Karen held the boy in her arms softly humming a lullaby. He was so little for his age, his peers where beginning to look like adolescence but he still looked every bit a child. His voice was still soft and sweet. To hear it say "mommy" made her heart melt. If there was anyway to freeze this moment in time she would.
She gently roused him and led him to bed by the hand. Listening to the frigid blasts of wind whistling outside she tucked him in tightly in his warm bed. "Goodnight, sweetheart," she said and kissed him on the forehead.
"Good night, mommy," he said before quickly falling back into his sound sleep.
The clock-radio buzzed to life at its usual six o'clock. The news crackled through the aging speakers. "...road closures due to last night's snow storm have forced area schools to close. Elsewhere in the county..." Karen clicked it off. She thought John needed a vacation anyway.
She went downstairs and made herself a pot of coffee. She'd let him sleep in today. She sat and read the paper feeling perfectly disconnected from the turmoil that exited outside her home. Her boy was safe at home still in diapers with a loving mommy to look after him. There was nothing to worry about out there.
After she was finished with the paper she walked back upstairs and woke John up.
"No school today, the snow closed it down."
That was an incredible relief for John. He didn't want to go back to school the day after he'd wet his pants in front of everyone. Without saying a word his mommy slid down his PJs and removed his diaper. He started to get out of bed.
"I'm sorry, baby," she said as she took a fresh diaper from the package "I want you to wear diapers during the day for right now. Yesterday didn't go very well. I just don't want to take any chances."
He was slightly embarrassed but he knew that she knew what was best. He lay back down on his bed and was soon diapered again.
"Since you had a bath last night I don't think I'll bathe you right now," she said as she dressed him for the day. "Come on, I'll make you some breakfast."
They went downstairs and Karen cooked up a nice breakfast for the two of them.
"So, do you want to go out in the snow?"
John did, of course. He loved snowball fights as much as any other kid. But he worried that his diaper might be discovered, or worse yet, it might leak.
"No I think I'll just stay inside for right now."
"I understand. How about a game of checkers?"
It had been quite a few years since John had played anything with his mommy. He thought it sounded better than watching TV.
Karen sat and played with her little boy. The rustle of his diaper and the fresh scent of his baby powder reminded her of when was just a baby.
"You're a pretty cute little guy, you know?" she said.
John blushed. "Thanks." He paused for a moment. "I'm sorry, mommy."
"Sorry about what, honey?"
"I'm sorry that you have to change my diapers and everything."
"Honey, I'll always be happy to do whatever you need. That's what I'm here for. You may think this is crazy, but I sort of like it this way."
John was a bit taken aback. He never thought she might have actually enjoyed this. "I kind of like it, too. Sometimes I kind of miss being a little kid, you know?"
Karen grinned at him and gave him a pat on the head. "I understand baby, I understand."
It was nearly noon and John was lying on the couch watching cartoons. He became dimly aware of a need to empty his bladder. He could barely even think about his when pee began to flow into his diaper. At first he was shocked, but then he realized that his diaper had done its job. He now knew just how badly he needed diapers. He had no more control over his bladder than the toddlers his Pampers were intended for. His mommy had made the right decision for him.
He went into the kitchen. "Mommy?" the words caught in his throat, but then he thought about how she had cared for him these past few days and he knew it was safe to say them "Will you change me?"
"Of course, baby. Just let me get everything."
John started up the stairs but his mommy called to him "I have some of the stuff down here. There's no reason I can't change you down here and it will be more convenient during the day."
John walked back into the living room as his mother was laying out a changing pad. "Just lay down here."
As she was removed John's soaked diaper she talked to him. "I think I'm going to pull you out of school for a little while and home-school you. I just want to be sure that your OK while you have this problem. Would that be OK?"
John understood. If he was going to have to wear diapers like a baby he would have to stay home with his mommy like a baby. He smiled, he was finally getting out of having to go to school."
"Yes mommy, that's OK."
Karen finished taping the new diaper place. "That's great, I'll get the paperwork tomorrow. Now how about some lunch?"
