A Safe Place

A Safe Place


“I can’t believe you’re making do this,” Valerie said upset. Her voice hinted at frustrated tears since she couldn’t get through to her mother.

“I’ve thought this through and I would be much more comfortable if you went,” Laura stated calmly.

“To daycare!? Daycare, mom!” Valerie raised her voice.

“I know it seems like a step back but I just want you to be safe. I can’t worry about you all day, every day,” Laura expressed concerned. She knew ahead of time Valerie would have difficulty accepting reduced independence.

“I’m old enough to stay home alone, what do you think is going to happen? Do you think I’m going to stick a fork in an outlet? Burn the house down?” Valerie asked rhetorically.

“It’s not you. I trust you. But you know how this city is. Please know that I’m just trying to parent responsibly,” Laura said.

Valerie hesitated. Laura made a good point. Anyone with access to the newspaper could see that their city had a high crime rate. However, she resented her mother’s decision and stormed away upset.

“Please try and understand. We can talk about it more but my decision is final,” Laura called to Valerie.

Valerie entered her room and closed the door behind her. She lied on her bed and planted her face in her pillow. Daycare. The thought of the word humiliated her. How long has it been? Three years? I’m going to be the oldest one there by far. What will all those little babies think? Why did Stacy have to get a job?

Stacy was Valerie’s older sister. The last few years Valerie could stay home because Stacy was there. This year Stacy got a summer job and wouldn’t be home during the day. She had looked forward to more responsibility this year but was devastated by Laura’s revelation. Daycare! She sulked. Her eyes welled up. She cried for a few minutes when came a knock on her door.

Laura opened the door and stepped inside. She walked to the bed and sat on the edge. She put a comforting hand on Valerie’s shoulder.

“I’m sorry I yelled,” Valerie said.

“It’s alright, Valerie,” Laura said. “I just hope you can accept that this is for the best.”

“What if I called you to check in every day?” Valerie asked.

“I don’t want to take any chances,” Laura explained.

“You could ask one of the neighbors to keep an eye on me,” Valerie pleaded.

“Valerie, it’s my final decision. I already called and spoke with Amanda. She’ll be expecting you on Monday,” Laura said.

“Amanda still works there?” Valerie asked. Her tone told Laura that she liked the sound of that.

“Yes, she does, and she’s excited to see you again,” Laura smiled.

“Wow, Amanda,” Valerie said. “I haven’t seen her in forever. Well I guess it won’t be all bad. But I’m still mad at you.”

“Well, you’re allowed to be,” Laura said supportively. She rubbed Valerie’s back and then exited the room.

Valerie lied there for a moment and collected her thoughts. When she was ready she got out of bed and went to the living room.

“Hi, Valerie,” Stacy said. “Sorry to bail on you this summer.”

“You don’t have to apologize for that. I hope your new job goes well,” Valerie replied.

“Thanks, sister,” Stacy smiled.

They enjoyed family time and then everyone went to bed. In the morning, Valerie awoke looking forward to the last day of school. She decided she was too embarrassed to tell anyone that she had to go back to daycare.

After the final bell rang, Valerie found her best friend, Sarah, by the lockers.

“Summer vacation!” Sarah exclaimed.

Valerie didn’t share Sarah’s enthusiasm but tried to fake it. “I know, it’s gonna be so much fun,” she said.

“I can’t wait to hang out with you like every day,” Sarah said.

Valerie needed someone to bare her emotions to and she decided that she would trust Sarah. “Umm, yeah, I’m won’t be able to hang out as much this summer,” Valerie said.

“Why not?” Sarah asked disappointed.

“Walk with me please,” Valerie said. She led Sarah down the hallway to somewhere private. “Can you keep a secret?”

“Of course,” Sarah said. “What is it?”

“Do you remember when I told you that Stacy got a summer job?” Valerie asked.


“My parents aren’t ready to let me stay at home alone so they’re… sorta… putting me in daycare,” Valerie admitted.

“Are you serious?” Sarah asked shocked.

“Yeah,” Valerie nodded. She blushed and looked at the floor. “Sorry I won’t be able to hang out with you as much.”

“You don’t have to apologize,” Sarah shook her head. “It is a bummer though.”

“My mom just likes to worry. She did say it’s not me, it’s the city,” Valerie said.

“Oh my god, did you hear about that armed robbery? It was really close to my house,” Sarah said.

“Yeah, I heard,” Valerie nodded.

“What am I gonna do without you?” Sarah asked.

“Hopefully we can still hang out on weekends,” Valerie said.

“Maybe your mom will let you get out of daycare sometimes and you can hang out at my place?” Sarah asked.

“I can ask, but I doubt it,” Valerie replied.

“Well, at least we will have the weekends,” Sarah encouraged.

“Promise not tell anyone about daycare?” she asked.

“I promise,” Sarah nodded.

“Thanks, Sarah,” Valerie put her arms out for a hug. “It feels really good to have someone to confide in.”

“Awe, you’re welcome. Thanks for trusting me,” Sarah responded.

“Of course,” Valerie said.

They walked outside and found their mothers waiting to pick them up. Valerie enjoyed the weekend as much as possible. She spent plenty of time with Sarah. She was still nervous when Monday rolled around. Well, here goes. No use fighting it now. I’m glad mom cares about me but this seems excessive. What are the younger children gonna think? At least I’ll get to see Amanda again. I always liked her. Valerie walked down for breakfast.

“Good morning,” Laura said gently.

“Good morning,” Valerie responded.

“I made your favorite, homemade waffles,” Laura said.

To Valerie, this was a measly attempt at diplomacy but waffles were exceedingly enjoyable so she gave Laura a smile.

Valerie got dressed for the day. She walked to the car and they drove off. She stared out the window counting the blocks. She tried to ignore how nervous she felt. When she saw the daycare she felt a mix of nostalgia and heartbreak. I’m gonna be so nervous just walking in. The children will probably think I have a younger sibling that goes there. How will they react when they find out I’m an attendant?

Valerie’s mom parked in the lot and they got out. Valerie looked around to see what looked the same and what had changed. Memories flooded back as she took it all in. She looked at the sign that read ‘Rainbow Daycare Center’.

They entered the front door and were greeted by Amanda. “Hi, Valerie, welcome back,” she smiled.

“Hi, Amanda, good to see you again,” Valerie sounded suppressed.

“Valerie was a little reluctant to come back since she is a little older now, but she is being very brave,” Laura explained.

“I understand. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. If it means anything I’m very excited that you will be joining us,” Amanda said. She hugged Valerie.

“You can head on in if you want. I need to go over some paperwork with your mom,” Amanda said positively.

Laura hugged Valerie goodbye. “Thank you, Valerie, I love you,” she said sincerely.

“Yeah, no problem,” Valerie said quietly. “I love you too.” She walked to the shoe cubbies and took her shoes off. She placed them in an open slot. She walked through the play area and looked around reminiscing. She was too nervous to make eye contact with anyone. She found a chair that was too small for her and sat down. She stared down at the ground and felt nervous and insecure. After a few minutes she noticed someone sit next to her. She was too afraid to look up.

“Hi, Valerie. It’s good to see you again,” a girl’s voice said.

Valerie recognized the voice but couldn’t put a name to it. She looked up at the girl and then she remembered. “Natalie!” she exclaimed. “Oh my god, I never thought I’d see you here. I can hardly believe it.” She stood up and hugged Natalie.

“Yep, I’m still here,” Natalie laughed. She gave Valerie a tight squeeze.

“This whole time?” Valerie asked.

“Mm-hmm,” Natalie nodded. “After you left I watched all of our friends leave one by one until no one here was within two years of my age.”

“Your parents still don’t trust you to stay home alone?” Valerie asked.

Natalie shook her head. “I’ve asked them but my mom just says, ‘we’ll see later on.’ I get that she wants to protect me but she’s gonna have to let me have some freedom eventually. It feels like she still thinks I’m eight or something.”

“Tell me about it. Stacy got a job and my mom doesn’t want to worry about me so here I am. She sprung it on me last Thursday.”

“Amanda told me you were coming back. I know it’s a drag but I’m so excited to have someone my own age here,” Natalie said excited.

“Totally,” Valerie said relieved. “I’m so glad you’re still here. No offense.”

“Hehe,” Natalie laughed.

“What a blast from the past,” Valerie and Natalie held eye contact for a moment.

“I’m glad to see you two getting re-acquainted,” Amanda smiled.

“I’m surprised. Suddenly I’m feeling a lot less bummed out,” Valerie smiled.

“There’s that smile,” Amanda grinned. “I think this is gonna be great.” They shared a silent, positive moment. “Well if you need anything let me know,” Amanda said. “For Natalie’s sake we have games and toys for older children. Natalie, will you show her around for me?”

“Of course, Miss Amanda,” Natalie said politely.

Valerie’s eyes grew wide. “Miss Amanda…, that’s what I used to call you!”

Amanda smiled brightly.

“What a trip,” Valerie said delighted.

“I’m glad you’re coming around. We’ll go at your pace,” Amanda said.

“Come on, Valerie,” Natalie said.

“Sure,” Valerie said.

They walked around and Natalie pointed out things that changed. Valerie would chime in when nostalgia got the better of her and she had to talk about something. They arrived where toys and games were stored.

“These activity books are fun. They’re pretty challenging. There’s a scrabble board, but I don’t play with anyone besides Miss Amanda, and she’s usually too busy. I think we have an Uno deck somewhere,” Natalie said.

“Cool, I’d love to play Scrabble with you,” Valerie said.

“Yeah?” Natalie smiled.

“Yeah,” Valerie said. “Do you want to play it right now?”

“Sure,” Natalie nodded. She grabbed the box and started setting up.

They played a round which Natalie won. They did activity books for a while and eventually got called to lunch. Natalie and Valerie sat at a table together. When they finished eating they bused their plates and silver wear. Then they went outside for recess.

Valerie’s fears had mostly subsided. There was still some lingering nervousness but it was manageable.

“Remember we always used to lose barrettes and toy rings and stuff in that sand box.” Natalie pointed.

“Yeah, I remember that,” Valerie smiled widely. “And remember the time I fell off those monkey bars and bled all over the place.”

“Eww, that was so gross,” Natalie said giggling.

“I have so many memories here, I can’t believe how much is coming back to me,” Valerie said astounded.

Valerie felt like a young child again as they ran around and played. After a while Valerie heard her name being called. She looked up to see Sarah looking in from outside the fence.

“Sarah!” Valerie exclaimed as she ran over.

“Hey, Valerie, you seem to be doing much better,” Sarah said.

“I really am. Sarah, this is Natalie. She’s a friend from when I used to go here. Natalie, this is my best friend from school, Sarah,” Valerie said.

“Hi, Sarah,” Natalie said.

“Hi, Natalie. So what’s your story? Your parents must be even more over-protective than Valerie’s,” Sarah said.

“I suppose so. I even ride the bus here after school. It’s pretty much my second home,” Natalie said.

The three girls chatted for a bit. Natalie and Sarah got to know each other. Before long, one of the workers called everyone back inside.

“Natalie, real quick, when do you come outside to play?” Sarah asked.

“12:45 to 1:45,” Natalie said without hesitation.

“Alright, I’ll hopefully see you two tomorrow then,” Sarah smiled. “Looks like we found a way to hang out after all, huh, Valerie?”

“Thank you so much, Sarah. I wish you could come in and play with us,” Valerie said.

“Me too. Well, see you,” Sarah said.

“Bye,” Natalie said.

“Bye,” Valerie said.

1 Like

Nap Time

Upon entering they saw Amanda. “Natalie, will you be my helper for getting the children ready for nap time?” Amanda asked Natalie.

“Of course, Miss Amanda,” Natalie said obediently.

“Valerie, will you come this way too please?” Amanda asked gently.

“Sure, Miss Amanda,” Valerie responded.

They walked down the hall. Valerie looked at Natalie. “Nap time,” she snickered.

“I know, right?” Natalie snickered. “Although I kind of like it. It really helps me unwind and relax.”


“Yeah. Honestly, I don’t mind it at all.”

Eventually they reached a room and stepped inside and saw some children waiting in line. “Will you please wait in line, Valerie?” Amanda asked gently.

Valerie wondered if she was getting in line to get her roll-out to sleep on. “Okay, Miss Amanda,” she responded.

Amanda walked into a separate room. Valerie looked inside and noticed a diaper changing table. She looked at Natalie who now searched some cubbies. “Cynthia,” she said. “Here we go.” She reached into a cubby and pulled out a disposable diaper and handed it to the girl who was first in line. The girl took the diaper and entered the room where Amanda was waiting. Amanda closed the door for privacy.

Valerie stood at the back of the line and watched Natalie search for and hand out diapers to all of the children in line. “Lets see here, Valerie, Valerie, oh here it is,” Natalie said. Valerie watched astounded as Natalie pulled a disposable diaper from a cubby and tried to hand it to her.

“What’s this?” Valerie asked confused.

“Your nap time diaper,” Natalie said unassumingly.

“My diaper? I don’t need a diaper,” Valerie said adamantly.

“Oh, sorry about that,” Natalie said. She paused for a moment. “The chart had you listed as needing diapers for nap time,” she explained.

“Well, I don’t,” Valerie said defensively.

Natalie remained calm as was the helper’s charge and said, “Oh, I know. There was probably just a mix up with your old records since we used to wear pull-ups during nap time. Whoever checked you in must have made a mistake.” She put the diaper back into the cubby.

“Oh, okay,” Valerie said relieved. She laughed nervously.

“So if you just talk to Miss Amanda you can explain it we can get it all sorted out,” Natalie said.

“Sounds good,” Valerie said. She patiently waited for her turn.

Cynthia exited the room holding something. She walked to Natalie and handed it to her.

“Okay, that’s a dry pull-up for Cynthia. I’ll mark it on your chart,” Natalie smiled.

“Thanks, Miss Natalie,” Cynthia said politely.

Natalie made a mark on the chart which prompted Valerie to take a look. She studied how it was arranged. On the left were written the children’s names. Along the top, the categories for ‘Arrives in, Play time, Nap time and Goes home in.’ In each box there were three options: Underpants, Pull-ups or Diapers. The exception was the Nap time category which only had Underpants or Diapers.

Valerie remembered that she and Natalie had worn pull-ups for nap time. She wondered why that was no longer an option. She chatted with Natalie while she waited to speak to Amanda. The last child exited the changing room and Valerie walked in.

“Ready to get your nap time diaper on, Valerie?” Amanda asked calmly.

“About that, I was talking to Natalie and she said there might have been a mix up with my old records or something,” Valerie explained.

“I’m the one that registered you,” Amanda said. She closed the door so they could speak privately. “Your mom told me that you have nighttime accidents,” she said non-judgmentally.

Valerie’s blushed. “Well, sometimes I guess, but I don’t need to wear a diaper. I mean come on, I’m way too old.”

