Eight Days of Diapers

Part I: A Hanukah Wish

“So do you get presents every night?” That, along with “is there a Hanukah Bush?” was the extent of Andy’s friends’ interest in Hanukah, in the entirety of his faith, actually. And though Andy felt confident enough to answer – gifts were usually exchanged during the first two nights and there was no bush, just a menorah – there was plenty about his religion that mystified him. There was the Hebrew language with its harsh, guttural sounds and funky alphabet; the holidays whose names he mixed up and whose meanings were reduced to dietary prescriptions (dairy on Shavuot, hamantashen on Purim, nothing at all on Yom Kippur); the dozens of other things, large and small, which separated him from his friends, who were Episcopalian or Catholic and claimed Sunday as their day of worship and had no need for any tongue but plain old English. Andy was 12 now, his Bar Mitzvah less than a year away, and he could feel those differences creeping up on him, threatening to sever his tenuous grip on “normal.”

Deep down, however, he knew it was not his religion which risked turning him into a pariah, that he would feel the same anxiety if his last name were Smith instead of Greenbaum. It had to do with what he liked, which, he guessed, had to do with who he was. Take his bike, for instance. He had it since he was 7 and though he’d had to have the seat raised a few times, he liked it just fine when he was riding alone. It was familiar, comfortable, and reliable. When he rode with friends, however, it embarrassed him. It was clearly a kid’s bike, a blue single-speed Schwinn which once housed training wheels. His friends were all moving onto the mountain bikes and street cruisers which would carry them into their teens and Andy knew it would only be a matter of time before they grew tired of waiting for him to catch up.

It was the same thing with video games. Andy’s friends favored the Nintendo Wii and Andy thought it looked like fun…until he tried to play it. He was unable to master the Wii Remote’s motion sensitivity and his performance at Wii Sports was embarrassingly awful. In bowling, his balls spun right and struck gutter and in golf, he couldn’t stay out of the sand. “You just need more practice,” his friends told him. They encouraged him to ask his parents for a Wii of his own and Andy agreed, though privately he preferred the older, simpler gaming systems and did not look forward to sharing a Wii with his younger brother, Jake. So to fit in, Andy put down a new bike and a Wii on his Hanukah wish list, confident he could get one but not both, even though he really wanted neither.

What he really wanted was diapers. For the past few years, Andy longed to be put back in diapers, to be routinely checked and changed, to have no more concern for making it to the toilet than he did for having a job. The why of it eluded him. He did not struggle with continence growing up and he was not raised without love. All he knew was that no 12-year-old should want to wear diapers. If his Judaism made him different, that made him a full-blown freak. It shamed him deeply and he carried the weight of that shame alone.

But the shame did not deter him. Furtively, he browsed diaper sites on the computer he and Jake shared. He was desperate to find out more about his peculiar desire, to see if there were others like him. What he discovered blew his mind. There were pictures, stories, entire online communities dedicated to people who liked to wear diapers. It left Andy wondering how many “DLs” (diaper lovers) there were in the world. Hundreds? Thousands?

Visiting those sites had a strange effect on Andy. Initially, it made him feel even more ashamed. He knew some of the sites were meant for adults and he had no business looking at them. His face flushed with shame and some of the content he came across scared and confused him. At the same time, doing something he knew he shouldn’t be doing made him feel good. It was his own quiet way of standing up for himself and what he wanted.

On the teen forums, Andy found acceptance and a wealth of practical advice. He exaggerated slightly, claiming he was 14 instead of 12, but no one suspected otherwise. When he contemplated coming out to his parents about wanting diapers, a menagerie of posters advised against it. Some shared horror tales of awkwardness and familial dissension that lingered for weeks. Similarly, he learned that intentionally having “accidents” was foolhardy and that real diapers would be worth waiting years for.

Andy was always careful. He typed out everything he wanted to post in a Word document beforehand. That way, his progress would not be lost if he had to relinquish the computer to Jake or was called away unexpectedly. He cleared his browsing history regularly and never left browser windows open, not even when he stepped away to pee. It wasn’t foolproof, but Andy figured he could go on for quite awhile without getting caught. Jake was 7 and only cared about games, their mother didn’t know much more than word processing and their father always gave a heads up when he commandeered the computer to perform maintenance or install something.

The computer and the world of virtual diaperdom wasn’t as good as the real thing, but it was close as Andy thought he could get for now. In another few years, when he had a car and some money saved up and a lot more nerve, he would buy his own diapers and hide them and enjoy them when no one was around. In the meantime, however, he began clearing imaginary space in the garage or in front of the TV for the bike or the Wii and practiced his gracious smile for when he would undoubtedly receive them.

Hanukah started on a Friday that year. It would be over days before Christmas began, meaning Andy would not have off from school. Jake insisted this was a rip-off, but Andy knew better. All the important stuff happened at night anyway.

That Wednesday, Andy came home from school to find his father’s car in the driveway. This was not unusual – his father was a dentist and when his patients cancelled or no-showed their appointments, he headed home. Sure enough, he found his father seated at the kitchen table. His mother was there, too, and they both looked as if they’d been waiting for his arrival. They said they wanted to talk.

It could have been anything. It could have been more Bar Mitzvah planning or something about his brother, since they weren’t waiting until Jake got home in order to talk to him. Yet Andy couldn’t shake the feeling that his secret had been discovered. He felt his heart beat fast and hard in his chest and it took every ounce of self-control he could muster to not break down right there.

“What about?” he asked. He dropped his backpack by the door and pulled up a high-backed wooden chair.

“I needed to print up a list of odds and ends and last minute gifts,” his mother explained. “When I opened Word, what do you think I found?”

Andy felt like punching himself. He’d been in a hurry that morning and ended up hitting the off button on the computer instead of shutting it down like he was supposed to. That meant the next person to open Word would see a recovered document, his document. Normally, that next person was Andy himself – the middle school let out earlier than the elementary school and he always beat Jake home – but today it was his mother.

Of all the days to get caught, this was the worst. The post he’d started on that morning was in response to a Christmas wish list thread. Needless to say, he amended it to Hanukah. And needless to say, he put down diapers.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, staring down at the floor. His eyes focused on the gray swirls frozen in the white tile. The floor looked hard enough to crack a skull, but at that moment, he thought it would be softer than either of his parents’ faces.

“How long have you wanted this?” his mother asked. Slowly, Andy lifted his head. He was surprised to discover that his parents weren’t angry. They were concerned and a little bewildered, but not mad.

“A long time,” Andy replied. “I don’t know why. I kinda wish that I didn’t, but I do.”

His mother and father exchanged long glances, their eyes blank slates for Andy to project his anxiety. What if they try to have me sent away?, he thought. What if…

“Your mother and I talked this over,” his father said. “And I also discussed it with a doctor in my building, someone who works with children. We feel…” He paused, looking to his wife for confirmation, and Andy’s mother nodded with her lips pressed tightly together. “…that if this is something you want, something you really want, that we should let you have it.”

Andy couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His mouth fell open to issue a response, but it was as if he temporarily forgot how to speak. He managed to blurt out an “I” and let shocked silence fill its wake.

“It’s OK,” his mother told him, smiling now while she patted his back. He looked at her, at both of them, and wanted a “why,” only he didn’t, not if it cost him or complicated this most unexpected of victories. “We still love you.”

