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Ethan’s Worries 1-20

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Ethan’s Worries


“It’s up to you, but that’s the option being offered.” Jessica Lynd was trying to be understanding but firm with her son.


“But it’s not fair.”

“I think it is. You’re being given the choice of acting like an eleven year-old and making your own decisions or being treated as a little boy who needs others to make the decisions for him. So, what’s it going to be?”

He was standing in front of mother in his bedroom and the moment had arrived when his world was about to change.

It was a hard decision for Ethan to make because no matter what he picked, he’d end up wearing a nappy to bed.



Although there were a couple of weeks left before the new academic year, where he moved up to seventh grade, he was nervous about this huge leap to Big School.

The night before he’d had an awful, unsettling dream, which ended with a soaked bed and the last time that had happened was when he was a four year-old.

He’d woken up full of guilt, embarrassment and shame but his mother had merely told him that she would sort everything out and for him not to worry.

He’d had a relatively carefree day playing out with his friends as usual, enjoying the last days of freedom before school started. He hadn’t mentioned to any of his mates that he was so scared of starting the new term he’d wet the bed and it didn’t occur to him that any of them might be having similar concerns.

Bedwetting wasn’t something eleven year-olds discussed.

Anyway, it was 10pm and time for bed. He knew this late bedtime would change soon because his mum had told him he needed to get used to a school, rather than a holiday schedule and that meant in bed by 9pm at the latest. Meanwhile, she followed him upstairs and, after he’d washed his face and brushed his teeth, she was waiting for him.

Spread out on his bed was a thick white square of material, pins, a length of something pre-folded and a pair of slinky white plastic pants. In her hand was a bottle of lotion.

“Ethan, you need to know that your father and I have discussed what happened last night and have made provisions for such an event.”

“But mum...”

Jessica held up her hand to prevent further discussion.

“Listen first and then you can have your say.” She looked sternly at her son for any further interruptions. Pleased that he seemed to comply she continued.

“We realise that the next few days, possibly weeks, are going to see a huge change for you. I can guess that you’re quite apprehensive about starting at the new school with older boys and girls, different teachers, but you shouldn’t... everything will be fine.”

She ruffled his hair in motherly reassurance.

“However, we think last night’s wetting was a sign that you’re possibly a bit agitated about this and we’re worried it might happen again.”

He didn’t know how his mother could have known that but supposed parents have some sort of sense when it comes to their kids.

Ethan was about to voice a denial but again she gave him a look that implied she hadn’t finished and should wait. He did.

“So, tonight you will wear a nappy and these plastic pants. However, should you wake up dry over the next few days leading up to school we’ll say no more about it.”

She saw him shiver at the thought as he stood silently.

“This is not a request... this is what’s going to happen. If you create a problem or defy either your father or me... well... don’t... this is for your own good.”

Again he wanted to speak but thought better of it.

“We know this may seem an embarrassing thing to do to someone your age and, under normal circumstances we’d agree. However...” she said stressing the word, “a boy your age doesn’t normally wet the bed for no reason... so, to prevent your PJs, bedding and the mattress all getting ruined, this is the simplest solution to your problem.” Again she stressed a word, this time ‘your’, to make sure he was aware it was his problem.

“If you refuse to wear the nappy, which I suspect is what you’re thinking... think again. Your father and I are adamant that this is merely as a precaution. However, should you think of wearing it and then taking it off without our say so, we won’t be pleased and you’ll be made to wear a nappy all the time.”

She looked in his face to see an expression of complete horror... it seemed a terrible punishment for an ‘accident’.

“Mum, this isn’t fair. It was an accident and I shouldn’t be made into a baby...”

There was an inner seething but, if pushed, he’d have to admit that he’d hated waking up to a soaked bed and knew his parents weren’t doing this as a punishment. However, that didn’t make the prospect, at eleven years old and wearing a nappy, any better.

As if reading his thoughts she added.

“You are not being made into anything except a young man who happened to wet the bed, and who’s taking sensible precautions to make sure it doesn’t happen again. What could be more grown up than that?” She shrugged her shoulders, “Look, I’m asking you to make the decision rather than we make it for you...”

Ethan interrupted thinking of a different reason not to wear the protection that surrounded him.

“But it’s not fair, what’s Cindy going to say? She’ll tell everyone at school.”

“Well, your sister isn’t going to be at the same school as you is she?”

“But she’ll tell all her friends and they’ll tell their friends and soon everyone will know.” Ethan was hyperventilating.

“No she won’t because if she does... she’ll be wearing a nappy as well.”

This bit of information wasn’t expected but seemed to calm her son down a little.

“Look, it’s only at night and, as I say, if you can go the next week or so without wetting again then everything will revert to normal. But, we are NOT taking that chance right now. So,” she pointed to the waiting material on his bed, “let’s get you sorted shall we?”


Although Ethan was loathed to admit to his growing apprehension, it had been something his parents suspected might happen. Their son had always been a bit of a worrier and because of the wet bed they’d read up on some of the ‘fears’ kids can have when they move school or go into a new class. On this occasion, Ethan was looking to do both and although he’d have friends who’d also be making the move, they could see the anxiety in their boy’s demeanour.

They were prepared and thought if they played it down and acted as if this was quite a natural occurrence then he’d be over it quickly. The first objective, getting him into a night time nappy was being achieved, but now they’d started, they’d have to wait and see if their approach was successful. If their boy was suffering from acute anxiety, this was a simple and easy fix if he was soon past it. The downside to this was... it may cause him further anxiety.

“So what’s it going to be... do you voluntarily want to wear a nappy to sleep in... or...?”

Ethan reluctantly nodded his acquiescence.

“Good lad,” beamed his mother, “the correct choice.”


Ethan grudgingly let his mother rub in the lotion she’d been holding since the beginning.

“This... should you wet again... and this is only an insurance... is to prevent any pee-induced rash.” She smiled reassuringly as she rubbed it in.

“But mum... a nappy rash.... it’s what babies get.”

“Look,” she stroked his bare arm in encouragement, “we want you to be as safe as possible and, we’re trying to anticipate any... problems... before they occur. This is for your own good and I don’t want you thinking that it is demeaning or anything else for that matter. You will not change,” she beamed her approval. “You’re still our rambunctious little monkey and we’re only adding suitable protection to the mix.” She was trying to downplay it and also be encouraging but Ethan looked unconvinced.

‘Rambunctious little monkey!’ Mum, I’m eleven not three he wanted to say in exasperation but stayed quiet after all, he was being slipped into a nappy.

He gathered that any discussion was over and the more fuss he made the worse it would be for him. He wasn’t stupid enough to test those boundaries as he knew where they’d been set. The only problem his parents hadn’t seemed to grasp was – this treatment made him even more edgy.

“Now let me get this nappy in position and you can get into bed and read for a little while but I want you to get used to earlier bedtimes over the next few days. You won’t be going to bed this late on a school night.”

Of course it was at that precise moment his young sister, who was supposed to be fast asleep by now, decided to poke her head around his bedroom door.

“Mum... I was... is Ethan wearing a nappy?” She giggled hardly believing her eyes.

A huge sigh was his only reaction because his legs were in the air as his mother shook some baby powder over his naked bottom before threading the thick nappy, complete with a the enclosed pre-folded soaker pad, up between his thighs.

Mummm.” He tried to suppress his shame and annoyance at the same time.