“If you are worried about anyone making fun of you, all of the children here should know that there is a rule against shaming anyone for needing to wear protection.”

“But, Miss Amanda, I’m not a little kid. I mean come on, a diaper?” Valerie pleaded

“It sounds like this is a difficult transition for you,” Amanda said. Her tone shifted from unassuming to sympathetic. “And that makes sense if you are not used to wearing protection at home.”

“Yeah, I wasn’t expecting this, and I’m just not sure.”

“It sounds like it’s all really sudden for you,” Amanda said. “I should have explained to your mom that all of the policies still apply to you.”

“Can I just not take a nap? Like if I promise not to fall asleep?" Valerie asked.

“I’ve been doing this for a while. How many times do you think I’ve heard that one?” Amanda responded.

“Then can I at least wear pull-ups like I used to?”

“I remember. But now our policy has changed. If you require protection during nap time then diapers are mandatory. Pull-ups no longer an option.”

Valerie looked down at the ground defeated. She had run out of ideas about how to get out of this.

Amanda gave her a moment and then said, “can I have you remove your jeans and underpants and hop up on the table? I’ll get you a diaper.”

Valerie got on the changing table as Amanda exited to room. When Natalie looked in the changing room her heart sank. She felt so bad for Valerie.

“Natalie, will you hand me a diaper?” Amanda asked calmly.

“Sure, Miss Amanda.” She got a diaper from Valerie’s stack and handed it to Amanda.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Natalie said. She looked at Valerie with a concerned expression. She wished she could tell Valerie that it was no big deal to her.

Amanda went back in the room and closed the door. She noticed right away that Valerie hadn’t removed her pants as instructed. “Here, I’ll help you,” Amanda said gently. She set the diaper down and gently removed Valerie’s jeans. Embarrassed, Valerie looked at the wall.

“You’re doing really well,” Amanda encouraged.

Valerie knew that Amanda was trying to cheer her up but the comment only made her embarrassment swell. I’m getting praised for being a good girl during a diaper change. She rolled her eyes. When she heard Amanda unfold the diaper she closed her eyes. She wished to be anywhere else but here.

“Lift up, please,” Amanda instructed calmly. She gently touched Valerie’s hip. Valerie lifted up and then set back down when Amanda told her to. Valerie cringed as she felt the padded underwear lift up between her legs and get fastened into place. Amanda waited a moment and then said, “whenever you’re ready you can come down off the changing table.”

“Okay,” Valerie said coming back to her senses. When she moved she felt the plump diaper move with her. She heard it crinkle.

“You can wear this if you want. It might be more comfortable than your jeans,” Amanda said handing Valerie a pair of gray sweatpants.

“Thanks,” Valerie said quietly. She took the sweatpants and put them on. Defeated, she walked out of the room. Amanda didn’t say anything else but just noticed Valerie’s pain and didn’t judge it.

Outside, Natalie waited for Valerie. “I got you a roll-out and a blanket and pillow,” she said. Valerie took the roll-out sleeping pad without saying anything. Natalie just took it as a sign to give her space. “Follow me if you want to have nap time in our usual spot. Remember where that used to be?”

Valerie nodded and followed Natalie. They got to the spot and rolled out their sleeping pads. Natalie didn’t say anything else and just gave Valerie space to process. Valerie couldn’t stop thinking about what had just happened. She was shocked. Eventually the shock gave way to frustration. This wouldn’t have happened if my parents hadn’t sent me to this stupid place. It was going so well too and then this. I hardly ever wet the bed anymore. What the heck was mom thinking? Now I’m back in diapers for the summer.

Valerie spent the entire nap time brooding. Her thoughts kept drifting back to the diaper she wore. When one of the workers called for everyone to get up she quickly got up and rolled up her sleeping mat.

“I can take your stuff if you wanted to go right back to see Miss Amanda,” Natalie offered.

“Yeah, sure,” Valerie said.

“Valerie, sorry I, um… well, just sorry,” Natalie said sympathetically.

“No, I’m the one who should be sorry. I must have seemed like a real downer my first day back,” Valerie said.

“No, it’s fine. I’m sorry, I just kept thinking about how I tried to hand you that thing out of nowhere and… it all must have been a shock to you,” Natalie said.

“It’s not your fault. Ugh, why’d my stupid mom have to tell her I wet the bed anyways. I mean it happens so rarely,” Valerie vented.

“I’m sure it does. I know that they don’t like to take any chances here too, and yeah, I’ve been there,” Natalie said sympathetically.

“You have?” Valerie asked.

“Yeah, after you and all our friends left. When we still wore pull-ups for nap time,” Natalie said.

“Yeah?” Valerie listened intently.

“Then they switched to those,” Natalie pointed at Valerie’s hips. “I sort of felt like I had to go it alone, and well, I just want to say that I’m here for you.”

Valerie teared up. “I had no idea, I’m so sorry I bailed on you,” she choked out.

Natalie hugged Valerie. “It’s alright. That’s why I was trying not to make a big deal out of handing it to you. To be honest, I was really nervous. But most of all I just wanted you to know that I won’t judge you.”

“Thank you,” Valerie said sincerely. They released and Valerie wiped her eyes.

Valerie walked to Amanda’s room in a slightly better mood. Natalie helped me out a lot today. She really has a way about her. I’m still mad at mom and will make her explain what she was thinking.

“Hi, Miss Amanda,” Valerie said when she entered the room.

“Hi, Valerie,” Amanda replied.

Natalie entered the room.

“There’s my helper,” Amanda said enthusiastically.

“Yeah, sorry I’m late,” Natalie apologized.
“It’s alright. It looked like you and Valerie were discussing something important so I filled out the chart for you,” Amanda said

“Thanks,” Natalie said.

“You’re welcome,” Amanda said.

Cynthia exited the changing room and then left the waiting room.

“Alright, your turn Valerie,” Amanda said. She held Valerie’s hand and walked into the changing room.

Once inside the changing room, Amanda closed the door. “Will you lower your sweatpants for me please? I need to see if you stayed dry,” she said.

“Can’t you just ask me? I mean, wouldn’t it be easier?” Valerie asked confused. She was still insecure about her diaper and even though Amanda was the one that put it on her she was hoping to just be able to take it off and throw it away discreetly.

“We can’t because sometimes children lie about accidents to get out of diapers faster so our policy is to do a visual check. Also, if they are wet we need to make sure they get cleaned up properly. Is it alright with you if I check?”

Valerie blushed. She quickly lowered her sweatpants just to get it over with.

“Alright, it looks dry. I’ll leave the room to give you some privacy. You can toss your diaper in that trash can. Here are your clothes. You can just leave the sweatpants anywhere and I’ll make sure they are ready for you to wear tomorrow.”

“Okay,” Valerie said.

Amanda left the room. Valerie undid a tape on each side of her diaper. When it didn’t come off she was confused. She studied it closer and saw there were two tapes holding it on. I thought I tore those off. She tore off the tapes and then tossed it in the trash. She removed her sweatpants and left them there. When she wore her regular underpants again it surprised her. Whoa it feels so weird now. Way different. Finally, she wore her jeans and walked back out to the waiting room.

“I was dry, obviously,” Valerie said.

“Yep, Amanda told me. Got you marked down,” Natalie said. They exited the room.

“Thanks,” Valerie blushed. “I feel exhausted now. I wish I would have slept during nap time.”

“Yeah, it’s kind of nice for that,” Natalie smiled. “I bet it feels good to be wearing big-girl undies again, huh?”

“Feels weird actually,” Valerie laughed.

“I know, right? I was always like, whoa what just happened?” Natalie smiled.

“Oh yeah, you’ve worn those diapers before. After they changed the rules or whatever?” Valerie asked.

“I have, yeah,” Natalie responded.

“I wonder why they changed that rule?”

“It’s partly my fault actually,” Natalie admitted.

“Really?” Valerie asked interested.

“Yeah. Remember the times I leaked during nap time?”

“Yeah, I do remember that,” Valerie said taking yet another trip down memory lane. “Didn’t I leak sometimes too though?”

Natalie nodded humbly. “Eventually they ended up getting me diapers for better protection. It worked out so well that they made it a rule for nap time. So I guess I owe you an apology,” she said.

Valerie immediately shook her head. “No, it’s not your fault. If it was me instead of you it would have been the same outcome. My pull-ups used to leak too.”

“Thanks, Valerie,” Natalie said sincerely.

“No, thank you, Natalie. Today would have been awful without you. I don’t even want to think about it. You saved me,” Valerie smiled.

Natalie smiled brightly, “really?”

“Yeah,” Valerie nodded.

“Awe, that’s so nice of you to say.” Natalie hugged Valerie.

Written Up

Natalie and Valerie spent the rest of the day playing games. Eventually parents started coming to pick up their children. Laura arrived and Valerie watched her chat with Amanda for a while. Valerie became nervous when Amanda handed Laura a leaf of paper. Is that a write-up? Am I getting written up for making a fuss over a diaper change?

Valerie didn’t think she could feel any more childish than she had earlier but now she was utterly humiliated. What does it say? I tried to get Valerie into her nap time diaper but she made a big stink and even cried about it. She put her shoes on and walked past them without saying a word.

“Hi, Valerie,” Laura said.

Valerie exited the front door and walked to their van.

“She had a rough first day,” Amanda said sympathetically. “I hope tomorrow goes better for her.”

“Me too,” Laura said, “thank you so much, Amanda.”

“My pleasure. Happy to help,” Amanda said.

The car ride was silent until Valerie asked, “why did you tell them I wet the bed?”

“Because you do sometimes,” Laura answered.

“That is so unfair,” Valerie snapped. “I hardly ever wet the bed any more.”

“Hardly ever?” Laura expressed her doubt.

“Yeah,” Valerie said. Her voice showed that she had lost some confidence in her claim.

“If you hardly ever wet the bed then why am I washing sheets every week?” Laura asked.

“That is not true,” Valerie protested.

“When was the last time you wet the bed?”

“Well,” Valerie’s voice weakened. “Well, last week but still.”

“And the time before that?”

Valerie slowly came to the realization that she had been lying to herself about her bedwetting frequency. She wanted so badly to grow out of it that she told herself lies: it’s just a fluke, or it’s been forever since the last time.

“They made me wear a diaper,” Valerie admitted. “I felt like such a baby.”

“Yeah, Amanda mentioned something about wearing protection.”

“You knew?” Valerie’s snapped. “Why didn’t you warn me?”

“I thought you already knew. Didn’t you used to wear those pull-ups there?”

“These weren’t pull-ups. They were diapers. Amanda even had to put it on me. It was so humiliating,” Valerie said embarrassed.

“She mentioned that she felt bad for springing it on you like that,” Laura said.

“She did?”

“Yeah, you can read about it here,” Laura handed Valerie the write-up.

“But I thought they only gave those out if you misbehaved,” Valerie said confused.

“It’s okay, just read it,” Laura said.

Valerie read the write-up to herself: Valerie was very brave today. We know that the first day can be difficult and today was no exception. We’ve changed some things around since the last time she was here and she had a tough time adjusting. We are very thankful to her for trying out the new routine and hope it goes better tomorrow.

Valerie set the paper down and thought for a moment. “It will go better tomorrow because you’re going to call them and say you made a mistake. Tell them I haven’t wet the bed in a while and I don’t need to wear diapers anymore,” she demanded.

“Valerie you know I can’t do that.”

“Yes you can. I’ll stay awake during nap time. I promise I won’t fall asleep.”

“Even so, I won’t lie for you. What kind of example would that set?”

“Ugh, you’re so frustrating. You love seeing me like this don’t you?” Valerie glared.

“That’s not true,” Laura said calmly.

They arrived at their house and Valerie immediately exited the van. She walked to her room and slammed the door behind her. She lied down on her bed, buried her face in her pillow and cried. After a while came a knock on her door. Laura entered and said, “Valerie, supper is ready.”

“Not hungry.”

Valerie spent the rest of the evening in her room. She only left once to go to the bathroom and brush her teeth. She went right back without saying a word to anyone. She slept and when she awoke she went downstairs.

“Ready for breakfast?” Laura asked.

“Not hungry,” Valerie replied.

“You should eat something,” Laura expressed concern.

“I said I’m not hungry. You heard me,” Valerie snapped.

“I’m not gonna force you to eat but don’t speak to me in that tone,” Laura demanded.

Valerie was taken aback. “Fine,” she agreed.

“Thank you,” Laura said.

Valerie put her shoes on and walked right out to the van to wait. Laura eventually joined her and they shared an uncomfortable, silent trip. Valerie considered Laura to be disloyal. Laura thought about ways to support Valerie during this transition. Laura drove up to the front doors and Valerie stepped out.

“Have a good day,” Laura said.

“I probably won’t,” Valerie said.

Warm Transition

When Valerie went inside she saw Amanda and Natalie talking to each other. They turned to greet Valerie. Valerie had felt immature since yesterday and she decided to apologize to Amanda. “Hi, Miss Amanda. I’m really sorry for how I acted yesterday. God, I felt like such a little kid for putting up a fuss like that.”

“It’s alright, Valerie,” Amanda comforted. “Actually that’s what Natalie and I are here to talk to you about. The workers had a special meeting yesterday. We realized that wearing protection can be a big transition for some. It can even feel like you’re taking a big step back. I mean, this whole time we’ve never really had a plan to ease the negative feelings some may experience. We decided that we want to improve, and also make it up to you. May I ask you a favor?”

“Sure, what is it?”

“We’re coming up with a new orientation system to get children familiar with the nap time routine ahead of time. We were wondering if we could try it out on you?”

“You’re gonna put my diaper on now?” Valerie asked apprehensively.

“No,” Amanda shook her head. “We’re just working on a way to do a warm transition so new children don’t get overwhelmed. And to give them time to get used to the idea of wearing protection.”

“Oh, I see. Yeah, that sounds fine.”

“Great!” Amanda said cheerfully. “We’ll start now so just play along,” she led the girls to the changing room. “So, Valerie, did your mom tell you about the nap time policy we have?”

“No, she didn’t,” Valerie shook her head.

“Good to know,” Amanda said. They entered the waiting room and sat in some chairs that had been set up for the mock orientation. “We’ve had some children in the past become a little startled. Now we like to show the new children around and let them know what to expect during nap time. Does that sound alright to you?”

“Mm-hmm,” Valerie nodded.

Amanda got up and walked to the shelves and Natalie followed. “This is Natalie by the way, she’s my helper.”

“Hi, Valerie,” Natalie waved.

“Hi, Natalie,” Valerie giggled.

Amanda giggled. “When I spoke with your mom as part of our initial enrollment she said that you sometimes wet the bed, is that right?”

“Yes,” Valerie said. She was surprised how different the truth felt after lying to herself for several months.

“At home, do you wear any protection to bed, like a diaper or a pull-up?”

