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Who Wears the Pants - Part 6

by Jennifer Loraine

Contact the author at jennifer@phuze.com

Other Stories by Jennifer Loraine

 

Chapter Six

 

Howie the Tot

 

As her sons have seen her: the mother in patriarchy: controlling, erotic, castrating, heart-suffering, guilt-ridden, and guilt-provoking; a marble brow, a huge breast, an avid cave; between her legs snakes, swampgrass, or teeth; on her lap a helpless infant or a martyred son.

Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), Of Woman Born, ch. 8 (1976).

 

Howard was anxious about going to Daycare on Monday. Aside from the embarrassment of having everyone treat him like a little boy, Anita had promised to blister his fanny if he screwed up and revealed who he really was. Anita had to open the door to the Suburban for him when she loaded up the van. He had shrunk so much that he could no longer reach high enough to open the car door. Once the door was open, he saw that the elevated floorboard of the van was much too high for him to clamber inside on his own. The running board between the fenders that was intended as a step into the van was at the height of his chest. He looked up at her helplessly and waited for her to assist him into the van. Anita saw his difficulty immediately. She bent down, put her hands underneath his arms, lifted him up and sat him in the back seat. Then she buckled his seat belt for him and closed the door. She went to the front door of the van, opened it and got in the drivers seat and drove them to her company. Howard fidgeted in boredom and apprehension as he sat in the backseat. He was so short that he could barely see over the top of the door's tall frame and the babytalk that Anita forced him to use precluded any sort of adult conversation to pass the time. He wasn't interested in the other cars on the freeway anyway. His only interest in other drivers had been the expressions on their faces as he left them in the dust. With Anita as the Suburban's cautious driver, that pleasure had departed along with all his other adult diversions. All he could think about was how the workers at the Daycare Center would treat him. It was bad enough that Anita acted as if he was a toddler in fact, but he couldn't stand the idea of having strangers care for him like a little boy. Howard sighed heavily in frustration; it was going to be a long, long day.

 

Anita parked the Suburban, then came around to the rear door to let him out. Howard had never been inside her company building. Security precautions had only allowed him to see it from the outside. The research that was conducted at company headquarters precluded any visitors from entering without proper clearance. Anita held his hand while they walked to the main entrance and turned left at the guard station to arrive at the company's Daycare Center. When Anita pulled the heavy door to the Daycare open and led him through the portal, a waft of cool air-conditioned atmosphere scented with a slight fragrance of perfumed diapers struck Howard. He toddled in at Anita's side, struggling to keep up with her long pace on his short legs. The receptionist smiled at the two of them as they walked toward her desk. Anita had dressed him that morning in a baby blue T-shirt with yellow duck print to contrast with his juvenile denim overalls and wide white toddler shoes. It made him look more like a three-year-old than the four years he ostensibly possessed. To heighten the effect, Anita had ordered him suck his thumb as they entered to exaggerate his already immature look. From the look on the receptionist's face, Anita's ploy had worked. She grinned broadly as they approached and waved to Howard patronizingly when they stopped in front of the counter. Anita spoke quietly to the woman for a few minutes and introduced herself. Once the receptionist had properly identified Anita and her adopted son, they were admitted to secured area of the Daycare's interior to wait while one of the supervisors was summoned to formally enroll the child into their custody.

Howard was horrified to see that the Daycare's small clients were no older than five years old at best, and that most of them were from two-to-three years old. Diapers were worn in lieu of pants by most of the children who played happily on the huge carpeted play area that lay behind the short wooden bars that separated the toddler's play zone from the rest of the center. Mounds of building blocks were piled in a corner of the play area while the balance of the area was scattered with brightly colored children's toys. He noticed that sucking one's thumb appeared to be de rigueur behavior at the Daycare. Not a single child's mouth whose hands were unengaged was free of either a thumb or a pacifier. They crawled and tottered about the carpet, moving from toy to toy without let or interference. Several members of the group of older children were dressed in nothing more than T-shirts and training pants. They played on their hands and knees among the younger toddlers without any embarrassment over their regressive method of locomotion. Occasionally, one of the ambulatory children would amble gaily across the area in quest of some fascinating toy, only to fall down and grasp the childish amusement the moment they reached their objective. One little boy, who looked like he was about three, was dressed in nothing but a diaper. He got up from where he had been playing and dashed helter-skelter across the room. When he reached the other side, he tripped over a toy and landed flat on his face. Immediately he began to keen in a high-pitched wail of surprise and hurt pride. Two of the attendants rushed over to see if he was injured. After a perfunctory examination, they satisfied themselves that he was unhurt and after helping him blow his nose, they left him where he was on the carpet. The little boy continued to weep for several minutes after the accident, sniveling over his imagined injuries.

 

The supervisor came and introduced herself to Anita, pointedly excluding Howard from the adult conversation. Anita gave the supervisor various papers granting the Daycare permission to treat in an emergency as well as a signed contract for their childcare services. Howard looked in askance at Anita while she talked with the supervisor and thought, "How could she do this to me? There isn't a hint of adult stimulation here! I don't even see a TV to watch cartoons on! If I remain here for any length of time, I'll become as mindless as the tots over there!"

 

When the supervisor made a statement about how cute he looked in his outfit, Anita patted him on the head and said how proud she was of her little boy. Anita noticed that Howard's nose appeared to be running and withdrew a kleenex from her purse. She bent down and wiped his nose remarking that many of the children appeared to have the same problem. The supervisor chuckled and said that it was normal for small children to have runny noses until they reached school age. She assured Anita that there wasn't anything communicable going around the Daycare Center and excused herself after having delegated one of her workers to see to Howard's needs. When he grew restive and attempted to break away from Anita's grip, she scolded him and held him in place by his suspenders while she talked with the attendant. Howard ground his baby teeth together in anger. First Anita forced him to dress like one of these toddlers, and then she treated him as if he was one of the sniveling infants he saw arrayed in play in front of him. "What's next?", he thought to himself.

 

A muted cry issued from one of the back rooms as in answer to Howard's unvoiced question. Howard tentatively identified the noise as the muffled wail of a very young infant. It made Howard shiver as if someone had walked over his tomb. He was preternaturally sure that the sound was some sort of omen presaging his ultimate fate. The sound repeated itself and then was taken up by several unmusical voices that bawled discordantly in unison. The origin of the sounds was suddenly clear. It was the distressed mewling of several infants from a nursery that was just beyond his range of sight, but whose doorway was clearly marked with a full color cutout of a crawling diapered infant. Howard decided that the Daycare must have a nursery for inhabitants who were too young to be allowed free reign in the play area for toddlers. The idea disquieted him in a way he could not fathom. It wasn't so much that he felt that the babies' cries were bad, but he was bothered by the fact that they had a special room for clients who were so helpless that they needed to be confined to cribs and playpens. He had the feeling that the wails were a sign of some unknown evil that impended, threatening his doom. Howard felt like the happy cries of the toddlers playing only yards from where he sat were only a cover for some greater evil that lay lurking beneath the surface. He would have run away if he could have opened the heavy hydraulically-loaded door separating the Daycare from the outside hall. As it was, the pit of fear in his stomach that threatened to overwhelm him made him want to pee. A minute later, he tinkled in his training pants. Howard looked down at his pants to see if there was any discernable sign of his childish accident. There wasn't. Only the faded indigo color of his second-hand denim overalls was to be seen. No one had noticed what he had done. He was safe for a time. Nonetheless, Howard was struck by the unshakable impression was that he was soon to be imprisoned in a pediatric purgatory from which there would be no return.

