Seven year-old Thomas Sebastian Turner thought he could get away with anything. He was the eldest child of Maria and Earnest Turner and brother to five year-old Mary and two year-old Lizzie.
From kindergarten onwards Thomas managed to successfully blame anyone and everyone else for his offences. Any mistake he made, item broken or tearful friend, he was always innocent, it had nothing to do with him. He would lie and lie until he convinced himself it was true. Even when caught out with his fibbing, still insisted he was telling the truth. His parents wondered if he knew what truth was.
The family lived in a pleasant, inexpensive neighbourhood, in the Mid-west. Earnest worked as the finance director (accountant) for a group of local businesses, whilst Maria was a busy housewife, but had been a talented young seamstress before she married.
They got by but there was never loads of spare cash, although they never went into debt either. Life, like the neighbourhood, was pleasant – they made no claims to being the cleverest people in the world, or to knowing anything about politics – The Turners, like the majority of locals, just got on with life as best they could.
However, they had been on the net, discussed it with friends and neighbours, read articles in an effort to find a solution to Thomas’s ‘problem’.
Not withstanding, from all the conflicting advice on offer they cobbled together a plan of their own to make their young son understand how his lying affected others and, more importantly, how it was going to affect him.
He’d woken up to a sunny morning as his mother gently shook him from a deep sleep where he’d dreamed he was playing with some of the colourful stars from his favourite TV show. Whilst he rubbed his eyes, she pulled back the covers, noticing as she did so the damp bedding and soaked jammy bottoms. Recently he’d begun to wet more often, not nightly but frequently enough that stricter action needed to be taken.
Mary, his sister who he shared the bedroom with, had been potty trained for over a year and had not needed any night time protection since then. His baby sister Lizzie was still in diapers day and night so for the eldest of the brood to still wet the bed was becoming a bit of a predicament.
However, up until this point his loving parents had been understanding and just put up with the inconvenience because Thomas’s attitude was – it’s just a ‘bedtime accident’, which, ever since he was a toddler was what he’d called such occasional incidents. It was something he couldn’t lie about because it was there for all to see. None-the-less he thought of it as something that just happened naturally so therefore was nothing to do with him. These days he took no responsibility for getting to the bathroom at night.
Mr and Mrs Turner had let him get away with it for far too long. They didn’t like confronting or even arguing with their children, in particular their independently minded son, so took the easy option. They came from a long line of very liberal parents who had decided that - a child needed to be given space, needed to find him or herself in their own time and on no account must they be challenged on that route to personal discovery.
For Maria and Earnest that was now all a load of bunkum. So, from this day on his parents decided his and their own particular mind-set was no longer going to be appropriate. Young Thomas’s actions and bullying towards his younger sisters and others had been a belated ‘call-to-arms’ that they were about to respond to in a dramatic manner.
Thankfully, the wet bed and soaked PJs gave them the perfect opportunity for putting their newly developed plan into action. Things were going to change for their damp little boy and change immediately.
The plan had a few elements to it, and to be honest, neither parent was sure if any of them would work. However, they were desperate and hoped to get some response to their ideas. They were quite prepared for the tears, tantrums and drama that no doubt was about to follow.
Adding to his mother’s determination about what was to happen was the fact that she noticed a teddy bear peeping out from under the clammy bedsheets. The cuddly toy his two year-old sister had been crying for the night before because she couldn’t sleep without it. Thomas had sworn he knew nothing about its disappearance yet here it was now wet and as large as life.
When his mother asked about it he still pleaded innocent to how it got into his bed, saying Lizzie must have put it there. The sweet ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ look he gave her for a second put her off guard but the resolve returned and she knew he needed to learn not to lie. Thinking he’d fooled her, and that was the end of the inquisition, he quickly made his way to the bathroom to get cleaned up and ready for school.
It was the first day of a new term and Thomas was quite excited at seeing all his school friends again but his mother had been planning a surprise for when he wondered back to his bedroom still towelling off.
As he returned he noticed that she had stripped the bed and a clear plastic sheet had been put over the mattress. Lying on top of that was a pile of items he couldn’t quite make out but to him looked very suspicious.
