, it wasn’t like with a whole year she couldn’t get Andy potty trained, at least during the day. Besides, him going at 5 and a half instead of ‘almost 5‘ would mean he was a little more mature to boot. But here it was just 3 months away from the start of school and he had wet pants three times this week.

After putting the folded laundry away and starting the dryer back on the trainers Sharon wondered if she might take a break and sneak in a game on the new Nintendo. Drew had come up with the idea that it would be nice to have something newer than the aging Atari 2600 for her younger half brother, James, to play when he was here. She knew her husband well enough to know that was mostly an excuse to get Drew a new Nintendo, but he had a valid point too, since the freshly minted 12 year old would likely be staying the entire summer with them.

The last time she had seen her brother was when they had made the trip to Tennessee for thanksgiving in 1984. James was nine, and Andy was almost three. Before that she hadn’t seen her brother a lot. Sharon had been ten when her parents split up, and fifteen when her mom remarried. Her mom, Sylvia, had met Rick, a long haul trucker who grew up here in Bonita Springs, at the Sandpoint dinner, where she waited tables. They married a short while later, and her mom was almost instantly pregnant with James, or perhaps she was already pregnant which might account for the suddenness of the marriage. Sharon’s senior year had seen her mom and stepfather and 2 year old half brother moved to Tennessee so Rick could take some northbound routes easier, Sharon deciding to remain in Florida to finish her senior year and start university in the fall. So with three states distance between them she had only seen her half brother a handful of times since; her graduations, at the occasional Christmas or thanksgiving holiday, her and Drew’s wedding, right after Andy was born and so on.

Back just after Christmas her mom had called and asked about the possibility of James being able to stay with them during the summer, so that she and Rick could have the honeymoon they had never had a chance to take. Sylvia thought that Sharon might like the chance to spend time with her brother, and Sharon readily agreed. Sylvia reassured her that if James was too much trouble, both Rick’s and Sylvia’s parents still lived in Bonita Springs and either set of grandparents could always keep the boy. So plans had been made, her mom and Rick were going to bring James down as soon as school let out, they would stay a few days before departing for their overdue honeymoon, returning around labor day to get James back home before school starts.

That had been the plan now for almost six months, then last week she had gotten another call from her mom. Rick had just found out that his brothers son Todd, would be visiting Rick’s parents for the summer too. Rick’s dad was still recovering from a heart attack earlier in the year, and although his parents really wanted to visit with their grandson, Rick and his brother wondered if it might be okay for him to stay with them where he could get to know James since they hadn’t been around each other since they were infants. Rick’s parents were insistent they wanted to visit with both their grandsons this summer, but this way the cousins could still visit with them without making more work for the older couple.

Sharon didn’t know a thing about Rick’s nephew, but what harm could there be? Besides another kid the same age as James might give her an easier time too as long as the boys got along well. She wasn’t crazy about being put on the spot by her mom like that, but really she couldn’t think of a reason why it wouldn’t be okay. The hide-a-bed in the couch was big enough for the boys, and then as soon as her Mom and Rick were on their way she would turn the guest room over to the boys, and so she agreed that it would be fine for Todd to stay with them too

It was the phone call the following day that started to complicate things for her.

“May I speak with Sharon please?” The woman on the phone had asked.

“This is her” Sharon had replied, already tensing up thinking that it might be someone trying to sell her something.

“Oh good, I’m so glad I got you. My name’s Mary Arden, I’m Rick’s sister in-law. Rick said you had agreed to let Todd stay with you this summer. We had been wanting to cancel his trip altogether, and send him to stay with my parents instead, which Mr. and Mrs. Arden were being insistent we not do. You know how stubborn Mr. Arden is, he’s in no condition to keep up with a 12 year old, but he wouldn’t hear otherwise. This way we can still send Todd down for the summer without making it so hard on Mr. Arden.

“Well I’m happy to have him. It’ll probably be good for my brother to have the company of another boy his age, and I loved spending time with my cousins when I was that age myself.”

“Well, It’s very kind of you to do so. But before you fully agree, I’d like to tell you a few things about our Todd, so you can change your mind if you think it’s too much trouble.”

Sharon felt her stomach drop like there was a big but coming here, but what could she say? “Oh I’m sure it’ll be fine, whatever it is”

“Well, I’m so embarrassed to say this, in fact I’m sure you have already heard this from the Ardens anyways, but you should still hear this from the horse’s mouth. Todd is a pretty normal boy in just about every respect, the one place where he is really deficient though, is that he is a chronic bedwetter. I’ve been so beside myself about what to do about it. The doctors assure me, it is not from anything I have done or from a lack of proper parenting, but that some children just have trouble in this regard. The doctor has even told us that since he has never achieved nighttime dryness that he may never do so.”

Sharon thought she could hear the shame and condemnation in the woman’s voice. So much so that she instantly felt sorry for the boy whose mom felt that way about something that was obviously outside of his control. She would have to make sure she never had that attitude about her Andy if he continued to wet into his teen years like his father had.

“Oh I’m sure he’ll grow out of it eventually, in the course of dealing with my sons nighttime issues I learned my own husband had wet until he was almost in high school”

Sharon wasn’t sure if she really heard or only imagined a small gasp coming from the other woman.

“Well I’m sure you’ve done all you can dear, maybe the doctors ARE right and with SOME children it just takes more time, although I wouldn’t be completely honest if I didn’t admit that sometimes I think Todd is just being stubborn and willful”

Sharon wasn’t sure if she would like this woman if she got to know her, and she was getting a little defensive for the boy she hadn’t even met yet.

“Well it won’t be a big deal for us here, I can assure you, some extra laundry never killed anyone” Sharon said, knowing it for a lie if she was going to have to deal with wet sheets and the like everyday.

“There hopefully won’t be a lot of that, his school assures us he seldom if ever leaks” Mary reassured her.

“Oh. I see, I had no idea, there were….” Sharon trailed off unsure if her assumption was correct

“Diapers? Oh yes, they make diapers for children his age, a little bit hard to find, but they do in fact make them. I think most of the children that use them are mentally retarded though”

Sharon heard the way the woman said ‘retarded’ and had to tamp down her temper a bit, she reminded herself that she didn’t even know this woman, and that she deserved the benefit of the doubt, but at least to Sharon the way she said the word clearly conveyed how the women felt about people so afflicted.

It wouldn’t sink in until much later, at least consciously, that it sounded as if the boy lived at a boarding school. If he spent the summers elsewhere, when did he ever spend time with his parents? How lonely must he be she would later wonder…

“And to that end we had already set it up with our medical supply company to ship an adequate supply to his grandparents throughout the summer, so you can simply pick up more from them as you need them, and they have an 800 number you can call if there is a problem, they will bill us at the house, naturally”

“That sounds very convenient, thank you” Sharon told her, not knowing what else to say.

“And Todd is a slight boy for his age, all of his classmates look so much more mature than him. But don’t let his looks fool you, he eats like any other boy his age, and will eat you out of house and home. When he is home, it seems we can’t keep enough groceries in the house. So Ted and I will be sending a check along with Todd which we hope will sufficiently cover expenses, and perhaps allow you to take all three of the boys to the Orlando parks if you’d like. Would five cover it?”

“Five hundred, for just a couple of months? That’s more than generous, thank you.” Sharon told her, feeling almost like she was suddenly being paid to babysit, and like the rest of this conversation she just wasn’t sure how she felt about that. It was one thing to do this as a favor to her step father, his brother and their aging father, it was another thing to be obligated through taking money.

Mary laughed, “No dear, five thousand, it’s what we had planned to send to the Ardens. If you think you might need more I’ll ask Ted to arrange it.”

Five. Thousand. Dollars. That was half the cost of a new car. Now she really felt like the help. She was about to tell the woman to keep the money, in fact maybe even stick it up her ass, that she wasn’t interested. But for some reason she had already decided she felt sorry for Todd and if she could help give him a fun summer with his cousin, then she would do everything in her power to make it happen.

“That sounds like the perfect amount. We’d love to have him” was what she found herself saying, and just like that Sharon decided that both boys were going to have an ‘awesome’ summer as the kids were saying. Given a little more thought, aside from some extra groceries, the only thing she would need to do is to get a another waterproof sheet for the hide-a-bed and later the guest room. Other than that it would probably have no impact on her current plans to take in the other boy, and if two pre teens became a little too much, well then they could always go spend an afternoon with their grandparents.

In the week since, however, she had thought of a million little things beyond just buying a plastic sheet for the bed. Her mind jumping from one extreme to the other, each question seeming both ridiculous and relevant at the same time. Did Todd diaper himself? Surely at that age he did, but could she be sure, was she going to be laying him down in the living room floor like Andy? What would James say and how would he act, it’s not like her brothers behavior was a known quantity here. What if he bullied Todd? What if the Todd bullied him? For that matter what did she even know about having boys that age for such an extended period of time? She could remember that time at camp when Stacy Higgens who had just turned twelve had her first period and had no real idea what to do about. Sharon knew THAT wouldn’t be the same with boys, but was boy puberty over the summer something she should ask Drew about? When she did ask Drew about it, he tried his best not to laugh at her, but he assured her that they probably still had a year or so before that was a concern for either of the boys and if one of them was an ‘early bloomer’ they would probably just spend a lot of time in the bathroom.

Worse than those general fears though, was thatshe had begun to worry about Andy in this environment, Would being around an older boy in diapers be a bad example for him? Each time she had that particular thought she quickly reminded herself that was they way someone like that Mary woman thought, not her, that she KNEW Andy wasn’t in control of his problem and that he wouldn’t wet or not wet based on what another boy did. Still she kept revisiting that particular fear multiple times, and the very fact the she kept coming up against her own unconscious biases was irritating. That was simply Mary’s fault for planting such doubts in her mind, she’d tell herself sulkily knowing it for the lie it was, all the while doing her best to imagine they were going to get Andy day trained by September, older boy in diapers or no.

All of those worries were bad enough, but they were just that, worries. A more real and immediate problem presented itself on how to prep Andy for a whole Todd situation as a whole. She could just imagine Andy not realizing the older boy might be embarrassed about his nightwear, after all they had done everything to not shame Andy about his. What if he said something to Todd, even in accident to upset him? If Todd acts upset, would it teach Andy to be ashamed? She had been putting it off all week, but she knew she could put it off no longer, and she was going to have to have a talk with Andy this afternoon about their guest showing up tomorrow, but that was going to be such an awkward conversation for a five year old. How do you tell a kid that age, that the thing they shouldn’t be embarrassed about might be embarrassing for others? She figured Andy was too smart and would see through the argument that it was ‘private’, but how else could she put it to protect her sons self esteem and that of Todd’s too? She really wished Drew would be the one having these conversations, since he lived it growing up, but Drew clammed up when it came to the subject, even to her. His only contribution was in helping to reassure Andy he should never felt bad for his wetting problems night or day (the day part semi irritated Sharon, after all september was getting closer every day).

Sighing and wondering what she had gotten herself into, she pushed all those thoughts from her head. Calm down, she told herself, not sure if that would work, taking a few deep breaths. All the work is done, she would deal with any problems as they arose, worrying would get her nowhere, she reasoned, feeling much better after centering herself. She glanced at the clock on the family room wall, she had a good half hour or so until Drew and Andy were expected home. She walked the few steps to the TV and thumbed the Nintendo on, picking up the controller, surely she had time for a quick game of Mario before anyone got home. She’d enjoy the quiet while it lasted, because for the next three months she was going to have a full house.

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Todd wasn’t sure of much of anything other than he didn’t know why he was being sent off to stay with someone he wasn’t even related to, to hang out with a cousin he didn’t know. Was it too much to ask that he get to stay home just one summer? When his dad had first expressed concern about sending Todd to his parents for the summer, given that Todd’s grandfather was still recovering from a heart attack earlier in the year, Todd had been at least a little hopeful of getting to stay home instead of making the pilgrimage to Florida. Of course Todd instantly felt guilty about finding any bright side to his PaPa’s illness, and he loved his MayMay and PaPa dearly, it’s just that he really wanted to spend time in his own room, with his own things, doing only what he wanted to do when he wanted to do it, just about every other kid in the world got to do that so why couldn’t he? His dreams of summer freedom were short lived though, without wasting any time his Mom had swooped in, suggesting that Todd could spend the summer with her parents and extended family in connecticut, again, this summer. Todd’s summers were spent with one or the other sets of grandparents, even numbered years were Connecticut years with his mom’s family, Lilliane and Grover Macallum, odd years were Florida years, spent with his Father’s parents, Maybel and Lemm Arden. Since it was summer of ‘87, it was the Arden’s summer, Todd protested that if he couldn’t go to Florida, that he should stay home if only to preserve the proper order and rotation of grandparents.

His mother dismissed his argument with a “Well you’re going somewhere, you know you can’t stay home by yourself. I’m not going to not work this summer which means your father and I will be in a different country.”

So Todd was fully prepared to go to Connecticut for an unprecedented second year in a row. But then his dad came in with the news that Florida arrangements had been made after all, Todd would still be able to visit with his MayMay and PaPa, only the trouble of keeping up with a twelve year old boy would be undertaken by Todd’s uncles step daughter.

Todd almost instantly went from hating the idea of another year at the lake, to kind of thinking it didn’t sound bad compared to living with a woman he had never met. Besides the lake was really kinda nice wasn’t it?

The Macallums, who were strictly Grandfather and Grandmother, thank you kindly, doted on Todd since he was their youngest grandchild by a good ten years. Summers at their lake estate were always exciting and fun filled, if he had any room to complain, beyond not having access to his computer or any video games, it was that he felt that being there for the summer could in many ways feel like more work than being at school.

Todd had spent just about every other summer with them since he could remember, his parents would bring him and they might stay a week or two, before they headed off to wherever his Mom and Dad were working for the summer. Every day at the lake was something new and different from the day before, never spontaneous though, it was always a thing which had been planned, scheduled, and regimented to fit within the rigorous time blocks into which the day had been divided. Todd’s Grandfather believed in planning and ran the family holiday with the same precision and forethought as he brought to bear in his business ventures.

On a typical day, Mr. Cook who along with his wife served as stewards for their lake property, would rouse the boy before the sun was up, conveying him to the en suite bathroom. There Todd would sleepily brush his teeth before removing his pajamas and diaper from the night before, rolling the diaper up and depositing it in the lidded waste basket provided solely for that purpose. Mr. cook would have of course already started the shower for him, setting out towels on the warming rack for when Todd was done. You wouldn’t think you would want warm towels in the summer, but Todd had to admit they were very pleasant and made the early morning rousing just a little bit more tolerable.

By the time he was done showering, he would return to his room where his sheets would be replaced from the night before, regardless of whether he had leaked or not. The bed would be made and his clothes would be laid out on the bed, stacked neatly in the order he would put them on, his undershorts on top, lightly starched with a smart crease in them from having been pressed. There would be shoes appropriate to the mornings activity, or several pairs of shoes should the morning be casual enough for Todd to choose his footwear, under the bench positioned directly below the window that looked out onto the garden and their slip on the lake. There would be a long brass shoe horn set across the bench for his use.

Breakfast was usually taken on the veranda, with Grandmother, his Aunt Vera, Uncle Reggie and sometimes his cousins Chadwick and Veronica. Chadwick and Veronica were twins, and Todd had always looked up to them, for their age allowed them a great deal of autonomy and privilege. Now in their early twenties they seldom made an appearance for breakfast, and sometimes even missing lunch, having stayed out late with their friends most nights at the beach across the lake. Grandmother of course usually made it known that she did not approve of their partying, and either Uncle Reggie or Aunt Vera, or sometimes both, would nod and agree before saying something placating. Grandfather usually had his breakfast in his office, but he did occasionally join them, although if he did he mostly spent time thumbing through papers and harrumphing in agreement when Grandmother admired the sunrise or the flowers or the weather.

Post breakfast, Todd was doing something different just about every day, usually with his Grandfather. It might be going on the water to learn how to sail, or they’d go shooting clays (Which Todd loved and wished he could do more often), some days it might be going along to the country club where he might swim, or play handball, or be given golf lessons from one of the caddies. Occasionally his Grandmother would lay claim to him and they would drive into the village and go from art shop to art shop, or listen to a concerto performed by a string quartet, or eat ice cream cones while watching a mime or street juggler.

Todd loved doing all of those things, but it was still all kinds of hectic with one thing following into another just like being in school, most of the activities having strict start times, which meant he was always on the go and always being hurried. Which was why he so looked forward to lunch, which was usually had ‘in the field’ and led directly into a slightly more relaxed afternoon. If Todd were in town with his Grandmother it was a fair bet he could get leave to visit the arcade, those days being special to him as it was really his only opportunity to play video games during a Connecticut summer. His grandfather having declined to let Todd have a game system at the house, explaining that Todd had all of the rest of the year to play games and that if they were going to spend time together Todd would learn the kind of skills that might serve him later in life, not mindless button pushing.

After lunch he was generally free to make his own entertainment until dinner time as long as that entertainment was not watching television, which was deemed ‘a frivolous activity for those without direction or ambition’. So Todd would more often than not avail himself of the library, and read, which in truth he probably enjoyed more than watching reruns anyways. He had developed a love, that bordered on obsession, for the Hardy boy’s mysteries. The estates library having a complete set that had been purchased for Chadwick when he had been just a boy, alongside a set of Nancy Drew books for Veronica (which Todd had passed over imagining them to be too girly or something). Todd had read each Hardy Boys book now several times, but that didn’t stop him from going back for more, for when he closed the cover on the last volume he would put it back on the shelf and pull the first one down and start on the first page.

He loved the friendship and camaraderie shared between the brothers Frank and Joe and their friend Chet, even if that did make Todd keenly aware of his own lack of real, close friends. It puzzled him why he didn’t have even a single ‘good’ friend, much less a best friend, the kind of friend that sticks with you through thick and thin.

Todd had sufficient self awareness that he suspected the extent to which most other people found him to be irritating or annoying. Adults always seemed to have little patience for the things Todd thought were interesting and most of his peers and classmates likewise dismissed him outright as a defacto dweeb or nerd. In all fairness he did have some friends from the computer club and the science club, although both groups heavily overlapped. Still it was people he could eat his meals with, and could play dungeons and dragons with on those weekends in which they were required to stay on campus. But Todd knew they were mainly friends of convenience, ‘school friends’, okay to pass the time with, but he doubted any of them would want to spend time with him were there other, better options available.