The day went by lazily. John grew bored and got some old toys from the back of his closet. While Karen worked at the computer he was in the next room playing with his Hot Wheels. His concern for even paying attention to his bladder faded further and further. The next time he needed to go he didn't even try to hold it he just it go. He was lovingly changed and went back to playing.
That night Karen walked into his room. "Bath time," she said and instructed John to sit on his bed. She undressed him, removed his diaper, and led him down the hall to the bathroom. She started the water and added some bubble bath. She gave John a playful slap on his butt as he stepped into the tub and began scrubbing him as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
Karen was amazed at how just a little bit of motherly love had brought at the baby in John. He was perfectly happy to allow her to dress him, bathe him, and change his diapers. She wondered how far she could take it and an idea occurred to her.
"I have to go to the store tomorrow. Do you want to make a day out of it?"
John knew we was going have to leave the house with his diaper on someday. He just didn't want to do it so soon.
"Oh baby, I'll make sure no one knows you're wearing a diaper. We'll just go out and have some fun. OK?"
John nodded and smiled. She smiled back and when she had her little boy thoroughly scrubbed she got him out the bath and dried him.
Back in his room she put a fresh diaper on him on got him in his PJs. Then she left the room and came back with the rocking chair from the next room. She beside the bed and sat down. "Now come here, baby."
John climbed into his mommy's lap and got comfortable. Karen grabbed a book from the top of the dresser. "I thought you might like a little story before bedtime."
John closed his eyes as he listened to his mommy read from an old book of fairy tales. It was warm and safe in his mommy's arms. He hoped that this would become the nightly ritual he dimly remembered from long ago. He slowly drifted off to sleep somewhere in the middle of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Karen quietly closed the book and set it down on the dresser. She lifted her boy into bed, she surprised by how light he was. She could almost carry him like an infant. She pulled the covers across him quietly made her way out of the room.
The next morning John was woken up changed out of his wet diaper and into a new one. After breakfast Karen put on his shoes and coat and got him ready to go out for the day. She even grabbed a few diapers and stuck them in her purse.
Their first stop was the zoo. Since it was the middle of the day on a weekday the zoo was filled with mother's taking their small children to see the animals. It occurred to John that he was just another baby going to the park with his mommy. The thought occurred to Karen too who felt a special kinship with the other mommies.
There was a slight crinkle as John walked and he smelled faintly of baby powder. It wasn't anything very noticeable. Except that maybe, on a subconscious level, it made others perceive him as babyish.
"Mommy, can you notice?" John whispered when he saw that no one else was within earshot.
"No, baby. I'm sure I'm the only one who knows."
After the zoo they decided to head to the mall. John always enjoyed going the arcade and looking at video games. But he was beginning to worry how long he could keep his diapers secret.
On the way to the mall Karen pulled into a little coffee shop. "I think we ought to get a little bit of lunch before we get the mall. The food court is always so crowded."
Inside they sat down, John ordered a burger off the children's menu, something he hadn't done in a while. They sat and they talked for a while until something struck John as funny. He laughed long and hard until a quick trickle of pee streamed into his diaper.
Karen could tell something was wrong. She leaned across the table and whispered, "Did you wet?" John nodded. She unzipped her purse where she'd stashed some diapers and started to get up.
"Come on. I think there's a couch in the women's room. I'll just..."
While John had come to accept being diapered at home, he was still to embarrassed to be changed in public.
"No, mommy," John whispered, "it's just a little wet."
"OK, I suppose you can wait a little while. But you can't just run around in a soaking diaper"
John breathed a sigh of relief. They finished their meal and headed for the mall.
As they walked through the parking lot Karen explained to John that she was going to pick up a few things.
"Now honey I want you to stay with me for a while, I'll need you to try on a few things." John wasn't really interested in going to the arcade in his diapers. So he was happy to stay with his mommy.
Once inside Karen made a run by the baby department. She realized she would need diaper bag eventually. John was horrified, but he knew he couldn't protest out loud or people would know who the bag was meant for.
