This story is written by Les Lea
Auntie wanted me to try sleeping in the ‘other room’ with all the grown up stuff and sensible covers. This was her idea of ‘baby steps’ (I’m sure she used those words on purpose to get me to go along with it all) to feel able to identify with being fourteen. She wanted me to try not wetting during the day (although I was allowed to wear protection to sleep in), and get used, all over again, to wear ‘big boy’ underwear and to take a tinkle in a toilet. She didn’t want the kids at my new school to be able to torment me over something that I’d mastered many years ago but at that moment found a strange thing to contemplate… a diaper took care of those ‘where and when’ peeing-pressures.
However, auntie needed me to at least try and so I did.
For a few weeks prior to my return to teenage education I wore my briefs during the day and didn’t attend Rainbow quite so often. She wanted me to do what other kids my age did in their summer break and wander around the mall, go to the local pool, etc. etc. Sometimes we went together; sometimes I was on my own. I didn’t panic when alone but on a couple of occasions I saw a damp patch appear on my chinos shorts (when I went out I’d wear sensible length shorts as opposed to the short short style I preferred as a toddler)before I realised I needed to get to a bathroom. Still, I was doing what auntie asked and as a result felt slightly more confident (although confident isn’t exactly the correct word here) about the fast approaching first day of term.
Even though at school in the UK I was surrounded by other boys my age and we were forced into taking part in sports and extra-curricular activities together, I somehow contrived to keep myself to myself. As I say, the teachers disapproved of my independence and as far as they were concerned team work and team spirit were at the heart of a good school and an ‘included’ set of students. This didn’t suit me. I fought in my own ‘loner-ish’ way to be myself and rejected the school’s mandatory ‘all for one’ philosophy.
Now I was fourteen, and because auntie wanted me to be a happy teenager at my new school, we chatted more and more about my time in the UK. She listened politely whist I raged about how stupid it all was (and not just the uniform). However, I found as I explained to auntie the worst excesses of my schoolboy life that I had to admit I did learn a lot. My grades were high and despite everything I was a good student. The teachers were pretty good and were never condescending. If you had a problem or didn’t understand something, they took the time to discuss and eventually sort whatever it was out. I found it difficult to admit to the school’s positives so fell back to why I disliked the place so much.
I hated the crowned princes, the bastard children of Russian oligarchs, minor royals, foreign dignitary’s brattish kids, the privileged and the self-important… not once did I associate myself as being one of them.
It was only when auntie gently pointed out that because of my parent’s ‘political’ influence, their importance to the country and their desire for me to have the best education money could buy, is why I was there in the first place.
I have to say auntie’s grasp on my life was so much better than my own. She wasn’t saying I should be grateful, what she was saying was that the people I reviled were also there because of their family connections and influence, so at that level, we were no different.
We were having this discussion on a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon out in the garden; she in a very summery, flowery dress and me, enjoying the sun, naked apart from a pair of khaki cotton shorts (yes again influenced by Gordon and Colin’s photographs) and briefs. It’s a strange feeling when a point of view you’ve held as a plus point to your existence unravels and the folly of your behaviour becomes overwhelming.
This simple revelation made an impact. The idea I was actually no different from those other privileged pupils in the UK really hit home.
As always, auntie was mild in her reasoning, allowing me to come to my own conclusions in my own time. However, the shock that rippled through my body as I arrived at this mind-altering deduction was most dramatic. I filled my diaper, except I wasn’t wearing one so, I wet myself and at the same time broke down into the most dreadful lamentation.
I shuddered at my own foolishness; I’d been a stupid, self-absorbed kid all my life. Here I was thinking I was being self-sufficient, original, even a rebel but it was a lie. I hadn’t seen or taken advantage of any of the benefits I could have had. I’d been blind to opportunities, no wonder the teachers despaired at my attitude. I was a rebel without reason and cried for my wasted life, one that I now recognised I‘d imposed on myself. My parents weren’t the ones to blame; I’d made my life an awful experience through my own efforts.
I was in torment, what had I done? Panic gripped my body and tears flowed for quite some time.