Todd knew better than to sit there and feel sorry for himself, and he did his best to not focus on the negatives, but once he started down that path his thoughts would turn to the other reason why he believed he was so low on the social rolls at school. His bed wetting, he was certain was a factor too, for it relegated him to the special needs dorm, ironically to cut down on the teasing.

In the third grade, the youngest resident grade, he had been in the normal dormitories for his class, consisting of four rooms which each slept four boys. Todd only had two roommates in his room, and both the other boys took his night time protection in stride, with no one commenting or thinking it out of place, but just after Thanksgiving, a new student, Baxter Gilleon got the open bunk. Baxter did think it was funny, and quite noteworthy too, making it a point to tell everyone, not just those in Todd’s class, but the other third grade group as well, about the nurse who came by before lights out to change ‘Todd’s baby diapers’

The teasing escalated and was spread by other children too, in fact it was bad enough that by the time the holiday break was just about upon them the administration requested a meeting with Todd’s parents to discuss a course of action. The administration posited that the best solution would be to move Todd to the special needs dormitory, where his classmates would not see his diapers, and therefore not tease him about them, Todd would be given a roommate, a boy with cerebral palsy, who also wore diapers, to give him a kindred spirit and further reduce the likelihood of anyone finding out. Satisfied with the proposed solution, Todd’s parents agreed, and upon returning after the holidays Todd found himself in a new room, with a new roommate, Eliot. The plan did cut down on most of the teasing, which was a welcome relief. But it soon became apparent to Todd, that it also brought a new crop of problems too, not least of which resulted from being on the other end of the campus, far away from the main housing unit and it’s common rooms and activities which led Todd to be isolated in a very real sense, especially since students of his age were not allowed out of their dorms in the evenings unless there was a school function. A second, and entirely unintended consequence, was that while the teasing did indeed die down, Todd’s wetting became a matter of speculation and gossip. Now everyone, even kids in other grades, wondered why the otherwise ‘normal’ Todd was in the same dorm as the handicap kids, everyone asked ‘what’s wrong with him?’ and someone would invariably answer. The absolute worst thing about all of it though was that Elliot, who walked only with the assistance of crutches and wore diapers not just at night but also during the day too, seemed to be loved by everyone. In fact he was super popular! Todd could not recall even one time when anyone had made fun of Elliot, had called him a name or said anything behind his back. Not that he wanted Eliot to be teased or anything, it just didn’t seem fair that Eliot got what seemed to Todd like a pass because of his CP, and Todd who wet the bed for reasons no less valid or no more under his own control got teased to the point of being driven from the dorm.

So that was why when he read his beloved adventure stories, instead of being thrilled at the action, mystery and danger, his takeaway was that it would be nice to have a real friend. His vicarious friendships with the brothers and their friends was why Todd was in the library most evenings, where he would read until Mrs. Cook would find him to tell him he should get ready for dinner.

“It’s almost time for dinner now, bullpup.” She’d tell him with a smile, bullpup being her nickname for him since he was little.

When he was younger, it had often been Mrs. Cook who had watched him in the evenings so the adults could go out and she had always called him ‘little bullpup’, he never knew her reason and when he had gotten a little older he had once thought to ask her why, she just smiled and touched the tip of his nose, “cause that’s what you are, a little bull puppy.” Todd didn’t like nicknames for the most part, but Mrs. Cook could call him bullpup and it suited him just fine.

The Cooks themselves had a nice victorian cottage right on the lake itself, where they stayed year round as caretakers for the larger estate, seeing to the normal maintenance and upkeep. Come summer they would each assume other more domestic roles, with Mr. Cook helping with sundries, acting as an impromptu valet and acting as an occasional chauffeur since Grandmother didn’t drive, Mrs. Cook would for her part, true to her name, cook most of the meals, and keep up with the wash, and maybe do some minimal tidying, although a housekeeping service sent someone out twice weekly to do most of the real cleaning.

Todd loved them both like his own family, since he had known them all his life, seeing them just about every other summer, and for nearly every spring break. He thought they were fond of him too, but there was a cynical part of his mind which wondered if their fondness was a result of his Grandfather’s money, if they simply felt obligated to like him? Todd hated that part of him, sometimes it seemed like it would never be quiet, so he did his best to assure himself that the Cooks did indeed like him, after all Mrs. Cook wouldn’t call him bullpup if she didn’t, would she? And she certainly wouldn’t invite a boy she didn’t like to come to their cottage for cookies and lemonade.

Once told that dinner was imminent, Todd would return to his room where he would change clothes if he needed too, like if he was wearing swim trunks and a t-shirt, or other clothes which Grandmother said was not proper for the dinner table. He would comb his hair, wash his hands and if he needed to he would wash his face as well.

After dinner, the younger adults if they were in attendance, would leave the house to seek their friends at the public ‘beach’ on the other side of the lake, while the older grownups would all retreat to the lounge for drinks where they would play bridge or pinochle. On very rare occasions they might all watch a movie on the large projection set, which allowed Todd to opportunity to snuggle into his Grandmother’s lap as they lay on the large leather bar and tack sofa. If the adults were not doing something he found entertaining, Todd could watch the small TV in the study for no more than an hour, or return to the library if he’d rather. Sometimes he would seek out Mr. Cook and pester him to show him how to carve and whittle things using a pocket knife and some soft pine from the workshop.

Around 9 pm Todd was expected to find the grown ups and give them their good nights before heading to his room, where he would find his bed already turned down, whatever book he had been reading during the day somehow finding its way to the bedside table, regardless of where he had left it. Likewise, his pajamas and diaper would be already laid out for him. He would put on his diaper, remembering when he had been small enough that his mother or Mrs. Cook had done it for him, laying him across the shoe bench where he would look up at the ceiling while they worked. He really missed having someone to put him in his night diapers, he used to love the routine and ritual of it all. If he were being honest about it, that was probably what he was most jealous of his roommate Eliot for, was that he got to wear diapers day and night, and someone put them on him and never made him feel bad for wearing them. Todd knew he wanted to wear his diapers all the time too, but at the same time he knew, his Mom especially, would be mortified to find that out, so he thought if he made the thought go away when he had it, it might eventually stop coming up. So far it hadn’t.

In fact of all his memories, those of being little and being cared for, were his most cherished. He would often find himself daydreaming of those times when his mom would call him into the living room, telling him it was time to get ready for bed. He’d protest, she’d yell back and he would finally quit playing, she’d help him undress before having him lie down on the floor where she would diaper him, sending him off to bed with a hug and a kiss and a pat on the bottom. Those were nights where no one told him he should try and stay dry, and mornings where no one looked disappointed when he wasn’t. Something about him being teased at school had changed his Mom’s attitude toward his problem though. She put an end to diapering him the very night she had read the recap of what the school had sent.

“Todd, I’ve given it some thought and I think you need to take ownership of your problem. Your classmates were not making fun of you for wetting, at least not directly, they were making fun of you for being babied. That’s my fault, I should have insisted on this before you went off to school. Your classmates will respect you for it, and I’m certain you will feel better about yourself too.”

He’d cried that night, and the rest of the weekend too, but to no avail his mom could not be swayed. When he got back to school his mom went in to leave strict instructions that the nurse was not to come by. So that night at bedtime, Todd went to the restroom across from his room, taking his pajamas and diaper with him, Returning to his room a few minutes later with his dirty clothes rolled up under one arm.

“I hear a baby diaper. Hey Tim, are you wearing a baby diaper?” Baxter asked

Tim sniggered, “No, I don’t wear baby diapers”

Baxter ignored the other boy in the room, Josh, for he never participated in the teasing, which Todd was grateful for. Todd had considered both Josh and Tim friends before Baxter came along.

“Hey Jonah, are you wearing a baby diaper?” Baxter called across the vestibule and into the other bedroom.

Jonah appeared in the door “No I am not wearing a diaper”

“Who’s wearing a diaper then?” Baxter asked loudly as the other nearby dorm rooms emptied and all the third grade boys crowded around to watch

Todd following the advice of his parents, had simply tried to ignore Baxter, going straight to his bed and getting under the covers, doing his best not to cry,

But Baxter and Tim and Jonah pulled the sheet off and held Todd down so they could remove his Pajama bottoms which they then tossed around chanting “Baby! Baby! Baby!”

Finally Mr. Clemmons their teacher came busting in asking about the commotion causing the boys to scatter back to their rooms. Baxter just tossed Todd’s pj pants back to him with a smirk.

Baxter nor his compatriots weren’t disciplined or scolded. Mr. Clemmons simply told everyone to settle down or there would be no TV in the commons for a week.

The rest of the week was pretty much the same routine every night, which is why by the time his parents came in for their conference with the staff, the school had decided to move Todd to the special needs dorm.

Now without his mom or Mrs. Cooks help, he’d tape on his own diaper, and pull on the summer pajamas put out for him. He’d crawl into bed and read a bit more until around 9:30 when either Mr. or Mrs. Cook would turn up to gather his dirty clothes from the day, give him a glass of cucumber water for his bedside and ask if he needed anything before going to sleep. Mrs. Cook would kiss his forehead and say “goodnight bullpup’, and if instead Mr. Cook had come that night he would say the same little poem “Aye Lad, Sleep your sleep, and dream your dreams, for mornings not as far it seems.”

Summers with his Dads parents, PaPa and MayMay couldn’t be more different. There Todd could watch as much TV as he wanted as long as that TV consisted of the The Joker’s Wild, The Price is Right, the news, All My Children and General Hospital. After 3 pm, when the soaps went off the air, he could watch cartoons on the UHF channels if he wanted. There were no planned activities like those with the Macallum’s. Todd was free most days to do as he chose, although he would sometimes find himself being asked to move boxes in the garage, or to collect the fallen palm fronds and throw them away after a storm, or sometimes he might even be asked to empty the lower cupboard so they could be cleaned without MayMay needing to bend over as much. Lunch was almost always sandwiches on paper plates, and dinners usually simple boxed items like hamburger helper or macaroni and cheese, with the occasional bucket of chicken. After dinner they would all sit on the lanai with the windows open and play Yahtzee, or Uno for a bit before going back in to watch tv until it was his bedtime.

Despite his young age, Todd understood the financial disparities between his grandparents, he understood his Mom’s parents were well to do, just as he understood his Dad’s folks were not. Todd never felt a lack of anything when visiting them, except a lack of video games, but that was a truth with the Macallums well. MayMay regularly clipped coupons, something he couldn’t imagine Grandmother doing. And she planned out her shopping trips carefully, knowing which stores give senior discounts depending on the particular day of the week, or which businesses would take competitors coupons. Conversely Grandmother knew when the boutiques got restocked and which galleries were previewing artists she might like to collect.

It wasn’t these obvious differences between his grandparents that Todd thought was fascinating, but rather the similarities which you wouldn’t expect from people so separated by socio economic factors. PaPa and Grandfather both had strict strong ideas about how Todd should conduct himself and how he should spend his time. The both loved their boats and being on the water. Grandfather teaching Todd to sail and PaPa taking him into the gulf to fish. Both men loved the outdoors and nature, both trying in their way to impart that love to their grandson. For Grandfather it was just being out in the fresh air, you could be shooting clay pigeons, or playing a round of golf, neither mattered as much as just being out in God’s creations. PaPa, likewise loved to be outside, only he had to work around the south Florida heat, so their fishing trips were early, and their almost daily walks through the neighborhood, for PaPas doctors prescribed a certain amount of walking each day, was by necessity only after the sun had started to go down.

Of all the things he did with his PaPa, those walks might have been his favorite, something about walking through the neighborhood in the reddish glow of sunset, crickets just starting to chirp seemed perfect to Todd. Even the air smelled nice, unless of course someone had their sprinkler on in which case it smelled kinda gross and sulfury. They would walk without talking much, occasionally PaPa might point out a tree or plant he thought was pretty, but mostly they were both content to just walk and listen to the quiet, something not normal for your average little boy, but those walks were different somehow. He didn’t think he could articulate why, but those evening walks felt a little bit like church, like he shouldn’t talk lest someone shush him and tell him to be good.

His grandmothers also shared a lot in common. Grandmother always saw to it that she took Todd to the ice cream parlor for sundaes a few times each summer, and his May May kept the freezer full of ice pops and the fridge always had a mix of store brand sodas, and she never told him he had too many. (At least before dinner that is, afterward she would do everything in her power to keep him away from even the tiniest drop of water, May May being of the firm belief that drinking after dinner was the primary culprit in his wetting! She would even go so far as to remind him to spit out the water when brushing his teeth, so he wouldn’t wet the bed). Both Grandmother and MayMay always fixed his hair weather it needed it or not, and they both made room on the couch for him, and even more remarkable still, they would listen to him talk about his computer at school, or the one he had at home as if it interested them, which Todd realized it probably didn’t, but he couldn’t help himself it being so nice to get to share what he LOVED with someone, anyone, else.

So in the end it didn’t matter which summer it was, one for the Mccallums or one for the Arden’s, he loved spending time with both sets of grandparents. That wasn’t to say that he wouldn’t be happy just once getting to stay home for the whole summer, to be left entirely to his own devices.

Coming back from his meandering thoughts, Todd looked at the clock again to see how close it was to the time in which ‘Sharon’ was supposed to pick him up. He got why he couldn’t stay with PaPa and MayMay, He understood his PaPa was still recovering, which was something he hadn’t really understood until last night when it really hit home when he first spotted his PaPa as he waited for Todd at the gate at the airport. He looked so much older and frailer than he remembered, and for some reason that made Todd very uncomfortable. So he got the ‘why he couldn’t stay with PaPa and MayMay’, just not the ‘why he should go to some strangers house’, it just seemed off to Todd, he didn’t know the first thing about her or her family.

Additionally, the whole not being related part of the relationship bothered Todd for some reason too. Sharon, was his Aunt Sylvia’s daughter, which to Todd seemed as if it should make her his cousin, after all the formula for cousin is that they are your aunt and uncles children. Yet somehow she wasn’t his cousin and that didn’t make any sense, his aunt was his aunt after all, so she should be his cousin, end of story. His parents had tried to explain, as did PaPa and MayMay, but there was something about it Todd couldn’t quite grasp.

Most of this morning had gone by pleasantly enough, even though he had gotten up just as early as he did when he was in Connecticut, which to Todd was too early. He spent the morning greedily soaking in the affection and attention of his grandparents, talking them into playing Yahtzee before lunch. He was determined to make the most of his time with them since he didn’t know how much he would see them over the coming weeks, if at all. However as the morning turned into afternoon his mood had started to darken, he was getting increasingly apprehensive at the prospect of staying in a stranger’s house for three months. Even his aunt and uncle and cousin James were mostly strangers too, he hadn’t seen them since he was around four years old and he could barely remember anything about them. On reflection Todd knew they got a christmas card from them each year and that right there was the extent of meaningful information he had, which hardly seemed like enough for him to be comfortable staying with them for 3 whole months.

Bolstering his will, he did his best to force himself to try to see the good of the situation. He was looking forward to seeing James, who was the same age as him AND his cousin. His cousin would have to be friends with him right? They were family after all, and Chadwick and Veronica were always nice to him. He really hoped they would get along, it would be so nice to spend some time with someone his own age who actually liked him.

He both heard and felt the doorbell when it rang, a thing that set his nerves on edge. Why did he expect James would like him simply because they were related? He would probably hate computers and videogames and comic books and Hardy Boys books and all the things Todd loved, so why was he getting his hopes up? Why did he think he could even manage to not act like a dork, when had he EVER managed that? This whole thing was doomed.

“Well if it isn’t our favorite step granddaughter” She heard PaPa say as he opened the door.

“Hi PaPa” was the woman’s answer, punctuated with a little laugh that almost sounded forced to Todd. From his vantage point in the lanai, he couldn’t see the front door, which was close enough that he could hear, but with a wall blocking his view, he had no idea yet what she looked like.

“You got our Jimmy or your young ‘un with you? We got ‘em an ice pop if you do”

Todd felt a stab of jealousy, those were his Ice Pops weren’t they?

“Sorry PaPa, It’s just me, but I think Mom and Rick said something about all of us going out to lunch tomorrow?”

“Yeah that’s the plan” PaPa agreed, sounding a little disappointed, Todd being sensitive to feeling left out wondered if he was sad that his Son and Grandson hadn’t yet been to visit after getting in town last night?

“Todd your rides here” PaPa said, his voice sounding normal again, as he brought Sharon into the living room, which was positioned between the foyer and the lanai. Todd still feeling bad for his grandfather went and gave him a big hug, feeling him squeeze back, before he let go to turn and look at Sharon.

At first he thought Sharon looked a lot like his cousin Veronica, but then he realized that was only because like veronica she had big boobs, kind of like Dolly Parton. Todd wasn’t sure if that was really an accurate estimate or not, since all boobs over a certain size made him think of Dolly Parton for some reason. Her hair was red, and held back with a white plastic band, she wore a navy top which wasn’t really tight, except in one place, and her shorts were white with cuffs hitting mid thigh. Maybe it was her boobs that made her arms look so small and thin, but her legs didn’t look as dainty by comparison. Todd decided she was one of those women whose lower half was meatier than their upper, like his English teacher Ms Vellum, who was called Ms. Shelf behind her back, although didn’t get the joke.

Todd forced a smile on his face, hoping she wouldn’t sense his apprehension “Hello, I’m Todd and it’s very nice to meet you, thank you for letting me stay with you, I hope not to be an inconvenience and I promise I won’t be any trouble.” He checked off each of the things his mother had insisted he tell her when they meet.

Her laugh was definitely forced this time

“Well it’s nice to meet you too, and I don’t see how any cousin of mine could be any trouble anyway.” she told him as she pulled him in for a hug

“But we aren’t “ Todd started to say, genuinely confused after everyone from his parents to MayMay and PaPa stressing that they weren’t really related.

“Oh I guess not in the legal sense maybe, but my Momma is your Aunt isn’t she, so shouldn’t that mean were cousins?”

Todd, upon hearing his own premise from her mouth, in that instant lost any reservations he had about the woman. Sharon was brilliant.

“That’s what I tried to tell everyone too!” He said excitedly, until he realized he had blurted it out in the same cadence as an over excited six year old might.

Her laugh this time sounded genuine. “Some people worry about the silliest things sometimes, we can be cousins just because we want to right?”

Todd nodded.

“Allright boy, why don’t you carry your things out to the car.” PaPa asked gesturing toward the two suitcases which Todd had brought, along with his backpack, and the cardboard carton that held enough diapers for a good part of the summer.

Todd did as he was asked, it taking several trips though. Each time he returned to the house he would catch another bit of the conversation between Sharon and his grandparents
“I’m not so frail I can’t watch both my grandsons at once, and May is as fit as ever, so you call as often as you want a break, send the little one along to if it suits you, May’d love to have a little guy running…” was what he got when he fetched the second suitcase and the duffle.