Andy relaxed slightly after that. The pressure was gone, but a lot of uncertainty remained. They said they would give him what he wanted, but for how long? Was there a catch? There had to be.

“What, exactly, am I getting?” he asked.

“Diapers for Hanukah,” his mother told him. “And you’ll be wearing them all eight days or until the package runs out. That ought to get this out of your system.”

Andy picked up on her subtle disapproval, but he didn’t care. He felt like he’d struck jackpot.

“Before you get too excited, you’d better be sure this is what you want,” his father cautioned. “It may not be all it’s cracked up to be.”

He knew what they were doing. For his parents, the diapers were a lesson. They probably figured he would get sick of them after a day or two and would want nothing more to do with them once the eight days were up. But Andy knew differently. This was a golden opportunity and he’d be an idiot not to take it.

“Yes, I want it,” he told them, practically giddy with excitement. “I want it a lot.”

Re: Eight Days of Diapers

Part II: Traditions

Andy stood over the kitchen garbage can, a big potato in one hand and a peeler in the other. It was Friday, late afternoon, and he was helping his mother make latkes. The crunchy potato pancakes were one of Andy’s favorite foods and helping his mother make them had become something of a tradition in years’ past. Still, he contemplated sitting this year out. Jake was old enough to finally be useful in the kitchen and Andy felt it was time to pass the torch. But when he found Jake dawdling instead of peeling, asking dumb questions like “how come Grandma’s have carrots in them and yours don’t?,” Andy took the peeler from his brother’s idle hands and went to work. His mother wouldn’t say it, but he was sure she was grateful.

It was already dark when the Greenbaums sat down to eat. They enjoyed a modest meal, nothing like the family feast which awaited them on Saturday. When they were finished and the plates were cleared, Andy and Jake left the kitchen for the dining room, where a brass menorah waited on a plate covered with tinfoil to catch the dripping wax. Eight candleholders stood in a row before a raised Star of David while the ninth candleholder formed a row of one in front. Andy’s mother had already put the first night’s candle, a red one, in the far right candleholder. Another, white candle, the eventual shamas (or helper), lay flat on the silver foil.

“Hanukah!” Jake yelped excitedly. Andy, only slightly more composed himself, didn’t have the heart to tell him to calm down.

“Don’t forget your kippas, boys,” their father reminded him, his head already covered. Andy kept one beside his prayer book for Hebrew school and went to fetch it. When he returned, he found his brother wearing a brightly colored winter sock hat with a pompom at the end.

“You look stupid,” Andy told him.

“Nuh-uh,” Jake protested.

“Dad, make him take it off.”

“I think he’s OK wearing it tonight,” their father said. “But not tomorrow.”

“Definitely not,” their mother seconded.

With no further adieu, the family gathered around the menorah. Andy’s father struck a match, lit the shamas and passed it off to Andy, who was surprised to take the burning candle in his hand.

“Time to put your Hebrew to good use,” his father said.

Andy nodded, and, after a moment’s hesitation, began to read prayers from the candle box while setting the red candle ablaze. They were transliterated, but he focused on the Hebrew characters above the English text. He knew he needed to take this ancient, tricky language and make it his own if he stood any chance of getting through his Bar Mitzvah. The Hanukah prayers would be good practice. His voice wrestled with the syllables, but in the end, he nailed it, even the extra prayer for the holiday’s first night.

“Very nice, Andy,” his mother said as she took the dripping shamas and placed it in the holder.

Everyone scattered after that, each to retrieve a card or a gift. Andy had gotten his parents a picture frame and a small card to go with it. He wrapped it himself and kept it stowed in his closet for two weeks. It wasn’t much, but it was the best that he, 12 years old and devoid of income, could do. For Jake, he got gelt. The chocolate coins were likewise a cheapie gift, but he knew they would satisfy Jake just fine. His brother loved candy and it showed.

Moments later, with the candles burning a room away, the family regrouped in the living room to exchange gifts. Andy spotted two large packages, wrapped in white and blue paper. He had not forgotten about the diapers, obviously, but now he began to wonder if that would be it. Would they give them to him right here and right now, in front of Jake, or would he receive them later? Would they come in lieu of another gift or would they be a supplement?

Andy swallowed hard and forced his attention back to the ritual at hand. He and Jake both presented to their parents first. His picture frame elicited another “Very nice, Andy” from his mother and a “Thank you, son” from his father, while they both oohed and ahhed over Jake’s crappy arts-and-crafts collage as only parents knew how. Andy might have been mad about that, but what happened next erased all his animosity. He and Jake turned toward one another and simultaneously presented each other with identical bags of gelt! The entire family burst out laughing and it took them all a good moment or two to recover.

“This one is for the both of you,” their mother said, pushing one of the packages between them. Jake tore at the wrapping paper with savage abandon, revealing a brand-new Nintendo Wii.

“Wii!” he shouted. “Awesome!”

Andy felt himself grow excited too. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad sharing with Jake. If anything, he knew he would no longer be the worst player.

“I don’t want you to spend all day in front of this thing,” their father said. “The first sign of your grades going down, it’s going right in the closet. Understood?”

They nodded in unison and their mother handed them each an envelope. Inside was a card and a Toys R Us gift certificate.

“Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad,” Andy said.

“Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad,” Jake parroted.

“Jake’s is a bit more,” their mother explained. “Because Andy is getting this.”

She handed him the last remaining package and he took it with sweaty palms and baited breath. He knew what was inside, but he was still reluctant to open it. What if his father was right? What if it really WASN’T all it cracked up to be? Diapers were a dream for him, a fairy tale, and he was old enough to know those never came true. Still, he had to find out for himself. It was destiny, he thought, as he peeled off the paper.

Inside, Andy found a 20-count pack of Depend fitted briefs, a tub of wipes and a container of Johnson & Johnson baby powder. He ran his hand over the green bag of diapers, the plastic sending a small jolt to his fingertips. They were real, they were here and they were his. He was so happy he could cry.

Jake, on the other hand, was laughing. “Andy got diapers, Andy got diapers,” he taunted. It took some of the wind out of Andy’s sails, but it was to be expected.

“Jake, this is what your brother wanted,” their mother calmly explained. “He’s going through a…phase right now and there is no reason to be mean to him about it.”


“It wasn’t all that long ago that you were in diapers, mister,” she said. That shut him up. Jake had been a late trainer. He was three when he stopped having daytime accidents and he continued to wet at night for a few months thereafter.

“Satisfied?” their father asked.

“Mmm-hmm,” Andy said.

“Well,” his father said, clearing his throat. “As long as you’re happy.”

It was clear his father wasn’t entirely comfortable with the whole arrangement, but that made Andy love him even more. He knew that meant he cared.

“Dad, can you set this up?” Jake asked, pointing to the Wii. “I wanna play.”

“In a minute.”

Andy wanted to set the Wii up himself, to show that, despite the diapers, he was still capable of doing plenty. His mother, however, had other ideas.

“While they’re doing that, Andy, why don’t you come with me?” she said. She’d gathered up the bag of diapers and motioned for Andy to grab the rest of the supplies. Together, they retreated to the privacy of his room.

“How you choose to use these – if you choose to use these – is up to you,” she told him. “I only ask that you be sanitary. Wrap them up in a plastic bag when you change and for God’s sake, change regularly.”

“Yes, Mom,” Andy said. He felt like he was being talked down to. Was that part of it too?

