Hi everyone! This is my first attempt at writing, and the idea is based on a dream I had this week. Let me know what you think!
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a teenager’s transition from diapers to pull-ups is the greatest milestone in her life.
This milestone usually happens a few years after we hit puberty. For most of us, that means high school, or even middle school if you’re really lucky.
Speaking of luck, it’s always the popular girls who toilet train first. Not only is that downright unfair, but it defies all reason. I mean, why would the girls who are already the prettiest and most well-liked suddenly get the gift of bladder control? A gift, mind you, that makes them more attractive and popular than they already are.
I still remember the day one my my classmates graduated to pull-ups. It was homeroom on the first day of seventh grade, and Amber Postma raised her hand from the middle row.
Mrs. Gibson stopped talking and glanced in her direction. “Question, Amber?”
Amber cleared her throat and annunciated each word as she spoke. “May I use the bathroom, please?”
A brief silence followed, but there was no mistaking her words or the smugness in her voice. She hadn’t asked to go get changed. She’d asked to use the bathroom.
“Sure,” Mrs. Gibson said, “just let me get the hall pass.”
Clearly, our teacher was the only person in the room who didn’t let this revelation shock her. In hindsight, I can see why. She’d been a seventh grade teacher for ten years, so she must have seen hundreds of students pass this same milestone by now.
As for the rest of us, this was all new territory. Sure, I remember my sister Emily toilet training when she was about fourteen, but I’d only been ten back then. To me, using the bathroom had been this vague and mysterious thing. Like driving a car, or having my first kiss. I knew I’d develop the muscle strength to do it someday, but I hadn’t worried about it back then.
Amber rose from her chair, slow and deliberate. Long waves of blonde hair fell around her shoulders, and she stretched her arms above her head like a cat. This movement lifted the hem of her tank-top and revealed the pink pull-up sticking out from her denim shorts. It was a Victoria’s Secret pull-up. The sort of pull-up you might expect to see on high school seniors, paired with a lacy pushup bra. The sort of pull-up that offered basically no protection against a number two, and would probably leak under more than a single wetting. The sort of pull-up you wore “just in case”, but never expected to actually need.
The message was clear. Not only had Amber toilet trained over the summer, she had complete confidence in her bladder and bowel control. She strutted down the aisle as if she were going to accept an award. If this were a movie, her walk would have been in slow motion, and she would have smirked into the camera.
More than a few of the boys turned their heads to watch her leave. The girls watched her too, not bothering to hide their expressions. Some were jealous, but most gazed at her in awe and wide-eyed wonder.
I guess you could say I was one of those girls.
That was four years ago now. By the end of seventh grade, only about ten percent of my class was out of diapers. By the end of our freshman year, a full half of us were in pull-ups.
I don’t know the exact numbers in my junior year, but I would guess it’s well over 99%.
And this is why I hung my head low as I opened the doors to the girl’s diaper changing room. It was the first day of 11th grade, but unlike Amber Postma’s walk down the runway, mine was a walk of shame.
Several bright fluorescent lights flickered above the white tile floor. The room smelled like sanitizer, powder, and air freshener. Beneath those scents lingered some of the less pleasant aromas you might expect in a room like this.
Five changing stalls lined the wall to my left, and Abigail Collins sat behind the desk at my right. She knew my sister from Edgewater College down the street, and she’d taken the job of Changing Room Monitor to earn some money on the side. She even had a textbook open on the desk, so I guess she was allowed to study while she worked. That made sense. Unlike the elementary school monitors, the high school monitors weren’t expected to do much.
“Hi Claire,” she greeted me with a smile. “Have a good summer?”
“It was alright.” I tried to smile back, but that was no easy task at nine o’clock in the morning, especially on the first day of school. On top of that, it was downright weird to see one of my sister’s friends here in the changing room. If she didn’t know I was a late bloomer before, she definitely did now.
“That’s good,” Abigail replied. “All the stalls are full right now, but one should open up in a second.”
“Thanks.” I nodded and stepped to the side. Thankfully, my diaper was only wet, so waiting around could have been a lot worse. I’d gotten into the habit of drinking coffee before school. That usually helped me go number two on the toilet and avoid any surprise messes in class. It was a common strategy among high schoolers. Unfortunately, the caffeine affected me more than most, and it all flooded out of me by the end of first period.
The door squeaked, and a pair of freshman girls emerged from stalls four and five. They were shorter than me by almost a full head. Heat rose to my cheeks as they met my eyes.
Seriously, life had been so much easier in elementary school when everyone just wore the same thing. Even middle school wasn’t so bad. Sure, you had people like Amber Postma making us all feel inferior, but at least the rest of us felt inferior together.