Valerie shook her head and nervously looked down at the floor.

“Okay, so in order to keep this facility clean we require the children who have night time accidents to wear a diaper for nap time. We know that sometimes this can feel like a big step back and we just want you to know that it is not meant to humiliate you or make you feel like a baby or anything like that.”

Valerie’s cheeks blushed red.

“How do you feel about wearing a diaper for nap time?”

“Embarrassed,” Valerie said. She was surprised at how good it felt to admit out loud.

“It’s perfectly alright to feel embarrassed. A lot of children do at first. But we want to ask you to be brave and give our way a try. We hope that eventually you will see diapers how we do. And that’s just the best tool for the job.”

“Yeah,” Valerie said shyly. She didn’t look up.

“Thank you so much, Valerie,” Amanda said encouragingly. “So now, I’m going to let Natalie show you kind of what to expect during a typical nap time.”

“Thanks, Miss Amanda,” Natalie said cordially. “So as you can see here."

Valerie reluctantly looked up from the floor.

“This is where we keep the diapers. There is a section for each child that wears protection and my job first thing in the morning is to make that everyone has enough diapers and pull-ups in their cubbies.” Natalie shifted a few feet over. “And this is the chart where we can track frequency of accidents.” She pointed to Valerie’s name. “Here’s your section. And then to the right it shows that you just need a diaper for nap time.”

“Right,” Valerie nodded.

“After recess come to this room. We’ll help you find it if you get lost. You can get in line with the other children and I’ll hand you your diaper to give to Miss Amanda in the changing room.”

“That’s right over here,” Amanda spoke up.

“Oh yeah, and here is what one of your diapers looks like,” Natalie said. She reached into Valerie’s cubby and pulled out a diaper to hand to Valerie.

Valerie took the diaper and blushed.

“You can unfold it and see what it looks like if you want,” Natalie said.

Now that Valerie had the chance to take a good look at it she realized that it was unlike any other diaper she had ever seen. It was bigger than a baby diaper. It also had four tabs instead of two. She realized that was why she was so confused taking it off yesterday.

“Then when it’s your turn you’ll come in to room. We call it the changing room,” Amanda said. “We’ll shut the door for privacy before you take off your pants and underwear. Then you’ll hop up on the table and I’ll put your diaper on.”

Valerie blushed yet again. She felt infantile having people talking about her diapers. She noticed it becoming easier to handle when she saw the professionalism of Natalie and Amanda. A few moments passed and Valerie let everything sink in. She felt a little discombobulated but it was manageable.

“I can take that, unless you want to look at it some more,” Natalie pointed to the diaper.

“Oh yeah, here you go, thanks,” Valerie said.

“You’re welcome.” Natalie returned it to Valerie’s cubby.

“So do you have any questions?” Amanda asked.

“Nope,” Valerie said. “Thanks, and, um, sorry for putting up such a fuss yesterday.”

“There’s nothing to apologize for. We’re here for you. So please always feel free to speak your truth and we’ll try to make your time here as comfortable and pleasant as possible,” Amanda said with a smile. Valerie smiled back. “Alright well, I guess that about covers it. Natalie, do you have anything to add?” Amanda asked.

“Just thanks for helping us out, Valerie,” Natalie smiled.

“You’re welcome,” Valerie blushed. She was embarrassed at her level of maturity compared to Natalie’s.

They walked back out to the play area. Amanda moved on to her other responsibilities. Natalie noticed that Valerie was a little quieter than normal. She just gave Valerie space to collect her thoughts. Sarah’s visit during outside recess helped her forget about life on the inside for a while. After recess she walked to the changing room. She was grateful to be more prepared and to have Natalie and Amanda as trusting friends. She now knew that they would support her no matter what. She feigned confidence by keeping her head up.

Natalie got to work handing out diapers. “Here’s yours, Valerie,” she said. It was the same diaper she had looked at and unfolded earlier.

“Thanks,” Valerie tried to sound confident. When it was her turn she stepped inside the changing room and closed the door behind her.

“How are you feeling, Valerie?” Amanda asked.

“Pretty good. Still a little nervous. I guess I feel a little exposed having to wear a diaper and even get it put on by someone,” Valerie said.

“I see,” Amanda said. “That makes sense but I’m truly glad to see you coming around.”

In short order Amanda expertly diapered Valerie. Valerie slipped into sweatpants and stepped back outside.

“Will you grab me a roll-out and save me a spot?” Natalie asked.

“Yeah, sure,” Valerie replied.

During nap time today, Valerie was still very conscious of her diaper. She wanted to stop focusing on it but it demanded her attention. Her mood improved from yesterday but she still felt insecure and humiliated.

Natalie’s Accident

With Amanda’s and Natalie’s support, Valerie slowly adjusted to wearing protection. One day during recess Natalie and Valerie had their daily chat with Sarah. Natalie felt a tummy ache coming on. She felt a cramp and instinctively pressed her hands to her abdomen. “Ugh,” she sighed.

“Are you alright?” Valerie asked concerned.

“Yeah, I’m fine. I have to go to the bathroom but I can hold it,” Natalie responded.

“I think I should probably take off,” Sarah said, “you girls have fun. I hope you feel better soon, Natalie.”

“Thanks, Sarah,” Natalie said.

“Thanks, see ya,” Valerie said. She turned her attention to Natalie. She put a supportive hand on Natalie’s shoulder, “Do you want me to ask Miss Jocelyn if you can take a bathroom break?”

Natalie nodded, “sure.”

The girls approached Jocelyn and Valerie said, “Miss Jocelyn, Natalie isn’t feeling well, is it alright if I walk her to the bathroom?”

“Sure go right ahead,” Jocelyn said kindly.

“Come on, Natalie, let’s get you to the bathroom,” Valerie said.

“Okay. thank you,” Natalie responded.

They walked down the hall towards the girl’s room. Pressure built and Natalie’s situation became more urgent. When she could feel that it was about to happen she desperately pressed a hand to her butt. Valerie saw this and expressed genuine concern. She remained optimistic that Natalie would make it in time.

Natalie didn’t share her optimism. Her urgency increased and she worried she would have an accident. When she stopped to open the bathroom door her fear became reality. A large, soft load involuntarily released into her underpants. Time slowed down. Each moment seemed to last forever. She blushed brightly as she felt helpless to stop the movement. “Oh no,” she said disappointed.

When Valerie heard Natalie she knew what had happened. She caught up to Natalie and remained silent for a moment. She decided to break the awkward silence and gently asked, “do you want me to find Miss Amanda?”

“Sure. I’ll be in the changing room,” Natalie said. Natalie walked awkwardly to the changing room. She dreaded the thought of having anyone besides Amanda or Valerie see her like this.

Valerie walked around and called for Amanda.

“Valerie, what’s the matter?” Amanda asked.

Valerie approached Amanda and whispered in her ear, “It’s Natalie, I think she had an accident. She went to the changing room.”

“Okay, thanks for telling me,” Amanda said. She walked to the changing room.

Valerie wasn’t sure what she should do so she followed Amanda. She didn’t want to add to Natalie’s embarrassment but saw it as an opportunity to show support for Natalie.

They arrived at the waiting room. “Hi Natalie. What happened?” Amanda asked concerned.

Natalie expressed uncomfortably. “I kinda… pooped my pants,” she said quietly.

“I understand,” Amanda said quietly. “May I help you get cleaned up?”

Natalie nodded humbly and walked into the changing room. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” Amanda said. “Hey, Valerie?”

“Yes, Miss Amanda?” Valerie responded.

“Natalie is having a day. Will you be my helper getting the other children ready for nap time?” Amanda asked.

Valerie was now glad she had followed them in. It was a chance to help the situation. “Of course,” she responded. “What should I do?”

“For now just hand out nap time diapers. Their cubbies are labeled. If you don’t know someone’s name just ask them. Don’t worry about filling out the chart. We can go over that later.”

“Okay, Miss Amanda,” Valerie said cordially.

“Thanks for your help,” Amanda smiled.

“You’re welcome,” Valerie smiled back.

Amanda went into the changing room and closed the door behind her. Natalie stood awkwardly and waited for instructions.

“Will you hop up on the table for me?” Amanda asked gently.

Natalie nodded and obliged. Amanda helped her out of her clothes and with great efficiency had her cleaned up. She emptied the mess into the toilet. “We’ll have to put your clothes through the wash. Here are some sweatpants and underwear to wear in the meantime,” Amanda said kindly.

Natalie cried because of how nice Amanda was. “Thanks, Miss Amanda.” She wore the clean underwear and sweatpants.

“You’re welcome. Why don’t you let Valerie help me out today? You can just head out for nap time if you want,” Amanda suggested.

Natalie nodded humbly. She exited the changing room and walked to Valerie. Valerie didn’t say anything and just gave Natalie space.

“Thanks for being Miss Amanda’s helper today, I’ll grab roll-outs, pillows and blankets for us,” Natalie said humbly.

“No problem, I don’t mind one bit. Thanks for saving me a place at nap time. See you in a bit,” Valerie smiled.

Natalie went out to make up the beds. Valerie continued handing out diapers until each of the children had one. Then she confidently grabbed one of her diapers. Now that she had some responsibility she naturally acted more mature about needing to wear protection for nap time. The awkwardness and insecurity from before all but disappeared. When it was her turn she walked into the changing room and handed her diaper to Amanda. “Here you go,” she said confidently.

“Thanks,” Amanda smiled. She changed Valerie into her diaper. Valerie got herself a pair of sweatpants to wear over it. “By the way, thanks for helping Natalie earlier. You’re a really great friend."

“No problem. I’m glad I got the chance to repay the kindness she’s shown me since I came back here,” Valerie smiled back. She arrived at the usual nap time spot. She glanced at Natalie who still looked embarrassed. Valerie decided to offer some support and asked, “how are you feeling?”

“A lot better after getting cleaned up. But it was still really embarrassing,” Natalie replied.

“I can imagine. I felt pretty embarrassed when I had to wear diapers. I’m just thankful you were so chill about it. Is there anything I can do to help you?” Valerie asked.

“No, you’ve already done enough. Thank you so much,” Natalie smiled warmly.

“You’re welcome,” Valerie smiled back. A moment passed and then she asked, “I want to do something else. May I cuddle you?”

“Sure,” Natalie nodded and smiled.

Valerie went under Natalie’s blanket and put an arm around her. They shared a nice afternoon nap.

They were called awake and Valerie realized she had an accident. In the commotion, she forgot to go to use the bathroom before nap time. Good thing I was wearing this diaper. What? She was surprised by her thought. I guess they’re not all bad.

In the changing room, Natalie took over as helper. Valerie decided to be mature and tell Amanda up front of her accident. When it was her turn she said, “Miss Amanda, I had a wetting accident during nap time.”

“Thanks for letting me know. Do you want help cleaning up or do you think you can manage on your own?” Amanda asked.

Valerie was surprised that Amanda trusted her with this responsibility. It was an easy decision for her to make. “I think I can manage,” she answered.

“Alright then,” Amanda said unassumingly. “Here are the wipes. I’ll give you some privacy. If you ever want help in the future let me know but I think you are big enough to take care of that on your own. Just make sure to wipe yourself thoroughly,” Amanda said.

Valerie was surprised that Amanda didn’t even check her diaper. Then she realized that no one would lie about having an accident if they didn’t actually have one. Amanda was just being logical. Valerie felt good that Amanda saw her as mature. She removed her sweatpants and then her diaper which she tossed in the trash. She followed Amanda’s instructions and cleaned herself thoroughly. She put on her regular underwear and jeans and then walked back out.

“You can mark down that I had an accident, Natalie,” Valerie said.

“Okay, Valerie, nap time, wet,” Natalie said as she did her work.

“Good girl, Valerie. I’m really impressed with you lately,” Amanda encouraged.

“Thanks, Miss Amanda,” Valerie smiled.

“Will you please make sure to wash your hands with soap and hot water?” Amanda asked.

“Of course,” Valerie responded.

Amanda saw how much a little responsibility had done for Valerie’s self-esteem. She started thinking about a way to give her some official day-to-day responsibilities here.

Valerie’s Role

The next day, Valerie arrived and was approached by Amanda and Natalie. Natalie smiled and excitedly held her clasped hands to her chin. “Good morning, Valerie,” Amanda said warmly.

“Good morning, Miss Amanda. Good morning, Natalie,” Valerie smiled.

“You did such a good job yesterday I was wondering if you want to become a full-time helper?” Amanda asked.

“I thought Natalie was your helper?” Valerie asked confused.

“She is but it just so happens that Jocelyn needs a helper and I told her I would ask you. She is really nice, and really good at what she does since she has worked here longer than I have. Oh, and if you decide to, you would be reassigned to her changing room. So she would be the one to get your nap time diaper on.”

Valerie took a moment to think. It had been difficult enough to get used to Amanda diapering her. She had always known Jocelyn but they weren’t as close as her and Amanda. She decided to give it a try when she realized that helping out would be the mature thing to do. “I’ll try it out, but if I don’t like it can I go back to your changing room, please?” she asked.

“Of course,” Amanda nodded.

“Alright, I’ll give it a try,” Valerie smiled.

“Yay!” Natalie giggled. “Miss Amanda, can I get started?”

“Yes, please. Thanks Natalie,” Amanda replied.

Natalie smiled at Valerie and said, “they’re letting me train you in. Come on!”

“Okay!” Valerie mirrored Natalie’s excitement.
Natalie handed Valerie a pen and pad and then held her free hand. She excitedly led Valerie to Jocelyn’s waiting room. “Okay,” Natalie said. She took a conscious breath to slow down. “This is Miss Jocelyn’s room. It’s where all the children that are assigned to her station come to get changed.”

“Got it,” Valerie listened intently.

“First thing when you get here in the morning is to make sure she has enough supplies to get through the day. You will need to stock diapers, pull-ups, wipes, powder and rubber gloves,” Natalie instructed.

“I see that the cubbies are similar to Miss Amanda’s room,” Valerie said.

“Yep,” Natalie nodded. She directed Valerie’s attention to the chart. “This will have all the sizes of the diapers and pull-ups that the children wear. See right here?”

“Okay, yeah, I never noticed that before,” Valerie said.

“So what I recommend you do now is look in the cubbies to see if any stacks are getting low. Then check the chart to see what size and type you need to stock for the child,” Natalie continued.

“Okay,” Valerie said curiously. She inspected the cubbies. “I guess I’ll start at the beginning with this one, Lana.” She looked at the chart to see that Lana just needed diapers for nap time and no pull-ups during the day. “Looks like size seven diapers.”

“Good. I would recommend writing that down. I usually stock five at a time so the cubbies aren’t overflowing but you can do it however you want,” Natalie explained.

