I am very sorry that, apart from the delightful letter from Mrs J.N. of Kent about Baby Sandra's upbringing and training, there have not been many letters recently on the subject of 'Petticoat and Nappy Discipline'.
From long experience of this - first with my brother, when my mother put him back into baby attire for several years because of continued naughty behaviour, and since then with my husband, I can certainly testify personally to the effectiveness of such treatment.
My brother was 15 when mother first introduced this form of discipline, and I can remember clearly even now his horror and disgust when he was put into a dear little pink organdie baby frock and a frilly white lace petticoat. In those days he was spared the humiliation of nappies. They came later at my suggestion, but his pretty little button-up baby drawers with their lace frilled legs were a sufficient blow to his masculine ego to reduce him almost overnight from a swaggering bully and braggart to a docile and obedient small child.
To my great delight mother allowed me to take an active part in his training, reasoning, no doubt, that he would feel the humiliation of his position even more keenly with his younger sister in charge of him. It was my job to see that he kept himself and his clothes clean and tidy, and that he behaved in keeping with his childish attire, and I was allowed to dress and undress my 'baby brother'.
OOOH! How he hated this. I used to tease him unmercifully as I fitted him into his humiliating baby clothes. I even taught him baby names for each garment: his frock was always a 'fwock', his petticoats were 'petties', and his drawers were always referred to as 'baby knicks'. Sometimes when visitors were present I would make him recite all these baby names for their amusement, and he would squirm and wriggle as they all roared with laughter to hear this big grown boy talking in such an absurd baby fashion!
The idea of making the discipline even more unpleasant for him by putting him into nappies was entirely my own. One day, I happened to see a toddler walking along holding his mother's hand. He was dressed only in a very skimpy little frock and as he reached up to hang onto Mummy an enormous amount of white towelling nappy slipped into view. Looking at this ridiculous but delightful spectacle I suddenly thought of Bobby and how he would look dressed in a similar way.
It took quite a long time to persuade mother, who felt that at nearly 16 he was too old to be subject to such humiliation. But she could see that it meant a lot to me, and as I was supposed to be in charge of him, she eventually gave in. I made his nappies myself in Needlework at school, for of course he was much too big for the ordinary baby sized ones, and when I took them home and showed them to mother she became quite interested herself.
Poor Bobby! He had no inkling of our plans - not until the next morning, when after putting him, as usual, into his petticoat and frock, I announced as calmly as I could that, from now on, Baby would have to wear nappies, as we felt that this would be more in keeping with his nursery status!
He sobbed. He pleaded. He begged on bended knees not to be humiliated like this. He wasn't a baby he cried. He wasn't going to let himself be put into nappies! And I just stood there dangling a nappy in front of him and thoroughly enjoying his little tantrums, knowing that he would have to give in to me in the end. Until finally, almost exhausted by his efforts, he realised that it was no use and, still sobbing, he lay down on the bed as I told him, and he sulkily and unwillingly allowed me to pin him into his nappies.
From then on, until released from his shameful baby attire at 18, we never had any trouble with him, and exactly the same methods produced a very respectful and loving husband - but that's another story!
I do hope this letter is not too long.
This letter was contributed by dear Derry, who has supported 'Petticoat Discipline Monthly' from practically the day it was announced. I have very kind offers of letters from other readers too, and these will be appearing in future editions of our magazine. I would like to thank Derry very much for making this first contribution of a letter from the past.
Poor Bobby! Still, if he was a conceited bully beforehand, there was no better way of puncturing his boyish ego than the one given here. And the author obviously learned from the experience too, and it was heart-warming to learn that her own husband has been petticoated just like Bobby had been.