One of Maria’s great joys was to make clothes for her children, which were often admired when they went out as a family. However, recently she had been busy designing and making a special new school uniform for her boy. She’d spent a few hours once the kids were asleep working away at this secret project, which she knew would be a surprise to Thomas.
“We’re going to start this school term differently.”
She said to her son as he hesitantly dried his thick brown hair, eyes focusing warily on why his mother should be there. He was a big boy and didn’t need her to dress him.
“There’s a new uniform for you to wear but firstly, because you’ve been wetting the bed far too often recently, you’ll be wearing protection for the foreseeable future.”
That information brought her carefree son to a sudden halt. He wasn’t sure he’d heard her correctly or what it meant except, there was something about him having to wear ‘protection’ from now on.
He noticed the folded disposable, the plastic pants and the baby powder lying on top of the pile of clothing and suddenly realised what exactly that did mean. He definitely wasn’t going to be doing that.
“Mummy, I’m not Lizzie, I can’t wear a diaper to bed… I’m not a…” his tears and anger came, “BABY”
He screamed the final word and stomped off but his mother grabbed him and pulled him back towards the bed.
“No sweetheart, you’ll not be wearing a diaper for bed.”
She thought this might calm him down enough for her to deliver the sting in her plan.
“You’ll be wearing one both night and day from now on.”
She smoothed out the crinkly, plastic sheet covering the mattress and smiled at him.
“We’ll make it thicker at night so…. if you use it… no harm will be done to your bedding.”
The tantrum and waterworks started immediately. He struggled out from his mother’s grip and stomped around his bedroom screeching at his mother that he shouldn’t (and wouldn’t) wear diapers at his age.
This made Mary pay attention. She was used to tantrums and her brother getting his own way but this time mummy’s reactions were different, she spoke to him differently.
‘It wasn’t fair.’ ‘It wasn’t right’. ‘Only babies like Lizzie wore diapers … he’d never wear them’.
Thomas shouted and protested.
As part of their (it had to be said), muddled plan, Thomas’s parents had hoped that by putting him back in a diaper full time would be a reminder that he’d been doing something he shouldn’t – bed-wetting. They hoped that by sporting a thick, babyish garment all day would make him think twice about his actions.
They were also desperate for a quick turnaround to their son’s casual, disruptive ways. They worried that should it continue, in later life he might think his attitude was acceptable and find himself in a great deal of trouble.
They had to do something now.
He was very forceful in his childish arguments but for the first time his normally compliant parents had said “NO” and he’d met an implacable barrier to his normally indulged self.
His father came in to the room and told his son to stop all the nonsense and behave.
Hoping it was just his mother wanting to put him in diapers he ran and hugged his daddy, claiming his mummy was being unfair. He was a big boy and didn’t need to wear such babyish things.
“OK Tommy, did you wet the bed?” His daddy asked as his son tried his best, ‘innocent little boy’ look.
Thomas was none too happy admitting to anything but also knew it was something he couldn’t deny. However, he didn’t see Mary looking on so, albeit reluctantly, nodded to his daddy’s question.
“Well, what do we do with Lizzie when she wets?”
Over the years Thomas had seen both his sisters being changed, so diapers, disposables, plastic pants, baby stuff had always been a huge part of the things lying around their home, but this was different.
“But daddy,” he snivelled, “I don’t wet in the day… just… sometimes at night.”
“Yes that’s true… and we’ve let it go but… you seem to be getting worse and we need you to be aware of the consequences and a diaper will be a constant reminder.”
His daddy continued and hoped his son would see this as positive, even though in his own mind he wasn’t really convinced.
This plan of theirs was a very piecemeal affair – it took from a host of different opinions, some more reputable than others and they weren’t sure if any of it would really work. However, they had made the decision to act, so that was what they were doing, and hopefully they’d muddle through to some kind of success.
Thomas wasn’t sure what consequences meant but it didn’t sound like daddy had much sympathy so that angered and frustrated him.
“The good thing for you is, well, whilst you’re wearing a diaper, er, erm, you’ll get to use it, so, officially, no more accidents because you’ll have all the protection needed.”