"I'm sorry hon, but I need to be able to carry things. I don't have room for it all in my purse. I'll just buy one that no one would notice." And she did finally choose a plain blue one. She didn't want her little boy to be embarrassed. But she was proud of what a good mommy she was. In a way she hoped that other mommies would recognize the bag for what it was. She knew any mommy would understand.
She looked over a display of cribs there was a particularly large one sale. She could almost see John sleeping in it in a little sleeper. But she quickly tried to put the image out of her mind. "He doesn't need that," she told herself. "He's not really a baby." But she also realized that only a few days ago she would have thought the same thing about diapers. She made up her mind to pick up a catalogue of baby items just in case.
John tried to ignore the sea of baby items he found himself in. Somehow the world seemed bigger than it had before. Here he was a little boy in a diaper in a great big store. He saw his mommy looking at a crib that could have held him if things somehow came to that. He followed along behind her taking in the bigness of it all.
Then he felt a trickle, he was once again wetting his diaper and was barely aware of it. He could feel the wetness spread to the edges of his diaper and then felt a trickle down his leg. In horror he looked down and saw that the diaper had developed a very visible leak.
He tapped his mother on her back to get her attention. They had to walk all the way across the store to get to a restroom. Luckily the store was nearly empty and John was reasonably sure no one saw him and his leaky diaper.
There was a couch in this restroom which Karen instructed her wet little child to lie on. She quickly got him out of his soaked pants and had him powdered and in a fresh diaper in record time. "I'll have to put these new pants I got on you," She explained as she pulled them up to his waist and buttoned them.
They left the restroom without anyone having seen what happened and went to pay for their purchases. "I need to pay for the pair of pants my son is wearing," She explained to the clerk. She leaned over the counter and whispered "He had a little accident in the store and I needed to get him into something dry."
"Oh, I understand," said the clerk and she gave John the friendly little smile one gives small children. John wasn't as embarrassed by this as he would have expected. He actually kind thought that if he was just diaper boy with his mommy then maybe he didn't have to worry so much about being cool. He found himself smiling back at her.
"I have just one more thing to get. I think I know where to find it," Karen said as she slung John's newly purchased diaper bag over her shoulder. She led John over to another store and to a display of car seats. "They say that kids under 80 pounds should sit in a booster seat," she explained.
There were dozens of models to choose from. One in particular caught her eye. It was high-backed and had it's own belt, it was almost indistinguishable from a car seat one would put a toddler in. A clerk noticed her browsing and came over.
"That seat you're looking at is usually considered the safest," he said. "Most of the booster seats just raise the child high enough to make an adult seatbelt fit. But that's not always the best solution; you can adjust these straps to fit your child."
Karen was convinced. She'd known it would it would be the best from the moment she laid eyes on it. She paid for it and they made their way back to the car. John was a bit stunned by the whole incident. He knew was small for his age, but he never dreamed that he'd be required to be treated like a little kid because of it. But he heard his diaper crinkle underneath his clothes and decided he had little room to protest.
Karen installed the seat and told John to climb into it so he could be buckled in. Once he was seated she reached in and brought the straps down across his body and fasten the buckle into it's place between his legs she made some adjustments and when she was satisfied that he was secure she patted him on the head. "Thanks for being so understanding about this honey."
In all of these past few days John had never felt quite as babyish as he did while he rode in the back of his mommy's car in his car seat. But he'd never felt so safe, either. He recognized a desire to be babied. He liked the attention he was getting, and he enjoyed the bonding. Whatever resistance he had left to it diminished every time his mommy would lovingly remove one of his cold wet diapers and put him in a nice fresh one.
Once they were back home Karen thought that John might need a nap. "Baby, you've had a pretty long day I think you should have a little nap." John did feel a little tired so he agreed and followed his mommy to his room.
"Now, do you need a change before I put you down for your nap?" Karen asked. John shook his head. "OK then, I think I'll let you just sleep in your diaper then." She stripped him down to his diaper and put her finger in his leg band to make sure they were dry. Satisfied that he didn't need a change she pulled back the covers of his bed.
