My mom’s insensitivity was never so on display as the summer I was 11. Don’t get me wrong. She was a good person—a loving mom. She just didn’t connect the dots sometimes. I wore diapers to bed because I’d had a few accidents, but the most recent accident had been four months ago, so I remember thinking this nightly ritual was no longer necessary. But my mom was cautious by nature, liked things tidy and in their place, and was a creature of habit. So in retrospect I see her insistence that I wear diapers at night was more a reflection of her compulsiveness than on any real need of mine to wear them.
A Saturday in August she had plans to go out. My sister was at camp. Our usual sitter was unavailable. I was speechless when my mom announced she’d arranged for Jane to “watch me.” Jane went to my school and was only a year older than me. True, she struck me as being more than a year older than me. She was an honor student and had a strictly business yet friendly way about her. We crossed paths on occasion and thought well of each other. But having a girl I knew from school ”baby sit” me embarrassed me to the bone.
My mom didn’t know that we were friends. She was desperate for a sitter and remembered talking to Jane’s mom a while back, who mentioned in passing that Jane does baby sitting. “Well, I didn’t know who else to call,” said my mom, “and besides, you two should have fun since you know each other. You’ll have plenty to talk about.”
I was fretting over how to handle this dilemma when the doorbell rang. There was Jane—her usual cute self in a short dress and sandals, a couple inches taller than me, smiling pleasantly, but not in a way that suggested she thought this arrangement was embarrassing to me or out of the ordinary for her. To her it was just another sitting job. After all, most 11-year-olds have sitters and most 12-year-old girls baby sit.
Dread consumed me as my mom went down the checklist of things Jane needed to know: “Here’s the number where I’ll be…I should be home about 11…There’s spaghetti and salad for your dinners…You can pop some corn and watch the 8 o’clock movie before bed…His bedtime is 10:00...” And then it hit like a rock: “He wears diapers to bed… Everything you need is on my bed. Diaper him before the movie in case he falls asleep.”
To my surprise and relief, Jane did not react to this bit of news. She didn’t laugh. She didn’t look at me funny or grimace. She just smiled her pleasant smile and said, “Sounds good.”
Up until the time my mom mentioned that I wore diapers to bed, Jane and I were practically peers. Two acquaintances—the same school, some of the same friends, liking the same music and TV shows. But once she knew I wore diapers, my status changed. She was in charge. She would make the decisions: when we would eat, what we would talk about, when we would have popcorn and when she would take off all my clothes and put me in diapers. Though it didn’t feel that way moments ago, she was now in every way superior to me. We were only a year apart in age, but my status in the relationship was suddenly no different than if I was a three-year-old. At least that’s how I felt as she and my mom stood there looking at me and talking about me.
Yet even after my mom left, Jane didn’t act any different. In fact for the first part of the evening, she acted like we were a couple of neighbor friends. We gossiped about other kids in school, about the teachers we like and didn’t like, about the classes we’d have in the fall and about what we’d done all summer. That changed when the movie was about to start and Jane said, “OK, let’s get you ready for bed before the movie.” (No VCRs in the late 60s).
I mumbled something like, “no, that’s OK. That can wait til after.”
“Nope,” she said. “Your mom said before the movie in case you fall asleep.”
“I promise I won’t,” I said.
“You’re not going to give me a hard time about this, are you?” Then to my disbelief she held out her hand and said pleasantly, “Come with me.” In retrospect, I suspect she made me take her hand as a way to reinforce the fact that she was in charge—not to belittle me.
“I can put them on,” I said as she led me by the hand into my mom’s room, who kept my “nighttime supplies” in her room so my friends wouldn’t stumble onto them. Chalk up one sensitivity point for mom.
“Nonsense,” she replied sweetly and firmly. “Your mom said I was to put you in your diapers before bedtime. Let’s get you ready so we don’t miss any of the movie. Do you have to go potty first?”
The words stung—using the word potty like I was a toddler. I said I did and she told me to “hurry along then and put your clothes in the hamper.”
It was the same routine I went through every night, it occurred to me as I walked naked toward my mom’s bedroom. Only tonight, it was Jane waiting for me on the edge of my mom’s bed, legs crossed in her short summer dress. “Upsy daisy,” she said patting the diapers and plastic pants waiting for me on the bed. A few minutes ago, we were friends talking. Now I was standing naked in front of a girl practically my age, waiting for her to put me in diapers.
My mom had left out pajama tops, but no bottoms, which was not unusual in summer, but I’d hoped she would make an exception under the circumstances.
Jane looked down at me naked, my legs spread, completely exposed to her and under her control, waiting for her to diaper me like a baby. Any thoughts of being equals had vanished. As I lay there, I thought about the way the world works. It would be very unusual for me to be doing this to her or for any boy to do this to a girl. The fact is, girls are usually the babysitters and boys are usually the ones being sat—and diapered.
The phone rang. Jane answered. It was her friend Nancy calling, apparently just to chat, which is what they did. For the next ten minutes Jane wandered around the bedroom with my mom’s sky blue “Princess” dial phone tucked under her arm, while I lay naked on diapers.
“A boy who lives near me,” Jane responded to what must have been Nancy asking “who are you sitting?” (Mercifully, she did not say my name.) Nancy must have asked, “What are you doing,” because Jane then said, “putting his diapers on.”