Returning for the case of diapers he heard “Drews even got them a new video game system, and I haven’t been able to pull Jimmy off it for one second, so he’ll be in good company with this one I think. We just got to make sure they don’t spend all their time inside.” Todd felt elation at that one, wondering just what it was they had, and it sounded like James liked video games too which was better than Todd could have wished for! He could not believe how lucky he was, Sharon seemed great and it sounded like he and James might have something in common after all.

But nothing stays golden forever, for when he returned to the house after closing everything in the trunk it was only to hear “I try to keep him from drinking after 7” That had been MayMay talking of course, Todd sincerely hoped Sharon wouldn’t listen to her on this, it annoyed him to no end to go to bed thirsty, and it would be worse if James got drinks and he didn’t.

A few minutes later, hugs and kisses having been exchanged, Todd found himself just the tiniest bit nervous again as he pulled the seat belt across him in the driveway. He hated the way his emotions bounced around like this, happy one minute and scared the next, it was exhausting to always be yo-yoing between feelings. He took a couple of deep breaths, trying to banish his little voice of doubt, doing his best to go into this adventure with an open mind.

Sharon looked over to the boy who sat beside her, she got the impression he might still be a little nervous, and who could blame him? It’s not like he knew any of them or anything about any of them past that they were family he never saw.

When she had first walked in and saw him she thought this couldn’t possibly be the boy she was supposed to pick up, he was supposed to be twelve like Jimmy, and this boy couldn’t be any more than seven or eight years old. Forcing herself to make a second look, she realized he was basically the same size as Jimmy, his hair was almost black, where Jimmys was reddish brown, maybe he was just a wee bit shorter and perhaps not quite as broad in the shoulders, but there was no doubt in her second appraisal that he was in fact around 12 years old.

So why did he look so young on first glance? His clothes were what the kids these days called ‘preppy’, which was used to describe how someone who attended a college preparatory school or an Ivy League college might dress, and given what she had heard about the boy that was probably an accurate prediction for his future. As for the clothes themselves, he was wearing tan chinos, a brown leather belt and a teal golf shirt tucked into his trousers, a crescent of white beneath the collar from a crew neck undershirt. His sneakers and a peek of white socks at his ankles were the only thing he was wearing that said pre-teen, everything else screamed “Mortimer goes to Harvard”. To Sharon he looked like he was a little boy dressed for Easter, she half expected that he should squirm around complaining about the fancy clothes. Was that what made his bearing so different then? She decided that wasn’t it, that it was something more internal to his personality, her mind finally settling on the analogy that he was like one of those little chihuahua dogs, you could tell he was just shaking on the inside and was so nervous he might pee on the floor, but he was doing everything to look calm and pretend he’s big and tough on the outside. That’s the way this boy was, she decided, he might be twelve on the outside, but on the inside he was still wanting to hide behind his mothers skirts.

Even when he walked over to her and stuck out his hand, it had the earnestness of a toddler playing grown up, and his obviously rehearsed speech?!? That must have been Mary’s doing she decided, who makes a kid feel like they are an inconvenience and pre apologize for it? That just wasn’t right. Seeing him like that, her heart broke for him, and it was all she could do to just try and convey to him the best way she knew how that he could just be a 12 year old boy without having to apologize, so she gave him a big hug and said the first thing that came to her mind, about them being cousins and all that. That whole bit seemed like the kind of argument Andy, even at his age would have seen through, but Sharon was surprised, surprised and delighted when the boy lit up at her words with genuine happiness.

She started the car and pulled out of the driveway, her house was less than five miles away so she had decided to take the longest way home she could manage so she could feel him out a bit.

“So I hear you are a whiz with computers” She asked.

He turned to look at her before speaking, Sharon thought the look he gave made him seem as if he was trying to figure out a riddle or a joke. “Yeah, I have two computers, one at school and one at home. I’m also in the computer club at school, but there are only a few other kids in it, so it is not a very big club.”

“Wow! That sounds so cool, I’m not very good with them I don’t even really know how to turn one on without it breaking I bet” She said, seeing Todd was sitting a little more upright in his seat, a smile on his face.

“Jimmy is really looking forward to you coming too, he’s been wanting someone to play Mario with, and Andy, my little boy, isn’t so good at it.” Susan continued

“I love Mario and computer and video games in general. I love arcades and I love computers, but I already said that, and I don’t like pinball as much, but some of it is neat” He told her, his words pouring out in a tangle, just like Andy did when he was excited to talk about something, his brain working faster than his mouth causing all the words to get jumbled up.

“Well there’s an arcade at the mall we can probably go to some this summer if you like”

Todd nodded to her excitedly “That would be fantastic”

The ice broken, Sharon decided to steer the conversation in a new direction to see if there was anything to her worry about the boy and his wetting. After she finally had her conversation with Andy the day before, which went far better than she had anticipated, she had also had a private chat with Jimmy just to make sure he knew teasing of Andy or Todd either one for their issues was strictly off limits. The only variable left in that equation then was Todd, and if he has some self deprecating complex where he made it known he thought his diapers were terrible and that he was a loser, that could rub off on Andy with worse effect than being teased.

“So does the not drinking anything after 7 actually work?” She asked, trying to ease into the subject

“Nope. I just get thirsty,” He said sounding actually pleased to have been asked.

“Well I didn’t think it would. My boy, Andy, he’s five and a half, and he has never been dry at night. So of course we tried the whole nothing to drink after dinner, and the only thing it ever did was make him cranky”

“Yeah, Mom and Dad have both told her that there was no point in restricting my fluids, but they said they think MayMay is just set in her ways” His reply was easy and had no undertones of self pity that she could detect.

“That was a big box of diapers, how long will they last” She asked, deciding to push the issue a bit.

“Over a month, there are 4 bags of 12” He replied with a smile, was she right in thinking he might actually be enjoying the conversation? Couldn’t be.

“Wow, they must really be a lot bigger than Andy’s if that big box only had 48 diapers in it. When your mom told me where we could get bigger diapers I was really relieved, I didn’t know what we were going to do with Andy when he has outgrown the Huggies we buy at the grocery store.”

“Yeah they probably are a lot bigger, these are the youth 8s, before that I wore youth 7s, and before that regular size sixes. I started wearing the 7s in the first grade and out grew them around the time I started the fourth”

He WAS enjoying the conversation! He had to be if he was volunteering this level of detail. She wondered what would his reaction be to a little praise.

“You sound so well adjusted to your situation, that’s very mature of you. Andy is really enamored with his Uncle Jimmy, but now I am certain he is going to be just as thrilled to have not only another super cool older boy around, but one who also bedwets like him, to be his role model.”

If he looked like a little boy earlier, when she first saw him, now he looked his full age, he was sitting all the way up, his chest was puffed out with pride, and he looked as if he was trying not to grin. If calling him cool and mature was all it took to make him feel good about himself, he must be a lonely child, or he has the self esteem of a paint chip. Maybe she could help with that over the next few months?

“Thank you. It’s not always easy, and I did get teased about it at school a lot, but it’s not so bad really”

Then a thought hit her, Maybe he might have some real insight into what Andy might expect as he grew up? Not all of their experiences would be the same, certainly Andy wasn’t going to some fancy boarding school with his grandfather’s name on the library building. Nor did she think Todd’s experience with his mother would mirror that of Andy and herself. But there was still certainly things to be learned here. She didn’t know why she hadn’t already considered the benefit of being able to ask about his experiences. She should have been planning the last week about what she could ask, not worrying about things not likely to happen. She could at least get him to open up a little more, maybe give her some stuff to think about, so she decided to take another turn in the wrong direction to buy a bit more time.

“I think, based on some family history, that Andy might wet into his teens too. I know someday someone is going to make him feel bad about it, and I dread that, but right now I don’t even think he realizes that he is different than his friends. When he has sleepovers, none of his friends seem to notice or care that he’s wearing a diaper, but I know someday that is going to change. What can I do to make it better for him when it does?”

Todd was quiet, and Sharon wondered if maybe she had pushed him too much too quickly. Finally after he glanced out the window and shifted a little in his seat, he replied.

“Don’t tell him to just ignore his bullies, that doesn’t make them go away. And don’t tell him to ‘own’ his problem. Don’t tell him that people will respect him if he ‘owns’ it.”

She had no idea what he was talking about, but the joy was gone from his voice, and she felt a stab of guilt at having taken it from him with her question.

“What do you mean ‘own his problem’” She asked, although she was beginning to second guess this whole line of inquiry.

“When I got teased, mom said it wasn’t because of my diapers, but because I got help with them from other people, like her, and the nurse at school. She said that was why people thought I was a baby, not because of the diaper. So she stopped, made the nurse stop, and then I had to do it all myself. None of the people quit teasing me though, they eventually had to move me to a different dorm room to get it to stop.”

Sharon didn’t know what to make of that.

“You didn’t want to do your own diapers?” They whole thing seemed counterintuitive to her. In her mind she could see Andy getting to the point where he would insist on doing it himself to assert his independence, even if his grown up act was to put his own diaper on.

“Yes, I had wanted to do them myself sometimes. But some days at school the only good thing that would happen was Nurse Sue coming by and being nice to me, she’d sometimes bring me a cookie or a sticker. I know that is silly, but I was little and homesick, and her changing my diaper before bed was a little touch of home. Like when we were at the lake house and Mom or Dad would take me to my room to put me to bed, even with a bunch of people in the house it was just special time only for me”

Sharon blinked back a tear. This had to be the first time he had ever confided this to anyone, but the way in which he laid it out to her sounded to her as if he had spent a lot of time dwelling on it, no doubt this was something important to him.

“So you think I should keep changing Andy until he says he wants to do it himself?”

“Yes, I think he’d like that” the word ‘that’ was cut off like there was a catch in his throat

She was glad she was stopped at a light, because when she realized he was trying not to cry, she put the gear in park and leaned over to hug him “Are you sad because I made you talk about something upsetting?”

He sniffed and shook his head no.

“Are you sad because that is something you would have liked for yourself and didn’t get?”

He looked at her, guilt and shame playing across his face the way she imagined it would have on Andy’s when she was imagining Andy being teased and falling into a spiral of self loathing. Todd sat there with his head hung low and said nothing fighting back tears.

“Oh sweetie, it’s okay. You can say it, if you want to.” She hugged more, even ignoring the honk from the car behind her telling her the light was green.

“Yes” he said in a whisper before saying it a second time a little louder “Yes, that was what I wanted for me”

She smiled at him and squeezed his shoulder as she put the car in drive and pulled through the intersection. Her initial reaction was that his admission was a bit unexpected, because on the surface what boy his age would want someone to treat them like a toddler to change their diaper? But as she considered what she knew about him, remembering the loneliness and isolation she felt rolling off of him earlier, everything suddenly all clicked into place in her mind. A sudden epiphany which told her Todd wanted to feel cared for, like he was special, like he mattered. She was sure the adults in his life felt like they gave him everything he could ask for, every opportunity, every advantage. But Todd couldn’t see it, because he still felt as if he was just a boy who was passed around to everyone. Passed off to school, passed off for holidays, his summer breaks. He was told to ‘own his problems’ before he was ready to own them. Everyone was so worried about preparing the boy to be a man, that they never prepared the toddler to be a boy.

She didn’t know if there was anything she could do to help him or not, but she could at least grant his wish, what would be the harm in that? How could she get him to agree though?

“I could change you I suppose. In fact, I think you would be helping me out, if you let me do that for you. I think it might give Andy a positive role model, to see his older, cooler, cousin getting changed and not feeling bad about it? Do you think so too? Would that have helped you when you were his age?”

The deer in the headlights look she got back told her he must be embroiled in a fierce internal debate, but this time when he spoke there was no whisper, no reluctance, but a confident and very certain “Yes, I think it would”

Todd was absolutely shocked that he had said it, it was like some other part of him took control of his mouth and he had just observed himself saying the words. Still he felt elated, he was going to get what he had been missing the last five years. He envisioned what it used to be like when he was changed by his Mom or Dad, Mrs. Cook, MayMay, or anyone else who got wrangled into diaper duty for the then seven year old, and he wondered if it would be the same with Sharon. But then his elation hit a brick wall as soon as he added James to the equation, how would he react to Todd being changed? He found himself about to change his mind, to tell Sharon no that he misspoke, when a little voice in his mind spoke up “You’ll be no less diapered either way, wasn’t that what your argument with your mom boiled down to anyways? You thought it was crap when she suggested it wasn’t the diaper that your classmates made fun of, but the fact that someone put it on you. Well here’s your chance to prove her wrong.” Was it that little voice that had made him say yes to begin with?

By the time his thoughts had turned toward what would happen if his mom somehow found out that he was not ‘owning his problem’, that he had ate the apple as it were, he found that he simply didn’t care. Well to be honest, the new little voice said he didn’t care, and Todd found that he agreed, that his Mom was on the other side of the world, and if she wanted to make sure no one changed his diaper she could get her ass on a plane, fly back here and watch him herself. Todd dubbed the new inner voice, 9th grade Todd, for he seemed every bit as tough as the group of 9th grade kids from school who dressed in ripped jeans and iron maiden and judas priest t-shirts on the weekends.


I’m liking this story so far. The character details and elaborate back story provide a vivid backdrop for what potentially happens next.


Todd let himself out of the car and went to the rear door where he grabbed two of the brown paper grocery bags from the backseat, leaving his own things to bring in later. Sharon, carrying the other bag, had already started to open the door off the car port. The house was a modest, coral colored, stucco affair, not looking too different from any of the other houses in the neighborhood, with the main difference between houses being their color. Todd knew it wasn’t an expensive subdivision, everything looked almost new, so Todd imagined the entire neighborhood was less than a few years old. This was unlike PaPa’s neighborhood, where the houses were all older, most very well maintained with nice lawns, but there were a few neglected properties which seemed to really drag the whole neighborhood down.

“We’re here!” Sharon called out, opening the door. “Sorry it took us so long, I stopped to get a few things from the store”

Entering the family room, or den, or whatever it was, Todd had never really grasped the distinction, the first thing he noticed was the inviting cool. His native Rhode Island didn’t do much to prepare him for the humid Florida summers and as much as he loved being in florida he loved air conditioning too, his MayMay didn’t like to run the air much and mostly relied on fans to move the air around, so for Todd this was like a little slice of paradise. The floor was tiled in large white tiles, and seeing a pile of shoes by the door he used one foot to pull the shoe off the other, wondering if anyone would yell at him for not taking the time to unlace his shoes properly which would have been difficult with an arm full of groceries. The floor felt great on his stockinged feet.

The second thing he noticed about the room was that it was crowded, the entire family must be in here. Todd observed James, well he assumed it was James, simply by context of him being the only boy Todd’s age in the room. James was sitting in the floor on a rug laid out in front of a massive console tv, it had to be 27 inches, he was playing super mario brothers which he paused and nodded at Todd. “‘sup cuz?”

“‘’sup” Todd told him back, hoping he sounded half as cool as James had.

Todd took in the array of devices connected to the tv and rack stereo system, it was amazing, it was better than anything his dad had, he spotted a laser disc player, a vcr, a cd player, a dual cassette deck, a digital tuner and a turntable. Todd would have loved to look at it in more detail, but already his arms were getting tired from the groceries, so he tore himself away to go and place the bags next to where Sharon had set hers, on the bar that separated the kitchen from the family room.

Turning back he saw a yellow couch pushed up against the stucco wall, which was the same coral color as the outside of the house. The couch had that kind of crushed velvet upholstery that he remembered from their living room from when he was little. The woman sitting on the couch, with a five year old on her lap, must be his Aunt Sylvia as she looked like an older version of her daughter and seemed vaguely familiar to Todd, and the man sitting next to her looked enough like Todd’s father that he was certain it had to be his Uncle Rick.

“Allright snicklefritz, you gotta get down so I can say hi to your cousin and help mommy put up those groceries” Sylvia said, making the boy get off her lap with a giggle at the nickname.

As she came over to hug Todd, he got a scent of her perfume and he had a vivid recollection of the same scent, only he had been a little younger than Andy and had been the one sitting on her lap.

“You smell like you!” He said, returning the hug and realizing how dumb he had sounded which caused him to blush.

“I do! Your Uncle buys me my favorite perfume for Christmas every year, you have such a good memory!”

Rick had stood up by that time, he had what Todd thought was called a beer belly and he also had a beard where his dad was clean shaven, but despite the weight and whiskers it struck Todd just how much Rick and Ted looked alike, sharing the same build, dark hair, brown eyes, and high cheekbones. Todd wondered if he would look much the same as them when he was their age?

“Lookit you, you got so big, you look just like your dad when he was your age” Rick told him grabbing Todd’s arm which he shook like he was shaking hands, his other arm slapping him solidly on the back. “I’m so glad you’re going to be here, it’s all Jimmy has talked about the last week”

His dad’s younger brother wore blue jeans with a western shirt and a big oversized enameled belt buckle the top of which was hidden under his belly. The look reminded Todd of a TV Texan, like Bobby Ewing off of Dallas. He bet his uncle was the owner of the cowboy hat on the end table, it was kinda cool.

Todd didn’t know what to say, “I’ve been worrying about it all and would have rather stayed home” was probably not the right thing to vocalize, he didn’t need his moms lessons on managing people’s perception to know that.

Andy had come over during the exchange and had also hugged Todd.

“Hello, you must be Andy” Todd said smiling down at the boy

“Yup. We’re cousins!” Andy told him.

“Oh we told him you were cousins, just to make it easier, at his age he wouldn’t get how the whole step and half thing works anyways” Sylvia mock whispered to him

Todd felt his face heat in a little blush, knowing he didn’t get how all of that stuff worked either. He didn’t have time to focus too much on his shortcomings, for the swarthy olive skinned man with dark curly hair had gotten up from the recliner where he had been sitting perpendicular to the couch. He wore a gold necklace, and a bracelet, both of which positively gleamed against his darker skin, making Todd think of a Persian sultan. He could almost imagine him in a turban with a scimitar hunting genie lamps.