“Now,” she said. “It’s been awhile, but I should still remember how to do this…”

“Mom?” Andy asked, confused. “Are you going to put a diaper on me?”

“Just this first one,” she said. “Just so you can see how it’s done. After that, it’s your responsibility.”

Andy nodded. So he wasn’t getting changed, after all. It wasn’t quite what he wanted, but, he reasoned, it was certainly good enough. Come to think of it, it was probably better this way. It was less for him to feel weird or guilty about.

Following his mother’s instructions, Andy disrobed and lay back on his bed. His mother unfolded the first of the briefs and slid it under him, the top even with his lower back. “Hmm…these are a little big on you,” she observed. “That means they’ll rise a little higher. Be careful not to let them ride too high in the back though.”

“I won’t,” he answered. Andy took in the rest of his mother’s advice while she powdered him. He was told to keep the tapes even and aim for a tight fit, but not TOO tight or the tapes would pop. She also told him to make sure the brief was fully unfolded, to avoid bunching.

“There,” she said, after pressing down the last of the tapes. “How’s that?”

“It feels good,” Andy answered. It did, too. Having a diaper around his waist seemed to suck all the tension right out of him. That he was Jewish, that he couldn’t throw a football to save his life, that he had a kid’s bike and unstylish clothes – none of it seemed to matter now. He had his diaper and he felt safe and secure, so much so that he began to wiggle around on his bed, oblivious to how dumb or strange he must look.

“You know,” his mother said, smiling down at him. “Maybe you’re onto something.”

She didn’t clarify the comment and he didn’t ask her to. He thanked her for the tips, pulled his pants back up and rejoined the rest of his family in front of the television. His dad had the Wii set up and Jake was busy crafting his Mii, a digital avatar, which, of course, looked nothing like him.

A few minutes later, Andy had his Mii ready to go as well and he and Jake took turns battling each other at Wii Sports, the system’s pack-in title. Maybe it was the diaper or maybe it was the lack of more experienced gamers to scrutinize him, but, for whatever reason, Andy found he was doing a lot better with the troublesome controller. He took three strokes to win his first round of golf, while it took Jake close to 10. Which, Andy had to admit, was about par for a 7-year-old.

“I don’t wanna play golf anymore,” Jake protested.

“You’re only saying that because you got your butt kicked,” Andy pointed out.

“Yeah, well you’re wearing a diaper!”

Andy jabbed him lightly in the arm, but agreed to switch sports nevertheless. It didn’t matter. He felt like he could do anything and be happy. It was as good as he felt in a long time and he wished that feeling could last forever. But on some level, he knew it would not. He had another seven nights to contend with and the next one would be spent with additional family.

Re: Eight Days of Diapers

Part III: Trapped in White

Andy often had to pee when he woke up and Saturday was no exception. He half-turned to rise from his bed and head for the bathroom, but the crinkling that came with this movement reminded him there was no need to do so. He was wearing a diaper now and he might as well put it to use.

Unfortunately, that proved easier said than done. His bladder was well-trained and would not yield. Andy experimented with several positions before he found one – flat on his back, butt raised, knees tucked to chest – that worked. He relaxed and began to fill his diaper. It felt warm, wet and wonderful.

Later, after he’d changed and eaten and had started on some reading for school, his mother approached him with a worried look. A dagger of fear struck Andy at the base of his neck. This was too good to be true, he thought. They were going to take his diapers away.

“I just got off the phone with your Aunt Deb,” she said. “It looks like you won’t be the only one in diapers today.”

Andy glared at her, bewildered. Who else could it be?"

“You know your Uncle Marty’s been in and out of the hospital a lot lately,” his mother continued. “It’s been very rough on all of your cousins, especially Libby. She’s been having accidents.”

“Oh,” Andy said. He didn’t know how he was supposed to react to that. Was he supposed to feel guilty? Sad? Relieved?

“I told your Aunt Deb a little fib,” his mother confessed. “I said you’d been having accidents too and that’s why you’re wearing diapers. Would you be willing to play along, Andy? It would make your cousin feel a lot better.”

“Sure,” Andy said, without really thinking about it. He had four cousins on his mother’s side. Matt was nearly a decade older, an adult away at college who he rarely saw. Hannah was 17 and almost home free. She had little use for him or Jake, he suspected. Noah or “Tony,” as he liked to be called, was 9 and seemed pretty cool for his age, but Jake liked to hog his attention. That left Libby by default. She was a few months younger than Andy and he never had any problems with her, but she was a girl and he was never sure what things girls liked, so they never had much to talk about. He doubted diapers would bring them closer together.

The family would be celebrating Hanukah that evening with Andy’s grandparents on his mother’s side. They lived about an hour away, a straight shot down two highways. Snow was forecast for that night, but Andy’s father said they should be back home before it got too bad. Andy hoped so – he looked forward to playing more Wii later on.

They set out in the late afternoon. Thick clouds grayed the sky, but the ground was still dry. Before they left, Andy handed his mother one of his diapers and asked her to hold it in her purse. She gave him an odd look, but did not refuse the request. Andy hadn’t planned on wetting his diaper in front of his cousins and grandparents, but he had no idea how far he’d have to go in pretending to need them.

It had been months since Andy saw his mother’s family – they’d gone to his father’s grandparents’ for Thanksgiving – and Andy was surprised by how different everyone looked. Aunt Deb’s hair was shorter and Tony’s was longer, while Hannah had put on a few pounds. No one, however, looked more different than his Uncle Marty. When Andy last saw his mother’s older brother, he had sandy brown hair that was lightly flecked with gray. It was completely silver now, verging on white. Uncle Marty had also lost a great deal of weight. Fighting cancer had left him gaunt and nearly skeletal. He also looked very, very tired, as if the easy chair he was sitting on could swallow him up whole.

Andy was able to stifle a gasp when he saw him, but there was no stifling his flinch when he felt Uncle Marty’s bony fingers on his arm.

“How’reya doing, champ?” he said.

“Fine,” Andy replied, a little too quickly. “I…uh…hope you feel better.”

Uncle Marty pressed his thin lips into a smile, but Andy could not bring himself to match the gesture. He knew at one point, when he was in the hospital, that Uncle Marty looked even worse than this. It was no wonder Libby was having problems. If he saw his own father so close to death, he’d have problems too.

Libby, for her part, looked almost exactly the same. She was a little sullen, perhaps, but she did not seem taller, older, thinner or fatter. She also did not seem to be diapered. She was wearing a denim skirt with burgundy leggings and Andy couldn’t make out a bulge.

After his initial hellos, Andy stayed clear of her. He tried to talk to Tony instead, but stupid Jake kept monopolizing the conversation (“What’d you get, Tony?” and “Tony, guess what I got?” and “What do you think you’ll get tonight?”). Andy could have told him to be quiet, but they would have argued and the last thing he wanted to do then and there was stir up trouble. With Hannah ignoring him and his grandparents vaguely terrifying (his grandfather was very tall and scowled often, his grandmother was slowly going deaf), he finally found himself sitting next to Libby regardless.

She’d taken refuge on the floor, where she sat with her head on her knees. “I’m sorry about your dad,” Andy told her.

“He’s not dead!” she snapped. He was taken aback by her insistence and scooted an inch or two away. While he moved, his diaper crinkled, and he found Libby staring wide-eyed at his pants. “You too?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Andy said, embarrassed.