His mother just carried on as if the interruption was of no significance.

“Stop worrying she’s bound to find out eventually... so you might as well get it over with.”

Cindy stood in the doorway watching as he was pinned in and leak-proof glossy plastic pants pulled up to cover the pristine, though highly visible, white fabric. Ethan was red with embarrassment but there was simply no place to hide... and besides, she’d seen him now.

“I like your baby pants.” She giggled. “I can’t wait to tell...” Then in a sing-song fashion began “Ethan’s my baby brother, Ethan’s my baby brother.”

Jessica gave her a look that was supposed to convey a warning. Ethan was stung by the chant and both angry and tearful at the same time. His lower half felt heavy with the huge new addition to his sleeping arrangements fastened tightly in place.

The anxiety that had been only partially hidden broke to the surface and he thought about ripping it off in protest but then he’d be left looking like a naked little boy throwing a tantrum, which would have given his sister even more reason to make fun.

“Mummm, she’s, she’s...” He tried to conceal his plastic pants behind his hands but they were just too voluminous to hide.

Ethan’s my baby brother, Ethan’s my baby brother...” she continued to sing to herself.

Jessica helped pull up his pyjama bottoms and cover the thick padding.

“That’s enough Cindy. There will be no telling anyone about this... do you understand?”

She waited for her daughter to reply but she just stood in her nightie, swaying from side to side, confident of her power over her older brother and with a huge smirk on her face.

“Let me tell you young lady... if word gets back that you’ve been spreading gossip... it won’t be just your brother who’ll be wearing a nappy... you’ll be wearing them to school.”

Cindy’s face turned from a happy smile to a worried and disbelieving look of horror.

“That’s not fair.” She commented with a stamp of her bare foot.

“Well, you and your brother have something in common because he said exactly the same thing.”

“But mummy, that’s not...” she was almost in tears.

“Those are the rules. You spread any gossip and you’ll be wearing a nappy to school as well as for bed. Do you understand?” She looked from one to the other and saw their spirits dip.

“Now, at the moment this isn’t a punishment it’s a precaution BUT if your father or I have any reason to suspect either of you two being anything but supportive of each other, then it will be nappies 24/7.” She emphasised those numbers so there would be no doubt.

Ethan already had this speech and knew he couldn’t argue.

Once in bed, and he’d squirmed around trying to get used to the thick barrier he was now wearing, his mind fixed on his sister Cindy. He knew she wouldn’t be able to contain her gossip about him wearing a nappy and hoped that their parents would keep to their word should she break that trust.

For Ethan this was the start of nightly nappies. He didn’t want it but, as the following morning he woke up sodden, he saw the wisdom of his parent’s argument. Two nights in a row but this time only his nappy was soaked.


Cindy watched as her brother’s thick padding had been hidden behind his PJs, which was a shame as she wanted to look a lot longer as it did make him look like a naughty little boy. In her eyes at least, he was now her little baby brother who had to wear a nappy and that meant she was the grown up... well... in comparison.

She hadn’t liked the threat her mother made and was determined that it would be only her brother who wore such a babyish item but, this was such a great opportunity to ridicule him and she didn’t like that she couldn’t. She had to find a way of doing so without inviting her parent’s wrath.

Several scenarios filled her young calculating head. Inviting her friends over but as he was only going to be wearing at night, she could hardly invite them then. Her bedtime was before his so... she had to be cleverer than that – a sleepover perhaps? However, there was a chance that after a week, if he’d not wet his nappy and woke up every morning dry, he wouldn’t be wearing one again anyway. Perhaps that’s where his humiliation should be aimed – making sure he had to wear his ‘baby stuff’ every night.

Now... how could she make that happen?


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Thanks every one for the comments and I shall fix that little piece of missed continuity..

Hope you are going to enjoy where Ethan takes us.

Hugs (because we're allowed hopefully it's the same where you are).


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  • Les Lea changed the title to Ethan’s Worries 1-2

Part 2

As it was she didn’t have to because he woke up soaked each morning. No one knew the turmoil going on in his brain as nightly he’d preview that upcoming first day at school, and each time it got worse. He was convinced the bullies would pick on him but now it had the added bonus that they saw he wore a nappy... he spent his dreams in fear and tears.

Jessica noticed that the nightly soak didn’t seem to be improving but also observed, no matter how much he complained (and he usually did) once pinned in and with plastic pants pulled into place, the arguments immediately stopped and he was far more cooperative about his situation.

It helped that with the new school year almost upon them she quickly brought in the new bedtimes. Both had to be ready by 7.30 with Cindy in bed by 8.00 and Ethan no later than 9pm.

Meanwhile, there was something about her brother’s nice new shiny white plastic pants that Cindy thought suited him. Just watching them being applied that first time was wonderful; the crinkle, the thick glossy padding, his obvious shame tickled her no end. Ethan had complained to his parents that he didn’t want his little sister watching him being changed but they just ignored his protests and told him it was just ‘in the family’. They continued with the idea that if they made it as normal as possible he wouldn’t worry about it so much.

Meanwhile, Cindy was fed up with being the baby of that family, and, at almost eight years old, didn’t like the fact her brother was going off to Big School, leaving her on her own in the juniors.

For most of her life she’d gone to school and returned home with her brother. She liked the fact that she had an older brother who if needed (although he never was) could come to her rescue. For no apparent reason she felt less confident and a bit fearful. Whilst he was at the same school she could call on him to be her protecting big brother... or at least threaten other girls she’d set her big brother on them but, not any more. She’d have to be a big girl on her own now, which was ‘funny’ because he’d been returned to wearing a nappy at night - what a big baby.

What she didn’t realise was that the prospect of Big School absolutely terrified him. He’d go from being one of the oldest to being in the youngest stream and the thought of all those older, bigger, tougher boys and girls (and no doubt bullies) made him dread the move up. It was TV and movies fault he felt this way. In just about any school based drama there were always bullies and even though on screen they scared Ethan.

In truth he’d become a scared little kid but thought he was the only one because none of his friends who were starting at the same time ever mentioned any fear. He thought he was being a fraidy-cat and he didn’t want anyone to know that. He certainly didn’t want them to know he wet the bed... that would be a disaster.

What he didn’t know was that two of his school mates were going through the same terrors and were having sleepless nights of their own. However, they never discussed it so they all went through such anxiety without the help of their friends... each worried it would look bad if they admitted how they felt.

The recent bout of bed-wetting had surprised Cindy as much as it had stunned Ethan. Despite all the initial protests he was now wearing thick protection every night because as it turned out, it was needed. Cindy would never have thought her big brother would have such a problem but once he had, she loved the idea. School was rapidly approaching and his wetness was becoming a regular morning feature the closer the deadline drew.


At the same time their parents introduced both their kids to get into an earlier bedtime routine to prepare them for the new term. Because Ethan needed to be well-wrapped his mother introduced the rule he needed to be in protection early. He could stay up and watch TV until his bedtime but he had to be in his nightly padding well before then. This was wonderful for Cindy as she got to see him wearing his slippery protection more often. She tried to make sure she was nearby when mummy got him ready for bed, that final tuck and pat, the whispered words of encouragement before his pjs were finally tugged over the slinky mass proved her claim as a big girl.