“Hi there, I’m Drew, it’s nice to meet you” He said, holding out his hand to Todd. Todd’s thoughts of genies and scimitars vanishing in an instant to be replaced with images of The Dukes of Hazzard, for his accent was so stereotypical southern that his “meet you” almost sounded like “me chew”

“I’m Todd, it’s good to meet you too” He said, wondering if his new england accent was as noticeable? Some of the kids at school got teased if they dropped their r’s too much, Todd had never been teased for that personally, but that could have been because there was so much easier fruit to be had on the teasing tree. Still some of the kids, especially the ones from the south acted like the native new england kids were snooty or snobbish. That was something Todd got teased about a lot, although he imagined it had more to do with Grandfather than it did with his dialect. If Todd did well on a test it was because his grandfather paid for it, if he did poorly it was because he would never need to worry about getting into a good school when his grandfather could just buy his way in, if Todd didn’t like what they were serving in the cafeteria it was because his chef at home (which he didn’t even have) could do better.

In all honesty his house wasn’t that much bigger or fancier than this one, with both of his parents spending so much time away on business, they had never bothered to put a lot of effort in at home. One or the other, and sometimes on rare occasions both his parents, were home when he had a weekend to be home, which now that he was in middle school grades was only every six weeks, other than that they were always gone. Which meant their house was more hotel or crash pad, the only room that was particularly homey was his, and he never got to enjoy it.

“I love your gear, I really wish we had a laser disc player, our vcr is so junky it eats tapes every now and then.” Todd told him just in case he thought Todd WAS a snobby little rich kid.

“Oh I love it. We’ll put on Starwars for movie night. It looks so good on laser disc” Drew said

“Jimmy don’t sit there being rude, put the game down and say hi to your cousin” Sylvia said as she came back from the kitchen with Sharon

“Moooom. I did! When he first came in” Jimmy whined without missing a jump.

“Well, I didn’t see you,” She said, not sounding satisfied.

“He did, it was right when I got here” Todd assured her

“Alright then, just as long as he’s not being rude.”

“Todd, you want to get your things from the car? Do you have anything in your suitcases that can’t take the heat?” Sharon asked

“Sure I’ll get them” he told her, regretting that he had been so quick to remove his shoes and that he hadn’t bothered to unlace them.

“Jimmy, you want to help him.” Sharon asked as she playfully kicked at him with one of her feet

“Stop it” He said laughing as he missed his jump and fell into some lava.

“You are soooooo lazy, all you’ve done is play games, you’re going to wear a butt print in my rug by the time the summer is over. Momma, why is my little brother so lazy? I thought you said I could put him to work this summer?” Sharon was laughing too.

“Ask his father, because I don’t know. Anyways, no take backs, it’s too late now, you’re stuck with him.” Sylvia said from where she had sat back on the couch, with Andy already back in her lap.

“Well I have a feeling this one isn’t going to be any better, the whole ride over was “video games, video games, arcade, video games. Kids these days” Sharon said, ruffleing Todds hair and making him almost lose his balance while he was trying to wiggle his feet back into his shoes without untying them.

By the time Todd’s shoes were on, James had come over and had started to pull his own shoes back on. Todd recognized them as Chuck Taylors in blue and white, for Todd had wanted a pair like them, but had wanted the black and white ones.

“Tim and the other kids who go skateboarding have shoes like this, can I have a pair?” Todd had asked his mother.

“Those look so gaudy, Todd, no, someone will think you are a street child. Besides, isn’t Tim one of the children who teased you so bad?” She said holding out a pair of unadorned solid black Reeboks

“Yeah, but Tim has been nice to me this year and one of my other friends from science club has been learning to skate too”

“I don’t want you on one of those skateboards unsupervised, as clumsy as you are you’ll break an arm.” She bounced her arm once to shake the Reeboks at him impatiently. “Now these look nice don’t you think?”

“Cool chucks.” Todd told James as he was pulling them on, hoping he knew what he meant and that ‘chucks’ weren’t just what the kids at his school called them.

“Thanks, I got them for my birthday this week, they’re pretty rad arn’t they? I had wanted these or vans, but I think I like these better. Do you skate?”

Todd had to shake his head “No my mom won’t let me” James was going to think he was super lame now.

“Oh” was all James said

Not knowing what else to say Todd went outside and opened the glove compartment on Sharon’s Camry to press the trunk release button. He pulled out the two suitcases, the box of diapers and his backpack.

He heard the door open and James came out with Andy in tow.

“I’m gonna help!” The boy said as he followed his Uncle.

James took the two suitcases, one in each hand, and Todd gave his backpack to Andy who held it in front of him cradled in his arms like a baby. That left the box for Todd, which was perfect, since he didn’t really want anyone else to carry his diapers, that would be weird.

James set the bags down beside the end table when Sharon spoke up. “Jimmy, put those in the guest room with all the others, the living room is getting kind of full.” Sharon said pointing down the hall to the back of the house. “Todd just put your box on Andy’s bed and I will move it later, It’s next to the guest room so you can follow Jimmy, it’s the first door on the right past the bathroom.

Todd followed James down the short hallway. The first and only door in the hall proper was into the bathroom. It was painted yellowish orange like O.J. and the bath mat and rug in front of the commode was an orange shag. The bathtub had a blue plastic shower curtain with tropical fish on it. There was a step stool in front of the vanity which Todd assumed Andy used to reach the sink so he could wash his hands or brush his teeth easier.

The hallway dead ended into another hall which ran perpendicular to the first making the shape of a capital L. Straight at the end of the short arm was the guest room where James was depositing Todd’s hardsides alongside five other suitcases making the room look like a baggage depot.

To the left of the guest room the hallway went toward the back of the house where an archway opened into the other end of the kitchen, with another door leading into the bedroom at the end of the hall, Todd couldn’t see much but he assumed from the grown up looking comforter that it was the master bedroom. To the right of the guest room was Andy’s room, a large set of bins on the back wall filled with toys. A twin bed was against the left wall and a dresser and mirror were on the right. There was a bag of Huggies size 6 at the foot of the bed, the orange and white package opened, it looked like the bag was pretty new as there only appeared to be a couple of diapers used.

Todd had grown up in Huggies himself, until around his 6th birthday, after a couple of nights waking up to massive leaks either over the top or from the sides, his Mom had said his hips were getting too wide and she switched him into Windell 7’s since Huggies didn’t make a youth product. At the time he had really appreciated the more mature look of the Windells since the sides of their boy’s diapers were blue and the graphics on the taping panel were a little more suited to a big boy featuring dinosaurs, bicycles, baseball bats, fighter jets, etc. Now seeing the huggies sitting out like that, he kind of wished he could wear one again and envied Andy.

He could see from the package that these Huggies had elastic at the waist and leak guards just like his own diapers, he had never given it any thought, but the Huggies he had worn back when he was Andy’s age hadn’t had those, and now thinking back, he didn’t think the Windells did either when he first started wearing the brand. For the life of him he couldn’t think of when they were added, and that seems like something which he should be able to remember.

Todd made himself stop woolgathering lest someone come looking for him. So he went ahead and set his box down on Andy’s bed as he had been instructed. The slight crinkle he heard when he set the carton down confirmed the presence of a plastic sheet to protect the mattress. He could remember his own such sheet, which had gone away when he had gotten a full bed. The mattress protector on it was quiet and didn’t make any noise, but always seemed to keep the mattress dry when he leaked. His bed at school was different of course, all the mattresses in the special needs dorm were some kind of dense vinyl material that was intrinsically waterproof while still being relatively comfortable to sleep on. It was weird though, he had always hated the plastic sheet, but now he was wanting to sleep on one of those too? What had him feeling so nostalgic all of a sudden?

For the rest of the afternoon and upto the end of dinner, everyone had a go at Todd asking him about so many things. James wanted to know what it was like going to a boarding school, Sharon wanted to know about Newport, Drew asked Todd what kind of computer he had and what he would recommend getting so Andy could learn young. Over their meal Sylvia asked him about his summers in Connecticut, which led her to tell a story Todd had never heard before.

“So Mr. Macallum finally gave in when Mrs. Macallum made it clear that your mom was not going to change her mind. He ended up paying for the whole wedding! Now keep in mind Rick and I had only been on a couple of dates at that point, and he invites me to this wedding. Well, I’m just a girl from south florida and I was completely overwhelmed, it was the fanciest thing I’ve ever seen in all my life, and it was beautiful too. Plus I was so stressed out thinking everyone would think I was a cradle robber.” Sylvia told Todd before turning to her husband “And your poor dad almost refused to go to the rehearsal dinner.”

“Well Pa’s always been proud. He wanted to go someplace he could afford to pay for, and Eugene steamrolled him and had it at that country club instead, that dinner probably cost a hundred times more than Pa had wanted to spend. I kept worrying all this family drama was going to scare you off.”

Sylvia turned and patted Todd’s hand “Well it didn’t, and I think with all the fuss Mary made no one noticed I was ten years older than Rick” she laughed “Your mom has one hell of a temper. Wow. She was so mad at Mr. Macallum that she had Mr. Arden walk her down the aisle and only let her Dad take over when they got to the first pew. Of course the story had gotten around at that point and everyone knew what had happened, most folks gave Mr. Macallum the stink eye too.”

Todd wasn’t too surprised that his Grandfather had done something like that, Grandmother is always on to him about how he can’t just take charge of everything. From his grandfather’s point of view he probably just felt he was being practical. Then again Grandfather runs roughshod over everyone and everything in the name of practicality if Grandmother doesn’t stop him. Was that why his Mom was always so worried about the way things looked to other people, because her father isn’t capable, or more likely just doesn’t consider it important? Todd always equated it to her being vain, but maybe there was more to it than that?

Plus this revelation put the conversation he had heard between his dad and PaPa into a different context as well. Todd had just learned he was going to Florida after all to Sharons.

“No dad, it’s not HIS money, you know Mary and I are quite successful in our own right.”

Todd, of course, couldn’t hear his PaPa’s reply.

“Look dad, it’s not charity and we have enough, let us help you, and you’ll be doing stuff with both boys or maybe all three so everything from lunches to fishing bait will be more expensive, so just let me send the check please.”

More silence while his dad listened.

“I didn’t say you couldn’t afford to feed your grandchildren, now your just being stubborn”

Todd had just assumed it was like his dad had said, his PaPa was being too proud and just wouldn’t take the money because he was stubborn. But if there had been an actual history to him feeling put down? Todd might could understand why he wouldn’t want to feel like someone was having to cover his portion under those circumstances, maybe he felt like he was competing with the Macallums over summer with their grandson? That would make the money just like Grandfather paying for the rehearsal dinner, rather than letting PaPa go some place he could afford to pay for and keep his dignity. Todd decided that he would try and find a way to show his appreciation to his PaPa this summer, and maybe he wouldn’t feel so put out with only having generic sodas in the fridge at his house.

Sharon stood in the kitchen, having just started the dishwasher and listening to the satisfying churn of water start inside the device. She had felt the night had been going swimmingly, in fact the whole visit so far. It was so nice to get to see her Mom, she hadn’t realized how much she had missed her, and talking for a few minutes after 11pm once a week was no substitute for face to face time. Why had they let it stretch out to two and a half years between visits? Drew seemed to be enjoying Ricks company and having someone to talk cars and motorcycles with. And she knew Drew had thoroughly enjoyed his talk with Todd where he went into detail about every piece of equipment in the stereo cabinet. Drew must have been impressed with Todds side of the conversation too, since he had asked him for advice on a computer to buy, which for Drew was like him putting the kid on a pedestal. Andy was also having a good time, he was in love with the grandparents he never got to see, as well as the two older boys who had instantly become fast friends thanks to the nintendo. All in all she gave herself an A as a hostess.

It was technically bath night for Andy, but he could bathe in the morning, since it was Saturday and they had no morning plans, so even that part of the evening would be stress free. So everyone took to the family room where they watched Back to the Future, one of the movies she had rented from the grocery store when she and Todd had stopped. The other, Little Shop of Horrors was PG-13 and would have to wait until Andy was in bed.

Todd and Jimmy both seemed a bit reluctant to relinquish the Nintendo, especially for a movie they had both seen, but by the time Doc Brown was putting Einstein in the driver’s seat both boys had gotten into the movie, talking to each other about how cool the Delorean was. Halfway through the film she had Drew pause it, Sharon scooping out ice cream for everyone and putting out a variety of toppings on the bar between the kitchen and the family room.

Yes, everything that evening had gone pretty much as she planned it up until the point that the credits rolled on Back to the Future.

“All right kiddo, let’s get you ready for bed okay? Go get your things, AND you’re wearing PJ bottoms at least! We have company.”

A lot of kids would protest, but Andy wasn’t one of them, which made Sharon so proud. He was such a good boy she thought as he dutifully ran to his room. Sharon grabbed the baby powder and a tub of wipes from the shelf next to the TV and got down on the rug where she usually helped him get ready for bed. Andy Returned a few moments later with his pajamas, his diaper and something else. It took Sharon a split second to realize what it was and her heart lept to her throat. Shit, this was going to cause one of those scenes she had worried about so much. She knew the evening had been going too well, but now she was certain the trajectory was toward disaster. Andy, in addition to fetching his own diaper, had also brought out one of Todd’s diapers too, and after putting his clothes on the floor beside Sharon he walked over to Todd and held the diaper out with a grin.

“Here you go.” Andy had said, sounding so pleased with himself.

Sharon tensed, ready for the shit to hit the fan. And yet it did not hit the fan, in fact the shit was never thrown at all. That is to say that Todd didn’t blow up like she expected, instead he took the diaper and nodded solemnly at the boy.

“Thanks buddy, What do you think? I guess I better go get my PJ’s too, if that’s the rule here”

“Oh no Todd, you don’t have to” Sharon said weakly, grateful for Todd’s forbearance, but Sharon still wanted to defuse the situation somehow “its kinda early still” she trailed off not knowing what else to say.

Drew jumped in “He’s wanted to help everyone with everything lately.”

To her amazement and shock Todd just turned to her “It’s okay, good role model remember?” He winked. As in actually winked at her as he got up and fetched his backpack from where it hung on the back of one of the stools at the bar. After opening the top he fished around until he pulled out a pair of peppermint striped pj shorts.

Where was the scared chihuahua, where was the nervous boy from a few hours ago? He didn’t actually expect her to, you know, change him, right here, in front of everyone? She had planned to take him off to the bathroom or a bedroom so he could have some privacy, let him pull the diaper up and her just tape it down, or something along those lines, she hadn’t really thought much about what she had offered him in the heat of the moment on the ride over. Whatever she had thought it would be like, she hadn’t really pictured putting him on his bum in the family room like a toddler. She can’t refuse him now, can she? What about Jimmy? Jimmy knew he wore diapers, Sharon was certain her Mom had already talked to him about it, before she ever had her chat with him last night. Why was she thinking about Jimmy, he is the least important part of all this. She just didn’t know what to do, so she just sat there panicking, until some movement to her side caught her eye. Her mom had come over, had she somehow sensed her turmoil?

“Why don’t you let me change the boys tonight? I haven’t changed my grandson in over two years” Sylvia said holding out two fingers to Andy, “or my nephew in about 8” She said wryly nodding at Todd. “Anyways, I bet you’ll be doing it all summer, so let your mom have a turn”

Sharon, still stunned, retreated to the second recliner, not sure if she should be doing something, anything, instead of just watching things unfold.

Andy had pulled his shirt and shorts off, and stood before his grandmother in training pants that looked to have a substantial wet spot.

“What’s this wetspot? You went potty before dinner, remember?” Sylvia asked him

Andy nodded.

“Did you just do this, maybe during the movie, because you didn’t want to miss anything?”

Andy nodded.

“Mommy was telling me you are going to start Kindergarten in the fall, and that you wanted to be in big boy pants when you go right?” Sylvia’s tone was sing song

Andy shook his head from side to side and said “No!” as he giggled again

“No! No? What do you mean, no?” She said in mock exasperation as she tickled the boy.

Sharon watched as her mother had Andy lay down and with an expert hand she lifted him just enough to slip the huggies under him, after she was happy with the way he was positioned she lifted him again by his legs and wiped him all over, powdered him and taped the diaper on. Finishing up with another set of belly tickles.

Andy stood up, pulled on his PJ shorts and ran over to the couch to get in Ricks lap.

Sylvia picked up Todd’s diaper from where it had been laying besides Andys. “Okay champ, your turn.” She patted the spot on the rug where Andy had just been.

Sharon looked at Rick and Drew, neither of them seemed to give off any indication that they thought anything was strange, Andy of course had no idea what he had done. Her mom had taken charge and was calm. Everyone was calm except her. Jimmy! What about Jimmy she thought.

A look at Jimmy and at least someone else was reacting, although Sharon wasn’t sure if that in and of itself was a good thing or not. Jimmy sat there, his mouth agape as Todd pulled his polo shirt off before undoing his belt and dropping his chinos, right there in front of God and everyone, with no more modesty than Andy had demonstrated when he was standing around in his wet training pants. Seeing Jimmy gawk, Sharon at least had the foresight to close her own mouth, trying to look like everything was normal, even though she felt like things couldn’t be further from normal. She sure hadn’t been prepared for any of this, this was not how she planned it, at all. Todd stood there in a white t-shirt which had been tucked almost comically into boxer shorts, which were also white and had some kind of blue repeating something or another on them, either tiny polka dots, squares, or something along those lines, she couldn’t tell and didn’t really know why she cared. It was just surreal though, It was like what you saw on TV, but she couldn’t think of a single time she had ever seen a guy actually wearing that style of underwear in real life. The thought almost made her giggle that here he was going from old man underwear to a diaper, the contrast seeming particularly funny amidst the internal chaos generated from Andy’s monkey wrench.

Todd unhurriedly folded his shirt and pants and set them neatly on the rug about where he would lay down, which after doing so, he pulled the little bundle under his head like a pillow.

“Well that’s clever” Sylvia admired

“Something mom taught me when I was little, I think it was a trick to get me to fold my clothes since she hated me tossing them on the floor.”

“Well, mom’s sometimes have to use tricks like that, but this one is a good one since it serves a purpose too” Sylvia said as she thumbed the boys shorts down, his t-shirt was long enough to give him a bit of modesty as he arched his back to lift his butt up enough that Sylvia could slide his diaper underneath him. She powdered him and pulled the diaper up, but wasn’t happy with the fit, so without a word she grabbed his legs, which were already bent at the knees and she pulled each knee out like Moses parting the Red Sea, Spreading his legs enough that she could get the diaper as high into his groin as it needed to be.

Sharon had known the boy wore diapers, had worried about that fact for weeks now, had envisioned every scenario, but seeing THIS happen on the rug in her family room was another thing entirely. There he was, almost a teenager, laying on his back in just a white shirt and diaper while her mother of all people was exaggeratingly acting like she was going to tickle his belly too, just as she had done with Andy. Which caused Andy to giggle again and Todd too. Was it her imagination or did Todd actually look appreciative? Was this the type of attention he was saying he missed? That was crazy pants, she’d have to talk with Drew about this later when they were alone. Which was a big “if”, Drew generally wouldn’t talk about it at all, he usually avoided the subject entirely, dodging questions or giving monosyllabic answers if forced. Somehow Sharron didn’t think Drew had ever been treated like this.