“He just wears them at night…no, you don’t know him,” she said as I lay there naked with legs spread. Thank you, oh thank you, I thought to myself. Jane is aware that Nancy knows me, and didn’t spill the beans. They kept talking: “…I can’t believe she said that…he’s kinda cute…you’re kidding…oh, my gosh, he’s going to be in trouble...I watched that, too. It was really good…”
She paced while she talked, looking past me intent on her phone chat. Then she stopped pacing and stood in front of me feet apart so that I could see the outline of her legs and panties beneath her sheer dress. Then she sat on the edge of the bed so close to me I could feel the fabric of her dress against my leg. Then she absently picked up a diaper and folded it. Then she picked up the plastic pants and dangled them from her finger, all while talking.
By her casual indifference to my state, I realized that to her I was no different than an infant lying helplessly on the bed waiting to be changed. Finally she noticed the clock and said, “OK, I’ve got a boy to diaper. Talk to you later.”
The diapers forced my legs apart as she brought the layers up. Three diapers folded multiple times created quite a bulk, but that was life in the late 60s before disposables. There was no hiding who was wearing diapers back then. Jane slid up the plastic pants, tucked the diaper edges in, playfully patted my diapered bottom and sent me to the living room. Why is it girls and women like to pat a boy’s diapered bottom? My mom did the same thing.
Normally I didn’t get ready for bed this early. An hour or so into the movie the urge to go was mounting to a point where something had to be done. I didn’t want her to see me naked again, so I decided to just wet myself. Jane would never know, I reasoned. Once she was gone and my mom was asleep I’d sneak out of bed and change. Next morning, I’d tell mom Jane forgot to put me in them.
My plan failed in more ways than I imagined. I was lying against a sofa arm watching the movie with Jane sitting not more than a couple feet from me when I let go and started filling my diapers so forcefully I put the brakes on now and then so she wouldn’t hear stream noise. She did look at me as I was wetting, but I suspect it was a coincidence. I was afraid of leaking on the sofa, snuck a peak and saw I had not—but I was soaked and needed to stay put and not move. As bad luck would have it, Jane asked me to go to the kitchen and get more popcorn. I ribbed her that she should do it, but she said it was my house so I should get it. I did. Big mistake. My diapers and plastic pants fit noticeably different now because they were soggy and hanging down between my legs. Jane watched me waddle into the kitchen. As I came back into the living room she asked in a friendly tone, “Did you wet your diapers?”
“I think you did. Look at you. Come here.”
“It’s no big deal. Come here, please.”
I waddled toward her feeling the heavy sogginess droop between my legs. What had I been thinking. My wet state must have been obvious. She leaned toward me. With her palm, she pressed up on the heavy droop.
“You’re soaked. You did wet. Why didn’t you tell me? It wouldn’t have been a big deal to let you go potty.”
I didn’t tell her the real reason—that I didn’t want the humiliation of her seeing me naked again and diapering me twice. Instead I just shrugged and said, “I don’t know why I didn’t tell you.”
“Do you sometimes have accidents during the day,” she asked as she led me by the hand to the bathroom. “Your mom didn’t say anything about that.”
She had me lie down on the tile and peeled my wet diapers and plastic pants off. So much for avoiding the embarrassment of a second diapering.
“Do you have a diaper pail,?” she asked.
“No,” I said, sheepish and defensive. “They’re just a precaution. I haven’t actually gone in them in a long time—til now.”
She plopped them in the tub and said, “I don’t know where your mom keeps your diapers. Could you please bring me three more.”
So much for my plan, I mused, as I returned naked to my mom’s bedroom. She kept my diapers hidden in a drawer with her panties, right next to which were my half dozen pairs of white plastic “panties” as my mom called them—and rightfully so I guess--since my “panties” like hers had no opening. Her panties and my “panties” were nestled in the drawer next to each other, yet in other ways they were far apart. Hers were soft and sheer and invisible under clothes. Mine were thick and rustled against the fabric concealing them and sometimes stuck out above my pajama bottoms, when I was allowed to wear bottoms. Hers meant she could use the bathroom whenever she wanted. Mine meant I went to the bathroom in my pants—unless I asked to be taken out of them, which happened a couple times when she got me ready for bed too early. I returned to the bathroom, where Jane was sitting on the tub edge with her legs crossed waiting for me.
“Did you get plastic pants,” she Jane. I had not. “Please go get some dry ones,” she said. So the humiliation now tripled as I remained naked for another trip to the bedroom and returned with Jane watching me as I handed her the diapers and plastic pants she would once again put me in. Still pleasant and matter-of-fact, she brought the bulkiness up between my legs and had me stick my feet up in the air to get the plastic pants started. I had to endure turning around in front of her as she tucked the diaper edges up under the plastic pants, feeling her fingertips along my legs and waist. I could never fondle her like that. But when you wear diapers, girls control you. They get to undress you and see you naked whenever they want.
My pajama tops had gotten a bit wet, so she didn’t put them back on me. I stood in front of her naked except for thick diapers and plastic pants as she said, “if you need to go potty, please let me know, OK?. And if you accidentally wet your diapers again, tell me so I can change you before bed.” And to think just a short while ago we were two school chums talking at the kitchen table.
My humiliation then quadrupled. I fell asleep in front of the TV, as my mom suspected I might. Next morning when I woke up, Jane of course was gone. I of course was dry, but my mom found the wet ones in the tub. For that transgression, I was sentenced to nighttime diapering for another two months.