However, even at the age of eight she realised that to deflect any suspicion of pleasure she needed to be supportive of her brother... or at least to act it. As she really did like to see him dressed in his protective bedtime outfit, something she hadn’t needed for over four years, she thought that was the place to start. She had to compliment, without it sounding like a dig, and she had to make it so her brother was at ease wearing what he now had to wear around her.

She took her lead from mummy who, fearing he’d slide into a depression, kept up a non-stop barrage of positive comments to keep his spirits up. So, first thing Cindy did was praise him for being brave and admired the fact that he was big enough to carry the look off. She pretended she thought the whole thing just looked like a pair of underpants and couldn’t see what all the fuss was about (she’d got this idea from over-hearing something her parents had talked about). So, when this comment was echoed by their parents, made it seem a little more official. However, that teasing glint of shiny plastic above his jammy bottoms was all she needed to feel superior – after all it was something she didn’t need. In fact, only babies needed such security.


A few of days before they went back to school Cindy saw an opportunity for her friends to know about her brother’s need for nappies. She spotted a whole range of them hanging out in the back garden drying in the breeze and ‘innocently’ invited a bunch of her friends over to play there. Mummy hadn’t thought about the washing when she’d agreed to let her daughter ask them over and it was only as the three visiting girls looked out across the garden and inquired of their young host who the nappies were for she realised the problem she’d caused.

Before Jessica had been able to offer an explanation Cindy had replied that they were far too big for her but her friends could work out, by the size of the plastic pants gently swaying in the breeze, they would fit her brother.

“They’re Ethan’s?” The little coterie of eight year-olds echoed as one.

“I’m not allowed to say.” Cindy replied in her defence but also noticing her mother advancing from the kitchen.

“Does your brother still wet himself?” One of the giggling group asked.

“But he’s at big school...” mentioned another.

“Does he have to wear nappies?”

The questions were coming thick and fast and Cindy’s mother arrived before her daughter could reply.

“Girls, girls, girls,” she tried to calm the excited little tribe. “Ethan is having a little bit of trouble at the moment and I would appreciate it... if you sweet ladies... could keep it to yourselves... for Ethan’s sake.”

She looked around in a benign pleading gesture but could see the girls were silent but not necessarily taking in what was being said. She also didn’t quite realise that all she’d done was confirm that they were Ethan’s nappies.

“Please be considerate to Ethan’s feelings and don’t tell anyone else.”

It was a plea from her heart but Jessica knew she had no jurisdiction over these other girls and they could do and say what they wanted to whomever they wanted. She’d made a huge mistake in allowing her daughter to have playmates over but had no one to blame but herself.

It was too late to chase the girls away, and Cindy wanted to get on with playing games with her friends, so invited them to her Wendy House where they could discuss what to do. Mummy was a little distraught but realised she could do nothing about it; they’d seen what they’d seen. The washing was still drying and the pairs of shiny plastic pants hung resolute in the morning sunshine. There was little she could do to resolve the problem so made no effort in clearing away the evidence. It was far too late for that.


In the Wendy House the girls were all achatter and couldn’t help bombarding their host with more questions. How long had Ethan been wearing nappies? Did he need them all the time? Did she have to change him? The eight year-olds were very inquisitive so Cindy, being the perfect host, thought she was obliged to give them all the information they needed. After all, it wasn’t her fault that they’d seen his drying nappies - mummy was to blame. Eventually they decided on the game they wanted to play ‘house’ and wondered if Cindy could get her brother to be the baby. They all giggled hysterically at the very idea.

Meanwhile, Ethan was oblivious to what had happened at home. He was out on his bike with friends pedalling up and down the small hills and dales of the local wood that led to a rough cycle track the boys had constructed themselves. The area was now used by just about anyone who had a bike, so kids of all ages congregated waiting their turn. When it got busy, Ethan’s group of friends would set off into the depths of the wood to do some stunts and find new tracks for their own amusement.

When he returned, late afternoon and exhausted, his mother didn’t let on about her little faux pas. She’d also told Cindy to keep quiet in the hope that he might never learn of her indiscretion. Cindy agreed to her mother’s request but had told her friends that they could say anything to anyone they wanted about what they’d seen and, if they did, she’d try and get her brother to play baby for them next time they all came round.

This was an exciting prospect to a group of eight year-olds so their tongues wagged to brothers, sisters, cousins and friends. By early evening, Ethan’s sleeping requirements were well-known throughout the neighbourhood.


The following morning, after having a scary dream about bullies at his new school, he awoke soaked. He was beginning to get used to starting the day this way but wandered dejectedly to the bathroom to slip off the safety net of his plastic pants. They’d moulded themselves around the nappy which he warily unpinned and tossed its soggy thickness into the waiting plastic bucket with a flip-lid.

Under the shower he was glad to be rid of such embarrassment. So, after cleaning himself up, getting dressed for another day of cycling he headed down to breakfast. Because guilt was coursing through her body Jessica had made pancakes, which she only prepared on special occasions.

“Morning sweetie... a good night?”

“No,” he replied sullenly. “I wet again.”

She shrugged. “Well I’ve made your favourites this morning,” indicating the succulent looking stack.

Of course he’d said these words about wetting just as Cindy arrived for breakfast so she heard his confession.

He gave her a quick embarrassed look, whilst she just smiled but silently wished he’d come to the table still wearing his soggy padding like she had to do when a wet toddler. Her mummy only changed her after breakfast and she wished it was the same for him. However, she stopped herself from making any comment but knew she had to say something...

“Why pancakes mummy...?” she asked innocuously.

“Oh, I, erm, just thought it might be nice for a, er, umm, a change.” She replied trying to sound upbeat and jolly but coming off sounding flustered.

“Great,” enthused Ethan as he poured on a large amount of syrup and immediately tucked in.

Cindy looked over at her brother as he swallowed his breakfast in huge gulps, eager to get out on his bike again.

“I had friends over yesterday,” she said to her brother.

He shrugged enjoying the sweet tasty treat.

“I’m sure Ethan doesn’t want to hear all about that sweetie.” Jessica interfered and hoped to divert the course of the conversation. “What are you planning today?” She looked hopefully at her son.

“Just biking in the woods... we’ve found a new trail we want to explore...” He shovelled in more pancake.

Undeterred Cindy continued. “My friends wondered if you’d play baby when next time they come over.”

Ethan looked at her questioningly. “Why would I do that?”

Again his mother jumped in with another diversion. “Eat you breakfast dear,” she looked daggers at her young daughter, “before it gets cold. I’m sure your brother doesn’t want to...”

“Oh,” said Cindy pretending to feel sorry for bringing it up, “I just thought he might like to play at home for a while... away from his friends.”

The eager biker sniffed in derision but didn’t get the intonation of his sister who was feeling pretty pleased with herself... after all, it wasn’t her fault if other kids now knew about her brother’s nappies.

Their mother shrugged knowing there was nothing she could do. By then Ethan had finished breakfast and, after picking up his helmet, waved a sort of goodbye and was out the door. Mother just looked at her daughter in disdain but said nothing.

“What,” she innocently responded, “I was just wondering.”

# tbc #

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You dry plastic pants in sunlight in the UK?  Here in the US, there is a chemical additive that will cause them to harden and crack almost instantly when exposed to sunlight.  

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Thanks everyone, glad you're 'enjoying' Ethan's worries hope you'll stick with him as he goes to Big School and all that implies.