Auntie hugged and consoled me but such sudden uncontrolled emotions meant I was completely out of control. Since I’d been with auntie I hadn’t had to face up to anything even remotely ‘grown up’ until the psychiatrist (and look how that went). I’d eagerly become her ‘good little boy’ but this revelation was just too much. I’d blamed my parents for depriving me of a happy childhood but in fact, I manged to engineer that on my own. I was a teenage boy and I’d just discovered something about myself that not only shocked but had reduced me to a blubbering baby in wet pants. I may have enjoyed playing the ‘little boy’ but the truth was I really felt lost and more in need of an adult’s guidance than I’d ever done before.
She rocked me gently in her arms and patted my soggy bottom and hugged my naked chest to her sweetly warm perfumed breast.
Once my sobbing had died down and I began to think more clearly she let me out of her embrace and I sat at her feet as she stroked her fingers through my hair.
“I suppose I’m going to have to grow up.” I said as much to myself as I did to auntie.
Her fingers stopped their stroking for a brief second whilst she thought.
“You are grown up sweet-heart. We can’t deny that and certainly the education department won’t let you but, and this is the main thing about my sweet little Doddle…”
She’d been lovingly calling me that since I’d explained the nickname back in the UK. Although when she said it there was always a twinkle in her eye as well as love in her voice and it made me a simpering, shy kiddie who’d just wanted to please her.
Her hand began stroking my head again and I felt the tenderness in those finger tips.
“You are in school for around 35 hours a week, what you choose to do with the rest of the 133 hours is entirely up to you.”
No doubt she could feel my brain thinking through my skull.
“I like my little boy,” she ruffled my hair, “I like my big boy as well… so no matter which he wants to be, I think that’s who he should be.”
There was a certain wistfulness to her voice as she added.
“Despite how you now feel… and I’m sure confusion is pretty high on that list… you need that connection to the nursery. You may not need it all the time, or for much longer but…” and her voice faltered slightly, “you do need it.”
I let out a huge sigh because I knew auntie was correct.
Without her teaching me, in the most wonderful way, to appreciate people (and toddlers are people too), how to interact, how to have fun and take pleasure in that fun. How to be social and not antisocial, how to enjoy simple pleasures and re-evaluate in the simplest terms all that has gone before… I would have carried around a sack full of unwarranted hate and animosity for ever.
The new location, the diapers and without doubt the unconditional love meant she’d stripped me right back to help with a new start.
I looked down at my pants and saw the huge dark wet stain almost obliterating the dry khaki colour and really wished I’d worn a diaper. As if auntie really needed me to explain and point out my accident I indicated the soaked pants.
“I’m not sure being a ‘big boy’ is going to be a success.”
She shrugged her shoulder slightly.
“So, what would my sweet wet boy want to happen next?”
I was quite embarrassed that my emotions had led me to cause such a flow.
“I don’t think I’m quite ready to be a big boy… mmm… perhaps I should be your good little boy for a while longer?” I queried hopefully.
She smiled and held out her hand.
“Maybe I should make sure my sweet boy is well protected for the rest of the day at least.”
We toddled off upstairs to the nursery where auntie stripped me out of my wet things. She held up my white CK trunks that looked positively yellow and shook her head. Meanwhile, I lay there happily sucking on my dummy as she cleaned up and slipped a particularly well stuffed, thick fabric diaper under my butt. She pinned it tightly into position before sliding a pair of crinkly clear plastic pants over the bulbous, though strangely comforting object. I was back to being what I wanted to be and wriggled in my own delight. All thoughts of school and my past mistakes fled at the same time as auntie took away the sodden khaki shorts and wet undies to be washed.
I wished my messy thoughts could be similarly dumped in a machine and come out all fresh and clean. Alas, I had to sort this out for myself and hope that I could maintain some kind of balance in future.
It was going to be a struggle on both our parts.
I appreciated auntie knew best and that I wouldn’t be able to stay a kid for ever but I can’t tell you, now I’d realised my past mistakes, how scared I was of starting at a new school all over again. I lay in bed comfortable in my protection, my hand gently rubbing the slippery surface of my billowing plastic pants but my thoughts definitely on the future. With dummy in mouth and hugging my teddy bear I hoped I’d could come up with some kind of solution to all this. The problem I had – mentally, where I was at that moment made me extremely happy. I didn’t want to change but change I knew was necessary.