Earnest was really out of his depth but hoped that something, anything might work and he wanted to be positive and give this course of action a chance.
The outburst followed but Mary witnessed something she’d never ever seen in their home before.
Fury seethed within Thomas but a quick smack from his mother to his naked little bottom made him stop.
This was another part of their plan - a short, sharp shock. They thought that a smack to his bottom might be another thing that would make him re-think his attitude and hoped that he’d be so stunned, the result would be instant.
However, neither parent liked the idea of such a punishment and hoped the shock element would be the deciding factor rather than resorting to spanking their son on a regular basis.
Thomas had never ever been spanked before and was stunned. He wasn’t sure what to make of it. It didn’t particularly hurt but there was something in the delivery that meant things had changed and the only way he knew how to deal with that was by crying. He hoped his wailing would gain him some consideration, some sympathy. He wanted them to feel bad about smacking him but it didn’t work. His mother just carried on with hardly any break in the proceedings.
Mary watched stunned as her older brother was reduced to a naked bawling baby and in truth trembled hoping that it wouldn’t happen to her. Although, at the same time, silently happy to see her unpleasant brother get his just deserts.
This was an awful lot for the seven year-old to take in but with both his parents joining forces and acting as one there was little alternative. Thomas’s uncooperative wriggling and kicking was no match to stop his mother from powdering her boy and taping him into his first disposable diaper in over four years.
The incensed wail and stubborn wriggle was being ignored and forcefully subdued. Even his mother’s gentle hand smoothing in creams and powder had been no consolation to the shame of being forced into a diaper at his age.
It wasn’t easy but once it was done he did look a lot younger than his seven years. Perhaps, Maria hoped (and there was an awful lot of hope going on in their plan), this alone would make him behave.
His young mind couldn’t cope with what was happening but even he could see the silliness of what they were doing. They wanted him to be more grown-up but they put him a disposable and expected him to use it. Why? It was different at night, he didn’t know he was wetting the bed but during the day, he had no trouble making it to the boy’s room.
The disposable was a bright yellow colourful affair with blue cartoon character markers that appeared when the item was wet. So, whilst he lay sobbing his mother took advantage of his wriggling hips, which helped slip up a pair of matching slick yellow vinyl pants, she wanted to make sure he was completely waterproof.
The thing was, seeing her son like this Maria caught a glimpse of her sweet innocent little baby and not the unholy terror he’d become. His ineffective stamping about and forced crying for some hoped for loving attention would normally have brought out her mothering ways and engulfed him in hugs and kisses. She knew she’d have to see this plan through or at least give it a chance if there was any hope of getting him to at least try to alter his ways.
Tommy was terrified of going to school in such protection and protested throughout the entire procedure. He was mortified that he was now wearing such padding and looked like a taller version of Lizzie. However, it wasn’t quite as bulky as his baby sister’s, although far more cumbersome than the briefs he normally wore.
His verbal and emotional protests were ignored by mummy as she simply made sure everything fitted him well. She thought he looked wonderful standing, albeit reluctantly, in front of her dressed as he was. It brought back happy memories of when Thomas was less trouble, more compliant and much easier to take care of.
Indeed, Maria was a mother who loved and indulged her children. In years gone by she would have been dubbed an airhead or hippy but she wasn’t really. She adored having babies and wanted nothing more than to love and be loved by her three youngsters.
Meanwhile, Mary popped her head round the door and saw her older, tear-streaked brother, being hugged by mummy, wearing babyish plastic pants and smiled.
“Tommy looks like Lizzie.”
She smirked as her words had the desired effect and his face once again creased in total misery.
This set him off even more hating her, hating his mother, hating his father … but his parents had further surprises in store for their little liar.
Although he looked pretty cute standing there in just his protection mummy fed his arms into his new school uniform; a yellow shirt, loose red shorts with suspenders, a big blue bow and brown shoes.
Where this idea had sprung from Maria wasn’t sure but at some point, when they were discussing Thomas’s lying, a reference had been made to a particularly famous childish liar and from that seed had grown into this part of the plan.
To be continued…