16 hours ago, Babypants said:

You dry plastic pants in sunlight in the UK?  Here in the US, there is a chemical additive that will cause them to harden and crack almost instantly when exposed to sunlight.  

I haven't found this to be the case if you just occasionally air them. Like fabric nappies, I've always preferred to let nature dry them when I can but in truth, I normally just sling them over the shower rail to dry off.

Thanks for taking an interest.

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All one of her friends has to do is slip to her mother that Cindy told them to tell everyone. She isn't thinking about this clearly, and is being a little obvious about things. It wouldn't take much for her mom to put 2 and 2 together with Cindy's comment about staying home and if Ethan comes home later and said his friends knew.

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  • Les Lea changed the title to Ethan’s Worries 1-3

Part 3

Ethan wondered what was happening. All his friends were suddenly looking at him strange and whispering. Several had not so much greeted him as rushed up, patted his butt and cycled off giggling.

He had no idea why they were all behaving strangely so all he could do was shrug and take off down the new track and see if it was as good as he hoped. It was steeper and more meandering than previous ones with more obstacles, leaps and sharper curves... all in all it was quite treacherous for anyone but a well-seasoned cross-country biker.

Still, he’d started down it now and didn’t want to appear scared (even though he was) as some of his mates were whooping in excitement as they and their bikes careered at great speed through the wood.

One or two of the younger element had decided against it and returned to the relative safety of the old track. Meanwhile, some kids had come to grief and were clutching scraped arms and bruised legs where they’d smashed into trees or rocks; all of which had brought their downhill plummet to a sudden halt.


As the bike picked up speed Ethan knew he was out of his expertise and could feel control slipping away. Unfortunately, bravado and stupidity prevented him from braking and swerving in time to prevent the inevitable happen – a slight wrong turn on the track and he smacked into a large root and was catapulted off the bike. As he flew through the air his shorts snagged a sharp branch which ripped them apart and dug into his inner thigh. However, it was a relatively soft landing... unfortunately into a bed of nettles where his destroyed shorts offered little protection from the mass of prickly stings that engulfed him. Thankfully his helmet had stayed in place so his head remained intact.

It was all quite spectacular and those who witnessed it were clapping and hollering with delight at the bravery and sheer guts of their smashed-up friend who, although being stunned, was alive after such an epic speeding disaster. That was despite the large stream of blood running down the inside of his leg.

Other cyclists came hurtling down the narrow speedway hardly having time to take in the spectacle of the injured young lad as they sped past the scene. The bigger boys (and it was all boys on this run) who followed him down had steely concentration on their faces as they manoeuvred around the obstacles and avoided the mistaken route that had brought the victim to his calamitous halt. Besides, gravity and the ravine they were plummeting down made it almost impossible to stop once the journey had been started. Ethan had unfortunately discovered one of the many disastrous ways of making that emergency stop.

Meanwhile, the sting of nettles and rip of thorny brambles took Ethan’s mind off the injury to his thigh and the ripped and tattered shorts that hardly offered any protection. Two of his mates came to help but with each slight movement he could tell he wouldn’t be able to get up without further stinging.

However, they managed to grab a tentative hold and drag him out revealing his childishly colourful underwear under his destroyed shorts, which made those friends laugh but it did prove one thing... he didn’t wear a nappy so the rumours that were circulating appeared untrue.

Distant whoops and screams of delight could be heard by those who’d completed the run without serious damage to body or bike.


His friends eventually helped walk him home. It was slow progress because they had to almost carry him and the bike, which had a bent front wheel. Ethan’s body felt cruelly itchy and sore. The main pain was as a result of that large, long bruise and slash on his inner thigh where the branch had dug in causing more damage than just a ruined pair of shorts. As his friend Mitch pointed out, it could have been worse because the injury stopped just inches away from his balls. The pain from the nettles would have been as nothing if the branch had advanced further along its journey.

Once through the door his mother took charge. She was stunned at the condition of her son; he was almost totally red where the nettles had done their worst and she could see blood where scrapes and cuts had left him looking like he’d been attacked by a frenzied monkey.

Time for telling him off would have to wait as she led him upstairs to the bathroom to administer some relief to his poor flushed and battered body. He found taking his clothes off difficult. Each muscle seemed to have been bashed and broken and, although he’d held back the tears the entire journey home, now, as he tried to slip out of what remained of his shorts, the pain stabbed at his groin and he let out a shriek more of shock than agony.

His mother rushed in and saw her boy crying, unable to perform this most basic task so helped him out of his dirty clothes and into the bath, to which she’d added Dettol as a disinfectant for the wounds... it would also calm the nettle stings.

As he bathed she gathered up his clothes and noticed they were wet through. His underwear was particularly saturated, and a quick sniff indicated he’d peed himself, so that was something else that would need seeing to. She let him soak for a while before gently sponging him down and then helping him out of the bath. The soothing water had certainly helped the initial soreness but the rest of his body still ached. Wrapping him in a thick towel she guided him to his room and administered ointments and lotions to various cuts and bruises paying particular attention the ugly gash along his thigh.

He was really glad of his mother’s ministrations and only occasionally reacted if she found a particularly tender spot. She was very careful because he had multiple cuts and bruises and could tell that some would take a while to mend. In the meantime, she’d made up her mind he needed something more.  

The hot bath had helped him relax and once all those scrapes had been attended to Jessica had one final thing to do. She pulled out a thick fabric nappy and, despite his words of half-hearted protest, pinned it on, pulled up a pair of plastic pants and gave him a ‘healing’ kiss to his forehead. Even though it was still only lunchtime, she thought rest and sleep, would aid recovery. Having seen the difficulty he had getting in and out of the bath, she assumed he’d have equal problems getting to the bathroom so... a nappy was an obvious choice. Staying ahead of the game... seemed a wise precaution to take.

Ethan was in no condition to put up too much of a protest and gratefully sunk under the soft clean sheet his mother gently pulled over him. It had been a rotten experience; he hurt, he’d made a fool of himself and his friends had acted weird. Now he was in a nappy, which was yet another burden but still grateful for the care his mother gave.

Surprisingly he drifted off fairly quickly. It was as if his aching body knew it needed time to recover so shut down at the earliest opportunity.


Unaware of the drama, Cindy arrived home with two of her friends to play in her Wendy House but first she needed a couple of toys from her bedroom. The trio trooped up the stairs and as they passed Ethan’s bedroom his sister was astonished to see her brother lying fast asleep, the flimsy sheet tossed aside but with his shiny padding in full view.

She was shocked and a small gasp escaped her mouth but not before she’d beckoned her two friends to take a peek. The young girls were equally enthralled and followed Cindy to the side of his bed to take a better look. She was pleased with what was before her.

“See,” she whispered with some conviction, “I told you he wore nappies.”

The girls were curious to see more and prodded the comatose brother to see if he was awake. He let out a muffled sigh but hardly moved as Cindy’s chums giggled not believing their eyes.

Cindy noticed the scrapes and bruises and for a moment guiltily wondered if her brother had been beaten up, and if so, was it because they all knew about his nappies? However, that was soon forgotten as her friends gathered round and stroked his shiny bulge.


Even in his dreams Ethan ached and could feel the need to relieve himself but the effort to move was far too much. A quick flashback of his crash and the sense of hurtling through the air was very scary. Anticipating a hard landing his bladder couldn’t hold back and the urgency of the exiting stream of pee filled his airborne undies. There were voices; soft, gentle voices somewhere off in the distance which seemed friendly enough. On this occasion he landed on snuggly softness and relaxed, somehow knowing that his protection would do just that, protect - he continued to let loose.