“I hate it,” she told him.

“I…it’s not so bad,” he said. He wouldn’t own up to liking diapers, at least not to her, but he could only pretend so much for her sake.

It wasn’t long before dinner smells beckoned everyone to the long dining room table. Grandpa Gellman took the head, Uncle Marty sat at the foot so he could get out easily. Andy sat roughly halfway down with Jake on his left and Libby on his right. Soon, the table began to fill: iced tea in a glass pitcher, brisket on a platter, bowls of vegetables and a plate piled high with latkes.

It took several minutes for everyone to plate up and the wait made Andy’s mouth water. For as different as his religion made him feel, he never felt self-conscious about liking Jewish food. Latkes were a treat his goyim friends would never know.

He was heartened too by the game of dreidel which started not long after dinner ended. He and Jake and Tony and Libby sat in a circle on the living room floor. Their grandmother passed them a wooden dreidel and some gelt to play with and they took turns spinning the four-sided top. Two of the four faces – gimmel and hey – meant he got at least some of the gelt in the pot. Only one, shin, meant he’d have to give something up. With those odds, Andy did more than OK for himself.

While he was playing, two things happened. The first was that Andy began to think about what it really meant to be Jewish, about how the stuff he liked, like latkes and dreidel, connected to the stuff he didn’t like (sitting in Synagogue during the High Holidays…bleh) or didn’t really understand. He tried to put it all together and what he came away with, what he hoped was right, was that he should still try to do the stuff he didn’t like, because even if he didn’t understand it, God did, and sticking with God meant he’d ultimately end up with more of the stuff he did like. That, as near as he could figure, was the only way it all made sense.

The other thing that happened was that Andy wet his diaper. He’d meant to hold it until the end of the dreidel game, but suddenly the dreidel was in his hands and his cousins were looking at him, waiting for him to spin. With a turn of the wrist, he gave the top a spin and when he let go, he was peeing himself. He could only hope nobody noticed.

The table was cleared by the time the dreidel game ended and a menorah had been set up. The menfolk donned their kippot and Grandpa Gellman did the honors, lighting the candles and delivering the prayers in loud, clear, familiar Hebrew. Andy chipped in an “Amen” with the rest of the family at the end of each blessing, relieved to have the spotlight off him for a change.

Coffee and dessert were served while the candles burned. Andy made quick work of a pair of jelly donuts and went to take his plate to the sink. When he entered the kitchen, he saw his grandparents standing near their breakfast nook, arguing. They didn’t hear him come in, which was just as well – they were arguing about him.

“His Bar-Mitzvah is next year,” Grandpa Gellman said. “He is going to be a man, but still in diapers? Pah!”

“Oh, so you’re perfect now?” Grandma Gellman retorted. “These kids, Victor, they aren’t like us. They have it easy. For them, Marty getting sick, whatever, it’s very hard on them.”

Andy was shaken by what he heard. It was almost enough to make him want to tear his diaper off and stomp on it. Maybe his grandfather was right. How could he ever grow up if he was still wearing diapers?

Instead, he returned to the dining room and ran into another argument.

“Hannah,” said Aunt Deb. “Why don’t you go help your sister?”

“I’m fine,” Libby protested. “I don’t NEED any help.”

“Yeah, right,” said Hannah. “That’s why you leaked the last time. Because you don’t need any help.”

“Mom…” Libby appealed.

“Libby, go along now.”

“Come on, tinklepants,” Hannah admonished.

They left for a guest bedroom and Andy waited a minute before following. He was only half aware of what he was doing. In a more reflective state, he might have realized how strange it was to watch his cousin get her diaper changed. But he was acting on impulse now and a desire to be in her place.

Either embarrassment, guilt or fear kept Andy from actually watching what was happening. He stood just outside the doorway and listened. There was more bickering between the two sisters, then he heard the rustling of plastic as Libby’s leggings were pulled down. The popping of tapes followed, then more rustling, then, a moment later, some unexpectedly quick footsteps.

Andy didn’t have time to get out of the way before he was face-to-face with Hannah. She was holding a rolled-up wet diaper in one hand and a look of disgust on her face.

“What?” she asked. “Do you need a change too?”

Andy was too awe-struck to answer, so she just told him to go in there and lay on the bed. He did so quickly, brainlessly, before his good sense had a chance to recover.

He came in just as Libby was finishing rolling up her leggings and caught the quickest, barest flash of her diaper. It embarrassed him now to be in here with her, to have something he liked twisted into something she needed and dreaded. Sighing, he lay down on the bed.

“You’re getting changed too, huh?” Libby asked him.

“Yeah,” Andy said, sounding none too happy about it.

“Why didn’t you put up more of a fight?”

“I dunno.”

“I think you like wearing diapers,” she said.

Andy blushed furiously and looked away. Was it that easy for her to tell? And if it was, it would be easy for others to figure it out, too. His friends would find out. He’d be forever known as Andy the Diaper Boy, among other things. Oh God, why couldn’t he have kept his big mouth shut?

“I don’t care if you do,” Libby told him. “I just wish I didn’t have to.”

“I’m sorry,” Andy said. “I wished you didn’t have to, either.” Then, a moment later, “Hannah shouldn’t be so mean to you.”

Libby sighed. “What happened to Daddy happened to all of us. I think she thinks I’m doing this on purpose to hog the attention.”

“But you’re not though,” he said. “And it’s still not right.”

Their conversation ceased when Hannah reappeared. She had a fresh diaper in her hand and that same look of disgust on her face. She went to work quickly and efficiently, with lots of haste and little affection.

“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” she said, yanking his pants down. “At least when I babysit, I get paid. I can’t wait….lift your butt up….til graduation. There’s no way in hell I’m doing this next year.”

She finished in what seemed like record time. Andy had gotten what he wanted – someone else had changed him. But the good feelings associated with his diapers were gone.

Andy and Libby’s diaper change wrapped up just in time. Jake, and, to a lesser extent, Tony, were getting antsy. “Presents!” Jake exclaimed, leading a retreat back to the living room.

“Hold your horses,” his father said. Andy was glad he wasn’t the only one who found Jake’s enthusiasm to be grating.

In due time, the present swap began. Bags and boxes and neatly-wrapped packages were passed around, first to the kids and later to the adults. Andy’s haul was satisfactory. He ended up with a new polo shirt, a Barnes and Noble gift certificate and, from his grandparents, a chai on a golden chain. He said his “thank-yous” and meant every one.

When the last of the gifts had been given and the last of the wrapping paper disposed of, everyone began saying their goodbyes and gathering their coats. Gifts in hand, Andy began advancing to the door, but Hannah’s voice brought him to a sudden halt.

“Oh, shit!” she exclaimed.

“Language,” Aunt Deb chastised.

“Sorry, Mom, but you’ve got to see this. It’s a mess out there.”

During their Hanukah celebration, the family had neglected to check the weather forecast on the TV or pay much attention to what was happening right outside the window, for that matter. The snow that was predicted to arrive later that night came early and at a greater volume than the meteorologists had counted on. When Andy looked out his grandparents’ front door, he found cars covered with white from wheel to roof, streets and sidewalks submerged under snow while more of it continued to fall. It was obvious that no one was going anywhere.