“Okay, I’ll go with that for now,” Valerie said. She went through everyone’s cubby and wrote everything down. Natalie led her into the changing room where she showed her where the wipes, powder, and rubber gloves were stored.

“Oh, and before we go do you know how to use one of these?” Natalie asked. She handed Valerie a label maker.

“Yeah, I’ve used one before,” Valerie said.

“You can make a label of your name and then put it on an empty cubby since this will be your new room,” Natalie instructed.

Valerie made a label of her name. Next, Natalie showed her how to add her name to the chart. “Your size is XS for extra small,” Natalie said.

“Really?” Valerie scrunched her face. “They don’t seem very small to me,” she laughed.

“You will see what I mean in the storage room,” Natalie explained.

They arrived at in the storage room and Natalie showed Valerie around. “Here’s yours. See, extra small,” she pointed to the size on the pack.

“Oh, I see what you mean,” Valerie said. She took a pack off the shelf to study it. “If these are extra small then I wonder how big they make them?”

“Can you imagine how big extra large is? I bet it would fit the statue of liberty!” Natalie laughed.

Valerie laughed loudly. The two girls joked around about diapers for a while. Eventually, they got back to work. Valerie loaded the diapers and pull-ups onto a cart which she wheeled back to the waiting room. She followed the chart and was careful to match the sizes to the correct cubby. Finally, she stocked rubber gloves in Jocelyn’s size in the changing room.

“It will get easier the more you do it. You’ll be a pro in no time,” Natalie encouraged.

“Thanks for training me in,” Valerie said.

“You’re welcome,” Natalie said.

In the hallway they met Jocelyn.

“Hi, Miss Jocelyn,” Natalie said politely.

“Hi girls, how are you getting along?” Jocelyn asked.

“Great! Natalie is a really good teacher. I’m excited to try doing this on my own tomorrow,” Valerie said joyfully.

“Thank you so much for being my helper. You’re gonna save me a lot of time,” Jocelyn encouraged. “Miss Amanda said you did a great job filling in yesterday.”

“You’re welcome,” Valerie smiled.

“Well, have fun, girls. See you after recess, Valerie,” Jocelyn smiled.

“Okay, see you then,” Valerie said. She felt a lot better about the transition after seeing how nice Jocelyn was.

During recess, the girls chatted with Sarah. Then they played for a while. Natalie’s fears from yesterday came rushing back when she suddenly felt the urge to go to the bathroom. She instinctively pressed her hands to her tummy when it happened. Today she decided not to hesitate. “I need to go the the bathroom,” she told Valerie.

“Okay,” Valerie responded. “Do you want me to walk you there again?”

“Sure,” Natalie said.

They walked to the door and Valerie said, “Miss Jocelyn, Natalie needs the restroom. I’m gonna walk her there if that’s alright.”

“Sounds good, thanks for letting me know girls,” Jocelyn said.

They walked briskly. When they approached the bathroom door Valerie stepped out ahead and opened it for Natalie.

“Thanks,” Natalie said. She swiftly entered and got on a toilet.

Valerie waited patiently in the hallway. Soon Natalie emerged. “Sorry to ask, but did you make it in time?” Valerie asked concerned.

“You don’t have to be sorry,” Natalie shook her head. “Thanks for asking. Yep I made it in time. My body must be on a set schedule or something,” Natalie rolled her eyes.

“I think I actually heard somewhere that it’s really healthy to be regular,” Valerie said matter-of-factly.

“Cool. Well I’m gonna head to Amanda’s room. See you in our regular spot for nap time?” Natalie asked.

“Sure,” Valerie nodded and smiled.

Valerie went to Jocelyn’s room and assumed her station. She became overwhelmed but did her best. After handing out everyone’s nap time diaper she got her own and stood at the back of the line. When it was her turn she entered the changing room and was greeted by Jocelyn.

“Hey, Valerie, you must be the last one,” Jocelyn said.

“That’s right,” Valerie replied.

“Amanda brought over some sweatpants. Is that what you are still most comfortable wearing to nap time?” Jocelyn asked.

“It is,” Valerie nodded.

Jocelyn diapered Valerie and said, “since you are my helper, you can fill out your own chart. I trust you to be honest about your accidents. It’s completely fine if you have one. The chart is just for tracking purposes to see where everyone is at. Does that sound alright to you?” Jocelyn asked.

“Yes, I promise to fill out my own chart honestly,” Valerie responded.

“Good girl. Thanks for being so grown up,” Jocelyn put an arm around Valerie and gave her a squeeze.

Valerie giggled and said, “you’re welcome.”

New Protocol

Amanda noticed Natalie was needing to rush in early from recess every day lately. She had been kicking around ideas about how she could help and maybe even implement a new system. Natalie and Valerie were chatting with Sarah and when Natalie felt the familiar urge. She was tired of having to leave recess early every day so she decided to hold it. Besides, she enjoyed her conversation with Sarah.

Sarah left and Natalie and Valerie played on the jungle gym. Valerie noticed that Natalie was grew more uncomfortable. “Are you alright, Natalie,” she asked concerned.

“I’m fine. I’m gonna keep playing for now,” Natalie said but immediately felt a cramp. She bent over and hugged her tummy. “Oof,” she said reflexively.

Valerie put a comforting hand on her back and said, “why don’t you head to the bathroom?”

“I guess I should, huh?” Natalie admitted.

“Should I walk you in?” Valerie asked.

“No, I will be fine… ugh,” she groaned. She walked in by herself. Valerie watched with a concerned look as she walked past Jocelyn into the building.

Valerie played with some of the other children until everyone was called in. After she helped Jocelyn and got ready for nap time she peeked into Amanda’s room to find it empty. She walked out for nap time.

She found Natalie and said cheerfully, “oh, there you are.”

“Hey,” Natalie said sadly.

“Hey, is something wrong?” Valerie asked kindly.

“I had another accident,” Natalie admitted.

“Oh,” Valerie said. She immediately felt for Natalie and her throat sank. “Um, do you want to talk about it?”

“I was getting so annoyed every day going in from recess. Today I just tried to hold it which was a bad idea. I didn’t make it in time. I felt so bad asking Miss Amanda to help me clean up again.”

“Ugh, that sounds rough,” Valerie empathized.

“I feel like such a baby, not being able to make it to the potty in time,” Natalie complained.

Valerie thought for a second. She knew she had to take this opportunity to support her friend. “Well, what’s wrong with being a baby? They get taken care of. Everyone loves them and dotes on them constantly.”

“I guess so,” Natalie snickered. She rolled her eyes. “I guess that makes Miss Amanda my mommy.”

“Yeah! Mommies and daddies clean poopie babies all day long,” Valerie laughed.

“Haha,” Natalie laughed. “I guess that’s true.”

Valerie put her arms around Natalie for a hug and then kissed her on the cheek. “Sleep tight,” she said.

“Thanks, Valerie,” Natalie smiled.

Valerie arrived the next day and Natalie informed her that Amanda had a special meeting planned for the helpers today. They waited in Amanda’s office.

“Thanks for attending this meeting, girls,” Amanda smiled. “The workers discussed something and we are ready to implement something new. I’ve been calling it ‘voluntary protection’. Natalie,” Amanda said as they made eye contact. “This is somewhat about you but not completely. Most bathroom accidents occur during recess. I don’t want you to feel singled out.”

Natalie blushed but kept listening.

“It will work like this. If the staff notices that a certain child is having issues with accidents or urgency during recess or any time of the day for that matter they will be offered to wear pull-ups on a voluntary basis. You just had a couple accidents so we’re not going to force you to wear protection. However, if you *decide *that pull-ups would make life easier then you will be allowed to wear them. We hope you will agree to a trial run because we are still working out the specifics, but please don’t feel obligated. Also, I already spoke with your mother she said it is fine with her but up to you.”

“She knows I pooped my pants?” Natalie asked embarrassed.

Amanda nodded. “She does. We have to report that anyways.”

Valerie was shocked to hear this. Natalie might go back to wearing pull-ups. I guess it is practical but I also know how awkward it can be to go back to wearing protection. I wonder if she will go for it? If she does I need to be extra supportive.

Natalie took a few moments to contemplate Amanda’s offer. She was embarrassed to talk about her recent accidents which she was still processing. She also felt mature to be asked to help out with new policies. When she realized that it could help a lot of children and maybe save some embarrassment she decided to accept. “I’ll do it,” she said confidently.

Valerie was impressed by her maturity and expressed pleasantly surprised.

“Great,” Amanda said. “I’m gonna make a run to the store. When I get back I’ll come and find you, okay?”

“Okay,” Natalie said.

Amanda left and Natalie and Valerie got to work with their morning stocking duties. “That was really mature of you to choose to wear protection,” Valerie encouraged.

“Thanks,” Natalie blushed. “I realized that it could help a lot children. Maybe save some embarrassment,” she shrugged her shoulders.

“That’s really kind of you,” Valerie smiled. “I wonder which size you will wear,” she said. She took a pack of size 5t-6t from the shelf to look at.

“I’m not sure. It’s not helpers responsibility to find the correct sizes, that is for the workers to decide. So I will just wait to see what Miss Amanda says,” Natalie said.

Amanda returned with a plastic grocery bag in hand. She walked to where Natalie and Valerie were playing and handed the bag to Natalie. “I picked these out for you, Natalie,” Amanda said handing the bag to Natalie. “Will you find a place for them in the storage room and then stock some for yourself?”

Natalie blushed when she took the bag from Amanda. “Thanks,” she laughed nervously.

Natalie walked to the changing room.

“May I join you?” Valerie asked.

“Sure,” Natalie nodded.

In the storage room Valerie watched intently as Natalie removed a brightly colored pack of pull-ups from the grocery bag. She set it on the shelf and then took another identical pack from the bag. There was a girl around Natalie’s age pictured on the pack. Natalie tore it open and counted out five pull-ups.

“Can I see one?” Valerie asked. Natalie handed her a pull-up which she unfolded and studied. “They’re different than the ones we used to wear,” she said.

“I guess we’re growing up,” Natalie laughed.

“Bigger girls need bigger diapers,” Valerie laughed.

In the waiting room, Natalie carefully spelled her name on the label maker and stuck it to an empty cubby where she had already stocked the pull-ups. Before recess, Amanda collected Natalie and Valerie to explain the new section on the charts. The children would be on the honor system as to whether they had an accident or if they used their protection as a matter of convenience.

“You mean if we use them to pee, right?” Natalie asked for clarification. “You don’t think anyone will poop their pants on purpose do you?”

“Well, maybe not,” Amanda shrugged her shoulders. “But in case you haven’t noticed, diapers and accidents are no big deal here. The most important thing to us is that the children are comfortable. And no matter what there will be no shaming, right?”

“Right,” Valerie said reflexively.

“Natalie, it’s perfectly alright to have an accident. It happens to most people. Honestly, it’s just your body doing what it is supposed to do,” Amanda said tenderly.

“Okay,” Natalie said. Her voice was weak and her eyes showed tears.

“It’s also alright to feel embarrassed when it happens. I think it shows you are humble. And we will give you as much space as you need while you are figuring things out, okay?” Amanda said.

“Okay,” Natalie said. Valerie hugged her. “Thanks,” she smiled.

“You’re welcome,” Valerie said.

Natalie went into the changing room to get ready for recess. Amanda stayed outside to give her privacy while she slipped into her pull-ups. She pulled her jeans back on over them and remembered the familiar feeling of wearing protection.

At recess they chatted with Sarah. Natalie bent over to tie her shoe. Her shirt rode up and Sarah noticed the waist of Natalie’s pull-up. She glared the entire time Natalie tied her shoe. She couldn’t get enough of the sight for some reason. At first she thought it was just bright underpants but eventually realized that Natalie wore a pull-up.

Natalie stood back up and looked at Sarah who looked bewildered. “What?” she laughed. She blushed when she realized where Sarah was looking. “Oh my goodness,” she said embarrassed. She reflexively pulled her shirt down over her waistline.

Sarah came back to reality, “Oh my god, I’m so sorry,” she said.

“It’s fine,” Natalie blushed.

“No it’s not. I shouldn’t have stared at your pull… underw…” Sarah trailed off.

“My pull-up?” Natalie asked.

“Yeah,” Sarah blushed. “Sorry again.”

“It’s totally fine,” Natalie shook her head.

“You’re getting used to them fast,” Valerie encouraged.

“Yeah, they’re not so bad. Just a tool, right?” Natalie shrugged her shoulders.

“Wait, so you don’t normally wear them?” Sarah asked.

“Not lately,” Natalie replied. “I had a couple accidents recently and Miss Amanda asked me if I wanted to wear them.”

“Wow,” Sarah said impressed. “That’s really mature of you.”

“I guess so,” Natalie said humbly.

Valerie thought about telling Sarah about her diapers but couldn’t bring herself to.

They all laughed and joked around about the pull-ups for a while. Eventually Sarah said bye and rode her bike home. When they were playing Natalie felt a familiar urge. “I gotta go again but we are having so much fun,” Natalie said frustrated. “I wish my body would get on a different schedule or something. It’s so annoying.”

“If you have to head in early, I don’t mind,” Valerie said. “I actually had a lot of fun playing with some of the younger children yesterday.”

“I’ve kind of been thinking that maybe I should try out the convenience policy anyways,” Natalie said.

“Really?” Valerie asked surprised.

“I want to do as much as I can to help the workers and I’m probably gonna end up exploring all the angles anyways, so why not start now?” Natalie surmised.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Valerie said optimistically. “I mean, Miss Amanda did say it wasn’t a big deal.”

“Right? I’m having too much fun so I don’t feel like heading in yet,” Natalie said confidently.

Valerie smiled at her warmly. She was impressed by how well Natalie was adjusting. Natalie went about recess like normal. She felt some cramps but didn’t worry. She felt relaxed knowing that she was protected in case of an accident. When her body was ready to poop it took courage to go against years of conditioning. She convinced her body to relax. When it started coming out she just let it happen. She didn’t give it much thought and was way more concerned with enjoying the rest of recess.

“Hey girls,” Amanda said.

“Hey, Miss Amanda,” Natalie smiled. “I didn’t feel like coming in from recess earlier so I just used my pull-up.”

“Alright then,” Amanda said unassumingly. “Wait for me in the changing room and I’ll help you get cleaned up.”

“Sure,” Natalie agreed.

“Good girl,” Amanda said.


Laura dropped Valerie off one morning. It was like any other day for about five minutes. Then she heard a demeaning voice say, “Oh my god, you still go here too? I can’t believe you babies never grew up.” I know that voice. She used to go here. Back when… oh no… it’s Mallory. Valerie’s stomach twisted into a knot. She looked up to see Mallory for the first time in four years. “Oh, um, hi, Mallory,” she said meekly.

“So what is the deal with you two? Are you too scared to stay home alone or something?” Mallory said in a condescending tone.

“No, I just… well, my mom thought it would be safer,” Valerie said.