The girls wondered what that slight hissing sound was but pretty quickly all of them recognised it.

“Your brother’s weeing...”

“Erm, shouldn’t we go?” Another nervously queried.

Cindy couldn’t believe it as she nervously slipped her hand up between his plastic pants and nappy and announced with some certainty that indeed her brother had just wet himself.

Her friends were still pretty astounded. They’d never seen a boy Ethan’s age wearing a nappy and plastic pants, or witnessed a boy (other than a baby) wet themselves, this was all both baffling and exciting.

For a few seconds they ran their small hands over the slippery plastic surface of his pants and, between each other, wondered just what it would be like changing a baby his size. However, Cindy knew she couldn’t just hang around so indicated they should leave. She went and grabbed a couple of dolls from her room and headed out down to the garden.

She passed her mother in the kitchen who hadn’t known of her daughter and friends return so asked them to play quietly as Ethan was sleeping. The girls giggled to themselves and went out to the Wendy House to discuss what they’d seen.


Jessica was thankful that Ethan’s fresh laundered nappies she was carrying were hidden in a basket so the girls hadn’t been able to see them. However, he’d been in bed for a couple of hours now so as she entered his room could see what the girls had seen, her son, lying all but naked on top of his bed and with the sheet barely covering his feet.

However, what she wasn’t aware of was just how much those girls had witnessed.

She smiled; it was a sight that although not quite ‘right’ still gladdened her heart. A mother never really tires of her children looking cute and innocent. She pulled the sheet back up to cover her son’s dignity then gently brushed a few stray hairs from his brow. He murmured.

“Are you awake sweetie?” There was a soft yawn and more murmurs. “How are you feeling?”

She wasn’t getting much sense but saw his eyes flicker open.

“Mmmm hi mum... erm...”

“It’s OK sweetie, you don’t have to get up just stay where you are and relax... I’ll just put these things away.” She was still holding the basket of clean nappies although Ethan had no idea what it was.

His mother being there had barely registered before his aching body returned him to sleep.

Just as she’d set the basket down on the dresser top and opened the top drawer she heard the front door bell go.

“I’ll be back in a moment sweetie... just... stay where...” he was already dead to the world.

The bell went again so stopped what she was doing and went to answer the door.

“Hi Mrs Lynd.”

“Hello Doug, Mitch... how’re you boys doing? Thanks again for getting Ethan home I’m sure he appreciates everything.”

Mitch was clutching a couple of magazines.

“We’re just checking in to see if he’s OK... and brought him a couple of mags he said he’d like to read.”

“Well, thanks boys...”

Just then Cindy shouted from the kitchen to ask if she and her friends could have a drink.

“Can we see him?” Mitch queried.

“Well he’s just woken up but... I suppose it’ll be alright.”

“Mummy, can Chrissy have orange juice please?” Cindy shouted from the kitchen in a more urgent tone.

“We’ll be quiet.” Doug promised.

Another request came from the kitchen together with the sound of breaking glass so Jessica had no option but to attend to her daughter’s needs.

The boys took this as an offer to come in and quietly went up to their friend’s room.


The first thing they noticed was Ethan dozing on his bed but what was quite obvious the thick bulge where the thin sheet hugged his waist. Then they noticed the basket full of clean nappies, the top drawer open with more nappies and plastic pants and the unmistakable aroma of pee in the room. There were also bottles and canisters of lotion and powder on the table next to his bed.

The boys looked at each other and nodded... the rumours were true. That morning it seemed that nearly everyone had heard that Ethan wore nappies. No one was sure why or who started the rumour but it had looked like it had been just a wind-up when they saw his underwear after the accident. However, that was then and this was now.

Despite being Ethan’s best mates they wanted to check for themselves so slowly inched down their slumbering chum’s bed sheet to reveal what they anticipated. Their eyes widened, almost as big as Cindy’s friends had, as they gazed upon the thick mound and heavy plastic pants. The smell of warm pee was also now more apparent, which confirmed everything that had been said. Now they’d seen for themselves they didn’t really know what to do as Ethan was still sleeping. They wondered whether to wake him and give him the mags but decided to just leave them on his table and go but not before they investigated the nasty gash on their mate’s inner thigh.

They saw the bruise but Mrs Lynd had done a fine job bandaging the wound.

“Bloody hell, I bet that was painful.” Doug commented.

“Yer but an inch or two further and it would have speared his bollocks. Can you imagine...?”  Mitch started with a shiver.

“Lucky.” Doug grimaced at how close his friend had come to disaster.

“Hmmm,” Mitch added thoughtfully. “Listen,” he said to Doug, “I’ve got an idea about this” and patted his friend’s sopping bulge a final time.

They left without saying their goodbyes to Ethan’s mum so she had no idea that both her daughter’s friends and now her son’s mates had seen the thick padding she made him wear as protection.

Ethan dozed but was unsure of his surroundings. He was certain he’d heard voices and giggling and dreamt his padding was being touched by ‘spirit’ hands; all of which led to a satisfying warm glow as he drifted deeper into his cosy space.

# tbc #

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You write very well, and your portrait of Cindy is top-notch ... a vivid reminder of just how vicious and cruel children can be at her age.  But let me play Devil's Advocate here, and note that I find Ethan just as unconvincing.  Perhaps it's a generational thing, a socio-economic one, or a combination of the two.  I grew up in East Los Angeles in the 1950's-- a multi-ethnic, impoverished, and violent neighborhood.  Here, Ethan wouldn't have had a bike because it would have long since been stolen out from under him.  And here, at 11 Ethan would have drawn a line in the sand and refused to submit to his parents on this issue because he would have fully understood the catastrophic outcome that would have followed in the schoolyard.  I drew this line in the sand at 11, and every kid I knew had to draw it not later than 13.  Parental dictation had been transformed in our minds into bullying, and convinced that our parents were morons completely out of touch with reality, we all not only fought but stood our ground in the face of often bloody beatings.  The good parents quickly came to realize that it was time to stop dictating and start reasoning and persuading.  The bad parents kept on drawing blood, and we kept on fighting.  My wife left home at 15; I was gone at 17.  Not one single pal of mine, whether male or female, was still at home to celebrate his or her 19th birthday.  So, all the stories here in which the protagonist is spineless even in late adolescence lead me to wonder: have kids changed this much over what is now a span of about 70 years, or are these merely literary creations of the collective DD imagination?

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Now you've just added to Ethan's woes... spineless?

You've painted the very picture that Ethan has worries about. Every movie he's seen has bullies taking stuff and making life difficult for no other reason than they can.

It's an image that plays heavily on his mind because he's simply not like that... and he's scared violence is seen as normal... even more so with older boys and girls.

However I must concede that I fall into your last category - are these merely literary creations of the collective DD imagination?

Hugs anyone?

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12 hours ago, Les Lea said:

Now you've just added to Ethan's woes... spineless?

You've painted the very picture that Ethan has worries about. Every movie he's seen has bullies taking stuff and making life difficult for no other reason than they can.

It's an image that plays heavily on his mind because he's simply not like that... and he's scared violence is seen as normal... even more so with older boys and girls.

However I must concede that I fall into your last category - are these merely literary creations of the collective DD imagination?