Re: Eight Days of Diapers

Part IV: Miracles Great and Small

While the snow continued to fall, sleeping arrangements were made in haste. Andy’s mother and Uncle Marty returned to their childhood bedrooms, which had long ago become dumping grounds for their parents’ accumulation of clutter. Boxes were moved, blankets were unearthed and knickknacks were piled and shoved aside. It was less than ideal, but the adults would make do. That left the living room couch for Hannah and the first-floor guest bedroom for the kids.

When it was time to go to sleep, Andy, Jake and Tony shared the bed, while Libby grabbed a pillow and a blanket and took to the floor.

“She thinks she’s too good for us,” Tony chided.

“Shut up,” Libby said.

While Tony and Jake continued to talk, Andy left the bed and knelt down by his cousin. He felt so bad for her. She had to wear diapers even though she didn’t want to, she was teased by her siblings and now she didn’t even have a bed to sleep in.

“You can have my spot,” Andy offered.

“It’s not the space I’m worried about,” Libby said.

“Then what is it?”

“I’m afraid that I’ll leak,” she whispered.

“You won’t leak,” he told her.

“Yeah? How do you know?”

Andy, of course, did not know whether Libby’s diaper would leak or not. But if a little bit of oil could last eight days and a light dusting of snow could turn into a heavy blanketing, then surely God could make a diaper last through a night.

“Trust me,” he said. “These things hold a lot. They have, um, polymers and stuff. I learned that in school.”

“OK,” she said, leaving the floor for the bed.

It was a snug fit, one which would have been unbearably awkward in another year or two. Libby took the end closest to the wall, followed by Andy. They were diapered and would not need to climb over anyone to get up to use the bathroom. Jake lay to Andy’s right, then Tony took the end. The one upside to the arrangement was that nobody was cold.

“Andy?” Jake asked. Andy wondered if his brother would ever learn when to stop talking.

“What?” Andy said.

“Can we build a snowman tomorrow?”

“Maybe,” Andy said. ‘Maybe’ rarely satisfied Jake, but on that occasion it did. He was quiet and Andy was quiet and Tony and Libby were quiet too. The only sounds in the room were the light crinkling of diapers whenever Andy or Libby turned. Amid such silence, sleep came with surprise ease.

The next morning threatened to turn Andy to a liar. He felt dampness on his back and his first thought was that his diaper had leaked after all. But when he felt the front of his pants to check the damage, his fingers came up dry. The dampness wasn’t around him, it was underneath him. It was Jake, he realized. Jake had wet the bed.

“Damnit, Jake,” Andy grumbled. His brother woke up, realized what he’d done, and started bawling almost immediately. It took Andy a good minute or two to calm him down.

“It’s my fault,” Tony reluctantly admitted. “He kicked me like he wanted to get up, but I was too tired to move.”

Ironically, it was Libby, the only incontinent among them, who did not wake up with a wet bed. Sleeping so close to the wall had spared her. And though she saw enough in the situation to produce a slight giggle, she dared not say an unkind word to anyone.

Andy sought out his mother to tell her what happened.

“You’re kidding,” she said.

“I wish,” he answered.

Shaking her head, she acted decisively, stripping the wet sheets off the bed and gathering them up to toss in the washer.

“I’ll do a load of pants and underwear next,” she said. “You can take turns showering in the meantime.”

“What are we supposed to wear while our clothes are getting washed?” Tony asked.

Clearly at a loss, Andy’s mother bit her lip. There was no way the kids’ grandparents had any clothes that would fit. She was about to tell them to go around wrapped in towels – even though there probably weren’t enough towels for everyone – when Grandma Gellman, who had just put in her hearing aid and was hovering nearby, came up with a solution.

“I keep some cloths for polishing,” she said. “Big ones, in your old room, dear. Maybe for now they will do.”

Andy’s ears perked up. “Big cloths” sounded to him like diapers. He knew people sometimes kept them for cleaning – he saw some once in a friend’s garage. But what were the odds his grandmother would have them too?

And yet a package of cloth diapers was in Andy’s mother’s hands when she returned a few minutes later. His grandmother wasn’t exaggerating. The clothes were big, big enough to fit even him. Though he dared not show it, Andy was excited. He’d never tried cloth diapers before.

He would have to wait awhile to get his turn though. Libby had wet her diaper during the night and was thus the first to shower. While waiting for his turn, Andy walked into the kitchen. He found his Uncle Marty sitting on a stool in the breakfast nook and nearly recoiled.

“You’re scared of me, aren’t you?” Uncle Marty asked.

“No,” Andy lied.

A knowing smile spread across the sick man’s face. “It’s OK,” he said. “Every now and then, I look in the mirror and I get scared too.” He ran his hands over his face and asked, in mock-seriousness, what happened. “I’m getting better though,” he continued. “I just need to take it one day at a time. By the time your Bar Mitzvah rolls around, I should be close to 100 percent.”

“I wish I didn’t have a Bar Mitzvah,” Andy blurted out. He hadn’t meant to confide in his uncle, or in anyone, for that matter, about this, but it slipped out anyway. He expected his uncle would chastise him, tell him how he should look on it as an honor and a privilege. Instead, Uncle Marty said he didn’t want to have his either.

“I was always the rebel,” he told a surprised Andy. “I wore my hair long and nearly got kicked out of high school. I did a lot of stupid things. Your mother looked up to me for it, I think, but I’m glad she never followed. It wasn’t until I met your Aunt Deb that I really settled down…Anyway, the Bar Mitzvah. I didn’t want anything to do with it. All that Hebrew to memorize, all those people there to watch me if I screwed up. Your grandparents made me, of course, and I was mad about it. But then when your cousins came along, I was glad that I had one. Because now I know what it will be like for them. I guess what I’m trying to say, Andy.” He paused to cough. “Is that whatever doesn’t kill you does more than make you stronger. It makes you smarter, too. You learn from it. Not just the good things, but the bad things and stupid things. All of it. Does that make any sense?”

“Yeah,” said Andy. “It does.”

He wasn’t lying or paying lip service. The cloud of confusion in his head began to evaporate and he felt two giant puzzle pieces slide together. The conclusion he reached last night playing dreidel was right after all. Everything, good and bad, was there to test him, to make him better, and if he couldn’t quite get comfortable with that idea, at least it was one he understood.

Andy headed for the bathroom next, hoping to take a shower. Someone had beaten him too it, however. The door was closed and the water was running. The second-floor bathroom was likewise in use. Andy returned to the first-floor hallway and waited so no one else would steal his turn. Across from him, the door to the guest bedroom was closed. Andy guessed Libby was in there being rediapered by Aunt Deb. He wondered if she would always hate diapers. He hoped not. It was almost enough to make him feel guilty for liking them.

Libby exited the bedroom just before her brother emerged from the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist. Aunt Deb summoned him to the bedroom and he entered reluctantly.

“Lay down so I can put this on you,” she instructed.

“Why do I have to wear a diaper?” he protested. “I’m not the one who wet the bed!”

“I know that, honey. This is just for now.”


“Noah, I am not going to ask you again.”

Andy chuckled. He knew his cousin didn’t like his real name and he knew his aunt only used it when she was serious. He took his shower, left his pants in the pile that was accumulating on the bathroom floor and returned to the guest bedroom for his diapering. Aunt Deb was waiting for him, a cloth diaper fanned out on the floor beside her.

“Have you seen my mom?” Andy asked.