Hearing Andy’s giggle Sylvia got up and picked up the boy off Rick’s lap. “Aren’t you supposed to go and brush your teeth once your jammies are on?” She said rubbing a hand over the seat of his pjs, making the diaper crinkle before she gave it a couple of playful taps which made little thuds on the padding. She lowered him to the ground and watched him toddle down the hall, the bulk of his diaper affecting his gait far more than that of his trainers.

As soon as she saw the bathroom light come on and heard the water running Sylvia turned back to Todd who had stood up and was pulling on his PJ shorts

“Thank you for not embarrassing my grandson, he has no idea that what he did might have embarrassed you, you were very kind to play along, I’m sure that was hard for you.”

Sharon didn’t think it was a good idea to point out that she had had that very conversation with her son the day before and she had thought he had understood, so she just sat there watching her mom as she hugged her nephew

“I know he didn’t mean anything, its fine, really. I was teased a lot about my diapers, so I wouldn’t want to be the one to make him feel bad about his own. Besides, It’s kinda nice to have someone else do it for you, Thank You Aunt Sylvia”

Sharon could see him return her hug, see his embrace of her tighten

“Oh. Oh, Your welcome sweetie. I’ll help you get ready for bed the rest of the week too, if you would like” Sylvia told him, stroking the back of his hair and patting his back, her tone becoming consoling, prompting Sharon to remember how desperately sad the boy had seemed earlier in the car when she had made her offer. Had her mom picked up the same thing from his hug? Sylvia patted Todd’s diaper the same way she had done Andy’s, “Now you’re all set and we can watch the next movie. I just love that Steve Martin.”

Todd nodded, Sharon thought his cheeks were more than a bit red, he didn’t say a thing, instead while her Mom took her spot back on the couch Todd walked back over to where he and Jimmy had been sitting on the floor to watch the movie. The room had gone so quiet that the rustle of his diaper seemed almost loud. No one said a word and there was an awkwardness to everything and Sharon felt like she should be doing SOMETHING about it, she just had no clue what that was.

It wasn’t Sylvia who saved her this time but instead Andy who burst into the room at a run, practically throwing himself into the couch and saying “All Done” and showing his teeth to his grandmother for inspection.

Once the second movie was watched, with admonitions for Todd and James to not stay up all night playing video games, the adults all agreed that it was their bedtime and they retreated to their rooms. Todd and James played Castlevania around an hour or so, until around midnight, when they were both yawning too much and dying in the same place over and over.

Todd turned the tv off and placed the controllers neatly on top of the system so no one would trip on the cords, the house suddenly seeming very quiet. Meanwhile, James had taken all three cushions off the couch and had stacked them up in one of the recliners. Todd went ahead and located the metal bar in the center of the base of the sofa and pulled the bed all the way out with a little groan from the springs. Looks like I got my other wish. He noticed the crinkle of the plastic sheet as he unfolded the bed. From somewhere between the recliner and end table James fished a couple of pillows from the corner tossing one to Todd, which being caught off guard he dropped it.

“Sorry” James offered with a chuckle as he took his shirt and shorts off leaving him in only his socks and a pair of green briefs with white trim.

“It’s too hot to sleep in anything” he said, as he walked into the kitchen carrying their empty cola cans to the trash”

Todd saw a flick of light in the hall and heard the bathroom door close with a small click, James must have gone through the other end of the kitchen he thought. Well James was right about it being a bit stuffy, so he pulled his undershirt off along with his pj shorts, would James be weirded out if he slept in just his diaper? His 9th grade voice asked if he really thought that James had given any thought to whether Todd might be bothered if he slept in only his underpants?

Todd put his dirty clothes next to his backpack and decided to get a glass of water, so he got a glass from the cabinet and filled it from the door of the fridge. Todd heard the toilet flush and the door open almost immediately afterward. If she were here his mom would have made James go back into the bathroom and wash his hands, while telling him that other people notice when you don’t and will think you are unhygienic. Todd had always thought that to be bullshit, but since he had just noticed and had thought his cousin a little uncouth for skipping the soap and water that maybe his mom was right.

Todd’s feeling of moral superiority lasted just long enough for him to turn off the night light over the stove and return to the family room where James was sitting on the bed removing his socks which he tossed on his little pile of dirty clothes. Todd had raised a foot up and was pulling his own socks off, making sure to turn them right side out where you could see the stripes at the top.

“Did you wet your diaper already?” James asked

Todd was completely unprepared for the question, had he? He reached down absentmindedly and felt the front of his diaper, and it did feel swollen, not much.

Once it was on, if he needed the restroom, as long as it wasn’t poop, he’d just go ahead and use the diaper, he never gave it any thought and didn’t really pay any attention to when he did. James didn’t sound hostile or anything, or like he was teasing, or at least Todd didn’t think he was being teased.

“Yeah” was all he managed,wondering if maybe he shouldn’t have wet it, although he didn’t see what it mattered, it would be wet in the morning anyways.

“Isn’t it kind of gross?” James asked, turning off the lamp they had left on while they played games.

In the new darkness Todd could just make out James’ shape as he came back to bed Todd heard the crinkle of the waterproof sheet as James climbed into bed.

“I’m kinda used to it I guess. Does that bother you, do you want me to change?” Todd had no idea why he gave a shit if it bothered James or not, but they had gotten along so well today and he didn’t want to do anything that might make James not like him. Should he explain, or should he just shut up and hope he was better off being quiet? It seemed to Todd like a real catch 22.

“No, I was just curious, that’s all.”

Todd felt a surge of relief, both for being freed from having to decide, and more importantly if James had said yes instead, Todd wouldn’t have known what to do for all of his diapers were in Andy’s room, so there would have been no way to change without making some kind of scene. He’d have to remember to put a couple in his backpack to be on the safe side.

“Does someone really change you every night? Was it weird for my mom to do it?”

Todd’s internal defcon raised another level at still more questions. Where was this going? Why was James playing twenty questions, if it wasn’t so he could tease him or something? Maybe it was just curiosity, Todd could remember asking Elliot lots of questions about his CP after they had become roommates, perhaps this was the same kind of thing?

“No, I usually put them on myself, and yes a little bit weird having your mom do it” he lied because he couldn’t admit to James how much he enjoyed it, how much he had wanted it, because James would definitely think he was some kind of freak then. But what if saying “it was weird” is insulting to him, what if he thought Todd was saying his mom was weird? So he quickly added, “But it was so nice of her to do that for Andy and Me”

“Yeah” was James’s only reply, leaving Todd completely unsure if that had been the correct response or not.

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Todd Arden:
First born of Ted and Mary (Macallum) Arden
Grandson to Lemm and Mabel Arden
Grandson to Eugene and Evannie Macallum
Nephew to Rick Arden and Sylvia Arden
Cousin to James “Jimmy” Arden

Male, June 1st, 1975. 12 years old.

Todd is a good several inches shorter than his cousin James, but his height is still within the range considered average for his age. That is to say that while he is shorter than James, he is not short, as James has gotten his soon to be considerable stature through his mother’s line, where Todd got his modest build from his father and grandfather. In many ways, Todd is still mostly boy in his appearance, especially when compared to James who is hitting his first pre -teen growth spurt. Todd wears thick lensed glasses over his brown eyes, the black plastic frames selected for durability rather than aesthetics. His dark brown hair, which usually looks black unless he is under very strong lighting is worn in a conservative haircut, parted to the right and going no further than his ears and the back of his neck. Todds posture is that of a boy trying hard to not stick out or call attention to himself, in fact his lack of outward confidence is conveyed through his appearance so much that he could easily pass as an eight or nine year old when playing with toys Most people process this information on an unconscious level and see him as such, and when they find out his real age they chalk it up to Todd being particularly immature, which isn’t always a fair conclusion. Stand Todd and Jimmy up together in front of strangers and there is enough family resemblance that people will know they are related, they will just assume that Todd is the younger brother.

Todd would look better, and might in fact be considered handsome, if he knew how to carry himself, but his lack of self confidence and his feelings of awkwardness and insecurity really carry through to his mannerisms. Todd is completely dominated by his mother, with whom he constantly clashes over her style of parenting that values appearance and optics before anything else. In fact Todd is usually dominated by everyone really, the boy only being able to set aside his meekness when the subject was something he considered himself an expert on, like computers and video games. Todd “really really really” wants a mohawk or other ‘cool hair’, there is really no way he could ever talk his mom into it, and no way in which it would be allowed at his school, grandfather’s money or not. Likewise he wants to wear ripped jeans and heavy metal tshirts, spiked belts and the like, he looks up to a group of 9th graders at his school who dress in this mode on the weekends and he fantasizes about doing the same and being tough enough that no one would dare to bully him But at this point in Todd’s life it is mainly aspirational, he very much wants people to see him as cool, but he is sadly nerdy during a time well before being nerdy was cool.

Todd wears diapers at night, which has caused him more than a few problems at home and at his boarding school. That said, he secretly loves them for reminding him of a time when he wasn’t so worried about what everyone thought of him. He realizes the circular logical represented by “I am teased for wearing diapers, that makes me sad, but wearing diapers reminds me of a time when I wasn’t teased, which makes me happy” so he avoids chasing that particular gordian knot. Deep down inside he realizes that he longs to be a toddler again - to be freed from everyone’s expectations and judgement, to just be himself. He wishes there was someone he could at least talk about it with, but his mom would have him in a psychologists office so fast his head would spin, so he keeps his desires to himself. Because Todd feels so at home in his diapers, many of his feelings of self recrimination and inadequacy disappear when he is padded.
Todd’s mom buys his clothes with little to no input from Todd, so he dresses ‘preppy’ despite the fact that he would never have picked that look out for himself. His mom wants him to ‘dress for picture day’ everyday. Usually he wears Khaki pants or resort style shorts, with a polo or izod type shirt (the one with the little crocodile on them). Todd dressed in the spitting image of ‘Casual Friday’, even if he didn’t want to. No popped collar or anything like that, it looks kinda dumb anyway, so the only value would come from irritating his mom who would just make him fix it, so it wouldn’t really be worth the hassle. He almost always wears an undershirt, either a white crew neck t-shirt or sometimes one of those ribbed tank tops, tucked into his printed boxers. This was of course before boxers were popular and they were considered somewhat anachronistic, but Mary thought that perhaps the more old fashioned boxer shorts might help to give the boy a sense of maturity, which it clearly had not. Todd wears striped tube socks, and solid colored plain sneakers since anything more ornate would be called ‘trashy’ by his mother.

Todd sometimes wears pajamas over his diaper, but mostly he sleeps in either undershirt and diaper, or more often than not just his diaper. Although when home, he will make sure to pull on a pair of pj bottoms if he leaves his room for some reason to prevent his parents from telling him how inappropriate it is for him to be ‘running around the house in a diaper’

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Sharon was standing at the stove, looking at the eggs frying in the skillet. Bacon and toast had already been put on the two plates. She was going to have to be careful not to overcook the eggs, she wanted to leave the yolks a little bit runny. So she counted, flipped them, and then counted a second time to 20 before using a spatula to transfer the eggs out onto the plates, two each. It almost looked like a picture perfect American breakfast to her.

The house was quiet, Drew was at work, Andy and Jimmy were both with her mom’s parents who had been excited to have both grandson and great grandson visit at the same time. Granny Pettersen had offered to take on Todd too, but Sharon had been wanting to spend the day with the boy, to see if she could confirm a couple of the crazy ideas she had running around in her head. The boys behavior was intriguing to her, if only because it was counter to how she would have believed a boy his age would act, and in fact the way Jimmy seemed to act most of the time.

The first few days of the boys stay, she had noticed that every morning he was always still in his diaper, but as soon as any of the adults got up, he would apologize and rush off to the restroom and get cleaned up. Wondering what he would do if left to his own devices, she had just about decided to tell him she didn’t care how long he wore it, that he could stay in his diaper all day as that was his business. She never got the chance because her Mom beat her to the punch.

“Todd, you don’t need to apologize for everything you do. You’re on your summer break, no one on vacation wants to get up first thing in the morning and get a bunch of stuff done, everyone else is having breakfast in their pjs, so why shouldn’t you get to too?”

Sharon had thought her moms use of the term PJ’s to be over kind, since Andy would only wear pajamas when forced and Jimmy ate his breakfast in his briefs. Todd, of course, took Sylvia’s advice to heart though, and his uniform for breakfast became his soggy diaper and undershirt. So now none of the boys had even bothered with the pretense of night clothes. Although Sharon had wanted to insist Andy continue with his PJ bottoms, simply because she always thought he was adorable in his jammies, but Drew had intervened and said she should just let him be comfortable, especially since the older boys were doing the same. So most breakfasts were now James in just his undies and the other two in diapers. When Drew had jokingly threatened to forgo pants for breakfast too, Sharon was still told him emphatically NO, because joking or not, sometimes with men you could just never tell.

Still, quibbles aside, Sylvia did seem to have some kind of bond with Todd, like she intuitively understood something about him, something Sharon felt like she was still struggling to understand. To Sharon Todd seemed like a word on the tip of her tongue that she was just on the brink of recalling. She had really wanted to talk to her mom about her theories, but her mom’s visit was short, and now her Mom and Rick were on their almost 13 years overdue honeymoon.

Sharon put the jelly jar, strawberry, on the table and walked back to the far side of the kitchen which was just across the hall from the bathroom. She could no longer hear the shower running, which meant her timing was just about perfect.

The idea for this mornings experiment was born a few days ago on Sunday morning. Drew’s mother had really wanted the whole family to come to church since one of Drew’s nieces was being confirmed. This had necessitated getting everyone dressed before breakfast. Without giving it a lot of thought, Sharon had pulled out the vinyl pocket bib they kept on hand for whenever Andy was wearing his good clothes, as that child was an unrestrained eater. As she stood behind Andy, adjusting the bib, she happened to notice the look on Todd’s face. It was his mouth agape, deer in the headlights look, which she had come to theorize was him wrestling with his desire to be cared for like he was still a toddler.

She had first seen that look on him in the car on the ride over that first Saturday, when Todd had confessed how much he hated the fact that his Mom had forcibly put and end to his diaper changes for bed, and how much he missed having her help him. Sharon’s empathy leading the way, she offered to change him, without giving any thought at all to what that would entail. She had imagined she would take him aside, he would turn around and pull the diaper up and then she might help with the tapes or something like that.

However, later that same evening she had discovered what Todd had been thinking when he jumped at the opportunity to strip down to his undershorts in the living room and get diapered in the middle of the floor with Andy, never mind that his cousin was there as a witness. At first she thought it was just about his night diaper, but then she had begun to notice a few little things, Todd’s sidelong looks at Andy’s juice boxes, the same look again when she did Andy’s safety belt for him in the car, and she was almost certain that he had been using Andy’s Mr. Bubble when he took a bath. And then there was the bib, that he had looked at so hungrily. Sharon could have sworn that look was pure envy, not the mean spirited kind, but the ‘I want included’ kind, the same as that of a puppy dog left out in the rain.

She sat the plates down on the table across from each other and put Andy’s bib on the other side of the table, like it just hadn’t been put away. She also got some napkins, and the salt and pepper. Looking for an excuse to not sit down yet, she went about emptying the crumb tray on the toaster when at last the bathroom door opened, and Todd exited the bathroom.

Sharon was pretty sure that was Mr. Bubble she smelled from across the hall.

Todd entered the dining nook, his hair was still wet, but he was dressed like he was headed to his college admission interview, which wasn’t out of the ordinary for him either, she didn’t think the boy owned any regular kid clothes. More of his mothers work she imagined.

“Don’t you look spiffy there sport.” She told him, putting down the toaster and going to the table to pour out some orange juice for him into his glass.

He always blushed a little when you called him any nickname like champ, or sport, or kiddo.

“You should be extra careful with your breakfast, It would be a shame if you were to have to change clothes again before we went out:”

He nodded at her, “Yes ma’am” he said.

She went back to the kitchen and rummaged in a drawer for a minute, keeping her eyes firmly on the reflection of the breakfast nook in the side of the toaster. The reflection was a little distorted but he looked like he was really contemplating the bib, she could see where he kept turning his head to stare at it, maybe even reaching for it once, but he could have been just moving his arm, the view was a bit unclear, all in all the toaster wasn’t a great spying device.

She took out a butter knife and dropped it on the table by the butter dish, and then she pretended to notice the bib. She picked it up with a little “hmmp” that she tried to make say “Oh look I need to put this up”

In the space of a heartbeat Todd looked panicked, then relieved, and then sad. Sharon was more certain than ever, that as absolutely bat shit crazy as it seemed, this almost in puberty boy really wanted to be three again. She thought about her own Andy and how much she had gone out of her way to let him grow up at his own pace, and how she regretted even putting the pressure on him that she did to get his day time training done. This boy just wanted that same freedom, and so what if it was a little crazy, who doesn’t like to be cared for sometime?

“I wish I could remember to put things away. You know Andy still doesn’t mind wearing this from time to time, I think he likes the dinosaurs on it.“ She held out the bib pointing at the cartoon t-rex on it, a large clear pocket on the front to catch dropped food…

He wasn’t even pretending to be disinterested in it, so she continued to hold it out for him to examine. “I think this stegosaurus is my favorite. Do you like dinos?”

“Yeah, I like dinosaurs, I think they’re cool” Todd told her, his smile faltering a little

“Well it is only you and I here this morning, and I suppose it would help keep your clothes clean too? What do you think?” She said dancing around the obvious question. She would bet that if she had asked outright “do you want to wear this bib” he would have eventually said yes, but still giving him a way to say yes or no in a circumspect non confrontational manner, where he could still save face, if she had guessed wrong, seemed only prudent.

He looked at her and nodded, looking ashamed for some reason. That same shame that pulled at her heartstrings in the first place and got her into this mess.

Sharon just smiled and stepped behind him, pulling the bib into place “Well then I don’t think Andy would care if you borrowed his bib this morning” She made a point of sniffing loudly “Or his bubble bath for that matter, he is a good sharer you know”

Todd’s cheeks both turned bright red and he started to stammer “I uh, uh I, um”

“No need, sweetie, it’s just some soap. You use it all you want, his bath toys too if it suits you” she snapped the neck pieces together on the very last snap since his neck was a bit bigger than most of the kids who would probably be wearing the bib.