Hugs anyone?

Keeping in mind that at present I don't know anyone between the ages of 4 and 25, I am genuinely curious as to the accuracy of the portrait of the 10-18 cohort on this site.  Your protagonist certainly strikes me as spineless, and on this site he has a lot of fictional company.  If the survival instinct in late childhood and adolescence has been dulled in real life to this extent, then your story and others like it are on the proverbial money.  But if this is mere literary convenience, why not take on the challenge of drawing characters from real life while still taking the story where you want it to go?  Stories with grit always have more power than those that lack it.

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Part 4

He woke up to find his mother with a finger down the front of his plastic pants.

“How you feeling sweetheart?”

He struggled to move... his body ached even more and wasn’t sure why his mum had her hand down his...

“You’re soaked love... just as well we were prepared isn’t it?”

He raised himself up on his elbows as best he could and then noticed the mags at the side of his bed.

“Oh did Mitch leave these...”

Jessica suddenly realised that his mates had actually come up to see him but hoped that once they saw him asleep simply left them and went without... she hated to think... but didn’t know what they’d actually seen.

“Ermm, yes, they came to see how you were, which was nice of them but you were still asleep so...” She didn’t elaborate and quickly checked that the rest of her son was OK. “How’s the bruises? Do you think you can get up? Ermm... I think you need changing.”

Ethan looked despairingly at her. “Not another nappy mum... please” he begged.

“Look sweetheart, you’ve been badly shaken up and, judging by this,” she squeezed the soaked fabric, “you definitely need to wear padding, we just can’t take the risk.”

She saw her son’s face drop.

“Look. If you can keep it dry until morning then we’ll think about it again... eh? Is it a deal? We don’t want you in them any longer than necessary but at the moment darling... safety first... OK?”

He could feel just how squishy his nappy was and remembered letting go whilst dreaming... perhaps it would be safer to wear some protection... as long as his friends never found out.


Wearing jogging bottoms to hide the freshly applied bulge Ethan eventually forgot about the nappy. He still ached so wasn’t moving around a great deal but as he watched TV noticed Cindy looking at him and smiling. He didn’t know why because nothing had been said but was certain she must have gossiped. If she had, and all her friends knew, then he hoped his parents would follow through with their threat and confine her to nappies as well.

His father Peter had taken it upon himself to make an appointment at the doctors for his son to receive a tetanus injection. There was no telling what nasty microbes were lying in wait in the woods and it seemed, as he was due a booster shot, to be appropriate to get him checked out at the same time. He would take him in the car once home as the surgery, although not too far, would probably be a bit of a trial for their battered son.

Ethan was desperate not to wear a nappy to the doctors but his father said it was only going to be a quick jab and he’d be in and out in a second so there was no real reason for him to change. However, sat in the waiting room, surrounded by other patients, he felt paranoid that everyone knew just what he was wearing.

There was nothing about this situation that didn’t make his apprehension levels creep up and up - he hated the doctors - the place made him nervous. As a kid he remembered it was never a fun place to visit and that fear had stayed with him.

When his name was called his father accompanied him into the office where a needle and file of clear liquid was in a metal bowl on the desk with antiseptic wipes.

As Doctor Alsop welcomed them and searched his computer files for the correct patient he asked Peter to explain what had happened.

Mr Lynd described the accident, and mentioned, as Ethan was near the time for a tetanus booster, hoped it would be OK to “Get him sorted now?”

“Yes, very sensible.” The GP agreed. “But I see there are a few bumps and grazes that have been attended to... are there any major injuries... did you bang your head or suffer a blackout?”

“No, no... I just scraped myself.” Ethan nervously answered.

“Nothing banging the old noggin eh?” The doctor nodded towards Ethan’s head.

“No, it was fine I wore a helmet...”

“Good... good...” the doctor quickly peaked into his patient’s eyes.

Although keen to not let any examination take place the uneasy lad was thwarted by his father.

 “Well, he has a gash on his leg that looks pretty fierce but my wife cleaned it up and covered it in a bandage.” Peter was keen to make sure the doctor had all the facts.

“Well, before we do the injection let’s take a look to see if that’s all you need.” He said looking at his patent and waiting for him to show the injury.

Ethan was very reluctant shrugging and saying he was sure it was all OK.

“That may well be... and let’s hope it is but I wouldn’t be doing my job correctly if I didn’t just examine you now would I?” He said it light-heartedly but there was an obvious command to his voice.

“Just loosen you pants Ethan, let Doctor Alsop do his job.” Peter tried to persuade him.

“But dad, I can’t there’s a... you know... a...”

“Oh yes I forgot.” His father looked back to the doctor. “My son is wearing protection and is a little shy about anyone seeing it...”

“Oh, well, if that’s the case... do you want your father to leave the room whilst I check you out Ethan?”

Ethan felt all control of the situation evaporate. He knew this would happen and had pleaded with his dad to let him change into underpants... now he had no choice but to wriggle down his joggers and reveal his shame.


His plastic pants looked tight and shiny wrapped around the thick padding but the doctor merely gently pushed it aside and unwound the bandage to check the wound.

“Mmm, pretty sore I expect?” He was speaking to Ethan who was looking anywhere except the doctor he was so embarrassed. “Well the clean-up has been done thoroughly but I suspect we need an enhanced antiseptic ointment and a more waterproof cover... especially if you have a wetting problem.”

“Erm....” was all that Ethan could contribute.

“How long have you needed protection?” As he was getting no response from his patient he looked to Mr Lynd for an answer.

“Well,” Peter began sheepishly unsure of how much detail to go into as he didn’t want to embarrass his son. “He’s been wetting every night for the past few weeks...”

“And you didn’t think to bring him in for a check-up?”

“We thought it was something temporary and that’s he’d be over it quickly... new school and all.” He added by way of explanation.

“And is that how it’s going? Look... the poor boy is soaking his nappy now.”


Ethan let out a huge sob and looked to the floor, except all that was in his vision was the long scrape and his white padding turning a little yellow. He tried to hold back an even bigger sob that was caught in his throat. Peter looked at him with slight disdain and wondered what to say in such a situation. Thankfully Doctor Alsop came to the rescue.

“Don’t worry Ethan, this happens more often than you might realise. People get a bit worried by doctors, it’s called the ‘white coat syndrome’... it’s where, whether they are aware of it or not, seeing a doctor induces stress.... and I think,” he said looking into Ethan’s eyes, “you’re experiencing a great deal of stress in your life right now, eh?”

Silent tears dribbled down the boy’s cheeks and a comforting hand on his shoulder from the doctor let him know he had nothing to worry about. It didn’t help as he continued to flood his nappy.

Meanwhile, his father wasn’t sure what to do and could only apologise for his son’s traumatic accident. However, the doctor put some ointment on his wound, covered it with a long, thick waterproof dressing and finally administered the jab, which to Ethan had been the least worrying part of the process.

The doctor picked up his phone and dialled a number. “Ah Denise, can you sort me a junior disposable... erm... yes... 8 to 15 please. Oh, and are any of the exam rooms free?” He put down the phone and paid attention to his self-conscious patient.

“I suspect that you are going through a lot of changes - a new school perhaps and who knows what pressures from your friends... and that can cause wet nights and sometimes damp days. So, let me make it clear, you are not the only boy your age that needs this kind of padding at this time in your life OK?” He smiled hoping to take away some of the embarrassment. “However, just in case there is something more underlying, I’d like to book you in for a full physical as soon as possible” He looked to Mr Lynd for confirmation.