"I'll be up to get you in an hour or so." She said as she patted his bottom. John climbed underneath the covers and she kissed him on the forehead.
"Just try rest, baby." She said as she closed the door.
Karen headed downstairs and put John's soaked pants in the wash. Then she heard the doorbell ring. When she answered it she saw Prof. Moullier at the door. "Oh what a pleasant surprise, please come in," she said.
"You were just so kind to me a few days ago that I thought I'd bring a few things by. I hope I'm not interrupting anything," Said Prof. Moullier.
The two of then talked a bit and Prof. Moulier asked how John was doing.
"Well," answered Karen "It's the strangest thing, he just started wetting the bed. I took him to the doctor and he had no idea what was causing it. Then he started wetting during the day, too. I have him in diapers all the time now."
"That sounds like quite a bit of extra work."
"It is, but I've kind of been enjoying it. I think he needs a little babying. He even started calling me 'mommy' again. And every night I get to get him all ready for bed and tuck him in. I never thought I'd be able to do this again."
"Ah, I can see you're a good mother. I had a feeling that might be the case. In fact I got something for John based on what you told me the other day." She got a teddy-bear out of her purse. "I'm probably just a silly old lady but I thought..."
"He used to have one just like that. It got lost years ago. I'm sure he'll love it."
Prof. Moullier explained she had somewhere else to be and Karen saw her out the door and thanked her for the visit and the teddy-bear. Then she went upstairs to get John up from his nap.
"You can get up now, honey. Did you have a good rest?"
"Good. You're probably wet by now." She pulled down the sheet and check his diaper. "Yep, let's get you into a nice dry one." She got a new diaper and some powder. "I just talked with that nice lady who just moved in. She dropped off a gift for you, it's just a little something. But it's downstairs."
"It's not too cold today, would like just wear your diaper until bedtime?"
John thought about it for a second and decided there was no reason not to. He just nodded as his mommy taped his diaper in place.
"And how about some milk and cookies?"
"Yes, please, mommy."
John followed back down stairs. In the living room he saw the teddy-bear waiting for him. He knew immediately that this was just like the teddy-bear he used to have. He remembered having it with him all the time. Until he had to go to school anyway. After a while he forgot about it and it was lost.
Karen walked into the living room with a plate of cookies and a mug of milk. She saw her son looking at the bear sitting on the coffee table. "It's OK if you want to hold a teddy-bear honey." She said.
John grinned and tucked his teddy beneath his arms and sat down to enjoy his milk and cookies and watch TV. Karen sat down to fold some laundry. She watched her little boy sit in his diaper watching cartoons and enjoying milk and cookies while he cuddled his new teddy. All he needed was a little babying and he was ready to give up all his pretensions of being grown up. She knew she'd done the right thing by putting him back in diapers.
By 9:00 she could tell he was getting tired in spite of his nap. "OK, it's just about bedtime. Let's get you ready."
"But I took a nap today. Can't I stay up later?"
"I can tell you're tired. Besides I think would be a good idea if had a nap and an early bedtime for a while."
John knew better than argue with mommy, so he went up to the bathroom with her to get his bath.
Karen started giving John his bath.
"So, do you like your new teddy?" she asked.
"That was awfully nice of her to do that."
She finished and got him out of the tub and dried him off. Then she took him to his bedroom to diaper and dress him.
"I got you some new PJs while we were out," she said as she held up a footed sleeper. It was powder blue with bunnies all over it. "Do you want to try these out tonight?"
John looked at the very babyish PJs that his mommy wanted to put him in. He actually thought they looked comfy. "OK mommy" he said.
Karen slipped his legs and arms into the new sleeper and zipped it up in back. "You look adorable."
John smiled. It was soft and warm, and he liked that his mommy thought he was cute in it.
Karen sat down in the rocker with a storybook. John grabbed his teddy and she lifted him into her lap. As he sat cuddling in his mommy's lap listening to her read him a story he looked at his teddy. It brought out dim, far away memories of when he'd been a real baby. He'd always sort of missed being little. And he was really enjoying being a baby again. But for some reason he wouldn't allow himself to truly relax and enjoy it. But as he looked at his bear he knew that this was all meant to be. He was finally able to relax and simply be his mommy's baby. He started to slip off into his sleep. But before he fell asleep, without really thinking about it, he put his thumb in his mouth. Before the story was finished he was soundly asleep.