“You can’t even take care of yourself, how old are you anyways?” Mallory asked.

“I’m, um…” Valerie tried to collect her thoughts but felt overwhelmed by Mallory’s relentlessness.

Amanda heard what was happening and approached, “Mallory, I thought you’d be excited to see your old friends.”

“Friends with these two babies? Please,” Mallory said defiantly.

While Amanda distracted Mallory, Natalie approached Valerie and said, “Good morning, Valerie!”

“Oh hey, good morning, Natalie,” Valerie said. She was relieved to see a friendly face.

“Want to play a game with me?” Natalie asked optimistically.

“Yeah, sure,” Valerie said. Natalie put her arm around Valerie’s shoulder and led her to the play area.

“What’s going on?” Valerie asked confused.

“Mallory’s back,” Natalie said.

“Yeah, but why?” Valerie asked nervously.

“I’m not really supposed to talk about it but I overheard her mom speaking with Miss Amanda. Apparently, she’s been off the rails since summer vacation started. She’s been hanging out with high-schoolers and coming home smelling like pot. Her mom had enough when she got busted by the cops drinking a beer last week. She didn’t want her to end up in juvie so here she is.”

“Lucky us,” Valerie said sarcastically.

“Anyways, Miss Amanda wanted me to ask you to try and be nice to her and include her in our activities if we can. Make her feel more at home,” Natalie explained.

“Yeah, I suppose that would be the grown-up thing to do,” Valerie nodded. She agreed but immediately realized it was a big task. Even so, if she had the help of Amanda and Natalie, she found it easier to get on board. Plus, Mallory might come around, and not be so… Mallory.

They arrived at the play area and Natalie said, “let’s pick out something Mallory might like.”

“I’m trying to think, what did she used to like playing?” Valerie asked.

“Let’s try Uno,” Natalie said. “Hey, Mallory, we’re gonna play Uno. Wanna join in? It’s more fun with three people.”

“This should be easy,” Mallory scoffed. “Playing against a couple of babies.”

Amanda heard her comment and spoke up, “Mallory, name calling isn’t allowed. I know it’s your first day back and you are still going through an adjustment period but please try to be nice to the other children.”

“Fine,” Mallory sighed.

“Please apologize to Natalie and Valerie for calling them names,” Amanda instructed.

“Sorry, Natalie, sorry, Valerie,” Mallory said rolling her eyes. “I didn’t realize you were so sensitive.”

Amanda decided to take it as a small victory and didn’t call Mallory out on her bad attitude. “Thank you,” she said sincerely.

As soon as Amanda walked away, Mallory said quietly, “nice going you little babies, get me in trouble like that.”

“You’re the one who was name calling, don’t blame us if you can’t play nice,” Natalie responded confidently.

“What’d you just say?” Mallory snapped.

Amanda had hovered close enough to keep an eye on the situation. “Mallory,” she said calmly.

“What?” Mallory said.

“I think you need some time to yourself,” Amanda said.

“Fine, I don’t need these two,” Mallory said. She stormed off.

“Hey, Natalie?” Amanda said.

“Yes, ma’am?” Natalie said.

“Thanks for giving it a try. You too, Valerie.”

“You’re welcome,” Natalie and Valerie responded.

Joy welled up in Amanda’s heart for such polite young ladies. The joy was mixed with concern for Mallory who wasn’t in a good place. She scrapped her old plan of getting Natalie and Valerie to help out, yet she wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. She decided she would ask the other workers and do research on her own.

Play time turned to lunch time turned to recess. Natalie and Valerie were having their daily chat with Sarah. All of them noticed Mallory standing down the fence from them.

“Who’s that?” Sarah asked.

“Mallory. She used to come here. It’s her first day back. Earlier we tried playing a game with her but she kept calling us names and Miss Amanda had to separate us,” Natalie explained.

“Oh, sounds like she’s having a rough time,” Sarah said.

“That’s one way of seeing it, I guess,” Valerie said.

“She’s lucky to have people her own age here,” Sarah said optimistically.

“Yeah, she is,” Natalie agreed.

The girls noticed that Mallory had her own visitor. An older girl that looked like she could have been in high school. They kept glancing over as Mallory and the older girl chatted. They noticed the older girl slipped something to Mallory through the fence. After that the girl walked away and Mallory walked to the jungle gym. She went inside one of the compartments.

“Well, I’ll let you two go have some fun,” Sarah said.

“Okay, thanks for stopping by, Sarah,” Valerie smiled.

“Bye, Sarah,” Natalie said.

While they played, Valerie noticed a strange smell. She glanced inside the compartment where Mallory was to see that she was smoking a cigarette.

Mallory noticed Valerie and said, “you better not say anything.”

“Don’t worry, Mallory, I won’t,” Valerie assured.

“Maybe she’ll end up in juvie anyways,” Natalie snickered.

“What’d you just say, twerp?” Mallory snapped.

“Nothing. Have a good smoke break,” Natalie said. She and Valerie snickered as they walked away from Mallory’s hiding spot.

Dread set in for Valerie when they got called in from recess. She knew that it was time to get her nap time diaper on. She hoped that she could be discreet enough for Mallory not to find out. She walked to the waiting room. She handed out everyone’s diaper and then waited at the back of the line. She kept running scenarios in her mind about how to go unnoticed.

She got diapered and walked out to the hall and met Natalie. Valerie walked at a slow pace in an attempt to minimize the crinkling sound. They got nested and had a good nap. They each returned to their rooms and completed their daily responsibilities.

Valerie thought she was in the clear but then heard Mallory say, “I remember now.”

Valerie’s throat tightened.

“You two babies used to have to wear pull-ups in case you wet the bed. I can’t believe you still haven’t grown out of diapers,” Mallory scoffed.

“I-it’s just me, Mallory,” Valerie admitted. “Natalie doesn’t need to wear the pull-ups anymore. She just helps Miss Amanda with the younger children.”

“You’re not even potty trained,” Mallory said in her most condescending tone.

“T-that’s not true,” Valerie said tearfully.

“Yeah, Mallory. Just leave us alone,” Natalie said. She took the tearful Valerie in her embrace.

“Someone needs to tell you two to grow up. She’s still in Pampers for god’s sake,” Mallory said.

“Mallory,” Amanda said in a stern voice. “Go wait in my office. I assume you still know where it is since you’ve been sent there so many times.”

“Pfft,” Mallory scoffed. She walked away haughtily.

When Mallory was out of sight, Amanda said, “I’m so sorry, Valerie. I meant to be keeping a better eye on her but I got side tracked with something. Are you okay?”

Valerie teared up even more now that she felt safe. Natalie pulled her in for a hug. Amanda put a comforting hand on her shoulder. A few moments passed as they gave Valerie space to cry. Then Amanda walked after Mallory.

“Do you think it’d be alright if we went somewhere private? Like Miss Amanda’s waiting room?” Valerie asked tearfully.

“Yeah, I think that would be fine,” Natalie replied. She held Valerie’s hand and they walked to the waiting room. They waited and chatted for a while. Valerie slowly regained her composure. It occurred to Natalie that Mallory was not showing any signs of letting up. This morning she had hoped that they could befriend her but now that seemed impossible. Natalie decided to pick a side; Valerie’s side, of course. She decided to go all-in.

At the end of the day, Natalie and Valerie watched Amanda hand a write-up to Mallory’s mom. Mallory stomped out the front door like she was finally able to get away from the disgusting peasants. Even though Valerie was still a little shaken up, she got some satisfaction from seeing that Mallory got written up on her first day back. Like justice was served.

Natalie’s Dedication

Valerie arrived at daycare and was greeted by Natalie. “Hey, Valerie,” she said.

“Hey, Natalie,” Valerie replied.

“I waited to stock my changing room until you got here. That way we can do our chores together if you want.”

“Thanks, Natalie. Sounds good,” Valerie smiled.

“Hey, Valerie. Hey, Natalie,” Mallory mocked. “You two make me want to puke,” she said dismissively.

“Nice to see you too, Mallory,” Valerie said.

“Nice to see you too, Mallory,” Mallory said in a mocking voice.

Valerie and Natalie looked at each other and grinned as they walked away. They were both relieved that Mallory was having a tougher time getting her hooks dug in.

“I already made out my list so I will follow you into Miss Jocelyn’s room,” Natalie said.

“Alright,” Valerie said.

Valerie took inventory of the diapers and pull-ups to see what she needed to stock. When they got to the changing room she asked, “do you think I should get some more wipes?”

“Hmm, I would,” Natalie nodded.

“'Kay,” Valerie said. She jotted down wipes.

In the storage room, both girls worked steadily to get their carts loaded. Valerie looked surprised when Natalie got a stack of extra small diapers. “Who are those for?” Valerie asked confused. “Please say Mallory.”

“No,” Natalie chuckled. “They’re for me.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Valerie said sympathetically. “Are you switching to diapers for recess?”

“No, they’re for nap time,” Natalie admitted.

“Did you wet the bed or something?” Valerie asked.

“Actually,” Natalie said. She peeked out the door to see if the coast was clear. “If anyone here asks, yes I started wetting the bed again. But the truth is, I just begged my mom to call in and say that my bedwetting returned.”

Valerie expressed confused. “Why would you want to lie about that?”

“I actually did it for you,” Natalie said.

“What do you mean?” Valerie asked.

“After seeing how Mallory treated you yesterday I came up with a plan. A way to present a united front against Mallory’s verbal assaults. She won’t be able to single you out anymore,” Natalie said smiling.

Valerie tilted her head and expressed appreciation. “You’re gonna wear diapers for me?” She asked sweetly.

“Nothing I haven’t worn before,” Natalie said playfully.

“I’m starting to think we’ll never be out of diapers,” Valerie chuckled.

“Maybe when we grow up we can get the extra large and become sumo wrestlers,” Natalie joked.

They laughed and enjoyed the lighthearted atmosphere. When they settled down they completed their stocking duties and went back out for play time. They enjoyed playtime and were glad to see that Mallory had made a new friend who wasn’t too much younger.

“Looks like Mallory made a friend,” Valerie said optimistically.

“That’s Jessie. I’m gonna keep an eye out for her so Mallory doesn’t start her smoking cigarettes or something,” Natalie said.

“Good idea. I hate to be a tattle tale but if it means looking out for one of the younger children I guess it’s for the best,” Valerie agreed.

During recess, Sarah came by for a bit. Mallory received a cigarette from her older friend again. Today Natalie looked at Jocelyn when it happened. Natalie noticed Jocelyn looking right at them. Natalie was confused when Jocelyn didn’t do anything. Natalie kept looking and eventually Jocelyn looked at Natalie and gave a reassuring nod. Natalie took that as a sign that Jocelyn knew what was going on and would take care of it.

They came back in from recess and the girls went to their designated posts. Valerie finished getting changed and then waited patiently for Natalie.

Natalie exited the room into the hallway wearing matching sweatpants. They walked confidently out to nap time. They got to their spot and saw that Mallory was close by. Jessie was right next to her.

“Have a good nap time, babies,” Mallory said.

“Didn’t you get written up for calling us names yesterday, Mallory?” Valerie asked. She doubted she would get through to Mallory but wanted to call her out for Jessie’s sake.

“Well at least I’m potty trained you little brat,” Mallory said. She turned to Jessie and said, “She still wears diapers to bed.”

“What a baby,” Jessie replied.

Natalie stepped forward. She lowered her sweatpants slightly to reveal that she wore a diaper. “A lot of us wear them, and it’s no big deal. I don’t know why you’re so obsessed with it, Mallory.”

“Oh my god. Look at the size of that diaper. You two are the biggest babies I’ve ever seen.” Mallory and Jessie laughed.

“Shhh, nap time girls,” one of the workers said.

“Sorry ma’am,” Natalie said. She promptly lied down. She and Valerie fell asleep.

Mallory intentionally stayed awake through nap time. When she saw one of the workers start to wake everyone up she covertly rolled over to Valerie. She carefully took Valerie’s blanket off and tossed it aside. Then with great caution she lowered Valerie’s sweatpants down to her ankles. She swiftly rolled back to her spot and pretended to sleep.

Natalie roused first and saw Valerie’s state. She gently shook Valerie awake. When Valerie opened her eye’s she said quietly but with urgency, “Valerie, pull your pants up.”

Valerie looked down and gasped. She scrambled to cover her diaper.

“Oh my god, did you see how wet that thing was? I’m surprised it didn’t leak all over the place,” Mallory said elated. Jessie laughed her on.

Miss Amanda approached and said, “Mallory, that’s enough.”

“What? I’m just saying you better change her before it explodes,” Mallory said.

“It’ll be fine, Mallory. Mind your own business,” Amanda said.

“I’m just concerned. We all share this place. Think about the smell if she leaked,” Mallory said.

“Mallory,” Amanda said loudly. Her tone startled Natalie, Valerie and Jessie.

Mallory finally quit speaking but was satisfied that she even got on Amanda’s nerves. In her twisted mind it was bonus points.

Natalie held Valerie’s hand as they walked to Jocelyn’s room. They entered and Jocelyn saw Valerie’s tearful eyes. “What happened?” Jocelyn asked sympathetically.

“Mallory was bullying her again,” Natalie said. “Miss Amanda is taking care of it.”

“You poor thing,” Jocelyn said sympathetically. “Just relax and take the day off from being my helper, okay?”

“Are you sure?” Valerie asked.

“Yes, Natalie will you take her to my office so she can have some time to collect herself?” Jocelyn asked.

“Yes, Miss Jocelyn,” Natalie said politely.

In the hall they passed Amanda and Mallory who were leaving the office. Mallory expressed her complete lack of empathy when she scoffed as they passed. Natalie dropped off Valerie in Jocelyn’s office and said, “I’ll be right back after I help Miss Amanda.”

“Okay, thank you,” Valerie sniffled.

Now that Valerie had alone time she just let herself cry for a while. She wondered what she did to deserve this treatment. Was I mean to Mallory before? We tried to be nice to her but she is so cantankerous. I hope Miss Amanda can get through to her.

After a while Jocelyn entered and asked, “hey, girl. How are you feeling?”

“A little better I guess. I just don’t understand why she is so mean,” Valerie said.

“This is a rough city and Mallory got mixed up with a bad crowd. I think this is a good place for her and I hope we can reach her even if it’s just in a small way,” Jocelyn said.

“That’s a good way to look at it,” Valerie agreed.

“Are you ready to head back to the changing room?” Jocelyn asked.

“Yeah,” Valerie nodded.

“Sounds good. I have some business to attend to but you know what to do. I marked the chart for the other children so you just need to fill in your section,” Jocelyn said.

“Okay. I did have an accident so I’ll write it in,” Valerie said.

“Good girl. Well, see you later.” Jocelyn hugged Valerie and smiled warmly at her.