They ate and chatted a bit, mostly light conversation, Sharon not wanting to lay too much on the boy at one time. Todd for his part seemed fundamentally happy, his posture was different, most of his nervousness and anxiety had at least for the moment been tamped down. She let him have his joy, feeling happy to have helped to bestow it upon him, but more than a little sad that he was in a place where he needed such outward symbols of being cared for. Only when they had finished and she was removing the bib did she steer the conversation back toward the subject at hand this morning.

“Wow, looks like we made a good call with the bib, you have yolk all over it” She turned it around and showed him where it had dripped across his front. “Better the bib than your shirt, right squirt?”

Todd giggled a bit, almost sounding like Andy when his grandmother called him snicklefritz.

“Todd, you know I want to do the best I can to give you what we talked about in the car right?” Sharon let her voice take on a serious tone.

He looked at her, his own mannerisms also becoming serious again, he nodded.

“And I’m just kind of guessing at the things that will make you happy, like just now with Andy’s bib. Now I get the impression, from the couple of times we have spoke about this, this is something that is hard for you to talk about, is that right?”

Again he nodded.

“So then, here’s the deal I’m gonna make with you, I am going to assume that if it was good enough for Andy, then it’s good enough for you, How’s that?”

He smiled and nodded, but then his smile fell.

“AND… I see that look, don’t worry, this is just between us. I’m not going to put the bib on you in front of Jimmy. But it’s become clear to me, that you miss being taken care of from top to bottom. We may not get the opportunity to do this often this summer, but when it does come up, and provided it’s what you want to as well, I can treat you just like I do Andy.”

Todd was again all smiles “Thank you” she could hear the gratitude in his voice, but didn’t know if it was for her offer overall, or for her offer of discretion where Jimmy was concerned. Probably both she decided.

“It seems everyone wanted you to grow up just a bit too soon, and you might miss a few things from when you were little, and that’s fine. But I don’t want to worry so much about weather something is gonna make you happy or not, so I am putting that ball entirely in your court. You are in complete control here, if I start to do something you don’t like you just tell me some code word. Like ‘seagulls’. If you tell me ‘seagulls’ then I won’t do it, and you don’t have to feel bad. Fair?”

She gave him a minute to process, she thought she was getting better at reading the boys feelings, and she could swear she could see the debate he was having with himself. While he debated himself internally, she had to suppress her own voice anxiety. Did she really just give a safe word to a twelve year old? Maybe it seemed that way a little bit, but in all fairness this was different she rationalized. A lot of people used code words with their kids to make talking about certain topics less difficult. So she decided it wasn’t REALLY a safe word, it was just smart parenting, even if she technically wasn’t really a parent here.

When at last he spoke it was like that first day in the car, all of his timidity was gone, there was no doubt, no hesitation, even his voice was different, filled with confidence she had only heard the one other time. “Seagulls. Got it. I just have to say seagulls.”

“Yeah that’s it”

Then just like he took a mask off, he was back to himself, nervous and fidgeting, “Thank you…” he told her, it was little more than a whisper by comparison. Was he going to cry again?

“Sweetie, it’s fine, we’ll have a good day today, just you and I. Now be a good helper and please clear the table and put the plates in the dishwasher.”

Leaving the boy to his work, she found Todd’s backpack and emptied it of the few things in it before heading to Andy’s room to fill it back up with the things she would want for their outing. A few minutes later, satisfied with the backpack, she only needed one more thing to get ready, so she opened the laundry room door and went to the dryer, pulling out a pair of Jimmy’s denim shorts and his pac-man shirt. The shorts would be big on Todd, but not really any worse than her upsizing Andy’s clothes to fit over his trainers.

“Todd, buddy, come on into the living room when you are done, we should probably get you in a diaper if we’re going out, I don’t want to have to make constant potty stops okay?”

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James Arden:

Youngest child of Rick and Sylvia (Pettersen) Arden

Grandson to Lemm and Mabel Arden

Grandson to Sandy and Elaine Pettersen

Uncle to Andy Kriskett


Male, June 9th, 1975. 12 years old.

James has the same color hair and complexion as Andy, traits he gets from his mom’s side of the family. His hair is a little long, not quite a mullet, but very close and keeping with the popular hairstyle in the 80’s. James will have the whole linebacker build thing going on by the time he’s in highschool, but at this age he is just beginning to grow into it. ‘Husky’ is what they used to call it back then, he is somewhere between being ever so slightly chubby and beginning to show his first growth spurt into a full fledged teenager.


James is a rambunctious, boisterous, brash, over assertive - almost a bully, but only by just being self centered, not mean. James never misses a chance to get his own way. All the confidence Todd is lacking, James makes up for in spades. He likes to wrestle, and is physically adventurous, never backing down from physical challenges, which has resulted in him breaking his arm and leg at different times growing up because he was dared to jump out of a tree, or ride his bike down the steps. He makes fun of Todd’s diapers a bit when there are no adults around, but mostly in a good natured fashion, stopping well short of what would get him in trouble if he really upset Todd too much.


James picks out almost all of his own clothes since he knows exactly what he wants. He dresses for comfort first and looking cool a close second. He favors jeans and denim shorts, pop culture character t-shirts (pac man, atari, space invaders, led zeppelin, coke, pepsi, etc), plain socks, and high top chuck taylors.

Drew Kriskett couldn’t believe how quiet the house was, eerily quiet in fact. It had been just about 3 weeks since Todd and Jimmy had each gone back to their respective homes and lives. Andy was finally in school. Scratch that he thought looking at his watch, Andy was actually in his afterschool program given it was almost 1 pm, but he had started Kindergarten nonetheless, and as it turned out his trainers weren’t the impediment his wife had envisioned after all. The school had been surprisingly flexible about Andy’s potty training still being a work in progress, and as long as his accidents were limited to less than three a month in the run up to Christmas break they would consider him ‘trained’ for the purposes of school. Turns out they were doing the same for another boy, Max, who was also late to the station for the potty train express.

Drew was off work, on paid leave no less, while his production line was switched over to new equipment, they were installing a new computer controlled manufacturing system over the weekend, which Drew saw as an opportunity for him to learn some valuable new skills. The earliest he would be returning to work was Wednesday and he reveled in getting to be lazy for three whole days, not counting the weekend. So committed to his laziness he was that he hadn’t even bothered to get dressed yet, and had stretched himself out on the couch in only his underwear while he played the Nintendo he had barely gotten a chance to play the last couple of months.

Jimmy and Todd had played the poor little machine to death though, it was not uncommon for Drew to get up for a drink of water around 2 am to find them still sitting in front of the TV passing the controller back and forth. There were a few times, come morning, they would find those two asleep on the floor or laying the wrong direction on the hide-a-bed, passed out, controllers still in hand.

Drew always felt an odd mixture of emotions when he would see Todd sprawled out on the bed or floor in his diaper. Did Todd envy Jimmy his underwear at night he would wonder? Drew could remember his own diapers at night, how at Todd’s age as the oldest he was responsible for pinning on his own diapers and those of his youngest brother Elias who was 6, while his two middle brothers had both grown out of their wetting several years prior. Drew could remember his jealousy and humiliation at them sleeping in their underwear, but even worse was that they got their own bedroom not long after they both were dry at night, leaving him in his childhood room with his littlest brother. Drew never had friends from school over, not with his room smelling like a nursery and his plastic pants drying in the bathroom every day.

That of course didn’t mean that Toby and Eric didn’t have their friends over. “Those are our big brothers” They would preemptively tell their friends of the plastic pants in the bathroom lest they think that THEY were the bedwetters. Toby, Eric or both would even take their friends into Drew and Elias’s room to show them the plastic sheets on the beds and the diaper pail in the corner. Drew’s Mom never told them to stop, she was of the firm opinion that maybe if it was embarrassing enough for him he just might dry up. So Drew was constantly humiliated from the time his middle brother’s stopped wetting when Drew was 9, up until he finally stopped when he was 15. Elias never seemed to care what others thought though. That was because Drew had worked so hard to countermand the rest of his family’s attitude. Elias outgrew his diapers almost a full year before Drew, but Elias never once did anything like Toby and Eric.

Drew was bound and determined to make sure that his boy wasn’t put through anything like what he went through. He hoped Andy grew out of it before some other kid held it over his head, but even if it came to that Andy would not get any shame from his parents, of that Drew was certain. Drews was not going to be like his Mom had been, she had allowed his brothers to make his life a living hell, and he had done his best to keep Andy away from her once it was clear that he had the family ‘curse’.

He was pissed as hell when he found out that Sharon had been talking with his Mom about Andy’s problems. How could she? He had flared indignantly when she had first mentioned she had talked with his MOM. But in the end he knew he couldn’t be too mad at Sharon since he had never confided in her about how bad his own problems had been and how awful it had his home life for him. It was hardly a betrayal if she didn’t know was it? Ever since college he had as little to do with his Mom and brothers, he had seen them of course at Elias’s funeral, and his Mom did see Andy a few times after he was born, but Drew had little use for her.

Which was why he was completely taken aback when his mom outright apologized to him. She had called to see if they could have dinner for his birthday, she tried most years, and she had even offered to keep the then three and a half year old Andy for the night so that Drew and Sharon might have some alone time. He turned her down on both offers.

“I know why you’re trying to keep him away from me Drew. I don’t suppose I blame you much.”

“What do you mean?” he asked, not really sure that she did know why he didn’t want her in the picture.

“I called and talked to Sharon, I was going to ask why you guys hadn’t let me visit with my grandson in the last two years. I thought maybe I had done something wrong”

“We’re not trying…”

“Drew, please, just listen. Before I had a chance to ask though, Sharon mentioned Andy’s problems, and I just mentioned that it was probably genetic since all of you boys had been bedwetters until you were in at least the second grade, and that you and Elias had both had problems much longer than that. Sharon had no clue what I was talking about, and I had no idea you had never talked to her about it.”

Drew didn’t say anything, he could feel his temper starting to rise though

“If you had brought Andy around much in the last two years, or had anything to do with your brothers or their children, you would know that all of Andy’s cousins but one are carrying on that particular family tradition. Toby set me straight on the medicine behind this, his Brian is eight and he wets every night, and I’m not making the same mistakes with my grandchildren that I made with you boys. Drew, I realize I never made it easy on you, and for that I am sorry, but you have to realize I was a single mom with four boys, and there were no doctors telling me it wasn’t your fault. Still, I realize now I should have handled things differently, and for that I am very sorry.”

“Toby said. TOBY SAID.” Drew felt his temper begin to slip. “Mr. high and mighty pediatrician says something and it’s fucking gospel and your sorry, but you just what decided to wait a few extra years to tell me?”

Just hearing his name pissed him off. Fuck all if Toby can get some skank pregant at 18 years old and still manage to finish med school as a father of two children, while Drew had to struggle every day trying to cope with fucking community college, before he eventually dropped out of school after only one year.

“Drew, don’t curse at me please, and one of these days you are going to have to forgive your brothers for acting like children when they were in fact children. Be mad at me, that’s fine, because I should have known better, but don’t walk around hating your brothers because of what I did or didn’t do. Andy has cousins he has never met, and Uncles who would love to meet him.”

In the end, Drew had calmed down, and although he had passed on the birthday dinner, he and his Mom did have dinner soon after, just the two of them where they talked for several hours, clearing the air. Drew was a little more receptive to her message by then, and he had found that he had reluctantly forgave her. She even made a point of showing him a couple of books she had read on bedwetting and pointing out passages to him that called out the methods of parenting she had employed as being harmful and ineffective.

It took time, but over the following two years he had even reconciled with Toby, who still lived locally and with Eric who lived in some rural town in Alabama. Andy now had a great relationship with his grandmother, and he loved to spend time with Toby’s kids Stephanie and Brian who were now 12 and 10 respectively. They were great kids if Drew was being honest, and as much as he wanted to still hate Toby and Eric both, they had both become decent adults. It still bothered Drew a little that they never specifically apologized, but he had to wonder if they even remembered it the same way he did? Anyways he was doing his best to let bygones be bygones now, he had even gone so far as to take Andy, Todd and James camping with Toby and his kids.

A knock on the door brought him back to the here and now lazy afternoon of sitting on the couch in his jockey shorts playing video games. He got up and peeked through the view hole on the side door. It was a delivery person.

“Give me a second!” He said through the door, as he dashed through the kitchen to the laundry room where he grabbed a pair of shorts and a shirt from the ‘to be washed’ basket. The shirt had a small chilli stain on it, but he wasn’t going to make the driver wait for him to look for a clean shirt, so he answered the door chilli stain and all.

Bringing the package inside, he recognized it as a box from the medical supply company that Todd had brought his diapers over in. Had they someone shipped a box here by mistake? He set the box on the table in the breakfast nook and went back to the family room.

Seeing Todd diapered had been a surreal experience for Drew. It brought up so many conflicting emotions in him, he wasn’t certain exactly what he felt, or why he felt that way. The boy was almost joyful that first night when Drew’s mother in law had diapered him for bed. Drew had felt jealous, and he had no idea why. All that time growing up he hated diapers, hated that his youngest brother wore them, hated that his boy today was still in them. But Todd? Todd turned that on its side. Drew did everything in his power to stamp down the envy he had felt too, but he had sat there while the boy lay on the floor getting diapered wishing he was diapered too. Never in his life did he imagine he would WANT to be diapered again. Examining his feelings, he noted that it was odd, his nephew Brian also wore disposables, but seeing Brian ready for bed left Drew feeling mostly neutral, if not a little sad for the boy, hoping he never went through what Drew himself had. So why was Todd in a diaper such a different thing for him?

To further complicate things, Rick had related the story of Todd’s terrible time at school, and here Drew was envying the boy, even though he had gone through something arguably worse than what Drew had ever gone through. Drew told himself he should be feeling empathy instead, but he couldn’t stop the way he felt, no matter how hard he tried. He had in a moment of irrational puzzlement tried to explain that to Sharon, but he got the feeling she just didn’t understand, or that he couldn’t adequately explain it himself

“Was it just me, or did he seem happy about your mom changing him?” He had asked Sharon when they were alone in their room that night.

“Nope, it wasn’t just you. I wasn’t expecting him to strip on the spot like that. In front of his cousin and everyone too. I thought he had been teased, would have thought that would have made him a little more… discreet?”

“Yeah, after being bullied the way he was, you would think he would have been more circumspect.”

“Well I flat out panicked.:

“Thank god your mom was there though.”

“I was just trying not to laugh at him with his t-shirt tucked into his underwear like that. He looked like a little old man, with those polka dotted shorts.”

“I didn’t notice” He was being honest too, he must have been too busy reliving his own memories to have picked up on Todd’s getting undressed.

“Well you did notice when he laid down in the floor like Andy had right?”

“Yeah, I did at that.”

“Did you ever, you know, when you were a kid? Like that?”

Drew really wasn’t comfortable talking about that, his inclination was to just change the subject. But maybe he should try and talk about it with someone, maybe it was time to stop being afraid and hurt from something that happened 20 years ago. As for someone to talk to, Sharon probably was his best bet there, it’s not like he would talk to his friends at work. “Hey Bill, How’s it going? Nice weather isn’t it? I wore diapers until I was 15 you know?”

“No never. Nothing like that. I can’t imagine either. I wouldn’t have for all the tea in china. The kids got balls I’ll give him that much…” He said

“Well thankfully you’re not being literal there. Andy wouldn’t have needed to see that, he’s gonna be asking about the birds and the bees soon enough as it is.”

“You know what I mean. I can’t imagine doing that, but man did he seem as happy as a clam afterward. I wish I could have been that happy about my situation, I don’t know I was kind of jealous of him in a way”

“You want my mom to diaper you in the living room? Ewww”

Drew knew she was only teasing him, but he still had to fight from sounding defensive

“No, that’s not it. I just wish I could have had his attitude that’s all. My mom and my brothers made my life a misery, but I think I made it worse” He just couldn’t find the words to articulate that he admired the boy. He also did his best to convince himself that it stopped at just admiration, and that he really didn’t want to emulate him.

“Well at least you’ve forgiven your mom and brothers now, maybe it’s time you forgave yourself”

“Maybe” Drew had said, suddenly very weary of the conversation and just wanting to go to bed.

His curiosity building, he got up from the couch and walked back into the breakfast nook. The label on the box was just Kriskett and their address. Getting a steak knife from the kitchen he cut the tape on the box, and pulled back the flaps. Two familiar blue and white bags sat inside, Windell written across the top. Mystery solved, that was the brand Todd wore, and somehow they must have somehow accidently shipped here. He had decided on taping the box up and seeing about returning it to the sender when the packing slip caught his eye.

He pulled out the slip and read it. QTY 2 X Windell Man, Sz 10. Size 10, that’s not right, that’s an adults size. Todd’s were boys sized 8. Lifting one of the bags out of the box, he saw there was no picture of a smiling preteen on the package like on the 8’s, in fact here was only a silhouette of a stick man, like the one on the men’s room door. The good folks at Windell must have a hard time finding grown men to smile on their package of adult diapers. Turning the bag around, the back was much the same showing the contoured diaper, it’s leg gathers, leak guards, elastic waistband all circled with line leading to a brief explanation of each feature. There was a little call out showing ‘more padding in front where men need it most”

So they were not Todd’s size then. Who ordered them or why? It had to be Sharon, but he couldn’t for the life of him imagine why.

He then had a thought that was exhilarating and frightening both, he wanted to try one on. He instantly went from frightened and repulsed, to angry with himself. Why was he thinking about wearing some stupid diaper he didn’t even need? He put the bag back in the box and closed the flaps back, he was going to go get the packing tape and close this box up before he did something silly. That will be the end of that.

He found the tool box in the laundry room and was looking for the roll of packing tape when he heard the side door open off the family room.

“Drew, I’m back. I picked up Andy from daycare early and dropped him off at your Mom’s. We’ll pick him up Sunday after church.”

That was weird, he didn’t remember his Mom asking to keep Andy this weekend. Not finding the tape in the tool box, he reached up into the cabinet and felt around blindly in the back where he couldn’t see.

“Oh good my package came” He heard her say as his hand finally grasped on something that felt like a roll of tape. Pulling it out he had half expected it to be duct tape, but it was in fact the packing tape he had been looking for.

He went back toward the kitchen and the box was open again, this time one of the bags was missing.

“Drew, honey, put the tape down and come in the family room for a moment, okay sweetie?”