His father nodded and said he’d organise that with the receptionist as soon as they left the office.

“Good, however, sitting around in a wet nappy is not advisable so I suggest you change into a dry disposable...”

At that moment there was knock on the door and the receptionist walked in with a small folded package.

“Ah... right on cue... thanks Denise.”

With an understanding nod she passed the soft folded package to Peter. “And Exam Room 4 is free at the moment if you’d like to use that.” She smiled a helpful smile and waited to see if the doctor had any further instructions.

Ethan just hoped that what happened in the doctor’s consulting room stayed there and no one but the four people now in the office knew about his nappy requirements.

“Thanks doctor,” Peter said, “we’ll sort that out now and then I’ll talk to the receptionist before we go about another appointment.”

“Yes Denise,” the doctor added, “can you organise a full check-up for young Ethan here a.s.a.p please?”

Ethan was looking sad, fed-up and tired. His entire body ached and the nappy trauma he’d just been subjected to hadn’t helped.

“And Ethan,” the doctor added as they got up to leave, “try to keep the injury as dry as possible.”


His tears had all but dried up but there was so much going through his brain. Firstly he didn’t want to be changed by his father in the exam room... couldn’t it wait until they got home? But Peter had told the doctor he’d change him so wasn’t going to go against the professionals orders, and besides, it was better to get out of a wet nappy as soon as possible to stop any further rash. The last thing Ethan needed on top of his injuries was nappy rash.

However, as Ethan was led into Room 4 by his father, the few people sat in the waiting room couldn’t help but notice Peter thoughtlessly unravelling the disposable. As the exam room door closed the gossip started as young kids asked their parents why a grown-up was taking a boy Ethan’s age to be put in a nappy. They weren’t to know that this was nothing new for Ethan.

His dad made a point of repeating what the doctor had said about him not being the only boy his age having to wear protection. Although he hoped that was true, Ethan wasn’t convinced. It would be just his luck that all those other boys were at other schools and he’d be the only one at his. He couldn’t see it himself although, as the fresh padding was being applied he hoped... just maybe he wasn’t alone.

Surprisingly, the change was quick and efficient. Ethan was wearing a fresh medical disposable under his jogging pants as he left the privacy of Exam Room 4. Despite the loose fit, everyone stared at him as he departed and probably knew what he was wearing. The soft rustle and the different effect it had on his nether regions making the injured boy more aware than usual of his specific underwear.

There was a black plastic bag that his dad shoved the used nappy into. He thought how great the doctor had been and how well prepared the surgery was for this kind of procedure as he patted down his son’s fresh disposable.

Of course, the poor lad was still struggling with the aches and pains from his accident and various muscles were beginning to seize up so his shuffling gait made it even more apparent he was carrying a thick nappy.

The receptionist handed Peter a card with the appointment date and time. Meanwhile, smiles from adults and giggles from a few of the younger element waiting to see the doctor accompanied the self-conscious boy’s exit from the even busier health centre.

# tbc #

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  • Les Lea changed the title to Ethan’s Worries 1-4

With parents this thoughtless, what kid needs enemies?  But is this a fair characterization?  Is the father a big man ... a schoolyard bully in his own right back in the day?  Or was he bullied, and grew up to become one of those fathers who thinks that what lies just ahead for his son will serve to toughen him up?  The parents need more depth to allow us to make better sense of their actions.  And the doctor's actions also surprise me.  On this side of the pond, when a child is brought in with physical injuries, especially bruising and abrasions, doctors are schooled to screen for child abuse, and you can't do this with a parent in the room.  

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  • Les Lea changed the title to Ethan’s Worries 1-5

Part 5

It hadn’t been a good day for Ethan and it was just about to get worse. As he arrived home Mitch had popped round to see if his best mate had recovered from the scary spill.

As his father locked the car door and went to bring his wife up to speed the nervous nappied boy said ‘Hi’ to his friend and explained he’d slept most of the afternoon, thanked him for the mags and told him about his visit to the doctors for a tetanus jab.

“Yer, erm, well,” Mitch had decided he needed to tell Eeth that his nappies were the talk of the street. “Erm, well it’s best to be safe I suppose but, errrrmmm, um. Yes, talking of safety... erm... sorry to tell you this Eeth but...” he pointed to his friend’s crotch where the padding could clearly be seen outlined by his joggers. “That, is no longer a secret, everyone knows about you wearing a.... nappy.”

Ethan couldn’t believe what he was hearing and swallowed hard. His hand automatically grabbed at the front of his joggers in an obvious attempt to hide the bulge and in doing so hoped in some way to deny what his best mate was saying.

“Ermmm” was Ethan’s only sobbing comment as he rushed indoors.

“Sorry mate,” Mitch shouted after him, “I thought you should know... sorry... but...”

The ‘but...’ was lost by the door slamming shut and a hysterical Ethan had run upstairs and thrown himself down onto his bed and bawled.

Jessica, unaware of the circumstances but hearing the door slam shut cautiously made her way to his room and found her distraught son in floods of tears. What was also quite visible was the inflated disposable that indicated he’d flooded it as well.

“Oh sweetheart, are you OK?” She sat on the bed and tried to comfort her sobbing son.

In between snuffles he blamed his sister for letting everyone know he wore a nappy.

“Mitch said everyone knows (sob). He said everyone’s talking about me and... and. .. (sob)”

“Oh love... it wasn’t Cindy... I’m afraid it was me. I let the cat-out-of-the-bag when I said she could invite her friends round and they saw your nappies hanging out on the line. I’m sorry sweetheart.”

Mummmm, how...” The tears started again.

She tried to soothe his torment but understood this was pretty distressing info to take in.

“But Mitch knows... how come he...”

Jessica took a deep breath as she had more bad news to impart.

“Well, they came up to see you while you slept and left the mags... I thought you were awake when I left... but you must have dropped off again... you were... well... they obviously saw what you were wearing... so...” She shrugged but he didn’t see that as had his back to her.

“Everyone is going to make (hic) fun of me and (hic) I’ll be ... oh mum it’s not fair...” and the bawling started all over again.


As he lay there feeling depressed and betrayed his mother still tried to appease his worries by asking him if he shouldn’t get changed out of his wet nappy. This was the last thing she should have suggested as it was met by an angry outburst that took her by surprise.

“Get out... GET OUT. You’ve ruined my life.” He spat angrily at her. “It’s all your fault I’m the laughing stock of the neighbourhood. I’ll never be able to go out again.” He cried his indignation, fear and worries.

His mother, although taken aback by this accusation wasn’t going to put up with this interpretation of events.

“Sorry Ethan... but it’s you who wet the bed and it’s you who’s just wet his nappy... so don’t go around blaming others for what’s happening.”

A wail of unhappiness and a kick of his legs in frustration made him appear even younger than what his damp padding already did. Despite his little tantrum Jessica wanted to ease his pain as much as possible.

“Look sweetheart, your dad’s told me he’s booked an appointment at the doctors for you to have a thorough medical examination. Those tests might explain why you’re having such wet nights and might just help sort things out.”

His sobbing had stopped so assumed he was listening to what she had to say.