 

Anita sat him on a toddler-sized chair to wait while she discussed the particulars of his care to one of the Daycare workers. Howard was horribly embarrassed when she reached in the brown paper bag she was carrying and pulled out two pair of neatly folded training pants. Anita explained that he wasn't fully potty trained yet and could be expected to have at least one "accident" during the day while he was there. The worker nodded and took the bag from Anita's hand and asked if he just wet himself or whether his "accidents" were "messy". Anita explained that she was actually Howie's aunt and that with his mother in the hospital, he could be expected to regress in his toilet training to some degree. She chuckled and told the woman, sotto voce, that Howie was having difficulty adapting to his new "mother" and occasionally referred to her by her first name. She patted him on the head condescendingly and said that "little Howie" tried his best, but sometimes he childishly forgot and pottied on the spot.

 

Anita told the worker that Howie could be quite precocious at times and sometimes astonished adults by his apparent adult speech. She said that although he was very intelligent, little Howie had a retiring personality and tended to be very reserved around unfamiliar people. Anita went on to tell the crèche worker that she had dressed him in toddler's snap-crotched pants for that reason. If he signaled that he needed to go potty, he would probably have to go in the next few minutes or he would lose control. The worker laughed and said that most of their older children were at that stage of potty training and that they had prepared for that eventuality. She pointed to three plastic potty chairs next to the wall and told Anita that once Howard signaled them he was ready to go, they would immediately open up the snaps on his pants and remove his training panties while rushing him over to sit his bottom on the potty. The worker cautioned Anita that if he repeatedly had messy accidents in his pants, the Daycare rules required that he be diapered until he was fully potty trained. The worker was pointed in saying that the Daycare couldn't be expected to do more than public schools and that elementary schools had their own problems with older children who weren't potty-trained.

 

Anita agreed to the conditions and asked what they would be serving for lunch that day for the children. The woman told her that they had carrot sticks for the midmorning snack, quartered peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on whole wheat for lunch with tangerine wedges for dessert and raisin-oatmeal cookies for the afternoon snack. She went on to tell her that a half pint carton of whole milk was provided for each child with every meal or snack. If the mother desired it, chocolate milk could be substituted for whole mike for the child's afternoon snack. Howard frowned at the mention of carrot sticks and milk for his midmorning snack. He hated carrots and could not abide milk as a drink! She went on to say that a TV was provided in another room reserved for the entertainment of the older children, but tots in Howard's age group could not be trusted not to throw something at the TV and break the picture tube unless an attendant could be spared to watch them constantly. Howard would have to be restricted for safeties sake to the toddler area of the nursery. The attendant assured Anita that there were plenty of toys in the toddler area for Howard to divert himself with so he wouldn't miss his cartoons on TV. Howard was not looking forward to his experience at the Daycare. He took his thumb out of his mouth momentarily and looked at it. The skin on his thumb was white and wrinkled. If he continued to suck his thumb the way he had been ordered, the skin on his thumb would begin to deteriorate from the humid environment of his mouth. As much as he hated to ask, he needed his pacifier. He looked up at Anita and asked soulfully around his thumb, "Binkie, Mommy?"

 

They two women smiled at the sound of his high pitched voice and turned to look at him. Anita said, "Is your thumb getting sore, Howie?"

 

He looked at the women and admitted as a runnel of drool coursed its way down his chin to land on his T-shirt, "Uh-huh."

 

Anita turned to the attendant as she reached in her purse to get out Howard's pacifier and said, "You know I've tried and tried to get Howie to give up his binkie, but he insists on sucking either his binkie or his thumb. His poor little thumb gets so irritated from the constant sucking that I've given up on trying to break him of sucking his pacifier. Maybe when he gets older, he'll stop on his ownÖ"

 

Anita punctuated her final sentence by inserting the pacifier in his mouth. Then she pinned the ribbon which was knotted to the pacifier's ring to the bib of his overalls with a diaper pin. He groaned inwardly when he saw the decorative head on the diaper pin; it was a yellow duck head and matched the pattern on his T-shirt. Howard was completely humiliated by the byplay with the pacifier and the duck-headed diaper pin. Anita had managed to twist his simple request into a testament to his infantine immaturity. He'd be lucky if the minute Anita left the Daycare the attendants didn't strip him of his clothes, then diaper and drag him off to spend the rest of the day in a crib in the infant's nursery.

 

Anita picked him up and kissed him goodbye on the forehead like an affectionate mother, then handed him over to the attendant. Anita handed the attendant his blankie and a large yellow plushie duck while informing the attendant that the duck was Howie's favorite toy. She finished by telling her it was okay for little Howie to have chocolate milk in the afternoons. The daycare worker turned him around so she could put her arm under his bottom to support him then she turned away to carry Howard to the playroom to mingle with the other toddlers. The last he saw of Anita that day was the sight of her going through the door to the Daycare while he looked over the attendant's shoulder.

For the rest of the week, Howard was taken to the Daycare center as his body continued its slow regression into infancy. His life at home continued petty much as it had before; as long as he obeyed Anita's orders to the letter she was as loving and kind to him as if she had been his own mother. As the week passed, he began to have fun at the Daycare Center in spite of himself. He delighted in constructing miniature buildings and towns with the wooden blocks the center provided and he discovered that finger painting was a pleasant diversion although his deteriorating dexterity caused him to get the paints everywhere. He got used to having his wet pants changed by strange women and didn't make a fuss when they checked his temperature rectally each day after weighing him on the doctor's office scale they kept next to the nursery door. Howard found he chocolate milk he was given with his cookies each afternoon at the center to be cloying at first, but after the third day he became quite fond of the chocolatey drink. His incontinence steadily worsened every day until he began to have occasional dirty "accidents" in the training pants as well as frequently wetting them. At least his regression seemed to be slowing; his body only shrank slightly during the week.

 

 

Interlude VII

A New World Emerges

 

Dateline: Friday June 29, 2011

Excerpt From a Major Television News Program:

 

Ron Blather turned to the active camera on set with a grim expression on his face as he said, "Good Evening. Global concerns about the worldís weather and the economy are foremost in the news tonight. Drought conditions in many parts of the world have reached critical proportions while the sea level continues to rise world wide due to the melting of both the Antarctic and Arctic icecaps. <Cut to video taken by helicopter of a former rice field in Bangladesh awash in the tide as it rolls in. The green tops of the freshly planted rice still peeks over the waves as the water recedes before another wave rolls in. A quick sequence follows of more recognizable skylines, notably the New York harbor as it drowns, the Seine in Parris overflowing its banks against a backdrop of the Eiffel tower, a shot of the Thames as it sweeps over its banks and seeps up the side of Parliament and begins wearing away at the ancient stone, and finally a picture of Houston's awash docks against its skyline. This is quickly followed by a stock picture of the spring melt of the Arctic ice. House-sized pieces of ice break of the berg and fall with a deafening noise into the freezing sea.> The deadly plumes of carbon dioxide from the volcanoes that are still erupting are thought to be the cause of the rise in temperatures throughout the world. Regions that were formally verdant forest are rapidly becoming scorched wasteland as the higher temperatures suck the life out of the world's temperate regions. Flooding of coastal cities has reached the critical stage as the former harbors and centers of world trade find the waves lapping at the doors of business. Parts of Washington, London, Paris, New York, Hiroshima, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, San Diego and Houston are underwater tonight, never to emerge again in their lifetimes. Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, and Venice are inundated under two feet of seawater. The stock markets have been closed by government order in both Europe and the United States.