You’d think being a loner for all this time meant I would have no problem because having no friends wouldn’t bother me… except now things had changed. I would do anything for auntie. I had responsibilities, daft as that sounds, I had responsibilities not to make auntie’s life difficult. We’d already seen how complicated it could get if psychiatrists and the education department decided to become more involved. I needed to find something that would keep my younger and older selves happy, or if not happy, at least functioning at an acceptable level.
Throughout the long school summer break auntie tried to get me to socialise with people my real age. There were a few 8th, 9th and 10th graders living nearby and she hoped that I might mix but they had seen me around and thought, because of the way I dressed, I was some kind of weirdo, so didn’t appear all that keen to have anything to do with me.
I have to say, this suited me fine but knew it shouldn’t, I had to make the effort for auntie.
The Rainbow Rooms Nursery stayed open for most of the lengthy summer school break and was packed with the young children of some very appreciative parents. I think, if they could, those fraught moms and dads would have loved to be able to dump their teenage kids there as well. I felt fortunate in being allowed to be part of this fun-loving, ego-less, noisy and un-patronising family of playful toddlers.
Auntie had a saying: “Those things you learn without joy you will easily forget.”
I had to admit, I’d learned a great deal from those kids.
Meanwhile, there’d been an open day for new students to have a look around the High School and auntie and I were able to chat with the principal and some of the teachers who were there to placate any fears or reservations newcomers might have. Most of the new arrivals were kids younger than me but there were two other boys my age also relocating and starting 9th grade at this place. Auntie made sure I spoke to them so that I (and they) would have at least a couple of people we knew on that scary first day.
Yoosuf was born three days after my birthday, came from Florida, although his grandparents were originally from Iran (left during the purge) and looked and acted like a little prince. His dark hair and huge dark eyes just drew you in and I would bet that he’d be pursued around campus by most of the girls his age. Just from the elegant way he looked I knew he must have come from a family with money but, if that was the case, why was he enrolling at the local High School and not at some private academy? No doubt all would be revealed over the coming term… then I thought of my own predicament and would I want to explain the death of my parents to anyone? I shivered at the thought that his story might be similar to my own.
There was nearly two months difference in mine and Oliver’s birthday and he was most definitely from a very poor background. His clothes were mismatched and old but he had a smile that would win him many friends. He was upbeat and positive about this new school and I found it quite endearing that he should go out of his way to make me feel included.
There was something about Oliver that I just couldn’t put my finger on. I felt an immediate rapport. He was both shy and yet confident. No, let me try that again. He looked shy. His long eyelashes, sandy blond hair and almost girlie features made him look like he needed the protection of others. However, when he spoke, and the way he acted, he was full of confidence about himself and his laugh was genuine and infectious. I liked him a lot.
Despite there being an obvious ‘class’ gap between him and Yoosuf, he wanted to be friends with everyone and his enthusiasm was irresistible. Yoosuf appeared as enamoured of Oliver as I was and it didn’t take too long before we were chatting about our favourite music and TV shows.
The first day of school was looming and I’d spent the last few days preparing myself for this occasion. Despite auntie encouraging me to sleep in the ‘other room’ I didn’t feel confident of not having a wet night. She’d said I could wear protection to bed if that helped but I just felt happier if I slept in the nursery surrounded by my stuffed animals and changing table. I’d become accustomed to seeing my plastic pants and piles of diapers before I fell asleep and they made me feel safe. I tried not to pee during the night but that was proving difficult as I woke up every morning with a soaked diaper.
However, there was some improvement. I was using the toilet during the day with very few ‘accidents’, which, with help from a pull-up I wore under my briefs, soaked up any dribbles. I don’t think anyone could tell I was wearing any form of padding under my chinos so hoped that would solve at least part of that problem.
I did miss the morning ritual that auntie had developed of me being diapered and put into a slinky pair of shiny plastic pants. That first view in a morning of a pristine diaper swathed in slick vinyl always made me feel terrific and ready for the day. I tried to get that same ‘rush’ when I pulled up my pull-up but it just wasn’t there, nevertheless I was grateful for this helpful padding.
I had to start thinking as a fourteen year-old and not as a needy toddler but wasn’t sure if I could pull it off.
Regardless of auntie’s attempts to make that transition un-traumatic, that first day at school proved to be a disaster as I sat in the nurse’s office, in my soaked pants, waiting for her to come and get me.
This story is written by Les Lea
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