“I think she went to help your dad with the shoveling,” she replied.


“Don’t be silly, Andy,” she told him. “I used to do this for you all the time when you were little.”

That was true enough, he supposed, though he didn’t remember any of his diaper changes from when he was an infant. Nevertheless, he lay down and let his aunt diaper him. She took more time than her daughter did, carefully tugging the cloth up and over and securing it in place with a safety pin on each side.

“Thanks,” Andy said. He was amazed by how soft the fabric felt against him, though he doubted it would hold very much. That was OK – he didn’t plan on wetting until he got home.

Freshly diapered, Andy joined his cousins in the living room. Hannah had stumbled across a deck of playing cards and had a game of poker going.

“Deal you in?” she offered.

“I’m not good at it,” Andy explained.

“Like any of us are,” she said. “'Sides, it’s mostly luck anyway.”

Andy agreed to play. He was dealt two losing hands before Jake joined them. He still looked sullen following his accident and declined the invitation to play. Instead, he sat on the floor watching. He was finally quiet.

The card game ate up a good chunk of time and it wasn’t long before Andy’s mother told the kids their pants were ready. They rose to retrieve their trousers, but not before Hannah snapped a picture of them in their diapers with her cell phone camera.

“Hey!” Tony objected.

“Sorry, but when am I ever going to see this again?” Hannah said. “You guys look too cute.”

“I’m telling Mom.”

“Oh please, it’s not like I’m gonna show this to anyone…”

Andy walked away from the argument red-faced, snatched his pants from his mother and promptly put them on. “Can we go soon?” he asked. He was sick of all the arguing and just wanted to be back at home.

“Actually, I think we’re all headed out for an early lunch,” his mother told him.

Andy sighed. If this kept up, he’d be in as bad a mood as Jake.

The late morning sun was hot and strong and the temperature had kicked up into the lower 40s. Snow had begun to melt into watery pools. Cars along his grandparents’ street were cleared or half-cleared, some carrying snow on the roofs like hats. Where there was only a white monolith the night before, Andy could make out the green of the grass and the gray of the sidewalk.

“It’s too melty,” Jake protested. “Now we can’t make a snowman.”

“It will snow again,” Andy reminded him.

In a three-car caravan, the family made its way over to a diner, an old standby from Andy’s mother and Uncle Marty’s childhood. The building had been remodeled and changed names and ownership several times, but a diner it remained. Somehow, Andy’s grandparents had fallen behind and so the rest of the family waited outside for them to catch up.

“You’re lucky you don’t have any sisters,” Libby whispered to him while they waited.

“Why’s that?” Andy asked. He thought Jake was bad enough.

“On the way over here, Hannah told my mom and dad to stop and get me more diapers. She said I’m going to leak again. She thinks I wet the bed instead of your brother.”

Andy looked at Hannah. She had her back to them and her cell phone out, no doubt texting her friends. Before he could talk himself out of it, he scooped a handful of wet snow off a nearby bush and flung it at her butt. She spun around angry, demanding to know who did it. Neither Andy nor Libby gave anything away.

“Urgh!” she said, barging inside the restaurant.

Libby giggled. “Thanks,” she said.

“Sure,” said Andy. “Any time.”

Their early lunch ended up being closer to a late breakfast. Having worked up an appetite, Andy downed a glass of orange juice and devoured most of a three-egg omelet. Jake, in contrast, only picked at his food. It was clear that wetting the bed still bothered him and Andy resolved to talk to him about it later. For as annoying as Jake often was, seeing him down like this was actually worse. He was only 7, Andy thought. Seven-year-olds are supposed to be bouncing off the walls.

“I’m glad we all got to see each other,” Andy’s grandmother declared. “It isn’t easy these days, with everyone being so busy. And the weather, oy! But we made it.”

“We sure did, Mom,” Uncle Marty said, raising his glass of water in a toast.

Though talkative as ever, the family made it through the meal without a single argument and Andy began to relax. He felt a pang of regret as he said his good-byes. He hoped he would see this side of the family again before his Bar-Mitzvah, especially Libby. For a girl, she took everything…well…like a man.

“I hope you, uh, feel better,” he said.

“What? I’m not si….oh. Thanks. You too.”

“They’re not bad, Libby,” he told her. “You just need to give them a chance.”

“I might have to,” she answered, regretfully and on that note, they parted.

The sun was still shining when the Greenbaums reached home an hour later. Andy put his presents away and changed into a disposable. He kept the cloth diaper though. He began thinking of what he could substitute for plastic pants so he could wear it again.

That evening, he and Jake battled it out on the Wii once again. Andy took it easy on him this time, and, perhaps out of gratitude or perhaps because he’d walked a mile in his shoes, Jake told him he was sorry that he laughed at him for wearing diapers. Andy told him not to worry. He was glad to have his brother back. All that remained was for him to figure out what he was going to do about school.

Re: Eight Days of Diapers

Part V: The Flickering Light

Andy was so shocked to actually receive diapers for Hanukah that he hadn’t given much thought to the logistics of wearing them and school was no exception. In the stories he read, strange things seemed to happen when kids wore diapers to school. Either they were changed by the school nurse or someone of the opposite sex started babying them or it suddenly emerged that their best friend wore diapers, too. Andy couldn’t see any of that happening, but what he could see, if anyone found out, was teasing and lots of it. His social position was already precarious. Being caught wearing diapers would only compound that.

“Hey Dad,” he said on Sunday night. “Is it OK if I don’t wear diapers to school?”

“They’re your diapers,” his father told him. “But I certainly wouldn’t.”

“I don’t think I will.”

Andy saw relief sweep over his old man’s face. That sealed it. He would wear at home only and it would remain his secret. It was better that way, Andy thought. It would give him something to look forward to, something to get him through the day.

The next day seemed to drag, though, as Mondays often did. The fact that Andy knew he would be at home, diapered, in a couple of hours, only made things worse. Anxiety gnawed at him throughout his first couple of classes. At lunch, his friends told him he was acting weird and seemed distracted. That prompted Andy to try to focus on something else. He turned his attention to the rest of his classes, boring as they were; to the social studies test that was coming up at the end of the week; to that cool-looking movie, Avatar, which would be out soon; to the football season, where both the Saints AND the Colts had yet to lose a game. No one topic completely held his attention, but together, the swirl of thoughts succeeded in getting his mind off diapers for the rest of the day.

It was a trick that nearly worked too well. Andy had gone home, helped himself to a snack (milk and Oreos – a classic) and set out his books on the small desk in his room to do his homework before it finally occurred to him that he could be doing all of that diapered. He stopped what he was doing, grabbed a fresh diaper from the package, his fifth out of the original twenty, and put it on.

A strange thing happened next: Andy felt nothing. The diaper felt fine physically, or at least no different than any of the other diapers that he’d worn since Friday, but there was no spark of excitement when he put it on. He did not feel more mischievous or more secure or more anything, really. It was just like when Hannah changed him on Saturday. The thrill was gone.

Andy stared at the remaining diapers in disbelief, bewildered that his enjoyment would come and go. That never happened in the stories he read. The diaperee either loved being diapered or hated it. It was never just OK. He would post something to the forums later asking if this was normal. In the meantime, he went about doing his homework, hopeful that his enthusiasm would return.