***************

 

The following weekend went smoothly with Howard toeing the line to his "Mommy's" wishes. By Sunday, he had become so used to talking like a toddler that the broken syntax and mispronounced words of early childhood had become second nature to him. Anita got him up and tsk-tsked his wet training pants as she got him out of his youth bed. She changed his underwear and damp bedlinens before allowing him to go to his customary breakfast of Ovaltine and oatmeal. Howard ate quickly, then scampered off to watch Sunday morning cartoons on the TV after Anita wiped his face and hands with the paper towel he wore as a bib. Howard sat in front of the TV with his thumb in his mouth seemingly enchanted by the cartoon antics of a group of diapered children. Howard was comfortable on the floor, Anita had laid out an old blanket as padding and to serve as a carpet protector in case he had an "accident" while watching TV. She had stopped trusting his ability to discern whether he was wetting his pants when he was engrossed in his cartoons. Often she would come in the family room to find him sitting in a puddle, completely oblivious to the soggy condition of his training pants. Howard had become so accustomed to the weakened condition of his bladder that when he did notice his wet pants, he would shrug indifferently and continue watching TV. Anita would come in the family room sooner or later and change him when she discovered his newest "accident". Howard had stopped asking Anita to dress him in anything other than his underwear. He would spend his weekends toddling around the house garbed in nothing more than his customary diaper-padded skivvies without giving his constant state of relative undress a moment's thought. His life as a semi-continent toddler had become routine.

Later that morning, Anita received a short phone call and began picking up the house the minute after she put the handset on the receiver. It wasn't until he smelled the inviting aroma of a second pot of coffee brewing in the kitchen that he realized that Anita had made special plans for that day. He asked her why she was making more coffee and was informed that one of her friends from work would be dropping by for a visit. When Howard found out about Anita's visitor, he demanded that she dress him in a pair of pants for propriety's sake before the woman arrived. Anita chuckled and told him in syrupy, conciliatory tones that he no longer had any modesty to protect. She pointed out that with his current size, her friend would assume that he was three and one-half years old and that dressing him for her visit would only serve to call attention to him. Anita went on to say that it was strange for a mother to dress her child up at home if the weather was warm and that with summer coming on, her friend would surely become suspicious if he was overdressed for her visit. Anita said in no uncertain terms that in order for her to keep her job, he must maintain the charade of being her little boy. Howard agreed reluctantly and went back to watching cartoons. About an hour later the doorbell rang and Anita went to get the door. She returned a few minutes later escorting a kindly-faced, matronly looking brunette woman who was dressed in a smart but severe, navy blue pants suit. Anita brought her into the family room and introduced Howard to her friend Fran as her "adopted nephew". Howard was mortified when the woman came over to him and patted him on the head, saying, "What an adorable little boy he is! I see that he's still in training pants, does he still have 'accidents'?"

"Oh, yes," Anita replied with a tolerant smile, "I'm beginning to wonder if he'll ever be potty trained. You should have seen how he acted when I bought a potty chair for him. You'd have thought I was forcing him to do something awful from the way he acted when I made him use the potty instead of his pants. Honestly, I don't know what I'm going to do with him!"

"Don't you like your potty chair, Sweetheart?", asked the woman patronizingly.

"No!", replied Howard in a firm tone and turned his attention back to the cartoon.

"Well," her friend said with a sly smile to Anita, "There are always diapers to fall back on! Boys take a little longer to potty train than girls."

Anita paused for a moment to see if Howard would take the bait, but Howard remained mute. Anita smiled at her friend and said to explain why she wasn't inclined to do the obvious and put him back in diapers, "He's a little old for dydees. If you'd seen the way he reacted to his potty chair, you wouldn't suggest diapers. He's happy in his training pants."

Fran patted Howard on his well-padded bottom and said ingratiatingly, "At least he doesn't make messes in his pants like a baby!"

Anita smiled in return and said, "Oh, he does that too! Don't you, Howie?"

Howard's glower of displeasure deepened at Anita's admission of his infantile lack of bowel control, but he remained silent.

Fran frowned in concern and said, "Oh Dear, maybe you should re-consider diapers then. Perhaps he's not ready to be potty trained. How old is he?"

"He's a little over three, I think. Maybe you're right. I've heard of little boys that are five before they're fully potty trained," Anita said.

Fran nodded sagely and said, "That's not unusual these days. In fact, there's a fair percentage of six and seven-year-olds who still haven't been potty trained. I wouldn't worry about him. A three-year-old is still a baby. If he needs diapers, by all means use them! Don't let him stop you! You're the mommy in this house. Who cares what he thinks? If he still poops and wets himself, then he has no reason to squawk! Does he still suck his thumb?"

"All the time," Anita admitted.

"Well then, there you are!", Fran said triumphantly as if making her point had somehow made her day, "If I were you, I'd put him back in diapers until he shows he can control himself. I'd give him baby bottles too if it makes him more tractable. Who's to say that he shouldn't wear diapers? Or suck on pacifiers for that matter?"

"The women at the Daycare center at work might object," Anita said grimly.

"If I remember correctly, doesn't the Daycare have a rule about children who aren't potty trained? Don't they REQUIRE that children who aren't potty trained wear diapers?", Fran asked.

"Well,Ö yes," Anita temporized, "But I donít want it to get around that I'm not taking good care of him."

"Nonsense!", Fran exclaimed, "As far as I'm concerned, the only way you could be seen as not caring for him properly is to let him dictate his care to you! If he wants to poop in his pants, then put him in diapers! He's only a baby, Anita! Look at him!"

Anita looked down to see her husband sitting on the floor with his legs splayed out in front of him and his thumb in his mouth. The training pants weren't that different from diapers, she realized. They served much the same purpose as diapers, even to having thick padding in the same places! It didn't take much of a stretch of her imagination to picture him in diapers at her feet. If she put him back in diapers, it would certainly reduce her laundry load. She thought that maybe she should look into hiring a diaper service.

Howard had the eerie feeling that he was being watched and turned to see the two women smiling down at him with a conspiratorial look in their eyes. There was something about the expression on Anita's face that told him she had come to some sort of decision while she was standing there with her friend. Howard had a bad feeling that he wasn't going to like what she had planned for him.

Fran grinned at him and said, "Would Howie like his mommy to put him in dydees?"