Valerie smiled back. She wiped the tears from her eyes. She followed Jocelyn into the hall and then walked to the changing room. It felt good to have Jocelyn’s trust. It made her want to do a good job. She removed her diaper and placed it in the trash. She grabbed a couple wipes and cleaned herself thoroughly. She wore her regular clothes. She washed her hands with soap and hot water.

Valerie contemplated Jocelyn’s words. She didn’t see how it would be possible to get through to Mallory. She relaxed knowing that it wasn’t her responsibility. She decided to help out if she could but she was just another child at daycare. A peer. The responsibility fell on the workers. Valerie let it go.

The Cops

At recess, Natalie and Valerie were finished chatting with Sarah. They said their goodbyes and then Natalie looked over at Mallory. Just like the last couple days Mallory was getting her daily cigarette delivered. It surprised Natalie to see a policewoman approach the high-schooler from behind. She stepped gracefully and stayed out of her line of sight. The girl had the cigarette in her hand but was confused when Mallory didn’t take it. Mallory had already noticed the policewoman approaching and looked startled. Her friend asked, “what’s wrong?” She startled when someone swiftly grabbed her wrist and held the cigarette up to her face. She reflexively turned her head to see the policewoman.

“What’s this?” the policewoman asked calmly.

“Valerie, look,” Natalie said quietly.

Valerie looked in the direction Natalie pointed. “Whoa.” She looked surprised.

“I-I, nothing, it’s mine, I mean I found it, I was just,” the girl stammered.

“You were just what? Smuggling cigarettes to daycare children?” the policewoman asked.

“No, I…” the girls started.

Suddenly another cop appeared. He was a large, mustachioed man wearing sunglasses. “Whatcha got there, miss?” he asked.

“Cigarette pirate,” the policewoman answered without missing a beat.

“10-14. My spider senses are tingling. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of this goin’ on. Remember ‘Snozzberry’ Scottie mumbled something about cigarettes when we booked him for forging rolling papers,” the policeman maintained a straight face.

The policewoman grinned but kept her eyes on the girl. “Who are you working with?” she demanded.

“No one, I-I…”

“Is it ‘Oompa Loompa’ Louie?” the policeman asked.

“What?” the girl asked confused.

“Wally Wonka? ‘Gnarly’ Charlie?”

“I don’t know wh…”

“Who are you working with?” the policeman shouted.

The girl became visibly frightened.

“Face it, Johnson, she’s small time. Take a walk,” the policewoman took the cigarette and released the girl’s wrist.

The girl walked away shaken up and very confused.

“See you tomorrow,” the policeman called to her.

The two cops looked at each other. The policeman finally broke his straight face and grinned. The policewoman tried with difficulty not to laugh.

“Willy Wonka?” the policewoman stifled a laugh.

“It was the first thing that came to mind,” he smiled warmly and gently.

After Natalie and Valerie realized what had just happened they roared with laughter. The cops walked on the sidewalk past them. “Take care, ladies,” the policeman said.

“Bye,” Natalie and Valerie said politely.

Natalie looked at Jocelyn and they shared a smile. Natalie felt good that she didn’t have to be a tattle tale. She respected Jocelyn’s situational awareness and her ability to solve problems without getting too involved.

After nap time Natalie and Valerie were playing when Mallory approached. She walked right up to Natalie and displayed an aggressive posture like some kind of wannabe guerrilla. “You ratted me out, didn’t you?”

Natalie held her ground. She didn’t react. She took a moment and then assertively said, “no, I didn’t.”

“Bull, I saw the way you and Jocelyn smiled at each other when my friend got busted,” Mallory said. She took a step closer.

“Back off, Mallory,” Natalie raised her voice and hoped one of the workers would hear.

Mallory pushed Natalie. Amanda was there to witness the act of violence. “Mallory, pushing isn’t allowed,” she said calmly. Her tone and demeanor caused the situation to deescalate. Natalie and Valerie were comforted that a grown up was there.

“She pushed me first,” Mallory lied.

“No she didn’t. Office. Now,” Amanda remained calm.

Mallory walked away.

Amanda looked drained and pale. “Are you alright, Natalie?” she asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Natalie nodded.

Amanda followed after Mallory.

“Just another day at Rainbow,” Valerie said.

“I don’t see why she blames everyone else for her problems,” Natalie said.

“I know, right? And she always has such a bad attitude about everything,” Valerie said.

At the end of the day it was another write-up for Mallory which didn’t seem to be helping.

Shady Grove

Laura walked into Valerie’s room and woke her up. She explained that she just spoke to Amanda on the phone. A lot of the daycare staff was sick today and they needed to temporarily close. Arrangements were made with other daycare centers in the area to accommodate the children.

“Is Natalie going to be there?” was the first thing that Valerie asked.

“I’m not sure,” Laura shook her head.

“Okay. Thanks for telling me,” Valerie said.

“No problem, see you at breakfast,” Laura said. She kissed Valerie’s forehead.

I hope Natalie will be there. What about Mallory? I hope I don’t have to deal with her alone. Oh no, what about my diapers? Does the new daycare have nap time? Valerie’s mind raced with worry. She was shocked by this revelation. Not knowing what to expect caused more worry. She walked to the kitchen and said, “I’m gonna call Sarah to let her know I won’t be there today.”

Valerie explained the situation to Sarah and promised to call her back when things were back to normal. She ate her breakfast and walked out to the car. When they arrived at the daycare she looked at a sign that read ‘Shady Grove’. Laura walked her in.

It was chaos. Children ran around screaming and fighting over toys. The staff was a lot younger and didn’t have a professional appearance. What a headache. I can’t wait to get back to normal. Laura kissed Valerie goodbye and wished her good luck on her first day. Luck. Right. I’m probably gonna need it.

Valerie walked around nervously. She kept an eye out for anyone she knew especially Natalie or Mallory. She hadn’t seen anyone when a girl approached her. “What’s your name?” she asked abruptly.

“Hi, I’m Valerie, nice to meet you,” Valerie smiled.

The girl chewed gum loudly while she searched her clipboard. “You’re not on here. Are you sure you’re in the right place?” she asked condescendingly.

“Um, I don’t know. My mom dropped me off here. I usually go to…” Valerie started.

“Hey, Kayla,” the girl called loudly. Another girl walked over. “She’s not on my list, is she one of yours?”

“I hope not,” Kayla chuckled. “What’s her name?”


Kayla searched her clipboard and then looked surprised. “Oh, that’s what those things were for. Yep, she’s with me,” Kayla said. She grabbed Valerie’s arm and led her away.

Valerie expressed uncomfortably as the girl squeezed her arm. She wanted to say that she could walk on her own but was too afraid. They got to a new area and Valerie noticed it was all babies and toddlers. Although, she wouldn’t have had to look as the smell would have given it away.

“Hey, are these yours?” Kayla asked.

Valerie saw that Kayla held a pack of her diapers. She blushed and said, “yeah, but I only need them for nap time… I mean if you have that here.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before. Lay down and let’s get this over with,” Kayla said dismissively. She led Valerie to a changing table.

“Wait, I only have accidents when I’m asleep,” Valerie tried to explain.

“Do you think I’m new at this or something? Look, I’m the one who has to clean it up if you have an accident, so I’m not taking any chances. Now you can either lay down for a diaper change or you can park your butt on a potty chair all day, the choice is yours.”

Valerie teared up at Kayla’s complete disregard. She reluctantly lied down on the changing table. Kayla roughly removed Valerie’s pants and underwear. She hurriedly fastened the diaper.

“You need to stay in this area so I can keep track of you, okay?” Kayla instructed.

“Okay,” Valerie said meekly. She grabbed her pants off the floor and started to put a leg in.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Kayla snapped.

“Just putting my pants on,” Valerie said.

“I don’t think so. Do you see any other babies wearing pants in here?” Kayla asked.

Valerie looked around to see that everyone’s diaper was on full display.

“If you leak then I’ll just have more laundry to do,” Kayla said as she took Valerie’s pants and stuck them in a cupboard on a pile of clothes.

Valerie blushed red and held back tears. She felt exposed. She looked down at her diaper to see that it was loose and uneven. No wonder she’s so worried about leaky diapers. She sucks at putting them on. She found a spot on the floor away from everyone. She pulled her knees to her chest and hugged her arms around her legs. She tried to process everything that had just happened. She longed to see Natalie. Or Amanda. Or Jocelyn. A teammate would be so nice right now.

“Hi, Miss Valerie,” a young voice sounded. Valerie looked up to see Lana from Rainbow. She wore a t-shirt and a diaper.

“Hey, Lana,” Valerie said sweetly. “You had to come here too, huh?”

“Yeah. I don’t like it here,” Lana whispered, “that girl is really mean.”

“She is really mean,” Valerie said quietly.

“Can you tell her I only need a diaper for nap time?” Lana asked politely.

“She won’t listen. I tried telling her but she just blew me off,” Valerie said.

“I wish Miss Jocelyn was here, but at least Miss Valerie is here,” Lana said. She hugged Valerie.

“Awe, that’s really sweet of you. I’m really glad you’re here too, Lana,” Valerie smiled. She felt motivated that she had someone to take care of. Then she looked around the room and realized all these babies needed someone to take care of them too. She looked at Kayla who just stared at her smartphone.

“Do you want to play a game?” Valerie asked.

“Mm-hmm,” Lana nodded.

Valerie and Lana stayed busy by coming up with creative ways to play with baby toys. All the while, Valerie kept an eye on the babies. She and Lana even played peek-a-boo and other games with them.

After a while Kayla got off her phone and announced, “alright, changing time. Let’s go you little poop machines. Hey, new girl?”

Valerie turned to her and asked, “me?”

“Do you know how to change diapers?”

“Well I help out at Rainbow, but…” Valerie said.

“Great. Then you can help out here too,” Kayla interrupted. “Take that station. Diapers. Wipes,” she pointed.

Valerie thought for a moment before getting to work. I’ve seen Amanda and Jocelyn do this before. I can figure it out as I go along. She looked around the room. “Lana, do you need to get changed?” she asked.

Lana nodded and hopped up on the changing table. Valerie had a renewed sense of confidence when she had Lana changed into a fresh diaper. It even fit snugger than the one she wore previously.

“Lana, will you be my helper? Like what I do for Miss Jocelyn?” Valerie asked.

“Sure,” Lana said politely.

“Okay, first let’s find who needs to be changed,” Valerie encouraged.

The first baby they came across obviously needed to be changed so Valerie picked her up off the floor and set her down gently on the table. She got her cleaned up and asked Lana for a fresh diaper. “Will you go find the next baby?” She asked Lana.

Lana nodded and looked for who needed be changed next. They worked diligently and fine-tuned their system as they went along. There were no gloves to wear so Valerie washed her hands between each change.

“I think that’s all of them,” Lana said.

“Okay, good girl. Thanks so much for helping out,” Valerie encouraged.

“You’re welcome,” Lana said politely.

Valerie and Lana continued to amuse themselves and look after the babies. Valerie helped Kayla get the babies in their cribs for nap time. When she saw that Lana was reluctant to get into a crib she decided to show solidarity.

“It’s okay Lana, I’ll lie down in one too, okay?” Valerie said optimistically.

“Really?” Lana asked.

“Mm-hmm, how about these two?” Valerie said. They each curled up in a crib. Valerie smiled warmly at Lana who smiled back.

Valerie woke up from her nap. She noticed Kayla checking her diaper. “Come on, new girl, diaper change,” Kayla said.

Valerie blushed. She got out of her crib and followed Kayla to a changing table. Kayla was rough as she clumsily changed Valerie. “Now let’s get to work on the rest of these babies,” Kayla instructed.

Valerie gently woke Lana up. “Hey there,” she smiled. “Can I help you get changed?” They followed the same routine as earlier and eventually had everyone cleaned up.

Later on, they were playing when Valerie noticed Kayla get called away by two other girls. “Keep an eye on these little monkey’s for me. I need to run outside for a second,” Kayla said. She abruptly left. When she returned Valerie noticed a smoky, skunky smell in the room. She wondered if she had gone out for a cigarette. Mallory would have loved it here. Why couldn’t she have come to this place instead of me. But then who would look after Lana and these babies?

Towards the end of the day, Kayla approached Valerie and said, “diaper off, pants on.” She tossed Valerie her jeans and underwear. Valerie did as she was told and was relieved that she would soon be out of here. “You too, other new girl,” she instructed Lana.

Laura arrived and Valerie walked out exhausted. “How you holding up,” Laura asked.

“Tired,” Valerie managed to say. She wanted to talk about the conditions so she wouldn’t have to come back. She didn’t because that would mean abandoning Lana. It’s awful here but I don’t know if Lana plans on complaining to her parents or not. I need to be there for her if we have to come back tomorrow. And those poor babies. Should I say something?

Day Two

Valerie finished up with breakfast.

“Ready for another day at Shady Grove?” Laura asked.

Valerie let go of whatever hope she had built up. She found some motivation when she realized that she had responsibilities at Shady Grove. She got dropped off and walked to the baby area.

“Changing table, Vanessa,” Kayla said.

“It’s Valerie,” she corrected.

“Whatever, just march,” Kayla said.

“Can I just change myself today, please?” Valerie pleaded.

“Yeah, I don’t think so,” Kayla said.

“Well, how about this? I’ll change all the diapers today if I can be allowed to change myself and wear pants,” Valerie offered.

“You’ll change all the diapers?”

“Yep,” Valerie said.

Kayla seemed optimistic as she contemplated Valerie’s offer. “Fine, but if anyone leaks, you’re on laundry duty,” Kayla said.

“Deal,” Valerie agreed. She walked to the changing station and got one of her diapers. She did her best to get it lined up and fastened snugly. She stood up and admired her work. She slipped her jeans on over it.

“Hi, Miss Valerie,” Lana said.

“Good morning, Lana,” Valerie smiled warmly.

“You change your own diapers?” Lana asked curiously.

“Yeah. I cut a deal with Kayla. I might need your help with the babies. Do you think you can do that for me?” Valerie asked.

“Mm-hmm,” Lana nodded.

Valerie smiled warmly. “Good girl.” Valerie saw that Kayla was already glued to her phone. “Hey, Lana, do you want to get out of that diaper?”

“Won’t Kayla get mad?” Lana asked.

“Let me worry about her,” Valerie said. “Come here, help me find your clothes.” They walked to the cupboard where the clothes were stored and found Lana’s. Valerie tore off the tabs on her diaper removing it. “Go ahead and put those on,” she pointed.

Lana quickly had her regular clothes back on.

“Nice job. Let me know if you need to use the bathroom and I’ll help you sneak away,” Valerie said. She felt powerful all of the sudden. She felt like Natalie’s bravery and Mallory’s cunning had rubbed off on her. They worked diligently all day to keep the babies clean and entertained. They got everyone down for a nap and then Valerie changed Lana back into a diaper; all without Kayla noticing. Kayla enjoyed the lack of responsibility way too much to question Valerie’s motivation.