He turned and saw her, She was in the floor where she usually got Andy ready for bed, where she had spent the summer getting Todd ready too. She had the powder out, and one of the size 10 diapers in her hand. Not just A diaper, he realized, HIS diaper.

“It’s okay sport, I know it’s scary, but if I learned anything this summer it’s to believe in second chances.”

She patted the rug, and Drew knew he was going to do as she asked, he was going to go lay down in front of his beautiful wife, and she was going to make everything better.


Andy Kriskett:
First born of Drew and Sharon (Pettersen) Kriskett
Grandson to Sylvia (Pettersen) Arden
Grandson to Nico and Amara Kriskett
Nephew to James Arden
Male, January 7th, 1982. 5½ years old.

Although there is a tendency for the men in Sylvia’s family to be broad shoulderd and barrel chested as adults, Andy as a little boy is still on the small side, maybe even a little short for his age. He has an even complexion, albeit with a smattering of freckles on his arms, and reddish brown hair which marks him as his mother’s son, although his skin tone itself is considerably darker than hers. His piercing green eyes, dusky coloration and mediterannian features are attributes he derived from his father. Andy’s hair, if left to grow long enough has a pronounced natural curl to it, none of which is evident when kept in the traditional boys barber cut he has had for the last year, leaving it short enough that it is easy to maintain and unlikely to tangle, plus it doesn’t take forever to dry after his bath. Andy as result of his parentage looks both Irish and Greek at the same time, the synthesis of the two ethnotypes making him quite the handsome child…
Andy is exuberant, curious, good natured, and affable. He looks up to his uncle James and his ‘cousin’ Todd, both of whom he tries to emulate, affecting their slang and mannerisms as best he can His easy going nature means he seldom ever has meltdowns, and is mostly agreeable, although getting him into the bath or shower can be a real struggle. Sharon is worried that he is still not completely dry during the day, and with the start of kindergarten only a few months away, she doesn’t want to send him to school in training pants, yet Andy’s easy going attitude toward the status quo, and Sharon’s reluctance to put too much pressure on him to train has resulted in an environment where Andy has no embarrassment regarding his training pants and therefore he has no particular impulse to change, it’s all just perfectly natural for him.
Sharon, a pragmatist in most respects, buys her son clothes with function in mind over fashion. By staying away from some of the more aggressive prints and patterns and sticking to mostly primary colors, Andy can pick out his own clothes in the morning with high confidence that everything will coordinate well. So his closet is mostly filled with solid color t-shirts, many having hems at the neck and sleeves in contrasting colors as was popular at the time. Not everything was free from adornment though, he had a few shirts with logos on them, the ubiquitous panama jack, and a pepsi shirt that was his favorite among everything he owned, plus a couple of striped polo shirts for something a little more dressy. Andy generally wears sandals or flip flops and he will complain when he has to wear regular shoes and socks.

Andy’s grasp on staying dry isn’t good during the day, and nonexistent at night. Still two years before pull-ups will hit the market, Andy is kept in thick cloth training pants during the day, and disposable diapers at night, although Sharon will reluctantly resort to diapers during the day for longer car trips or situations where they will be away from home for an extended period of time, although it worries her by doing so she might be setting back his potty training efforts. Because of his continued wetting most of Andy’s bottoms are knit or fleece shorts of the elastic waisted variety offering easy on and off so that his trainers can be changed if need be. He does own a nice pair of dress pants, along with a few pairs of jeans, most of which are slightly big on him because they are sized up to a size 5, since even though his smaller proportions allow him to still wear a size 4 in pants, a size 4 won’t fit over his training pants (nor do some size 5 for that matter). Pants with a 4t sizing, indicating they were made with a diaper allowance and usually feature diaper friendly features such as snaps in the inseam or an elastic waist, were very hard to find. In fact Andy’s closet only had one such pair of 4t sized jeans, Sharon having found them on a clearance rack at the Bugle Boy outlet, there had been only the single pair and she didn’t like the green colored denim that much. But she bought them on the spot, color be damned, asking the clerk if there might be anymore in the back, but sadly there was not.

At night he mostly sleeps in his diaper only, but he will wear pajamas if he is cajoled into it, which is only rarely, given the balmy nights, Sharon sees no point in forcing the issue, just because she thinks seeing him in PJ’s is cute. Sharon is very brand loyal, and Andy has worn Huggies all of his life

Todd woke up to the sound of the TV, cartoons he surmised, although he could not see the TV from where he lay on his stomach on the sofa bed. Feeling some wetness on the sheets Todd had a moment’s panic thinking he had leaked, figuring the leak to have been monumental since the moisture was up around his chest, but he soon reasoned it to have just been some night sweats from the plastic sheet. During last night’s bout of nostalgia over Andy’s plastic sheet, Todd has romanticized the crinkly while forgetting the hot and sticky, but he remembered now. At some point in the night, probably at his hottest, he had thrown the sheet off and was thus laying out in the open, his diapered butt showing to anyone who might walk by, hopefully that had only been Andy, which is who Todd assumed was watching the cartoons which woke him.

Rolling over onto his back he swung his legs off the bed and stood up taking in the room as it looked so different with the morning sun streaming in. James had appeared to have not wanted the sheet either because it was almost entirely on the floor on James’ side of the bed. James was sleeping on his back, one hand down his underwear. Todd occasionally woke up like that himself, which considering his diaper was usually soaked was kinda gross, and that usually resulted in him washing his hands repeatedly before he could bring himself to hold his tooth brush.

Sighing, Todd picked the sheet off the floor and threw a corner of it over James legs and lower parts, to give him a bit of modesty should one of the adults get up. Speaking of the adults, the clock said it was 8:30, he was surprised no one was up yet. That meant he had slept for what? Close to a full eight and a half hours? No wonder his diaper was soaked, considering he had wet it before bed. He could feel how heavy it was as he took a few steps. As soon as he started to move, he felt his bladder start to give, he hadn’t even felt like he had to pee. That sometimes happens to him in the mornings, like he finally gets the smallest amount of ‘hold it’ during the night and manages to hold something back, but as soon as he gets up in the morning, his control goes ‘poof’ and he wets again. It didn’t make a lot of sense to him, he never really had any day time problems or anything, just on first waking up. Regardless, it was a miracle his diaper held what was in it, much less what he just added to it.

Todd turned to look at Andy, who was laying on the rug on his belly in front of the TV, his PJ bottoms from the night before were nowhere to be seen. Andy’s diaper had appeared to have gotten a workout as well so at least Todd had company in that respect.

Todd would have prefered to stay in just his diaper, but he had to assume people would be up soon. “Morning buddy, what ya watching?” Todd asked as he fished his PJ shorts off the stool by his backpack, which he pulled on along with his undershirt from yesterday.

“Hi, Smurfs” Andy told him with a distracted wave, not taking his eyes off the cartoons.

Todd knew he really should go ahead and get his shower and get ready for the day before everyone else was up and there was a rush on the bathrooms, with only two bathrooms and seven people there would be waiting. Still, looking at Andy, Todd felt the tug of nostalgia again, it had been ages since he had watched cartoons on Saturday morning. It wouldn’t hurt to watch a few minutes would it? If someone got up, he could go ahead and get his shower then.

A few minutes became a full half hour, until Sharon and his Uncle made an appearance. Todd hadn’t even heard anyone get up, he must have been engrossed in the Smurfs which was surprising since he thought the Smurfs were kind of dumb and he really hoped gargamel would just catch and eat them all.

As soon as he became aware of kitchen noises, he looked over his shoulder at the bar area and saw both Rick and Sharon standing at the coffee pot. Feeling like he had been caught doing something wrong, Todd bolted to his feet. His mom had really laid down the law that his diaper went on in his room, and came off first thing when he woke up, and his time at school wasn’t much different since he had to be ready for the rest of the day before he could turn up at the dining room for breakfast.

“Morning” he called out to them.

He grabbed his backpack and pulled out the change of clothes that remained there. He frowned at the polo shirt, it had ¾ sleeves, what possessed his mom to pack a semi long sleeve shirt for Florida? His full suitcase was in the guestroom, where he assumed his Aunt Sylvia was still asleep, so for now he was stuck with the shirt for at least the time being.

The adults returned his good morning, neither sounding too upset that he was still in his diaper, but that was probably just the indulgence of him being a guest, and Todd had no desire to press his luck, so he slinked down the hall to where he found the bathroom.

The orange bathroom was particularly cheery in the morning and Todd set his bundle of clean clothes down on the counter, while he peeled off his undershirt and pj shorts which he placed on the lid of the toilet. When he pulled back the curtain he faced his first dilemma. Shower or Bath? Normally he would have just turned on the shower, but seeing the collection of bath toys in a small basket, and a bottle of Mr. Bubble made Todd hesitate. He could see in his mind, Andy sitting upright in the Tub, driving one of the plastic boats through a layer of foam. He was tempted, but what if someone came to the door though and didn’t hear the shower? Would they know? He supposed he could claim he couldn’t figure out how to turn the shower on, would anyone buy that? Who would believe he couldn’t figure that out? Feeling a little sad, he turned on the water adjusting the handles to get it to the right temperature. He had fully intended to reach for the diverter valve but at the last second he instead pulled the lever that worked the tub’s stopper.

Todd removed his diaper, which really was amazingly soaked. He rolled it up, and set it aside on the back of the toilet, since it looked as if just his diaper alone would completely fill up the small trash can which was in the bathroom. The tub was about a third of the way filled and he stepped over the side, testing the water with his foot, before sitting down completely.

Sitting in the water he faced his second dilemma in the form of Mr. Bubble. He picked up the bottle, and it was still mostly full, he could probably put a capful in the water and no one would be the wiser would they? Unscrewing the cap, the scent was pretty strong, he didn’t want to smell of too much of bubblebath did he? Maybe he could improvise instead? He recapped the Mr. bubble and instead squeezed a little shampoo onto his hands and then held them under the spigot, which caused a similar effect making suds on the top of the bath. But the suds were short lived, and by this time he had begun to hear Sylvia and Drew as well, meaning everyone was up, he knew he shouldn’t dawdle and tie up the main bathroom, so he left the bath toys alone too and simply washed himself and proceeded about his business of drying off, brushing his teeth and then getting dressed.

Pulling on his underwear, he stopped to look at himself in the mirror, seeing a boy in a tank top undershirt tucked into narrow striped boxer shorts, certainly THAT wasn’t him. Frowning a bit at a sudden wave of dysphoria, he SHOULD be in diapers he thought to himself, before giving a little start at the thought. He had never wanted to wear diapers during the day before, so why was he feeling somehow deprived now? Was it Andy’s apparent love of his diapers, for that was the only way to explain the boys actions of the previous night, was that rubbing off on him? Why did he feel any kinship with the boy, simply because he had laid on the floor beside him to watch cartoons? This was ridiculous. Maybe it was just getting changed by someone else, which had made him feel this way? Was it his Aunt changing him that he wanted?

Sure Todd had missed being changed, being cared for, but the diapers had never been special had they? Was it maybe what they symbolized? Should he have paid more attention in english when they covered symbolism? This was all crazy weird, and Todd had no idea how to process this line of thinking, so he decided maybe it was best to just not think about it anymore and he forced himself to finish getting dressed.

When he emerged from the bathroom, his pajamas wrapped around his spent diaper, he poked his head in the kitchen where he could see everyone at the other end sitting at the table except Andy. An empty cereal bowl told Todd that Andy had already eaten and was probably back to watching cartoons. As nonchalantly as he could muster, now exceedingly self conscious, he worked his diaper into the big trash can in the kitchen trash before he went and put his dirty clothes in his backpack since he lacked any other place to put them.

The smell of coffee was strong in the kitchen and each of the four adults sat at the table with empty plates and mugs of coffee. Todd hadn’t imagined he had been in the tub long enough for them to cook breakfast and eat, but from the looks of it James was the only one who appeared to still be eating, everyone else had empty crumb filled plates in front of them. James, however, was eating cereal from a bowl, lucky charms from the box. There was also a platter of eggs and bacon and toast in the center of the table, and there was a plate and bowl set out at the place beside james.

“Hey buddy, didn’t know what you wanted for breakfast, so I put out a bowl and a plate, so grab what you want” Rick told Todd as he got to the dining room.

Todd said thanks and took the seat beside his cousin, who Todd noted hadn’t gotten dressed yet, and was sitting at the table eating breakfast in only his underwear. Todd could feel his mother’s disapproval, even though she was not there. Todd felt guilty for James’ lack of tact. Why in the hell was he feeling guilt? Why did he feel as if he were doing something wrong, he was fully dressed, stupid ¾ sleeves and all.

“Jimmy get dressed as soon as you’re done, we’re going to all go over to PaPa’s house for a bit, and then we are going to the shell factory and the beach” Rick had continued addressing his son now. “So you boys make sure and grab your swim trunks if you want to swim”

Jimmy spooned another bite of cereal into his mouth, making a minimal grunt of acknowledgement at his dad so he wouldn’t harp on the whole getting ready thing. His dad had been such a drag about things lately. Putting his dad from his mind, he also tried not to stare at his cousin, who had gone back to looking like a somewhat normal kid, if not for the overly preppy clothes he wore. He must like dressing like that though, or he wouldn’t have put up with it, he would have told his parents what he wanted to wear just like Jimmy himself had done when his Mom had tried to get him to try on one of those stupid alligator shirts Todd had worn yesterday. Sure, he and his Mom had fought about it, but she relented and ended up putting the shirt back.

Thinking about it, he realized that In fact almost everything his parents had done lately had been irritating to him. First Jimmy was told not to make fun of his nephew for wearing diapers. That pissed him off, like he would have made fun of Andy for that, he was just a little kid, and his nephew to boot, his parents must think he was a real jerk or something? Worse, he got the same speech from his sister. Not two days later he gets the same lecture, twice again, only this time about Todd. Never fucking mind that Todd is 12 years old like Jimmy, and he’s supposed to think that’s okay? Not that he would have made fun of Todd, he probably wouldn’t have. No, what stung was his parents thinking he was just waiting for the opportunity to mock someone for wearing diapers. As if. Still, maybe Todd did need someone to mock him for it, and maybe then he would stop pissing the bed every night if they did? But in the end if Todd wanted to run around in fucking pampers that was his business even if it meant he would never get laid.

So yeah maybe Todd could stand to be teased. But Jimmy wasn’t going to be the one to do it, and not just because his parents had told him not too, he actually kind of liked his cousin, even though he thought that was as much to do with the circumstances of being on vacation as with anything else. Jimmy imagined that if Todd were just some kid at his school, they might not be friends, not because of the diapers or anything like that, Jimmy thought he would probably not know about those, but simply because the kid was so tightly wound and leaned into being preppy so much, he was just not ‘cool’ and Jimmy couldn’t be friends at school with someone who wasn’t cool.

Todd’s awkwardness aside, he seemed fairly normal to Jimmy, not that it wasn’t odd seeing Todd changed like a toddler, but since judging was off limits, Jimmy decided to just ignore that aspect for the moment. So other than the diaper elephant in the room, Todd seemed pretty normal to him, a bit wound up and high strung maybe, but otherwise normalish. In fact there were a couple of times last night, sitting in front of the tv playing castlevania or rygar, that he had even forgotten what his cousin was wearing, until Todd would move and you could hear his diaper rustle, or he got up to walk around, with the same toddler walk his nephew had, which looked even odder on boy their age. Just hanging out and playing games he was fine. In the end he decided that the only thing about the diapers that really bothered him was that stupidly hot plastic sheet he had to sleep on, that had to go.

Pushing back from the table, he grabbed his bowl and walked it to the kitchen, before one of his parents thought they needed to tell him to put his bowl in the dishwasher. Jimmy hated that they thought he was so stupid, he would forget to do something so trivial.

“Hey sport, don’t just leave your empty juice glass” His dad called after him.

Fuck. Did he have to do everything, he got the bowl didn’t he? He would have gotten the glass too, he just hadn’t thought of it yet, but he was sure he would have, had his dad not just jumped all in his shit. It was like he was waiting for him to slip up or something.

Jimmy signed heavily, hoping he didn’t sigh too loud, or else he’d no doubt get lectured about that too. He snatched the juice glass up and wordlessly carried it to the kitchen. God why were parents such assholes? He looked at Todd sitting at the table eating the bacon and eggs left out for him. No one here was gonna hassle him, everyone seemed to bend over backwards to be nice to him. Hell his parents were probably super cool, with their constant travel and jet set lifestyle. Jimmy couldn’t remember much of anything about Todd’s parents, having not seen them since he was very little, but they had to be better than what he got saddled with. From the sounds of it, Todd’s parents were so loaded, they probably had the help hassle Todd instead of doing it themselves. Why couldn’t his dad be loaded too, it was like everything Jimmy ever wanted was like pulling teeth to get from his folks.

Jimmy decided to skip the shower, what did he need it for if he was going to swim later anyways? He found his suitcase in his parents room and pulled out a pair of cutoffs and t-shirt. “Thanks dad for reminding me to put on clothes, anything else I should remember to do? Breathe? Oh okay. Sure” He thought to himself as he dressed. He pulled his swim trunks out too and set them on his Mom’s tote bag, so she could keep up with them, since she seemed to like to carry the massive thing everywhere they went.

Later that evening, returning back to the Kriskett’s house Todd was still pissed. Could the day have gone any worse? He followed the others back in through the side door, no one paying him the least bit of attention as everyone chatted genialy. Right now being invisible to everyone was far superior to the production at lunch that had put him in such a shit mood.

Lunch had started off nice enough, well mostly nice. Truth be told Todd wasn’t used to sharing PaPa’s attention, and here he was sharing the attention amongst three boys. He knew he was being silly, PaPa HAD to be nice to Andy, he was little, and PaPa didn’t see James every year either. Todd didn’t expect his grandfather to ignore the other two boys, but that realization did nothing for the jealousy he felt when his PaPa talked of taking them fishing, or airboating, or any of the other things he usually did only with Todd. He knew he was being a baby about it, but that didn’t make it sting any less.

Oh grow up! Todd shouted at himself. After all, he had been looking forward to the Shell factory, and even the beach for that matter. He loved the water in general, and although he wasn’t crazy about the crowds he didn’t usually get a lot of beach time in Florida when he was here, so he was resolved to make the best of it. That moment of resolve though, that was about the time things started to really sour for him. Todd had looked down the table to see Andy climb onto MayMay’s lap. He made a conscious effort to push aside the jealousy he felt. He needed to be more mature about sharing his grandparents he knew. He imagined they might even be proud of him, if they knew what he was going through. Not that he would tell them mind you, but he was pretty sure they would acknowledge how he was growing up, and how proud they were that he could recognize his own shortcomings.