Anita couldn't resist joining the fun and said, "Little Howie looks sooo cute sitting there with his thumb in his mouth. Aunt Fran hasn't seen how cute you look sucking on your binkie. Would you like Mommy to get your binkie for you so Aunt Fran can see what an adorable baby you are? Aunt Fran says that Mommy should put you in dydees! Would you like Mommy to do that, Baby? Just think of how nice and secure Howie would feel if he had a thick dydee between his legs. If Mommy put baby Howie in dydees, hims wouldn't have to worry about making poopies in his panties! Howie could pee and poop in his dydees all day long, just like all the other babies in the nursery! Hims would look so cute in dydees! All little Howie has to do is ask and Mommy will get her baby the biggest, softest, fluffiest flannel dydees money can buy! Wouldn't that be nice, Baby?"

Howard did his best to ignore their jibes and concentrate on the cartoon. It wasn't enough that she made him wear training pants, but did she have to parade his personal problems in front of strangers?

Anita shook her head at his attitude and said, "It looks like little Howie is cranky this morning. Why don't we leave him in here to watch cartoons so we can have a talk. I'd like to tell you more about how he's been acting and I don't want any comments from the peanut gallery."

Fran smirked and said, "All his babytalk is getting to you, isn't it? It's tough being a mother for the first time. Especially if you haven't raised him from infancy!"

"Well,ÖThe two of us are managing to get along," Anita replied a little defensively.

Fran grinned and said, "But you'd rather not have him at the table listening to our conversation. Is that it?"

Anita smiled broadly in return and replied, "As you can see, he's a little young to be sitting at the kitchen table, drinking coffee and taking part in adult talk. He'll be happier watching cartoons on TV."

The women repaired to the kitchen to gossip in his absence while he was left to be babysat by the TV like a small child. Howard was mortified by Anita's treatment of him in front a stranger, but there was nothing he could do about it. It galled him to think of what Anita must be saying about him in his absence, but there was no way he could think of to spy upon her and listen in on their talk.

After a while, Howard became extremely thirsty. He got up from his pad on the carpet and went to the kitchen for a drink. The skin on the heels of his bare feet stuck to the floor slightly as he walked. He wondered why his skin felt sticky and stopped to touch the bottoms of his feet. There was nothing foreign on his feet, it was just that his callus had vanished along with his age and his feet had the soft moistness of early childhood. There was something disconcerting about looking down at his foot and seeing that his toes had become so tiny and pink. His toenails had changed too; instead of the twisted and lined toenails of an adult male, his little toes were graced by perfectly-formed petite miniature toenails that one would expect to see on an infant. Although the sight of his babified foot made the adult male in him slightly nauseated, he couldn't help but be captivated by the innocent beauty of his tiny appendages. He hadn't really paid any attention to his feet in years, other than the simple maintenance of washing them and clipping his toenails. Now they had a strange allure that he found fascinating and wanted to explore further. Howard wondered idly if his joints were limber enough for him to hold his feet close to his face so he could get a really good look. He decided that he might be able to do it if he laid on his back. The thought struck him that if he could bend his legs that far back, he'd probably be able to suck on his toes. Howard shook the errant thought off as an absurd fancy, why would he ever want to do anything as silly as sucking his toes? Just because they were so soft and pink andÖwell, attractive, that was no reason to want to stick them in his mouth, was it? Nevertheless, he made a mental note to himself to examine his feet closer later that day.

Anita and her friend were sitting at the kitchen table talking as he walked into the room. Anita was just finishing her sentence when he toddled up to the table, "Öeverything's going according to plan, both at home and at work. Howie's been less trouble than I expected, even when you consider his incontinence. Of course his pants-wetting was no surprise to me. Children his age can be expected to have problems keeping themselves dry. It was his thumb sucking that was the real surprise to me, most children his age have given up sucking their thumb."

"I don't know about that," Anita's friend said, "My brother Frank didn't stop sucking his thumb until he was five. Maybe he's just anxious about all the changes that have been happening to him. His subconscious is probably consoling itself by engaging in a little regressive behavior. It sounds to me that he's reacting to having to adjust to his new life with you." The woman made a depreciating gesture with her hand and continued, "It doesn't matter if he sucks his thumb, the problem will resolve itself soon enough anyway. If it's more convenient for you to have him in diapers now, then I'd do it. It's not important how HE feels about it, Anita. You've got to realize he's only a little boy. His opinion doesn't matter to anyone but himself."

Fran reached across the table and covered Anita's hand with her own comfortingly, saying, "This isn't like managing some test animal at work, Anita. There aren't any protocols for how you take care of him. Do whatever you have to do to make your life easier. He'll adjust to whatever you decide is best. I know he tends to make a fuss if he doesn't get his way, but that's part of being a child. You've got to understand how he feels, Anita. This is all a new environment for him. He feels lost and has no control over his surroundings. He can't understand what's caused all the changes in his life. Suddenly the ties with his old life have been severed and he's been forced to accept you as his surrogate mother. He's completely dependent on you. He may throw a temper tantrum from time to time, but that's to be expected at his age. You have to be firm with him and make the decisions that he's too young to handle now. Don't worry if he gets upset when your decisions conflict with his desires. His negative emotions aren't motivated by rational thought, they're governed by his neural development. A three-year-old is too young to control his feelings and think clearly. He's not angry with you and he's not trying to alienate you. He can't take care of himself alone and he knows it. He's only a little boy! He can't afford to make an enemy of his mommy. If you decide to make him wear diapers tomorrow, he may not like it but he'll accept your decision."

Fran stopped talking when she saw that Howard was standing at the foot of the kitchen table listening to the advice she was giving Anita. Howard grasped the table leg to steady himself as he swayed in horrified fascination of the woman's admonishments. He had thought that they were just tormenting him earlier with all the talk of diapering him. Fran seriously wanted Anita to diaper him like an infant and Anita was nodding her head in agreement! If that wasn't enough, they had stopped talking the moment they saw him standing there! What were they up to? Fran's talk appeared perfectly innocent on the surface, but there was something in the woman's tone that gave him the feeling that the two of them were plotting against him. He had the strangest feeling there was more to what Anita's friend was saying than the innocuous sounding words he had heard.

The two women turned to him and waited in silence for him to speak. "Mama?", Howard began tentatively, "Me thirsty!"

"What would you like, Honeybunch? Would you like some milk?", Anita asked solicitously.

"Yes, Mama!", Howard replied, "Me thirsty!"

Anita got up from her chair and bustled about the kitchen for a few moments, then returned with a child-sized plastic cup of brownish liquid. In the meantime, Howard espied the snacks that Anita had made for her guest and herself lying on a plate on the table. The flaky slightly browned crust of the tartlets looked so inviting that he decided to take one for himself. He reached up to the table just as Anita came up behind him with his drink. Immediately, his hand was knocked away from the table by a stinging blow from behind and above. "Naughty Baby!", Anita scolded, "That's not for you! Keep your hands off the table! Do you understand Mommy?"

"Yes, Mama," Howard said in a low humiliated voice as he rubbed the back of his hand where Anita had slapped it.

"Next time I catch you putting your hands where they don't belong, I'm going to put you over my knee, pull down your panties and spank your bare bottom! The tops of all the tables, counters and dressers are off-limits to you! And that includes the end tables next to the couch as well as the couch itself! Mommy doesn't want you touching anything or getting on anything without her permission! Do you understand me, Baby Boy?"