The end of the day approached and Valerie made one last sweep to make sure the babies were good to go. She removed her own diaper and slipped back into regular underpants. When Laura picked her up she was relieved. She was so exhausted that she fell asleep in the car.

Back At Rainbow

The next morning Laura informed Valerie that Rainbow would be re-opened.

“Oh my goodness, really?” Valerie said elated.

“Mm-hmm, I just got off the phone with Amanda,” Laura smiled.

“That’s so awesome. Thanks for telling me,” Valerie said.

“That place is growing on you, huh?” Laura said optimistically.

“Yeah, it really is,” Valerie smiled. “If only it weren’t for Mallory. But who cares. I’m not gonna let her ruin my day.”

“Who’s Mallory?”

“Just this girl at daycare that smokes cigarettes and gives me and Natalie a hard time.”

“Really, she smokes?”

“Yeah, the cops even came one day,” Valerie laughed.

“Sounds like an exciting place.”

“It’s not boring,” Valerie smiled brightly.

She excitedly walked in when they arrived. She saw Natalie waiting for her and immediately went in for a hug.

“It’s so good to see you!” Natalie beamed.

“You too. We have so much to talk about,” Valerie said.

“Do you want to talk while we get the waiting rooms stocked up?” Natalie asked.

“Sure,” Valerie nodded.

They walked past Mallory on the way to Miss Jocelyn’s room. Valerie was surprised that Mallory didn’t make one of her usual rude comments. While Valerie filled out her list she said, “oh my goodness, Shady Grove was the worst. They stuck me with the babies and made me wear diapers all day.”

“Really? That sucks,” Natalie said sympathetically.

“Yeah, but I guess it wasn’t all bad. Lana was there to watch my back,” Valerie smiled.

“Oh, she’s great,” Natalie said.

“She really is. We were pretty much running the baby and toddler area by the time we were out of there,” Valerie said.

“Ha, nice!” Natalie said.

“So where did you end up?” Valerie asked.

“Happyville,” Natalie replied.

“How was it?”

“It wasn’t too bad. I mean, it wasn’t Rainbow but not too bad. I did have to put up with Mallory the entire time though, ugh,” Natalie groaned.

“Mallory was there?” Valerie asked.

“Yeah, she was on my case the whole time until yesterday. She tried pushing me again so I smacked her,” Natalie said.

“You hit her?” Valerie asked surprised.

“Gave her a bloody nose,” Natalie grinned.

“What did she do?”

“She came at me but by that time the staff was there to separate us. I got sent to time out and she got to keep playing but I didn’t care. It was totally worth it,” Natalie said.

“Hahaha,” Valerie laughed loudly. “Is that why she didn’t mouth off to us today?”

“Probably. She’s afraid of getting another knuckle sandwich,” Natalie held both fists to her mouth and blew on them like gun barrels.

As the day advanced, Mallory kept to herself. Valerie was euphoric to be back at Rainbow and to even have Mallory off her back. She had Natalie to thank for that. After nap time, Valerie finished filling out the chart when Jocelyn approached her.

“Lana told me you did a really good job looking after her at Shady Grove,” Jocelyn expressed concerned.

“She’s such a great girl. I don’t know what I would have done without her,” Valerie smiled.

“She also told me it wasn’t child friendly there. I was hoping you could fill me in a little more,” Jocelyn said. She gave Valerie space to speak her truth.

“Well, let’s see here. Kayla was pretty mean. She had me and Lana in diapers all day even though I tried to explain that we only wore them for nap time.”

Jocelyn showed great concern and listened intently.

“She just looked at me like I was trying to trick her or something. I helped her out with the babies which I honestly didn’t mind since she wasn’t doing a very good job. She was more worried about getting outside for her next smoke break than doing her job.”

“Did she leave the babies unattended?” Jocelyn asked.

“No,” Valerie shook her head. “Lana and I were there to keep an eye on them.”

“I see. Is there anything else?” Jocelyn asked.

“Oh yeah, she had the worst smelling cigarettes,” Valerie laughed. “They made her smell like a skunk. Seriously, who would smoke something like that?”

“Thank you for that information, Valerie. I’m very sorry you had to go through that ordeal, but please be assured we won’t send anyone else there again,” Jocelyn said. She got up to leave on a new mission.

“Thank you, Miss Jocelyn. That’s a relief,” Valerie said.

“No need to thank me. Have a good rest of your day,” Jocelyn briefly smiled and then walked away.

Valerie went to the play area. She found Natalie and Lana playing a game. She joined in. “Lana, thanks for saying those nice things about me to Miss Jocelyn,” she smiled.

“You’re welcome, Miss Valerie,” Lana said.

“Miss Jocelyn said that they will never send anyone to that awful place again,” Valerie said.

“I like it here,” Lana smiled.

“Me too,” Valerie smiled back.

“Me too,” Natalie smiled widely.

New Girl

In the morning, Laura hugged Valerie tightly and said, “Amanda just sent me a news article, I’m so sorry, Valerie.”

“A news article? What did it say?” she asked confused.

“That daycare you attended for a couple days. Shady Grove. Apparently they busted some teenagers smoking pot out back,” Laura said concerned.

“Oh my goodness,” Valerie said surprised.

“They even had to do an emergency audit of the facility, which they failed big time. There were some parents who were quoted in the article saying they were pulling their children out immediately. Valerie, I’m so sorry. Why didn’t you say anything?” Laura asked.

Valerie thought about her response for a moment. “I guess I felt responsible. There was a sweet little girl that goes to Rainbow that I wanted to look out for. Plus all those babies. I was afraid if I told you what happened there you would have pulled me out and no one would have been there to look after them.”

“Oh, sweetheart,” Laura pulled Valerie in close for a hug and kissed her cheeks and forehead repeatedly.

Valerie welled up with emotion from the support of her mother.

“You did a very brave thing, but please tell me right away if anything like that happens, okay?”

“Okay, mom,” Valerie agreed.

Valerie arrived at daycare and was greeted by Natalie. “Hey, Valerie,” she smiled.

“Hey, Natalie,” Valerie smiled back.

“I came to tell you that Miss Jocelyn needs to speak with you. She’s in the waiting room,” Natalie said.

“Okay, sounds good,” Valerie said. She walked to the waiting room. She entered and found Jocelyn and was surprised to see a policeman with her. She recognized him as one of the cops that busted Mallory’s friend.

“Good morning, Valerie,” Jocelyn said. “This is Sergeant Johnson.”

“Hi, Valerie. Hey, I recognize you from the other day. Do you remember me?” Johnson asked politely and curiously.

“Mm-hmm,” Valerie nodded her head. “You and the lady cop busted Mallory’s friend.”

“That’s right,” Johnson smiled gently. “Don’t forget about Jocelyn here. She’s got keen eyes for that sort of thing.”

Jocelyn smiled at Johnson who smiled back.

“Well actually why I’m here today is to talk to you about Shady Grove, the other daycare that you attended,” Johnson expressed concerned.

“Okay, my mom told me about the news article,” Valerie said.

“I just want to know what you remember. So if you could, forget about the news article and just tell me in your own words what happened there,” Johnson said.

Johnson took notes as Valerie spilled the beans on the whole operation. Johnson thanked her for the information and said it will be very valuable to put in the report. Valerie expressed uneasy when the phrase ‘child neglect’ was mentioned, but she took solace in the fact that the situation was being brought to light.

When he was finished, Johnson said, “Thank you very much young lady. I’d like to shake your hand if that’s alright with you,” Johnson said cordially. He extended his large, strong hand out to Valerie.

Valerie was a little intimidated by the sheer size of the man but when she shook his hand she was amazed by his extraordinary gentleness. She smiled warming when she looked into his kind eyes.

“Alright, ladies, thanks for being such gracious hosts. I’ll let you get back to work, Jocelyn.” He gracefully exited the waiting room.

“Oh, Valerie. We also have your first orientation today. Do you remember when Amanda and Natalie did your mock orientation?” Jocelyn asked.

“Yeah, I do,” Valerie nodded.

“Her name is Jasmine. Will you get her cubby ready. She’ll take size extra small diapers. Same as you,” Jocelyn said. She got up and left.

Valerie got to work and contemplated the implications. A new girl who wears the same size diapers as Natalie and me. Is she used to wearing protection or is she like I was? I know how hard it was for me at first so I might need to be extra supportive. Valerie readied a cubby for Jasmine and waited patiently for Jocelyn to get back.

Jocelyn returned with a girl that looked a little younger than Valerie. When Valerie saw her she smiled brightly and waved. “Hi, Jasmine. I’m Valerie.”

“Hi, Valerie,” Jasmine responded.

“So like I was saying before we call this the waiting room. I spoke with your mom earlier. She mentioned you wet the bed sometimes,” Jocelyn said.

Jasmine blushed and looked at the ground. She didn’t say anything.

“Oh, I’m sorry. It’s no big deal. I didn’t mean to put you on the spot like that,” Jocelyn said sympathetically.

Jasmine took a moment and then said, “yeah, my mom was right, I wet the bed.”

“It’s okay, I wet the bed too,” Valerie admitted.

“Really?” Jasmine asked.

“Mm-hmm,” Valerie nodded.

“Have you ever worn protection for bedwetting, Jasmine? Pull-ups or anything?” Jocelyn asked.

“Yeah, I wear pull-ups,” Jasmine answered.

Jocelyn read Jasmine’s body language and adjusted to a more understanding tone. “Here at Rainbow we require the children to wear diapers for nap time if they need protection. Do you think you’d be willing to give that a try for me?”

“S-sure,” Jasmine said without making eye contact.

“Wow, thank you. You are a very brave girl for trying things our way,” Jocelyn encouraged. “Valerie, will you show her the cubbies and everything?”

“Sure,” Valerie said. “Jasmine, these are the cubbies where we stock all the diapers an pull-ups. Here is your cubby and here is the kind of diapers that you will be wearing.” She took one out and handed it to Jasmine.

Jasmine took it. Valerie saw this and decided to show solidarity. “It’s the same kind that I wear. And another girl, too. Natalie. She usually helps out Amanda in the next room over.”

“Okay,” Jasmine said uncomfortably.

“So after recess you’ll come to this room and wait in line. Then Miss Jocelyn will help you get changed in the changing room,” Valerie explained.

“That’s over here,” Jocelyn said. “Come on back.” She showed Jasmine around. “We try to give the children as much privacy as possible here, but it is diapering so you will need to take off your pants and underwear when the time comes. Do you think you’d be willing to try that out?”

Jasmine nodded. “Okay, Miss Jocelyn,” she said.

“Thank you so much,” Jocelyn said sincerely. “You’re doing really well. I can’t imagine how rough it was at Shady Grove.”

“You went to Shady Grove?” Valerie asked.

Jasmine nodded. “Yeah, my parents pulled me out after all that stuff went down. I hated it there. Most of the workers were really mean,” she said.

“Did you know Kayla?” Valerie asked.

“Yes,” Jasmine said.

“I had a really tough time with her.”

“How do you know her?”

“I went to Shady Grove for a couple days when this place was closed, so I became acquainted with her then.”

“I thought she mostly worked in the baby room.”

Valerie blushed. “Yeah, I guess they thought I was a baby too. Just because I wear diapers,” she said shyly.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Jasmine said.

“Thanks, but the good news is neither of us will ever have to go back there,” Valerie smiled.

“Yeah,” Jasmine smiled.

Jocelyn was joyful that Jasmine was coming around and that she even seemed to be making friends with Valerie. The girls went back out to the play area where Valerie introduced her to Natalie and Lana. They played a round of Uno and then moved on to some other games. Everyone helped out showing Jasmine around. On the playground they saw that Mallory had made friends with one of the new girls from Shady Grove. She seemed to be Mallory’s type.

Back inside, Jasmine went to the waiting room. She stood in line next to Valerie holding her diaper. When it was her turn she seemed apprehensive.

“Do you want me to go first?” Valerie asked.

Jasmine remained silent and nodded. Valerie felt for Jasmine and tried to think of other ways to help her. “Miss Jocelyn, Jasmine is still really nervous. Can I wait to put on my sweatpants until I get back out there so she can see me in my diaper?” Valerie asked.

“That’s fine with me. That’s really sweet of you, Valerie. I hope it works,” Jocelyn said.

“Me too,” Valerie said.

Valerie walked back into the waiting room with her diaper on full display. Jasmine noticed but it didn’t seem to help. Valerie felt badly that it wasn’t having much of an effect. “Just wanted you to see that you wouldn’t be the only one wearing these big, huge things,” Valerie laughed.

“It’s not that,” Jasmine said.

“What is it?” Valerie asked consolingly.

“It’s just that, well… I’m kind of wearing a pull-up right now. But I promise I don’t need them during the day. At Shady Grove I wore it all day so I didn’t have to change into it at nap time and risk someone finding out about it,” Jasmine explained.

“Did the other children make fun of you?” Jocelyn asked.

Jasmine shook her head. “The girls that worked there. I’ve seen them be mean to other children for wetting the bed before,” she cried.

“That’s terrible. You poor thing,” Jocelyn said consolingly. She got down to Jasmine’s level and put a hand on each shoulder. When Jasmine got the courage to make eye contact, Jocelyn said, “one of the rules here is that you cannot shame someone for needing protection. I promise it is no big deal that you’re wearing a pull-up.”

“Thank you,” Jasmine said sweetly. Jocelyn hugged her.

“Do you think you’re ready to go get changed now?” Jocelyn asked sweetly.

Jasmine nodded and followed Jocelyn into the changing room. Valerie waited for her to finish getting changed. “Do you want to have nap time with me and Natalie?”

Jasmine nodded. On the way out they passed Mallory. Valerie just knew Mallory would say something so she was on guard.

“Great, as if we didn’t have enough diaper ba…,” Mallory started.

“Can it, Mallory!” Valerie glared at her. She showed the protective instincts that she had picked up from Natalie.

Mallory hesitated for a moment and then half-heatedly mocked Valerie saying, “can it, Mallory.” It didn’t have her usual sting due to Valerie’s quick wit.

“Don’t worry about her. She’s a brat,” Valerie told Jasmine.

“What’d you call me, twerp?” Mallory asked.

“A brat,” Valerie said as if stating the obvious.


It was recess and Sarah came by for her daily visit. They were having a great time chatting until a feeling of dread came over Valerie. A man came up behind Sarah, put a hand over her mouth and carried her away. Valerie was in shock and couldn’t speak.

“Miss Jocelyn, that man just took Sarah,” Natalie screamed.

Natalie looked at Jocelyn who was already dialing 9-1-1. “Get them inside,” Jocelyn said in a calm, loud voice.

“Everyone inside now! Recess is over!” Natalie called. She reached for Valerie’s shoulders, looked her in the eyes and calmly told her to get inside.