Karen sat and watched her son sleep soundlessly as he sucked his thumb. This scene had played itself out many times years ago. After he had a nice warm bath and got put in a clean pair of PJs john had always fell easily to sleep, always with a thumb, or a pacifier, or a bottle in his mouth.
He'd never really been too different from that little baby, she thought. He'd always needed her to take care of him in some ways. He needed her to drive him places, and depended on her to do so safely. He could certainly never get ready in the morning without prodding and occasional assistance. The helpless baby was never too far beneath the surface.
Which may have been why they both fell back into this routine so easily. So this return to thumbsucking shouldn't have been such a surprise at all. As sweet as it was, she worried a bit about it. When he was little she insisted that he use a pacifier. She wondered if she'd have to insist on it again. But she didn't worry for long. She pick up her little boy and put him in his bed. She covered him with his sheets and kissed his forehead. Before turning out the light she tucked his teddy in beside him. Half- aware of what was going on, he hugged his bear and fell back sleep.
John came drowsily awake. He stretched his legs and felt the legs of his PJs stretch along with him. He was reminded of the sleeper he was wearing. He rolled over and cuddled his bear and simply took in the coziness of it all. He could smell his mommy's morning coffee, and through the crisp morning silence he could hear her stirring milk and sugar into her first cup. He knew she would soon be up to change his diaper and get him ready for the day.
He closed his eyes and felt totally relaxed. It was beginning to dawn on him that for at least a while he'd be spared the travails of adolescence. He had never had the burning desire his friends had to end his childhood. It was fine with him, he preferred it, in fact, if he could just settle down for a while and be little. Not necessarily forever, just for now.
Eventually his door opened on his mommy stepped in. "Are you awake honey?"
"Well let's get you changed then."
She pulled down his covers as John rolled back over. She began unsnapping his sleeper between his legs. John wondered where she had gotten these clothes, he'd been with her all day at the store and hadn't seen them. But he decided it was nothing to worry about. "This will make it much easier to change you in the mornings," she said as she began to untape his soggy diaper. She reached into the bag of Pampers which had taken a place on John's dresser.
"Wow, you've really been going through diapers. I'm going to have to get some more soon." She slid the new diaper under his powdered behind and taped it in place.
"I'm going to leave you in your PJs for a little while. Now let's go downstairs and get some breakfast."
John stepped into the kitchen, instead of the cold tile he was accustomed to he felt the footed bottom of his warm sleeper. He sat at the table and his mommy poured him cereal and a glass of milk.
Karen sat down with her paper and cup of coffee. She could smell the fresh scent of baby powder and hear her son's diaper rustle. She knew he'd need another change, or maybe a cuddle sometime soon. And she nothing made her happier than taking care of her baby the way she thought he needed to be cared for. She hadn't been ready to raise a teenager and she was happy to take this little pause.
After breakfast John went into the living room and turned on the TV. His mom poked her head into the living room "Be good and stay put, I'm going to take a shower. I'll be back to get you ready in a minute."
When she returned she took John's hand and led him up to his room. She unzipped his sleeper and pulled it off him briefly pausing to check him for wetness. She got his clothes pulled his pants into place, put on his shirt and buttoned it. Then she took him into the bathroom and sat him down on the toilet. "Let's see if we can make your hair look a little better." She picked up a comb and combed his hair into a nice boy's style. There was no flair at the front of his head, His hair was evenly combed with a neat part down the middle. She stood back to admire her work and smiled, it made her already youthful looking boy look several years younger. "Cute." She said and let John go back downstairs to his cartoons.
She gave him a playful slap on his butt as he ran past her and watched him toddle back down the stairs. He was getting cuter everyday she thought. But still she thought she ought to take him to see the pediatrician once more. Reluctantly, she made another call and arranged an appointment.