"Uh-huh," Howard answered in shocked mortification. In one fell swoop, Anita had placed half the house off-limits to him. About the only places he was allowed to touch anything was either on the floor or in his bed. Suddenly, his world felt much smaller. It was the off-hand way she had done it that Howard found so embarrassing. To have his wrist slapped down and then be scolded for being a "naughty baby" in front of a stranger like he was a mere toddler was degrading. Tears of emotion welled up in his eyes and threatened to begin rolling down his cheeks.

"Don't cry, Sweetie!", Anita said in a conciliatory tone, "Mommy's not mad at you anymore. Here, drink this. It will make you feel better." She handed the small blue plastic tumbler she had prepared to Howard, who looked at the concoction in askance.

"What dis?", Howard slurred with a frown.

Chocolate milk," Anita replied, "The attendants at the Daycare center told me how much you like chocolate milk before your afternoon nap. Now drink it all down, Howie, and make a happy cup for Mommy."

Howard sipped at the milk doubtfully and was shocked at how good it tasted. The chocolate flavor was far more intense than the commercial concoction he had been given at the Daycare center. He was surprised that he found the extreme sweetness of the drink to be soÖpalatable! He guzzled the drink in a single draught and asked hesitantly, "More?"

Anita got up and took the glass from him and made him another. Howard took the glass eagerly from her hands and quaffed the sweet mixture down quickly. The cold milk filled his stomach to the brim and gave his insides a pleasing feeling of coolness. As he held out the glass to Anita for her to take it from him, Howard felt a strange feeling of warmth run down his right leg. He looked down involuntarily at the odd sensation to see what was producing it and was horrified to see that he was peeing in his pants. He followed the path of urine down his leg and was mortified to see that he had made a huge puddle on the kitchen floor in front of the two women.

"Oh, Howie! How could you?!", Anita exclaimed in dismay as he continued to drip on the floor. Fran smiled broadly at Howard's accident when she saw her opinion of him vindicated by his babyish behavior. It wouldn't take many more puddles on the floor before Anita lost patience with Howard and saw that she was right about putting him in diapers. "Excuse me, Fran," Anita said as she picked up Howard and began to carry him to his bedroom so she could change his soggy pants.

Fran followed as Anita toted Howard into his bedroom and stood his feet on the floor. Anita knelt down in front of him and unceremoniously jerked his sodden pants down his legs in a single motion, saying, "Step out of your pants, Honeybunch!" Howard complied to allow Anita to picked up his wet underwear between her thumb and forefinger. "Now stay right there, Sweetheart, while Mommy takes your wet undies into the bathroom to soak in the sink. I'll be right back!" Anita turned to Fran and said, "Could you watch him for me while I'm gone? I don't want him running all over the house and making another mess on the floor when I'm not watching."

Fran nodded in agreement and waited in the room to supervise the naked toddler standing before her with a half smile on her face. Howard was mortified by Fran's open stare at his nude body; she seemed to be scrutinizing every inch of his body as if she was privy to the dark secret of Howard's true age. Her facial expression did nothing to reassure him of her innocence of his plight. Her Buddha-like smile made Howard extremely uneasy. Fran exuded an air of being knowledgeable in things that were far beyond the keen of an ordinary person. Howard had the feeling that there was more to the woman than her matronly appearance suggested. She radiated a feeling of tremendous personal power held in check by a personality that was possessed by a will and direction that were almost Goddess-like in their intensity. He felt like a mounted insect under the scrutiny of a discerning collector. Howard was surprised that his nudity in Fran's presence did not invoke an intense desire for modesty in him, but the neutral analytical expression she affected as she surveyed his regressed body convinced him that her thoughts had no sexual components. He was only an object to be observed and measured against some unknown standard, nothing more. Her probing eyes made him feel as if clothes would not have hidden the secrets of his body from her. He felt completely exposed and vulnerable to her disquieting gaze. It made him want to hide under the bed.

Anita returned with a white box in her hand and dropped it on the bed at Howard's side. She opened the box and took out a thick wet towelette to wipe the urine from his crotch and legs. A few quick swipes with the towelette and she was done. Anita tossed the used towelette on the bed's comforter, then hoisted him up and laid him on the bed on his back. She smiled as she took another towelette from the box and spread his legs wide so she could have full access to his pubic area while Fran looked on in silence. When Anita lifted his legs to clean behind his testicles, Howard's shifting weight made the heavy plastic waterproof cover on the mattress crinkle loudly beneath the bedclothes. Howard blushed in embarrassment as Fran's stone face cracked into a smile as his bottom rocked noisily underneath Anita's ministrations. It was obvious to Howard that she understood the implications of the sound the bed made. The provisions that Anita had made to protect the mattress from Howard's incontinence were no secret to Fran. The humiliating knowledge was written clearly on her face. She knew that he was not only incontinent during the day, but he was incontinent at night as well.

Being naked in the presence of two fully dressed women and having his pubes scrubbed with the baby wipe had temporarily revived Howard's sex drive. Wild thoughts of being enslaved by the two women and used sexually raced through Howard's consciousness. His tiny penis had become erect, exposing his carnal desires to his wife's friend. Howard was at once both aroused and embarrassed by his evident horniness. What if Fran should take offence at his erection? Fran could break him in two with ease if she had the slightest desire to hurt him. The thought made him feel vulnerable and increased his state of arousal. All he could think of was that his tiny size made him the perfect victim for their urges if they choose to exercise their power over him. He knew that they could do anything they wanted to with him and he would be helpless to resist. Howard knew that they didn't see him as a man, rather his diminutive size made him only a toy to be used at the their pleasure. The thought made him squirm in fear and embarrassment.

Anita returned a few minutes later and lifted his legs to dress him. She quickly slipped a clean pair of training pants over his feet and pulled them down over his thighs. Just before she lifted his legs again to tug the pants over his bottom, Anita laid a thick white pad on top of his crotch. Howard was surprised by the addition to his underwear and asked as she pulled his pants over his bottom, "What that?"

Anita chuckled and said as she tucked the padding down between his legs and arranged his pants so he wouldn't leak, "It's a diaper doubler, Honeybunch. Mommy can't have you making puddles all over her carpet. It will double the absorbency of your training pants. If you continue to make messes on the floor like you did in the kitchen, Mommy will have no choice but to put you in real diapers. Do you understand, Sweetheart?"

Howard looked at Anita morosely and slowly nodded his understanding. Short of putting him in diapers in front of Fran, Anita had managed to find the most humiliating garment she could dress him in before her friend. Why was she doing this to him? Anita seemed to be going out of her way to shame him.

Fran smirked as she looked on at the scene of Howard's humiliation being played out in front of her. Fran knew that the step from requiring extra padding in his training pants to being forced back into diapers was a short one. It wouldn't be long before Howie was crawling about the floor dressed in nothing but a baby's dydees. Once Anita had taken that path, Howie would be drinking from baby bottles within a day or two. Little boys had no business dictating their care to their Mommies and sometimes had to be reminded who made the decisions in the house. Poor little Howie would soon find himself re-experiencing the delights of babyhood when Anita finally decided to put him in his place. "Good!", she thought to herself, "If it were me, I'd rather have a clinging, cringing diapered tot than have a little boy who's too big for his britches! I wouldn't put up with his tantrums for a minute! It won't be long before this little hellion is turned into a whimpering momma's boy in diapers. Then he won't even think of arguing with his mommy."