Valerie was still panicked but received Natalie’s clear message. “O-okay,” she managed.

Natalie looked around to see if there were any stragglers. She saw Mallory standing by the fence. “Mallory, you need to get inside. Hurry!”

Mallory glanced at Natalie just long enough to make eye contact. She defied Natalie’s command and in one swift motion climbed the fence and hopped to the other side. She hit the ground running in the direction the predator carried Sarah.

Natalie ran over to Jocelyn who was providing details over the phone. “Miss Jocelyn, it’s Mallory. She went after him,” Natalie said frantically.

“I’ll take care of it. Get inside and tell a grown-up what happened,” Jocelyn stated clearly.

“Right,” Natalie nodded. She went inside where the workers tried to settle the chaos. One worker got children seated while another took a head count. Natalie found Amanda holding Valerie and stroking her hair in an attempt to sooth her. “Miss Amanda, It’s Sarah, a man took her!” Natalie exclaimed.

Amanda slowed down the conversation by bringing some space to it. “Hey, Natalie?” she asked calmly.

“Yes, ma’am,” Natalie said quickly.

“Will you take a few conscious breaths with Valerie and me?” Amanda asked presently.

“But Miss Jocelyn said…,” Natalie started.

“I know,” Amanda said calmly, “but for Valerie’s sake can we just slow down and breathe for a few moments?” she asked. She put her own emotions on hold for the sake of the children.

Natalie was stunned. She knew that Jocelyn had given her a responsibility but also that Amanda was already busy with something. Since Jocelyn had already notified the authorities she decided to accept Amanda’s invitation.

“O-okay. I’m sorry,” Natalie said.

“It’s alright, Natalie,” Amanda said calmly and kindly. “Let’s all take a nice long breath in… hold it at the top… and a nice long breath out.” Amanda repeated the process a few more times. “Natalie, I’m going to stay with Valerie, but you go do what Miss Jocelyn asked you to do. Just try to remain calm for Valerie and everyone.”

“Okay, I can do that,” said a much calmer Natalie.

Outside, Mallory returned undeterred and hopped back over the fence. “He got away in an old shitmobile, but that moron forgot to take his plates off. ACT-220. We need to write it down so we don’t forget.”

“Mallory, that was reckless, what if he grabbed you too?” Jocelyn asked.

Mallory walked past Jocelyn. “Bite him? Scratch him? Kick him in the balls? I sure as hell wouldn’t be hauled off to get molested,” Mallory said.

Jocelyn didn’t know what to say. She knew Mallory’s swift action could have potentially saved a life today. However, she doubted that Mallory knew the risk she was taking.

Sergeant Johnson and Sergeant Leadenhall walked in the front door of Rainbow. Jocelyn called Mallory over. “She saw the car he was driving.”

Mallory gave them a description of the vehicle while Leadenhall called in the plates.

A voice sounded on the police radios, “maroon 1980 Cadillac Coupe De Ville registered to Vincent Williams.”

“Oh, shit,” Leadenhall said optimistically.

“‘Skinny’ Vinny,” Johnson said.

With all haste and grace they exited the building.

In Amanda’s office, Amanda waited with Natalie and Valerie while they processed, cried, talked.

Eventually Jocelyn came in and said, “Natalie, Valerie, your parents have been notified.”

“Okay, thanks, Miss Jocelyn,” Amanda said.

“What about Sarah?” Valerie asked.

“I still haven’t heard anything. If I do, I’ll let you know right away,” Jocelyn assured.

“Alright,” Valerie said disappointed.

“Miss Amanda?” Natalie asked.

“Yes, Natalie?”

“I had to pee earlier so I just ended up using my pull-up. I’m gonna go get changed if that’s alright,” Natalie said.

“Go right ahead. I’ll stay with with Valerie,” Amanda said.

“Thank you,” Natalie said.

Some more time passed and the office remained mostly silent. Jocelyn came back in and said, “They found Sarah, she’s going to be alright.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Valerie wasn’t sure if she was telling Jocelyn or God. She broke down in tears. Amanda held her gently.

Jocelyn gave her a moment to regain composure. “That nice policeman is here. He’d like to ask you some questions. Whenever you are ready that is. Take all the time you need.”

“I think I’m ready,” Valerie said. She held Amanda’s hand as they followed Jocelyn to the entrance. When Valerie saw Johnson she cried again even harder than before. She let go of Amanda’s hand and walked towards him for a hug.

Johnson’s eyes welled up when he lifted Valerie in his strong, gentle arms and held her close. “You’re doing really well, sweetheart,” he said sweetly.

After Valerie calmed down, Johnson asked curiously, “so you know Sarah, right?”

“Mm-hmm,” Valerie nodded.

“We dropped her off at the hospital to get checked out. She’s going to be fine but she’s in shock. She couldn’t tell us anything if she wanted to,” Johnson explained. “What can you tell us about her?”

Valerie detailed everything the police needed to identify Sarah and get in contact with her parents. Leadenhall radioed it in as Valerie rattled off as much as she knew.

“Hey you’ve helped us out a lot lately,” Johnson encouraged. “Thanks a lot,” he said sincerely.

“You’re welcome,” Valerie smiled.

“Good job,” Leadenhall said.

“Thanks,” Valerie smiled.


Valerie missed seeing Sarah everyday but had accepted that Sarah wasn’t ready to see her yet. She saw a grief counselor once a week and she knew that Sarah was also seeing a professional. She knew it was a good thing that Sarah was getting the time and healing she needed.

Jocelyn eventually managed to stop beating herself up for allowing Sarah to hang out with the girls everyday. She felt stupid and guilty for a while but some release came when she decided that she wouldn’t make the same mistake again.

Johnson hung out by the fence every day during recess on the lookout for any ‘copycats’ as he called them. Leadenhall hovered nearby. Bare minimum, their presence kept Mallory off the cigarettes since she was too scared to smoke with cops around.

One morning Valerie arrived at daycare to a surprise. She opened the door and saw Sarah standing next to Natalie. “Sarah!” she smiled brightly. She raced towards Sarah for a hug.

“Hi, Valerie!” Sarah smiled.

“Thanks for coming and seeing me, I’ve missed you so much,” Valerie said. She couldn’t stop smiling.

“Actually, I’m not here for a visit,” Sarah revealed.

“What do you mean?” Valerie asked confused.

“I told my mom I’d feel safer inside the fence and she had no problem getting me enrolled,” Sarah explained.

“This is the best day ever!” Valerie exclaimed. The three girls held arms in a circle and danced around for a while. Lana even joined in by dancing around the outside.

Sarah walked past Mallory and asked, “you’re Mallory, right? Natalie told me what you did. Thank you so much.”

“Think I’d let some scumbag waltz in here and do whatever he wanted? Pretty soon everyone would think they could just walk all over me. This is my turf,” Mallory stated adamantly.

The girls admired Mallory’s territorial instincts.

“Well, thanks again,” Sarah smiled.

“Sure thing, kid,” Mallory said in an almost pleasant tone.

While the girls played, Sarah asked Natalie, “do you still wear pull-ups for recess?”

Natalie blushed. “Yeah, they’ve helped me out on more than one occasion,” she said embarrassed.

“So do you have to have an accident to be able to wear them here?” Sarah asked curiously.

“No, according to the rules the option is available to anyone who feels they could use the extra protection during recess or any other time of the day,” Natalie explained.

Sarah thought for a moment. “I’ve been thinking that I’d like to give it a try,” she said quietly.

“Really?” Natalie asked surprised.

Sarah blushed. “Yeah, ever since I saw your waistband peeking out I’ve sorta been curious. And besides, they might come in handy,” she said.

“They really do. For me, it’s really relaxing to know that I’m protected,” Natalie said. “Follow me after lunch to Miss Amanda’s room and you can ask her,” she offered.

“Okay, great!” Sarah said excitedly.

Valerie smiled. She was happy to see Natalie and Sarah becoming even better friends.

After lunch Valerie went straight out to the playground. Sarah tagged along with Natalie who went to get her recess pull-up on. “Miss Amanda, Sarah had a question for you,” Natalie said.

“Sure, Sarah, what’s up?” Amanda asked.

“Well I found out that there is an option to wear pull-ups during recess and I was wondering if I could give it a try?” Sarah asked politely.

“Do you have trouble holding it sometimes?” Amanda asked curiously.

“Not really. I think it would come in handy but I’m really just curious to see what they are like,” Sarah explained.

“Yeah, that’s fine with me…,” Amanda started.

“Really?!” Sarah said reflexively.

“…But we have to make sure to get permission from a parent,” Amanda explained.

“Oh,” Sarah said disappointed.

When Natalie saw Sarah’s disappointment she asked, “can she wear mine today? I could go without.”

“I’m sorry, Natalie, but we need parental consent after they know all of our diapering policies. I can’t make an exception,” Amanda explained.

“Oh, I see,” Natalie said.

“Thanks anyways. I hope my mom says yes,” Sarah said optimistically.

Sarah waited while Natalie got her pull-up on in the changing room and then they went outside for recess. Natalie and Valerie showed her some games they like to play outside. Sarah had fun but her mind was preoccupied. She was still curious about what a pull-up would feel like. She so hoped her mom would agree to the terms.

When they were called back in from recess, Jocelyn asked, “Sarah, will you follow Valerie to my changing room? I need to speak with you about something.”

“Yeah, sure,” Sarah agreed. She wasn’t sure what Jocelyn wanted to talk about but since it was in the changing room she hoped it was about letting her try out pull-ups. Sarah watched Valerie with interest as she did her daily routine. Valerie was a little hesitant when it came time to get her nap time diaper. My best friend is going to know I wet the bed. This is so embarrassing. I suppose it was going to happen sooner or later since she goes here now and I wear one every day. Still, she didn’t seem to mind when she found out that Natalie wore them. And she even wants to try them. But that is pull-ups and these are diapers. Valerie worked up whatever courage she could and then took one of her diapers from her cubby.

“What’s that?” Sarah asked. Her eyes grew wide.

“It’s my nap time diaper. I help out with the younger children but I need one too,” Valerie explained.

Sarah couldn’t take her eyes off it. Her gaze was hypnotically transfixed on the diaper that Valerie held.

Valerie noticed and after a few moments she said, “you can check it out if you want.” Valerie handed it to her. “Go ahead and unfold it.”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to stare. Thanks,” Sarah said. She took the diaper from Valerie. She looked at the front and back before unfolding it to study it further. She was amazed. She forgot about the pull-ups and now just wondered how this would feel.

Sarah gave the diaper back to Valerie. When it was Valerie’s turn she went into the changing room and closed the door behind her. She came back out and looked excited. “Miss Jocelyn has good news for you,” she said.

“Miss Amanda spoke with your mother who agreed to let you try out the convenience policy. We usually have an orientation but since you probably want to get to nap time I’ll give you a quick run down,” Jocelyn said. She quickly explained the policies to Sarah. “So do you have any questions?” she asked.

“Can I wear a diaper for nap time too?” Sarah asked eagerly.

Jocelyn nodded. “Yes, that’s fine. But remember that pull-ups are not an option for that time of day. If you want to wear protection for nap time it has to be diapers.”

“That’s perfectly fine with me,” Sarah smiled. “Can I wear one today?”

“Sure thing,” Jocelyn said.

Valerie smiled while she handed Sarah a diaper from her stack. “You can have one of mine and I’ll get your cubby ready tomorrow.”

“Thank you,” Sarah said brightly.

“Come on, Sarah. Let’s get you changed into a diaper,” Jocelyn said.

Sarah followed her into the changing room to get changed. Jocelyn then handed her some sweatpants to wear. In the waiting room, Valerie asked, “so, what do you think?”

“They’re really comfy!” Sarah exclaimed. She wiggled her hips. “I love them!”

“All right girls, you’ve missed enough of nap time already, get going,” Jocelyn commanded.

“Yes, Miss Jocelyn,” Valerie said.

“Yes, ma’am,” Sarah said.

Valerie showed her where she could get herself a roll-out, pillow and blanket. Then she led Sarah to her usual nap time spot. They passed Mallory who just rolled her eyes but kept her mouth shut.

“Took you long enough,” Natalie said jokingly.

“We had an impromptu orientation,” Valerie said.

“I see that. Decided to give diapers a try?” Natalie asked.

“Mm-hmm,” Sarah nodded. “They’re so comfy. I really like them.”

“Cool,” Natalie replied.

For nap time, Natalie and Valerie managed to catch forty winks. Sarah, however, was way too preoccupied with her new underpants. She thought constantly about how it felt to wear. She tried not to make too much noise but every so often she reached inside her sweatpants to feel the smooth plastic and padding of the diaper. After nap time Sarah changed into a pull-up so she could feel what they were like. She enjoyed it but it didn’t compare to a diaper.

She wore protection every day for the rest of summer vacation. Jocelyn would let her stay in her diaper after nap time as long as it was still dry. Sarah got in the habit of waiting to pee so she could wear it longer. She was surprised to learn that it was acceptable to poop in her protection. At first she was averse to the idea, but she slowly became curious. One day during recess Natalie pooped her pull-up. Sarah asked her what it was like to which Natalie replied it’s not as bad as you would expect. Sarah decided to finally try it out. She pooped her pull-up and went right back to playing. Jocelyn didn’t even flinch when she changed Sarah into her nap time diaper. She just asked if it was an accident or for convenience. Sarah replied that it was for convenience.

Natalie, Valerie and Sarah became better friends as the summer advanced. Valerie and Sarah dreaded that school would be starting soon and they wouldn’t get to see Natalie. These fears were abandoned one day when Amanda came to them with an announcement.

“Ever since Sarah’s abduction we’ve had a ton of applications for older children. We had to turn them all away since we were at capacity. It made me realize there is a huge need for a safe place for children when their parents are at work. I’ve been doing a lot of planning and pretty soon I’m starting a new business. It’s called ‘A Safe Place Daycare Center’. There is no age requirement, but we will give preference to older children and teens. I spoke to your parents and got all of you enrolled. You will even get to ride the bus there after school. What do you think?”

The three girls hugged and danced around joyfully. Valerie and Sarah were grateful they would get to stay in touch with Natalie. For Natalie, it was bittersweet. For as long as she could remember she had been enrolled at Rainbow. She was excited that she could still see Valerie and Sarah but wondered what that meant for her future.

Natalie took a solemn walk around Rainbow. She took it all in. With every little nook and cranny she remembered the good times. She was comforted when she realized: I’ve made a lot of good memories here. And I’ll always have those. That won’t change just because I’m going somewhere else. And when I get there I’ll be able to make lots and lots of new memories. And my friends will be there. My best friends.


Great story! Would love to see this continued!

Thanks a lot for leaving a comment. If it does continue it will be in the form of a sequel since I am very satisfied with how this wrapped up.