It did not. He finished his homework, played some Wii and ate dinner with his family. Throughout all of it, the knowledge that he was diapered did not seem to do anything to his mood. No one drew any attention to it and Andy soon forgot that he had a diaper on. When nature called, he stood in front of the toilet and pulled his diaper down so he could pee, treating it as if it were no more than a pair of standard-issue briefs. Only a desire to avoid wasting it caused him to pull the diaper back up at the last minute.

Wearing diapers, Andy realized, felt a lot like lighting that night’s candles. There were no more presents to be exchanged, no changes to the blessings, nothing that would make him think additionally or differently about the meaning of Hanukah or Judaism or life or God, but he took part in it anyway because it was what was to be done.

Unlike Andy’s diaper, the message board was flooded when he logged in Tuesday morning. His post received a wide range of responses. One poster said he should be thankful that he had diapers at all. Another replied with “Welcome to reality, kid.” Not all the responses were antagonistic, however. Someone suggested that he wasn’t enjoying diapers as much because they were no longer new for him. If he wanted to enjoy them again, the poster advised, he would have to try something new along with them. Andy wasn’t sure what that meant at the time, but by the end of the school day, he had an idea.

“What happened to your pants?” his mother asked when he walked into the kitchen without them.

“Trying something new,” Andy told her.

She gave him a quizzical look and shook her head, but did not tell him to put them back on until his father was nearly home. During that time, Jake giggled at his exposed diaper and Andy began to feel like he’d accomplished something.

The accomplishment was short-lived, however. By Thursday afternoon, going pantsless had begun to feel as routine as wearing diapers had felt on Monday. Andy’s mind couldn’t be further from his attire when he sat at his desk at home, working out algebra problems from a musty-smelling textbook. The scrape of the pencil against the page, the jumble of numbers and operators before him and the temptation of the calculator in his backpack’s zippered outer pocket all seized his attention in a way that his diaper, at that moment, proved incapable of matching.

Later, he noted with some dismay that he’d only gone through half the bag of diapers. Hanukah was more than halfway over and he was unlikely to finish the rest by Saturday evening. His once-golden opportunity now seemed like a colossal waste.

Friday came and Andy finally caught a break. His social studies test was done with and he went to lunch feeling free and clear. He’d just taken his first bite of his cafeteria-grade (the crust tasted like sawdust and the cheese came off in a single coagulated layer) pizza when his friend Shane asked him if he wanted to go see Avatar that evening.

“My mom can drive us,” he offered.

“Sure,” Andy said. It was a no-brainer as far as he was concerned.

“Cool,” said Shane. “Oh, hey, you don’t mind if Audrey comes with us?”

Audrey was Shane’s alleged girlfriend. If certain rumors were to believed, she and Shane were going steady, but Andy didn’t know what to make of all that. He saw Shane talk to her in the halls sometimes, but he never saw them doing any mushy stuff. If they had, Andy was pretty sure he would have heard about it. The talk seemed like just that: talk. Then again, maybe Shane WANTED to kiss her and stuff, but didn’t want to seem weird about it. Maybe that’s what this whole going-to-see-Avatar stuff was really all about.

“Nah, I don’t mind,” Andy replied.

When he got home from school, Andy told his mother that he thought he did pretty well on the test and asked about going to the movies that night.

“Who are you going with and what are you going to see?” she asked.

“Avatar,” Andy answered. “I’m going with Shane and his…friend. His mom’s driving.”

Andy’s mother nodded, contemplated the choice of movie, decided it would be acceptable and gave her assent.

“We’ll light candles before you go,” she said.

He was not surprised to hear her say “yes.” If anything, Andy suspected she was relieved because that meant he would be back to wearing pants. But what she didn’t know and what Shane and Audrey didn’t know either was that he would be breaking his own rule and going to the movies in a diaper.

Re: Eight Days of Diapers

Part VI: The End of the Revolt

Andy had been friends with Shane since they were in the second grade. Back then, Shane’s mother drove a wood-paneled station wagon that was older than he was. Andy liked that car. It was easy to recognize and, every time he saw it, he knew there was the possibility he and his friends would go somewhere interesting. Shane’s mother had since replaced the station wagon with a minivan. It was newer, more practical and not nearly as fun. Andy had begun to feel the same way about his friendship with Shane lately. They were no longer sitting around playing with action figures; they were going to the movies, largely unsupervised, with a girl no less. And yet he couldn’t help but feel like he was on shaky ground, like Shane saw him as a burden he lugged around for old time’s sake or that he was going to wake up one day and realize he and Shane didn’t have that much in common anymore.

Andy was the last to be picked up Friday night. Shane and Audrey were already sitting in the van’s middle row and Andy slid in next to them.

“Happy Hanukah, Andy,” Shane’s mother greeted. “Is that still going on?”

“Yeah, tonight’s the last night,” Andy replied.

For the rest of the drive to the theatre, they talked about the movie, about how awesome it looked and about the director, James Cameron, in general. Shane made retching sounds when his mother brought up Titanic.

“Oh, stop,” his mother chastised. “You’re too young to appreciate it. You were still in diapers when it came out.”

Shane blushed and cringed and Andy tried not to and Audrey said she liked it, even though it was too long, and that was the end of that.

“You kids have money?” Shane’s mother asked as she pulled up in front of the theatre entrance. It was a Loews Cineplex, a huge gray fortress of filmdom.

“Yes, Mom,” Shane answered.

“Have fun then,” she said. “I’ll be back for you at 10. Anything happens, you give me a call.”

“Yes, Mom,” Shane repeated, his tone fraught with annoyance. Andy knew better than to talk to his own mother like that.

They waited in line, bought their tickets and moved quickly to claim their seats. Their haste afforded them some prime real estate: center row, near the front, but not too close. Andy filed in first, followed by Shane, then Audrey. They had just sat down when Shane got back on his feet to get snacks.

“You guys want anything?” he asked.

“No thanks,” Andy replied.

“Coke, please,” Audrey said.

As he headed back to the lobby, Andy noticed that he seemed eager to fetch it for her. It was funny, he thought. There was a time not all that long ago when Shane would have told someone to get their own stupid Coke. His departure left an empty seat and an awkward silence between Andy and Audrey.

“So you’re Jewish, huh?” she said at last.

Andy nodded. He could sense another question coming on about the apocryphal Hanukah Bush.

“You don’t look it,” she said instead.

“Uh, thanks,” Andy replied, not sure whether she meant it as a compliment or an insult. He also didn’t know what it meant to “look Jewish.” He’d heard some people say that Jews had big noses, even though he didn’t. He thought maybe his father, who has a moustache and dark wavy hair (the latter of which he passed on to Jake) looked Jewish, but Uncle Marty was Jewish too and didn’t look anything like his dad. He wanted desperately to be Audrey at that moment, to see what she saw when she looked at him.

“I’m Lutheran,” Audrey said. Andy nodded. That sounded about right. He didn’t know what Lutherans were supposed to look like either, but Audrey had short blond hair and blue eyes and that just seemed to fit. Shane was some kind of Protestant too, but Andy couldn’t remember which denomination.

“So are you and Shane going together?” he asked, a little too quickly because he was nervous and still wasn’t sure exactly what he was asking about. “That’s what everyone says.”

“I guess,” she said, blushing and giggling and sounding equally uncomfortable. “I don’t know.”