Anita lifted Howard bodily from the bed and stood him at its side. Then she folded down the comforter and patted the bed, saying, "Come on and hop in bed, Sweetheart! It's time for your nap!"

 

"Nooo, Mama! Too erwie!", Howard whined.

 

"Time to go nap-nap, Honeybunch," Anita said firmly.

 

"No nap, Mama! Not sweepy!", Howard pleaded.

 

"Does Howie want a spanking?", Anita asked imperiously.

 

Howard reluctantly got into the youth bed and allowed himself to be tucked in for his nap. There wasn't any point in arguing with Anita. If he continued his recalcitrant behavior, Anita would carry out her threat and he'd find himself being spanked in front of a stranger. Once he had been reduced to a weeping, red-bottomed tot, she'd still put him down for his nap. Anita kissed him on his forehead and closed the curtains so he could sleep. Then the two women left the room, closing the door behind them. Howard wept at his weakness for a few minutes and soon fell fast asleep.

 

When Anita woke him later, Fran was gone. His training pants were soaked, even though she had put a diaper doubler inside the crotch. Sunday passed quickly with him playing on the floor in his training pants until dinner. Once he had eaten, Anita took him to the bathroom and bathed him, then took him into his bedroom and put him into a clean pair of training pants with another diaper doubler tucked inside.

The next morning Anita changed his wet panties and gave him his breakfast as usual. Howard hated the unsightly bulge the diaper doubler made in the front of his training pants, but he had to admit that they worked as planned. Unless he totally emptied his bladder, their absorbency was more than enough to take care of any problems that should happen while he was at the Daycare center.

 

When they got to the Daycare, Howard was taken by the hand and led to the toddler area of the center. The attendant plopped Howard down on his bottom and unceremoniously handed him his blankie and his duckie. Then she left to attend to the other children. After about ten minutes of staring at the wall, Howard decided that he had to do something to occupy himself or he would go mad with boredom. He tottered over to the building blocks he had seen in the corner and began constructing a grand edifice for his amusement. After an hour of play, the attendants came and led him over to a group of toddler-sized plastic tables and chairs. They sat him down next to the other children and set a paper plate of carrot sticks and a tiny wax cup of milk before him. Howard had no choice but to eat the hated vegetables on his plate. If Anita heard from the workers that he had refused to eat, she would spank him until he couldn't sit for a week. At least that was what she had promised that morning before they left the house. He crunched and munched on the foul veges until the plate was empty, then he downed the milk in a single draught. The attendant who was supervising the midmorning snack replaced his cup with a full one immediately. Howard drank that one as well to get the disgusting white fluid out of his sight as quickly as possible. He was utterly dismayed when she replaced the cup again and he was forced to drink a third cup of milk. That time however, he drank more slowly as if he wasn't thirsty anymore. The attendant looked satisfied and looked for other toddlers to bedevil with her brew. When the other children had finished their snacks, he was allowed to return to the building blocks until it was time for a nap.

 

He was standing up, looking at his wooden creation when an attendant came to get him. The attendant said it was time to go night-night and he turned to allow her to lead him to the sleeping area. When she saw him, she let out a loud "Uh-oh" and hauled him to the dressing area without a further word. Howard was mortified to discover that he had wet his pants so thoroughly that the front of his overalls were completely soaked. He was stripped down to his T-shirt in short order and was forced to stand and wait wearing only his T-shirt, shoes and socks while they hunted down his spare training pants. When the attendant returned, she made him sit on the table while she worked his panties over his shoes and socks. In so doing, she discovered that he had soaked his socks and shoes with pee as well. She shucked him out of his shoes immediately and ripped off his socks to toss them on the pile of pee sodden overalls. Then she pulled the clean pair of padded panties up his legs and over his bottom before taking him back to lie on his assigned mat with his blankie and duckie. Howard was so ashamed of his infantile behavior that he wept as he lay on the mat. The workers saw his tears but said nothing to him. They were used to having toddlers cry for their mommies. It happened all the time. They knew if they left the little ones alone, they would get over missing their mommies an hour or so. After about ten minutes, Howard closed his eyes and fell fast asleep.

 

When Howard woke again, he was sopping wet. The waterproof mat he had be sleeping on had allowed his pee to pool around his tummy, soaking his T-shirt. He was again taken to the dressing area where his T-shirt and training pants were stripped from his unresisting body. His T-shirt was added to the plastic bag of sodden clothes and he was redressed in his training pants only. Then he was taken back to his building blocks to play until it was time for lunch. At lunch he discovered that the peanut butter stuck to his mouth like glue. He had to drink four cups of milk to keep himself from gagging on the tenacious substance that adhered to his upper palette. He was crouched on his hands and knees looking into the interior structure of his building when his bladder gave way again. This time he felt the warm stream as it bounced back within the confines of his panties and started soaking through. Howard struggled to sit up to get one of the attendants to take him to the potty, but it was too late; a puddle had formed beneath him before he could sit up. One of the attendants who had been tasked to watch the new toddler with a weak bladder spotted the mess before he could utter a word. He was again taken back to the dressing area where after some discussion with the other attendants about his lack of clean training pants, it was decided to diaper him. Howard was enraged by the very idea of being diapered. He fought them tooth and nail and was only subdued when three of the attendants held him down and forcibly diapered him. Once the deed was done, all the fight seemed to go out of him. He lay passively on the table, uncaring about what they would do to him next. As punishment for his combativeness, it was decided that he should take an extended time-out in one of the unoccupied playpens under the watchful eye of a nursery attendant. When the supervisor heard the report of his unruly behavior from the worker assigned to look after Howard, she immediately called Anita.

 

Howard sat in the playpen staring out at the wall of the nursery, listening to the sound of infants alternately cooing and fussing about their environment. From time to time a large busted mother would come in and take her baby from a crib or playpen and carry it through a door marked with the colored cutout of a baby bottle. The mother and child would emerge fifteen to twenty minutes later with satisfied expressions on both of their faces. Howard wonder idly what the mothers were doing in the room with their babies; the mothers positively glowed as they walked back into the nursery and handed their sleepy infants to the attendants. Howard finally passed it off as a woman's mystery that would be eternally beyond his understanding and forgot about it.

 

Howard stared off in the distance wondering how he had come to his fate. His pacifier and stuffed toy lay unnoticed at his side. From time to time when the attendant wasn't looking directly at him, he would pluck at the plastic on the front of his disposable diaper in frustration. After a while he grew bored and fell asleep in the playpen. He was awoken for his afternoon snack by the nursery attendant. He stood at the side of the playpen as she handed him his oatmeal cookie. The attendant watched until he ate every last crumb. The cookie was dry and a little salty, making him horribly thirsty. Anita had coached him carefully about the proper word to use for milk. Howard hung on to the rail of the playpen with both hands and gazed up at the attendant, saying innocently, "Chi-chi!"