“No one wants you in nappies for a moment longer than necessary but you have to admit they have saved you from a soaked bed on many mornings recently... and I would guess,” she patted his sopping wet disposable, “even now this has prevented a serious leak.”

“But, but, everyone is going to be laughing at me.” The sorrowful and self-pitying whine was to be expected but his tear streaked face made his mum’s heart break for what he was going through.

“Well not everyone sweetheart.” She did a quick assessment of what her husband had said just moments ago in the kitchen. “Didn’t the doctor say it was more common than perhaps you think?” She paused. “Perhaps there are others having the same stresses and anxieties that you’re feeling but...”

“Maybe, but everyone knows about mine and what it means.” Unconsciously he rubbed the front of the soggy mound. “Who told them, I’m sure it was Cindy?”

“Well it might have been her friends but I don’t think your sister would spread gossip... she knows what that would mean... and she’s been very supportive of you hasn’t she?”

Ethan had to agree, despite the occasional sly look, she’d not said a word against him or taunted him about wearing padding.

“Look sweetie, we’re all as one here. We want you out of these,” she patted the bulge, “as soon as possible but as you need them for the moment...”

“But I don’t want to have to wear them... and I’m not going to.” He mumbled unconvincingly.

Jessica noted the uncertain tone of his voice.

“Well, OK but first you have to understand you’re wet now and have wet your nappies, oh and your underpants,” she added to make sure the logic to what she was saying made sense, “on several occasions so I don’t think we can agree to that just yet.”

She saw her son wriggle in frustration but he said nothing.

“I know all this is uncomfortable, and annoying, and out of your control but it is what’s needed at the moment and if you think wearing a nappy is embarrassing for your friends to see... what would they think of a lad who has damp patches and stains all down his pants, hmm?”

She let that sink in as she continued to gently stroke his padding.

“However sweetie, I think it is about time to get you changed and out of this soaked disposable and into something drier. With all your other abrasions I think you can do without getting a rash.”

He was thinking about what his mother had said “I know all this is uncomfortable, and annoying, and out of your control...” but only the last part of that was true. After that first night of having to wear protection where it really was uncomfortable, he’d got used to it fairly quickly and found there was a great deal of comfort knowing that he wouldn’t wake up to a soaked bed. The padding, once in place, helped him relax even if ultimately it didn’t stop any soggy mornings. However, if he had to wear it during the day as well, that posed a problem. 

He turned to face his mother and with tear-stained eyes hugged her and asked what he should do.

“Look Ethan,” she wanted to sound on top of the situation so needed a firmer voice, “I think a nappy, although not ideal, does its job well. Do you agree?” She waited for what she knew would be a positive nod. It came. “So, now people know, they may want to poke fun or try to embarrass you so... what we need do is find a strategy... that takes away that ability. Do you agree?”

Again the dubious nod came so she continued.

“So, whilst the nappy does its job we need to make sure we do the same.” She was babbling now because quite frankly she had no idea how to come up with a ‘strategy’ or any plan whatsoever. ”But first, let’s get you changed, hmm?”


Ethan sat at the table tinkering with his meal, he wasn’t particularly hungry. Everyone knew what Mitch had said and despite her best efforts Cindy was really pleased and could hardly prevent herself from smirking at her demoralised brother. It perhaps didn’t help that his mother had put him into an even thicker nappy and thicker plastic pants, which his thin cotton jammies couldn’t hide.

Because of the trip to the doctor’s it was a late evening meal but he was already dressed for bed, whilst Cindy was a good hour away from getting herself ready. She felt smug that her new ‘baby’ brother sitting by her side looked the very part she hoped to see. Now everyone knew, it meant she didn’t have to keep secrets any more and felt able to embellish on her brother’s trials and tribulations.

She was going to exaggerate to her friends just how much of a baby he’d become and how much he relied on his nappy to keep him from wetting everywhere. She would tell them that she had to change his stinky nappy and get him ready for bye-byes. She was going to have great fun at his expense. She hoped that Mitch and Doug and Brian and Emily’s brother Gary would all be taking the mickey when Ethan next ventured out on his bike... or anywhere.

She was excited by the thought they’d point and laugh, whilst he snivelled and hid. Of course mummy and daddy would keep their little ‘baby’ boy in nappies because he couldn’t control his wee-wee. She hoped, that with new school just around the corner, he’d still be wearing nappies then... then... everyone would know he was the baby whilst she was the Big Girl.

As she shovelled down her food she’d never been happier and began to think about getting her friends to change his nappies because he was too scared to go out and see his friends. He was going to be their permanent little toy.


After his friends had discovering his secret and left Ethan’s bedroom, Doug and Mitch had made a decision. They knew the embarrassing rumours going round, and, although what they’d seen bore witness to that fact, they wanted to help their friend if they could.

They didn’t know anything about how long he’d been wetting but the rumours said that he had to wear nappies all the time. This was patently untrue because the boys had seen each other in various stages of undress over the years and they’d never seen Ethan in nappies before that visit. However, there was no denying he was wearing them but maybe there was a simple reason for that, maybe his accident had been the cause?

First thing to do was get everyone focused on the accident.

Mitch thought that his spill should be made more the centre of discussion and more dramatic. To this end he proceeded to tell everyone just how spectacular it had been. Then he thought to ‘big-up’ his friend by relaying how amazing Ethan had been to take on that particularly frantic and terrifying new run. Those who had witnessed his ripped shorts, injuries and, not least of all, his colourful, though regular underwear, were harangued into believing, despite the smash, just what an unbelievable stunt and act of bravery he’d performed.

His enthusiasm and undisguised admiration of his friend for what he’d done was nothing short of hero worship. Mitch and Doug made it appear that it was something Ethan did all the time but away from prying eyes. However, he’d had a couple of accidents in the past which had damaged his ability to piss properly, and could be the cause of the need for some kind of protection they added dismissively.

“I think he occasionally must wear some padding like sportsmen do to protect their vitals.” Mitch advanced as a vague reference that just maybe he does wear protection but “...isn’t that a wise thing to do?”

Both he and Doug built up their friend’s achievements. Mentioning, with an approving laugh, his latest injury that “nearly took his balls off”, and presented Eeth as a carefree daredevil who should be admired. Incredibly, this caught some traction with quite a few kids and Ethan was quickly becoming a local biking celebrity.

Young ears were only too keen to believe what the older boys said and as the description of Ethan’s injuries were now widely known it was easy to pretend they’d seen the entire event and the drama that entailed. As the tale was retold, each person added their own embellishment complete with their own involvement as part of this historical event.

With a certain degree of satisfaction talk drifted from ‘Does Ethan wear nappies or, simply, sensible protection to shield him during stunts?’ Those who’d witnessed the latest incident built on it without any prodding from either Doug or Mitch as they wanted to carry the idea, and the kudos, that ‘they were there’ when it took place.

Before long it had become the most spectacular stunt ever performed and had one or two of the older boys jealous that they hadn’t witnessed it or performed something equally daring.

Mitch simply said they should see the rip down Ethan’s leg (and how near it was to his bollocks) to see how mad and unconcerned their mate was.

So, whereas Ethan’s mother couldn’t come up with a strategy, his friends had managed to at least foggy the conversation about whether he wore nappies or not. It was an incredible lie the two eleven year-olds had come up with but one they had to get Ethan to play along with.

# tbc #

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  • Les Lea changed the title to Ethan’s Worries 1-20

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