Andy began to wonder if this was what it was going to be like from now on, all awkwardness and never knowing what to say. He hoped not. He didn’t know if he’d be able to take it. And then he chuckled, because the biggest reason he had for feeling awkward – his diaper – hadn’t bothered him at all. In fact, he had half a mind to tell Audrey about it. He would make a joke about not wanting to miss any of the movie and she would laugh and say something like “I wish I thought of that” and it wouldn’t matter if she believed him or not, because at least it would break the ice. He never got the chance though. Shane came back carrying two drinks and a big tub of popcorn and the theater darkened as the previews began to roll.

For the next two and a half hours, Andy didn’t think too much about the growing isolation or his diaper or much of anything at all. He tried to lose himself in the CGI-fueled artistry, but watching the alien natives fight the invading humans, reminded him, oddly enough, of Hanukah, of the Maccabees. They’d fought off the Greeks and preserved Judaism and that was ostensibly what was being celebrated. But it seemed to Andy like it was a short-lived victory. After the Greeks were gone, there were the Romans and the Turks and the British. Even nowadays, Andy could hear his father complaining about “those damn terrorists” who were trying to destroy Israel. It seemed to him like someone was always causing trouble for the Jews and someone always would.

This newfound pessimism got him off-track, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the movie for him. He eventually got back into it — so into it, in fact, that he started wetting his diaper about 2/3rds of the way through. He caught himself doing it and could have stopped, should have stopped, but he didn’t want to. It made no noise in the crowded theatre and there was only a smell if he looked for one.

When the movie was over, Andy got up, half fearful and half thankful for the crinkle that would give him away. It was lost though amid the chatter and the rush of bodies to the exits and he didn’t have the nerve to call more attention to himself.

“Man,” Shane exclaimed, rising and stretching and laying a light hand on Audrey’s arm – a gesture unthinkable in their “girls have cooties” heyday. “That was great.”

“I thought Titanic was better,” Audrey opined as she stepped slightly away.

“No way,” Shane said. He turned and looked to Andy for the tie-breaker. “What’d you think Andy?”

“I liked it a lot,” Andy said. He was not sure if he meant it or not, not sure of much of anything anymore.

The next day’s weather was equally uncertain. Temperatures had been creeping back up since last Saturday’s snow, but they fell again Friday night. The Saturday morning sky was sunless and white and Jake clamored prematurely for the opportunity to build a snowman.

“I don’t even think it’ll snow,” Andy told him.

“Nu-uh,” Jake whined. “Mom, tell him it will!”

“If it doesn’t this weekend, I’m sure it will eventually,” their mother said. “It’s not even officially winter yet.”

That seemed to pacify Jake, at least partially. He’d been sore that he hadn’t been able to see Avatar, even though he was too young for it and it never would have held his attention. In retaliation, he hogged the TV and put on some cartoon movie and told Andy he wasn’t allowed to watch, even though they both knew Andy didn’t want to. Sometimes, Andy realized, it was good to let his brother think he’d won something even though he hadn’t.

Jake was off his back and Andy didn’t have any more tests or big assignments coming up before Christmas break. That left Andy with only one thing left to worry about: his diapers. Several still remained in the package and he knew he would never use them up before the end of the day. His parents wouldn’t let him keep any. That was the agreement. He thought about hoarding a few, but the thought of sneaking around and likely getting caught put an end to that idea.

He sighed. Maybe he’d get a chance to try diapers again in a couple of years, if he still wanted to. He couldn’t see himself giving them up for good, but the past week taught him that they got old pretty quickly. He thought about those stories where kids his age wore diapers 24/7 and shook his head. Who would want that? There would be too much hiding, too much awkwardness, too much to feel bad about and his life had enough of that already.

Andy checked the time on his alarm clock. It was only the early afternoon and he still had several hours to go before sundown. He thought of some more things he could do with his diapers, but it seemed like he’d exhausted most possibilities. He’d wet numerous times, he’d been changed, he tried cloth, he wore in public. About the only thing that remained was to mess, and Andy wasn’t sure he wanted to do that. It seemed like it would be a pain to clean up.

In the end, his body made the decision for him. He felt the need to move his bowels and headed for the bathroom only to find the door closed. An urgent knock brought about a “just a moment” in his mother’s voice and left Andy standing outside the door, clenching himself and biting his lower lip. He had no reason to think he wouldn’t be able to hold it. He’d held it in school dozens of times. But when his mother opened the bathroom door a moment later, she found him with a messy diaper and tears streaming down his face.

“Oh, Andy,” she said, keenly aware of what had happened. She hugged him until he calmed down, then told him to clean up. Andy marched himself into the bathroom and stood in the tub. He let his poopy diaper fall to the bottom with a loud thud and turned the water on as hot as it would go. He hoped it would wash his shame as well as his skin.

When he finished showering, he diapered himself again. He put three on at once, seeing as how it would likely be the last time, then sought out his mother. She was sitting at the kitchen table, hard at work on a crossword puzzle.

“Feeling better?” she asked when she saw him.

Andy nodded, then stopped. He took a deep breath and told his mother no, he wasn’t feeling well at all.

“Everything’s been really weird lately,” he explained. “I feel like I’m too weird for my friends and they’re too weird for me. I like diapers and I don’t know why. Sometimes, I don’t even like them. Sometimes, I think I know what it means to be Jewish and sometimes I don’t. Nothing makes any sense. Mom, what’s all that mean?”

Andy’s mother smiled benignly. “That means you’re getting older.”


“You get older and everything changes. Your body changes. Your mind changes. It happens to everyone. If you want to know more, talk to your father.”

“Does it get any easier?” Andy asked.

“No,” his mother said. “At least not at first. You just need to do the best you can.”

He took little comfort in the meaning of her words, but was calmed by the certainty with which she delivered them.

Andy slept that night in underpants that felt as thin as paper with the sheets pulled snug around him. He’d surrendered his remaining disposables to his parents after dinner. They asked him if he’d gotten his fill of diapers for awhile and he told them that he did. They never made mention of the cloth diaper from his grandparents house, which Andy kept tucked away safely in the back of a drawer. It could be years before he laid his hands on another package of disposables. He had to have something to sustain him.

He fell asleep thinking of the Maccabees that night, about the way they came down from the mountains to reclaim the Temple. Sure, they’d won – they’d beaten the mighty Greeks, in fact – but they were probably tired from fighting and all kinds of scared. Who knew what kind of shape the Temple was in? Who knew what remained of their civilization, their customs, their people? They had to be worried about stuff like that, but they didn’t let it stop them. They came down from the mountains to confront the desecration and the change and if they could do that, these scrappy forbearers of his, then Andy could do it too.

Re: Eight Days of Diapers

It was tasteful of you to end this when you did. I don’t know about anyone else but I thought the story was going to end like they all end and all of the kids would end up back in diapers with perhaps some cribs and pacifiers thrown in.

Thanks for proving me wrong.

Re: Eight Days of Diapers

(I hate how you ended it! I love when the stories end with everyone back in diapers /w some baby paraphanailia thrown in. So how dare you!

Re: Eight Days of Diapers

I agree with victory97. I thought I would be able to predict the end and am pleasantly surprised to see a different end. I can actually see me in your andy character. I’m not jewish or anything but my interest in diapers and general have gone on and off.

Re: Eight Days of Diapers

That was a fair ending, it ended well. I enjoy the alternative once in a while, but this works to.