 

This time, instead of getting whole milk in a wax cup, he was given a baby bottle full of chocolate milk. Howard would have thrown it away if he hadn't been so thirsty. He stood at the railing and wept as he put the nipple in his mouth and began to suck. The cold chocolate milk was refreshing and he closed his eyes as he tried to pull in as much milk as he could into his mouth. He barely felt it when his bowels opened and voided the residue from the day's meals into his diaper. The fruit and vegetable meals he had eaten Sunday and Monday had made his stools so soft that it would have taken a tremendous amount of control to retain them. Unfortunately for Howard, the muscle tone of his sphincters had deteriorated to the point where conscious control was barely possible even if he hadn't been concentrating on the bottle. The soft mess slipped out of his behind and filled his diaper without causing him the slightest discomfort. As far as Howard was concerned, he had merely passed a baby fart.

 

Howard was so intent on getting more milk that he wasn't aware that Anita had silently walked into the room and was watching him while he nursed and pooped. A slow smile grew on her face as the smell of a dirty diaper hit her. Anita had called earlier to see how he was doing and was told about his accidents. When the supervisor had called and told her what had happened when they attempted to diaper him, she wasn't surprised at his reaction. She had told them she agreed with their decision to put him in a playpen for an extended timeout and suggested they leave him in the playpen for the balance of the afternoon. She had told them that his regressive behavior must have meant that he wanted to be treated like a baby and that it would probably make him feel more secure if they put him in the nursery with the other babies. Anita suggested that they give him his milk in a baby bottle to reinforce his sense of security. The supervisor agreed immediately to Anita's suggestions for the handling of the little hellion. She wanted Howard's disruptive influence on the other children to be removed as soon as possible. Anita's rationalization for treating him like an infant meshed perfectly with the supervisor's understanding of child psychology. Once Howard was reduced to helpless dependence, he would become more tractable.

 

Howard opened his eyes to see Anita grinning at him while he sucked on the bottle. He got up and stood unsteadily in her presence as much out of fear as out of respect. The thick diaper between his legs made it difficult to stand up straight. The padding bunched up between his legs and forced them farther apart than he was used to; as a result, he had to use the unsteady bowlegged stance of a diapered infant. He swayed uncertainly on his feet and had to grasp the railing of the playpen with one hand to stay upright while his other hand still held the bottle. The attendant left the room for a few minutes, giving Anita the chance to lean over the railing of the playpen and whisper in Howard's ear as she began deep massaging his lower tummy just above his diaper, "Well, I think you've managed to convince them that you're a very immature three-year-old. All in all, Mommy is very pleased with your little performance here today. The supervisor was so impressed with how young you acted that she told Mommy that she feels sorry for you because you've lost your real mommy. She thinks you need to be allowed to regress back to babyhood when you're here so you can get over the absence of your mommy. She also recommended that you be treated the same way at home too and Mommy agreed with her."

 

Anita stopped and paused dramatically for her last statement and continued, "You were very naughty! So for the next two weeks, they're going to keep you with the babies here in the nursery rather than let you set a bad example for the other toddlers at the Daycare Center."

 

Howard frowned around the nipple but continued to suck as Anita said, "It won't be so bad, Honeybunch! Mommy promises you'll get used to diapers in a few days."

 

She glanced around the room and said in a gentle scolding tone, "Mommy heard about the fight you gave them when they tried to diaper you. It appears that you lost the battle in more ways than one."

 

She chuckled and grinned, "It looks like it will take some getting used to so you can stand without falling while wearing dydees! Don't worry, Sweetiepie, after a couple of days, you'll be waddling around here easily in your dydees like all the other infants. Do you like drinking from a ba-ba, Honeybunch? Maybe Mommy should get you some bottles so you can nurse at home too! Mommy doesn't think you'll have a problem with getting the attendants to care for you just like you were one of the babies. You look soooo cute in your dydees with your ba-ba in your mouth! You look like you fit right in with the other babies here, Sweetie!"

 

Anita kissed his cheek and said, "You make an adorable infant, Sweetiepie!"

 

She stopped massaging him when she felt a tiny contraction from his lower bowel underneath her fingertips. Anita smiled warmly at him and put her hand on the back of his diaper to pat his bottom lightly as if comforting him. As expected, the deep abdominal massage had stimulated his bowels into evacuating themselves again. This time however, his bladder had responded as well. Howard could feel the front of his diaper become warm as he soaked it with pee. She patted his diapered bottom a little harder, pushing on the pile of warm poop that he had expelled against his behind. Howard's expression changed to one of surprised dismay when he realized the horrible thing he had done in Anita's presence. Anita said sweetly, "Weren't you aware of the fact that you had pooped in your dydee? Oh dear, Mommy can see by your face that you just realized it! Poor baby! Didn't you know that most babies your age poop while standing? Poor Howie, Mommy can see that you didn't intend to make a poopy! You need to sit down if you don't want to mess in your dydees!"

 

Anita put her hand behind his knees and forced them to bend. As his legs folded, Howard collapsed in slow motion to the pad of the playpen. His bottom hit first, spreading the soft mess in the back of his diaper over his bottom. Howard wanted to cry. Not only had his incontinence provoked the daycare workers to put him in diapers, but he had proved they were right by promptly filling them with poop! They would never let him go back to training pants now! He kicked his legs petulantly and felt himself pee again.

 

"Oh dear, just look at the time!", Anita said in mock concern, "Mommy's break is almost over! Mommy has to go back to work, Sweetheart, she just wanted to see if you were okay. Mommy will be sure to tell your attendant that you have a poopy dydee so she can change you as soon as possible. Mommy will be back in a little while to take you home. Mommy has some shopping to do and is going to leave work early today. Now behave yourself and let the attendant change you without a fuss. If you don't let them change your dirty dydee, you're going to have a terrible case of dydee rash. Now wave bye-bye for Mommy! That's a good baby! Mommy will see you later!"

 

Howard sat in the warm ooze of his diaper, weeping tears of failure and abandonment as Anita left to return to her office. Presently his attendant returned and lifted him from the playpen. She carried him to the changing station and laid him on his back, then pulled off the tabs on the disposable he was wearing. Howard gazed helplessly up into the attendant's face as she undiapered him. As she lifted the front of his diaper gingerly and brought it down between his legs to expose the mess in the rear of his diaper, he averted his eyes towards the ceiling in embarrassment. She took one look at the brown mess that had spread over his bottom and shook her head, saying, "Ooooh, you're one stinky little boy!"

 

Howard closed his eyes in shame at her comment as a fresh flow of tears began leaking from the corners of his eyes. "Don't cry, Sugar! We'll get you cleaned up and in a fresh diaper in a few minutes. Then you'll be our sweet baby again," said the attendant as she took his ankles in one hand, raised his legs and used the back of the diaper to scrape the muck from his behind.