MayMay lifted the boy and adjusted him in her lap, giving him a playful pat on the bottom. She must have noted the thickness of the boy’s training pants, because that became the next topic of conversation at the table as she lifted his shirt to peek at the back of his pants.

“And I thought you were a big boy. What are you doing still in training pants? I hear you’re going to school soon, and I don’t think they let little boys in training pants go to school”

Todd’s noticed a dark look on Drews face, and he wondered if that was a touchy subject with Drew for some reason? His mom’s constant lectures about people’s perceptions had made Todd pretty sensitive to catching peoples reactions, but his life experience left him with few tools to interpret what he noticed.

Sharon intervened “Yeah, we’re working on it though, and he’s doing great, just some days we want to be on the safe side when we go out” She laughed a little.

“Well, you follow the example of your uncle Jimmy and you’ll be all set for school, and don’t drink anything after seven either of you two” MayMay added for Todd’s benefit “or you may just wet the bed.”

Jesus, why was MayMay convinced of that after seven stuff Todd thought? She was always beating that like a dead horse.

“You should keep them both off any fluids after dinner” MayMay reiterated, patting Sharon on the hand

Sharon just nodded.

“In fact I think you and Todd could both work on being dry this summer, and I bet if you try you can both go to school with no need of training pants or night diapers” May may spoke to the boy in her lap, while addressing the last bit about night diapers to Todd directly reaching out and patting his hand for emphasis.

Their pretty server, Annette, had strolled up to the table during MayMay’s speech and she made eye contact with Todd, and he could tell the moment she processed what she had just heard for she suddenly directed a look of pity to Todd along with a wane smile “Have you folks had a chance to look over your menus?”

Things only got worse over the course of the meal, despite numerous attempts to change the conversation, MayMay wouldn’t let it go.

“Think how thrilled your mother will be for you to finally be potty trained. I know you guys don’t want for much, but just imagine how much money she will save if she doesn’t have to spend so much on diapers”

Fan fucking tastic Todd thought to himself, now he was thinking about his mom too and how ‘happy’ she would be. Would it hurt anyone to ask what would make him happy? Just for once?

As soon as he could reasonably finish picking at his food, he pushed his plate away and asked if he could go down to the beach.

“Honey I don’t think that’s such a good idea, you just ate, and you can’t go into the water so quickly after eating”

Todd didn’t like being mad at his MayMay, but right now he was furious, and he knew that was wrong to feel that way about someone who loved him, but damn she could get hung up on the stupidest things. Everyone knew the whole half hour after eating thing was nothing more than an old wives tale. She just seemed determined to make him miserable. Why didn’t any of the other adults override here nonsense?

Finally enough time had passed, and James had finished his lunch too, and the boys were given permission to go down to the beach, so they grabbed their swim trunks and a bag for their clothes and headed out the restaurant and through the large gift shop toward the parking lot and beach access.

By the time they had made it to the beach house to change it had begun to pour down rain and even from the beach house they could tell the lifeguard was calling people in from the water. So reluctantly the boys returned to the restaurant, and Todd instantly felt uncomfortable because now his stupid ¾ sleeve polo shirt was soaked and the air conditioning was on high. It really wasn’t his day he reasoned.

Todd was still feeling his malaise later in the evening, his Aunt and Uncle were watching wheel of fortune and he and James had been trying to entertain themselves playing cards. Todd’s heart just wasn’t in the game and he was only half way paying attention, not focusing on his cards or his surroundings either one. So it was that he jumped a little when Andy tugged at his sleeve.

“Mom said to come get ready for bed” Andy told him, sounding much happier than Todd ever felt about being told it was bedtime.

This was at least new, Todd thought as he followed Andy down the short hallway, figuring tonight he was going to have to change himself in the bathroom or something like that since last night was such a spectacle.

Andy’s room was pretty much the same as Todd had glimpsed it the night before, a twin bed pushed almost against the wall to his left with a desk perpendicular to it, and a closet and chest of drawers on the wall opposite the bed. A stack of plastic bins lined the wall the door was on, each of the bins filled with toys. A Huggies bag sat at the foot of the bed, Todd wasn’t exactly sure what it was he liked about that, but seeing the bag out in the open like that made him jealous of the boy.

Quit being jealous of a five year old kid, Todd tried to reason with himself, reminding himself of how jealous he had felt this afternoon when Andy was getting attention and he wasn’t. You were mad at MayMay too, but you still felt slighted, like you could get in her lap anyways. Maybe those people that think you’re spoiled because of your Grandfather are right? Maybe you are nothing but a spoiled rich brat, he seethed at himself, half in his own voice, half in his mom’s voice.

Todd forced himself to calm down, so he made himself continue to look around the room, at the picture of Jesus holding a lamb, at the lamp on the boy’s desk that looked like a vw bug, at the rug that looked like a road system for matchbox cars. Todd felt his anxiety subside a bit, but his agitation was completely forgotten when he noticed the arrangement on the bed. There was a large cream colored vinyl mat spread across the middle of the bed, a tub of wipes in one corner, along with a tube of rash cream and can of powder beside that. But the sight that most transfixed Todd was the sight of the two diapers stacked on one another, with his larger one on the bottom, and Andy’s smaller one on top. Unfolded Todd knew his Windel had two blue tapes on each side while Andy’s Huggies had only one white tape on each side. Fresh from their packages, though, the only apparent difference in the two diapers were their relative sizes

“My turn!” Andy announced as he stripped off his pants leaving him in just his trainers and a go-bots t-shirt when he laid across his bed.

Todd expected some comment or reprimand when Andy’s training pants were removed, Todd could tell just from the way the garment hung in Sharon’s hands that they were more than a little damp, but no lecture came, instead Sharon just used a wipe to clean her son up, and then using a new wipe she worked in rash cream front and back, having the boy lay on his tummy for that part. Moments later the top diaper was unfolded, slipped under the boy, and the tapes were fastened tightly across the front.

“Your turn” Andy said as he launched himself off the bed.

Sharon tried to play it all cool, but this whole thing still seemed so bizarre to her. She watched as the older boy tentatively started to pull off his polo shirt, with it’s ridiculously long sleeves for Florida. She wanted to shoo Andy from the room, he didn’t need to see this older boy get diapered, but would that send the wrong message to him? There is something shameful about diapers? One the one hand that wouldn’t be so bad, if it meant him going to school this fall dry. Besides, would that send the wrong message to Todd, that he needed to be ashamed? No she decided, thinking back to him getting diapered in front of the whole household, he did not feel ashamed of his diapers. Why was nothing ever simple or cut and dried?

The boy dropped his khaki’s and stepped out of them cleanly, standing there in pin stripped boxers.

“Your underwear is funny” Andy told him, very matter of factly.

“Andy, be nice Todd didn’t make fun of your underwear did he?” She found herself saying despite the fact that she agreed with her son 100%. The only people who wore boxer shorts were characters on TV, and maybe stodgy old men in their 60’s.

“Sorry” Andy offered, sounding unsure of why he was apologizing

“It’s okay,” Todd explained as he laid down on the changing pad. “My mom says they dress well under trousers, and should make me feel more grown up”

“Oh” Andy said, sounding a bit unconvinced.

Sharon noticed that Andy had gone over to his toy bin, and was rummaging around for something, or at least pretending to do so as he kept his head looking over his shoulder watching Todd on his bed. She really should have told him Todd needed privacy, but if that was the case shouldn’t Andy have had privacy too? Why didn’t she set the precedent to change them separately? Why had she agreed to this anyways she asked herself not for the last time as she hooked her thumbs into the waistband of his shorts and pulled them down.

She followed the same protocol with Todd using a wipe to apply some rash cream and diapered him in the same way as her youngest. Being up close this time, doing the change herself, she was certain of what she thought she saw last night. Todd took on a look of complete contentment, no tension, no nervous twitch, it was like you could see into his mind in that moment that he was happy and free, no guilt, no shame, no puppy who just shit on the rug look that he always seemed to wear.

Todd hopped off the bed, lightly, and dropped into a squat as he scooped up his clothes, and he really did look just like a toddler to her with his diaper crinkling as he moved. Not that any toddler would pick up their clothes unbidden.

“Andy, you see Todd pick up his clothes? Where do your clothes go?” She prompted, as Andy picked up his own clothes from the floor as he ran for the hamper in the bathroom.

Alone, Sharon grabbed Andy’s damp trainers from the bed, she’d take those to the laundry herself. She thought about telling them to both put on some bottoms, but what they hell, they both seemed to like the T-Shirt and diaper thing, so why not? It’s not like anyone didn’t know what they were wearing. Sharon hoped she was doing the right thing, the right thing for Andy, the right thing for Todd, the right thing for Drew, although she wasn’t exactly sure why Drew kept coming up in her mind on this, that was something she needed to figure out, but delicately. Seeing the way he looked today during lunch was almost as pitiful as Todd had looked. All this fuss over diapers.


Elliot used the rubber nub at the end of his arm crutch to slam the door behind him. This was his room, at least for the moment. That had been the deal, he would go to Pealatons instead of Ashton where his friends went and in exchange his dad had assured him he at least wouldn’t have to have a roommate. The phone call from his father had not turned out like he had hoped. In fact nothing this afternoon had turned out as he had thought it should.

Things had started to go sideways as soon as Elliot arrived back to his dorm after class. Dr. Guffane, the faculty member who oversaw the special needs dorm, had called Elliot aside and dropped the first bombshell.

“Elliot a moment please if you will. I need to speak with you” He had called over to him as Elliot entered the building after his last class. He must have seen Elliots dark look because he continued “Don’t worry lad, not as your Maths teacher” He chuckled

Elliot found his chuckle irritating, as well as his affectation of saying ‘maths’ like it was plural.

“See this boy is named Todd, and well he’s a year below you, and he’s having some challenges integrating with his classmates due to his enuresis.” Dr. Guffane had explained. “Enuresis of course being”

“Bed wetting, I got it” Elliot snapped a bit impatiently beginning to fear the direction this conversation was going.

“Just so” If Dr. Guffane noticed his tone, he didn’t comment on it.

Elliot decided he should reign in his temper quickly, he knew he was in no position to challenge the administration directly, not that Dr. Guffane was administration ‘that mattered’ exactly, he was just a silly little english man who was the calculus instructor for the upper grade kids who also happened to teach a pre algebra class. Still, he was also the instructor responsible for overseeing the special needs dorm, and Elliot didn’t want to make an enemy of the man when he could make life difficult for Elliot. He would have to call his father about this, and then it would all be taken care of, Elliot thought, handled amongst the people who actually mattered, his father and the Dean of students.

That phone call to his Father had not turned out well either.

“Look Elliot, it’s only temporary, and sometimes we have to do things we don’t like to do. Besides this boy is Eugene Macallums grandson, and that could mature into a valuable relationship when you both get to be older, I know you want your own room, but making these connections are the very reason why we are spending so much money to send you to Paelaton’s to begin with. So buck up, be nice to the kid, and make the best of it, it’s not like he’s going to room with you forever, just until he gets dry at night. Seems like that might be a place where you could demonstrate some empathy too.”

Elliot leaned his crutch against the wall and made his way over to his bed, where he threw himself down with a sigh. He didn’t really need his crutch to walk, at least not all the time, but having it made him a little more stable, and a great deal faster, which meant that he never felt like he was holding people up. Being the center of attention was the worst when you felt like everyone was staring at you, but being the center of attention for inconveniencing people was even worse than that. So if he had to be the crutch kid, at least he was not going to be the slow and in the way crutch kid.

So now not only am I losing half my space, I’m going to have to put up with a third grader no less. Elliot knew he was sulking, but in the moment that felt okay to him. Yes, he knew that many people with CP had it far worse than him, and bladder issues and a funny walk were ‘getting off easy’ when compared to some of the kids he had met. But damn it, there were other rooms in this dorm with a single occupant, why did it have to be Elliot that had to give up what little privilege he had?

A knock on the door caused Elliot to look up, it was Sasha, one of the two assistants that lived in the dorm.

“Hi Sasha” he waved her in. Of the two aides he generally preferred Sasha, over Eddie, but Elliot today would have rather seen Eddie at the door. To Elliots way of thinking, Eddie was black, so he knew what it was like to be put out all the time, so surely he would have understood what it was like to have to make sacrifices when you shouldn’t have to. Sarah had probably never had a bad day in her life, and the way she looked, everyone probably gave her whatever she wanted anyways.

Sasha had gone to the integrated shelving unit at the head of his bed, and grabbed a diaper from his pack.

“I hear you’re going to have a new roomie. I bet that’s exciting huh?” She asked as she squared both his legs up on his bed.

Elliot tried not to roll his eyes, he was in hell. This kid had better get dry and quick, that was all there was to it. If Elliot didn’t have a fuckin bladder problem, he’d have been dry years ago, so he didn’t get why this kid was getting special treatment. Someone should just tell him to wake up and go to the john. It didn’t seem like it should be that hard. None of his friends at Ashton had to put up with shit like that, but no, his old man had to send him here because that was where he had gone to school.

“Yeah, I’m sure we’ll be good friends” He said, putting his nice kid voice on. No good would come of anyone thinking him to be anything but ‘with the program’

“You’re such a good kid, I’m sure he’s going to love it over here” Sasha said with a smile, as she started to pull his pants down.

Hey all - I really hope this doesn’t come off as needy or entitled, but this story seems to have really low engagment, I’m curious as to peoples thoughts as to why that might be? Is it meh? Cliche? Too cookie cutter? Too dark ( I could see where folks might not care for the family dynamic) Too convoluted? The narrative and perspective shifts annoying? Is it too introspective? Dull? Is the pacing off - is it too slow? Too much backstory? Too weird? Is it creepy somehow? My poor editing just a bit too much for you?

Logically I know I won’t get a response from the readers who read the first paragraph and ditched the story as it wasn’t their cup of tea, but I am curious for anyone who started on the story and lost interest or someone who maybe is skimming it looking for just the parts which interest them, what is keeping this from being a good read?

While I write mostly for myself and for my own enjoyment, I also like it when others enjoy what I write too. (Again not to be needy or entitled) I would very much welcome even negative feedback if it can help me improve my writing. I’m a big boy (boo!) and you don’t have to worry about telling me my baby is ugly.

Thanks all

Your reader numbers suggest that people are coming back to read each new chapter, even if they aren’t posting.

I’ve been skipping it purely because I don’t like stories with children in; that’s a personal preference.

Thank you Anna. I appreciate, all the more, your reply considering this isn’t your cup of tea story wise. I took the read count with a healthy dose of skepticism figuring much of that traffic was from crawlers and bots - don’t know if that is the actual case or not, but my assumption was those were not actual readers. If they are readers then I don’t suppose I have any cause to complain :slight_smile:

Nah, I have a story with half the views of this one that I posted three weeks before you posted the first chapter of this.

You’re getting repeat readers, even if they’re all too shy to tell you about it :slight_smile:

Hi OP, I created an account just to tell you that this story is great! I am a lazy guy and don’t usually create accounts haha, so that’s something. I also don’t want to come across as begging but please write more, if you’re up to it of course.

I really love the character development and shifts in perspective. I especially found the perspective and thoughts of Jimmy and the kid with CP (I am forgetting his name) fascinating, considering Jimmy’s seemingly mixed feelings on diapers and the fact that the kid with CP needs them but begrudges Todd wearing diapers.

I am curious to see how their relationships develop despite the clear disdain of diapers held by Jimmy and the kid with CP

Fluffy - first thanks so much for creating an account and all the kind words. I loved writing the vignette about Elliot (The kid with CP). I really tried doing some different things with the story - especially the tangents, the little ideas that pop in your head but don’t really fit the main story so why not still do them but as sketches or excerpts that stand on their own. When I went into that bit, Elliot was a very sympathetic character in my mind, I pictured him kind of being a mentor, but then when I started writing he sprang to life a bit of an asshole - with an Eddie Haskal streak a mile wide. It’s very weird when characters take on their own voice and life in a way you as the author didn’t expect. He really turned out to be so much more layered than I thought and hella jaded for a 6th grader

There are parts of this story that mirror a real life event for me. Like Todd in the story I often spent alternating summers with grandparents (only no one was rich and had an estate sigh - my parents worked for the airlines and they got part of the summer kid free each year) and one summer when I was either 13 or 14 I stayed part of the summer in Todd’s situation - My Cousin ‘Jimmy’ was staying with his older half sister while his parents went on a trip. Jimmy and I were the same age and didn’t get to see each other a lot so it was pretty cool to hang out. ‘Sarah’ had a new born and an almost 5 year old ‘Andy’ who was going to start school that fall. Andy was a bedwetter - and this was really back in the 80’s before pullups and the like and he wore Huggies to bed like it was no big deal (He really did keep the box out in his room, at the end of his bed - it was awesome that he had no sense of shame about it - but it was very very unusual for that day and age when there was still a lot of pressure to train kids before they were 3 and bedwetting was one step away from leprosy). I had been attracted to diapers since I was in them (I have memories of begging to keep my diapers) - and wow! fresh through puberty me wanted to be Andy so damn bad it wasn’t even funny. Sarah changed him in the living room floor each night, and I wanted so badly to be ‘next’, That’s still a fantasy I have to this day and one I’ve written in one way or another over and over again because it is still very potent for me.

And there is more coming soon I promise!

I’ve only read the first part, but intersting setting so far, and I’ll read on to say how it goes.

As for your question about readers, I don’t think you should worry. Often stories on this site won’t get too many commetns, that doesn’t mean that no one is reading or that it isn’t good.
The only thing I could suggest would be breaking things up a bit more. Looking at it the story seems like a long list of dense paragraphs- despite the fact it is good, that might visually turn off some more casual readers. You also have a lot of background description in the beginning, it might make sense to get more into the story and let the scenario elements come out with examples in the plot rather then have them outlined. Give the way you write it, speaking to the reader, it makes sense, but again some of the more casual readers might move away. Remember, show, don’t tell.

But again, I don’t think you should be worried. You have readers, just not everyone comments

Thanks for the feedback, ABAlex. I’ve often struggled with avoiding the info dump, so much so that I think I veer into too much narrative gimmick and inception (flashbacks within flashbacks and perspective shifts and way too much introspection from my characters) The struggle is real. I envy the people who have worked at the skill of being succinct and economical with their prose and can still convey complex emotion and characterization. What I have read of your stories, you always have crisp pacing with out a lot of extraneous details, something I wish I could do half as well. Maybe it was too much Dumas as a kid that did it to me - but I think your 100% correct on it being too dense.