These days, I felt like the only sixteen-year-old being made to sit at the kid’s table. That was the first analogy that came to mind, but it’s not nearly enough to do my situation justice.
I turned back to Abigail’s desk, picked up the pen, and signed my name in the book.
Claire Stewart. Stall 5.
I pulled out my phone to check the time, then wrote in the final column.
The whole ‘monitor and signup’ system was mostly a way to hold people accountable. Diaper changing can be a messy business, and teenagers aren’t the best at cleaning up after themselves. This way, it was easy to determine who left a mess behind.
I entered my stall, locked the door behind me and unzipped my backpack. Like all school backpacks, there was a pocket inside meant to hold spare diapers. I pulled one out and lay down on the changing table, pulling my black leggings and plaid skirt down to my ankles.
Skirts and leggings were my go-to combination at school. The same is probably true for most girls my age who are still in diapers full-time. The skirt hides the bulk, and the leggings muffle the sound. If I’m wearing a tank-top or an undershirt, I’ll also tuck that into my skirt so that no one gets a flash of white plastic when I bend over.
Of course, these precautions don’t make my diapers a secret. After all, if a girl is wearing black leggings and tucking in her shirt, she obviously has something to hide.
Meanwhile, the girls who wear pull-ups tend to wear more revealing things to show them off. Remember Amber with her skimpy shorts and crop top? Yeah, stuff like that. If you’re not willing to show off your pull-up, then you obviously have something more embarrassing to hide. Then there’s the locker rooms before gym class, and the fact that I’m in the changing room twice a day.
Still, a few precautions are better than nothing. Sometimes, I would daydream about our school getting a new student. Usually, this new student is a boy. He would be someone who didn’t pay attention to the gossip or the hidden meanings behind fashion.
Maybe, just maybe, this boy would assume I’m out of diapers, and look at me the way boys look at Amber Postma.
Anyway, back to the changing. I rolled up my shirt and tank top until they came up past my bra. The shirt was dark red, and dark colors didn’t mix well with powder.
If you’re reading this in some parallel universe where all teenagers are toilet trained, this might not seem like a big deal to you. In your world, people might see some white powder and assume it’s something else like flour. Here, everyone knows . They know, because they’ve powdered their own diaper areas all though elementary school and middle school. Naturally, this makes it funny that I still need it, and extra funny if I get some on my clothes.
Once everything was out of the way, I wiped myself down, applied some powder, and fastened a new diaper into place. The whole process took me less than a minute.
I hopped off the changing table and pulled on my skirt and my leggings. After that, I grabbed the spray bottle of sanitizer along with a few paper towels, and wiped down the table. I rarely make a mess when I change. Even so, school has ingrained this habit into us from a young age. By now, I’ve been changing my own diapers at school for well over ten years. Skipping this last step would feel as weird as not wearing a seatbelt in the car.
Finally, I disposed of my wet diaper in the trash can and stepped back into the main area where Abigail sat. I avoided eye contact with her since there’s nothing like a recent diaper change to plummet your self confidence.
After washing my hands in the sink, I checked myself in the mirror. No powder stains? Check. No exposed diaper? Check. No changing table hair? Check.
My reflection was tall and thin with brown hair that fell several inches past my shoulders. The bright lights also reflected off my glasses, which made me look incredibly dorky. Oh well. I’ve even heard the popular girls complain about the lighting in the bathrooms. I swear I’m cute sometimes, even if that’s not the case in florescent lighting. Or anytime this early in the morning.
Abigail waved to me as I walked back out the door and into the hallway. This section of corridor had been deserted before, but now there were about twenty students lined up to enter the biology classroom across the hall. Joy . Like me, they were all juniors.
Some of the girls began whispering as they saw me. I couldn’t make out specifics, but I definitely heard the phrases, “late bloomer,” and “still in diapers.”
My cheeks flushed as I walked past the line to my next class. My diaper felt stiff between my legs, and I swear I could hear the crinkling. I’d spent a good portion of the summer trying to toilet train in pull-ups, so I wasn’t used to wearing these things except at night.
Other girls just shot me pitying looks, while a few shot me self-satisfied smiles. I didn’t fully understand the reasoning behind the latter, but I could guess. Maybe they’d had an accident recently, and seeing me made them feel better about themselves. Or maybe they still had frequent accidents and had to wear a more absorbent brand of pull-up rather than the thinner, sexier brands they might have preferred.
The boys barely spared me more than a glance, and this had nothing to do with the bad lighting. If you were still in diapers, you weren’t girlfriend material. Simple as that.
I sighed. It was going to be a very long year.