 

Once most of the mess had been removed, she slid the diaper out and laid it to one side. Then she took one of the baby wipes from the tub at the station and finished cleansing him with the towelette. Howard was mortified by the procedure. He felt as if his ego had been shattered into millions of infinitesimal shards by the experience; he was beyond regrowth and rebuilding. A fey thought crossed his mind as he felt his legs lifted again and his bottom lowered onto the surface of the clean diaper, "How did the rhyme he had learned so long ago go? ÖAll the King's horses and all the King's men, couldn't put Howard together againÖ"

 

Howard giggled insanely at his unvoiced joke as the attendant pulled the diaper up between his legs and began taping the loose ends of the diaper together. Howard knew at that moment that whatever happened in the future, he would never be the man he had been before. Something important had broken inside. He would never be able to dictate to a woman again. They were the strong ones who would make the decisions and tell him what to do. Howard would be content to lie passively and accept whatever they desired for him.

 

The attendant smiled at his gay giggle, it was obvious that her charge was adapting to life at the Daycare Center. She picked up his limp body and carried the unresisting tot to an unoccupied crib for his "official" afternoon nap. After having raised the side of the crib, she went to Howard's playpen and retrieved his plushy duckie, blankie and his pacifier. She returned to his crib and tucked the toy in his arms and put the pacifier in his grateful mouth. Howard cuddled the soft velveteen of his duckie to his chest to comfort his bruised ego and sucked unconsciously on the pacifier's nipple while the attendant tucked the blankie around his diminished body. He lay in the crib with huge unblinking eyes for a few minutes before the lids became to heavy to keep open and he drifted off into a deep dreamless slumber.

 

When Howard awoke, the nursery hadn't changed. The nursery smells of poop, stale pee and the perfume of freshly opened packages of disposable diapers mixed together to form an aroma that was well-known to every mother and daycare worker. For the infants in the nursery with Howard, the bouquet of nursery odors merely smelled like home. Howard thought that the smell was vaguely familiar. He wasn't able to pick out the individual odors from the mix, but the sweet-sour combination of fragrances triggered long forgotten memories of a time of utter contentment that lay buried in the deepmost recesses of his unconscious. His pacifier was still in his mouth and his duckie was still clutched in his arms. He had kicked off his blankie in his sleep to lay in a tangle at his feet. Howard yawned hugely, allowing the pacifier to fall from his mouth and dangle from its ribbon. He moved his legs to stretch them luxuriantly, making the plastic on his diaper crinkle in response. "What's that noise?", Howard thought, "Oh, yeah,Ö.It must be my diapers. I wonder if I wet them again while I was sleeping?"

 

Howard put his hand down and tried to put it in his diaper. He couldn't, the diaper had been fastened too snuggly against his waist. He took his hand and pushed against the outside of his diaper to force the lining against his skin. If it was wet, the close contact with his skin would be more than sufficient to allow him perceive any pee trapped within its confines. When Howard held the diaper tightly against his crotch, he could feel a slight dampness beneath the clothlike paper liner that separated his skin from the absorbent padding of the diaper. He had dribbled while he slept, but not truly wet the diaper. Howard wasn't sure if that was an improvement over his previous behavior or not. Was his bladder so uncontrolled that he would only dribble continuously? Or was it an indication of a little leakage from an almost full bladder? He didn't feel like he needed to go. Howard lay back on the mattress and closed his eyes again. It was good to lay there and let the mattress cradle his body. They would tell him when it was time to move and carry him there when it was time to go. It wasn't as if he had someplace of his own to go or some job he had contracted to do. His responsibility for his life had ended the moment he had entered the nursery. All that was required of him was acquiescent compliance with his attendant's wishes. He wouldn't have been able to oppose them even if he had had the desire to confront his caretakers. Howard's battered will had receded into a hidden cave of his mind to cower in the darkness until the time was right to reemerge. Until then, he could only passively observe and wait, obeying the women who had become the mistresses of his fate.

 

Howard lay shut his eyes and relaxed in the crib, drifting in and out of sleep. While he lay in repose, his hand wormed its way up to his face and inserted its thumb between his lips. Occasionally, he would suck on his thumb as he dreamed, then his mouth would become flaccid again as he descended back into a deep infantine slumber.

 

 

Interlude IIX

From Water Does All Life Begin

 

Dateline: Sunday July 03, 2011

Excerpt From a Major Television News Program:

 

Good Evening, the rising waters from the Atlantic are causing major damage to the eastern seaboard tonight. The governors of virtually every Eastern Seaboard state has declared an emergency as unexpectedly high tides inundate the coastal areas. <Cut to scene of the famous boardwalk in Atlanta being destroyed by the tide as waves lap over the railings on the structure. Stray boats, ripped loose from their moorings, pound at the boardwalkís structure like so much jetsam, eating away at a poorly constructed sea wall. From the video, itís clear that the boardwalk canít last much longer. Pieces of the Boardwalk are breaking off with each wave. >

New York harbor is awash as are the sea level areas in Houston and San Diego. Although city services continue to sandbag the affected areas, experts say that their efforts are hopeless. There are rumors of among insiders of plans to move insurance records from vaults of New York Insurance conglomerates as city continues its battle against the rising waters of New York harbor. Inside sources say the deep mines of the Midwest are being considered for permanent storage of the nation's irreplaceable records. Other areas are suffering too, Miami's hotels are drowning as rising surf reclaims the waterfront property for the sea. In Bangladesh, the country drowns as mean sea level increases. In the U.N., there has been some discussion for International Aid for the building of sea dikes, but money for investment not available for Third World Countries. International banks have already declined to loan massive amounts of money for non-profit development in low potential areas. Only the Dutch seem to be able to react quickly enough to stop the sea from pouring in. Holland has begun pouring concrete twenty four hours a day in an effort to beat the tide. As the waters flood the lowlands of her neighbors, the Dutch, have, for the first time, began constructing a dike around the perimeter of their entire country. <Cut to a clip of the Dutch Army Corps of Engineers pouring rapid setting concrete around the clock to build higher dikes. Thousands of Dutch civilians are assisting the military with every imaginable piece of construction equipment. From all appearances, the Dutch are succeeding in their attempt to stave off the rising tides. In a short time Holland will become an island nation in the midst of a shallow sea that drowns their neighbors.> The entire Dutch military as well as thousands of civilians have been drafted for the unfamiliar and physically demanding job of building a two hundred foot wall around their country. In an effort to beat the clock as sea level increases, virtually the entire adult populous of Holland is laboring night and day to increase the height of her dikes.

In other news, environmentalists enraged because of the U.S. government refusal to build a dike to protect the Everglades National Park from drowning as sea level increases. <Cut to a short clip of the tall swamp grass beinf swept under by the incoming tide. For the nesting areas of the birds of the Everglades, the efforts of the environmentalist are too little and too late. Unbeknownst to the environmentalists, the birds have already migrated to new swamps as higher ground has become tidal swampland. Not every species will make the transition, but the bird species have more ability to make change locations in response to evolving ecologies than the slower moving reptiles. The alligators will survive, but the frogs will die.> Because of the flooding of Washington D.C., the planned protest has been canceled and leaders are calling for a national day of telephone calls into the White House switchboard. Earlier plans to email the President and Congress with their pleas have be canceled due to the continued spamming of the Internet addresses by an unapprehended terrorist group styling itself, "Gaia".

Who Wears the Pants - Part 7

Contact the author at jennifer@phuze.com

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Copyright 1998 by Jennifer Loraine. All rights reserved.

 

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