from Emma

Dear Auntie Helga,

I'm so pleased you've kept the website up and running, and I wondered whether you and your readers would be interested in the story of how my mother intermittently kept me in nappies until I left home.

My mum was a teacher and dad worked for an oil company. His job often took him abroad for long periods, and when I was five or six he got posted to South America and never came back. Mum said he met someone else, and we never saw him again.

I had two sisters - Rebecca and Rachel. They were twins, and two years younger than me. It can't have been easy for mum bringing up three young children on her own, and looking back I can see why she did things some people might find a bit strange. She was really protective of us, and never wanted to let us out of her sight. We were never allowed to stay over at a friend's house on our own, and even school trips were out of the question.

When we went shopping mum always took us with her. Rachel and Rebecca loved it, but I hated shopping. If I needed to go to the loo, mum always insisted we all go in together, so that she could keep an eye on us. When I was only young this wasn't too bad, but when I got to seven or eight it started to get really embarrassing being taken into the ladies.

I protested about having to be taken into the ladies, but mum explained that she saw no option - there was no way she was going to let me go into the gents on my own. It was one of my sisters, Rebecca, I think, who suggested a solution.

"If he was a baby," she said, "he could have a nappy on and then he wouldn't need to go in the ladies."

I was mortified by the very suggestion of being put back into nappies. I'd been a late developer and had had to wear nappies at night until I was nearly five, and I'd hated it. It was so humiliating when mum put us all to bed, and the girls just put on their nighties, while I had to lie on my bed and let mum put my nappies on.

I could see from the look on mum's face that she was seriously considering it.

My fears were confirmed the following weekend when we were going to visit some friends who lived a couple of hours away.

Mum got us up and dressed, and we had our breakfast. But just before we were going to get in the car she took me upstairs again.

"Listen, sweetheart," she said, "I don't want you going into those nasty gents' toilets on your own, and you're a bit too big for me to take you into the ladies any more. So I'm going to put you into a little nappy for the journey. Then if you need to go you can just do it in your nappy. I can change you when we get to Auntie Margaret's house."

I was dumbstruck. Surely she wasn't really going to put me back into nappies. I was eight years old!

Before I could protest mum had me on my back on her bed, with my trousers and underpants off. She produced a nappy and secured it tightly around my bottom. She then threaded my feet through the leg holes of a pair of baby knickers and pulled them up tight too. Mum always referred to the waterproof pants she made me wear as my 'waterproofs', but I could only ever think of them as baby knickers.

I felt so awful. Mum stood me up and put a pair of shorts on me, but looking at my reflection in the mirror I could see the bulky outline of my nappies, and my sisters spotted it straight away.

On the journey we stopped for the girls to go to the loo. I asked if I could too, but mum told me I had to use my nappies. She left me in the car while they went off. I really needed to go, and, to my great embarrassment, I wet my nappies.

When they came back I think mum could tell from the look on my face what I'd done. She undid my shorts and pushed two fingers inside my nappies. Finding them wet, she said "Not to worry, darling, that's what your nappies are for."

The girls giggled. I blushed a deep shade of red.

When we got to our destination we were met by Auntie Margaret and Uncle Mike, and their three children. Fiona was about six months older than me, and I had a secret crush on her. Tommy and Kim were also twins, about the same age as Rebecca and Rachel.

I was hoping that mum would be discreet about my wet nappies. I dreaded everyone else knowing about them, especially Fiona. But it was not to be. We went and sat down in the kitchen for a cup of tea, and mum said, out loud and with everyone listening "Oh Margaret, can I just use one of the bedrooms for a minute? I've had to put Robert back into nappies and I'm afraid he's wet them on the way up. It should only take a minute or two."

I could have died, and almost wet myself again.

Auntie Margaret was very understanding and showed us up to a bedroom, where she waited and watched while mum took off my wet nappies. At one point I thought mum was going to put me back into a clean nappy for the evening, but she allowed me to wear normal underpants. It was no help though; everyone knew I'd had to use a nappy.

Whenever we went out over the weekend one or other of the other children would always ask if I needed to have nappies on, much to their amusement. It was particularly embarrassing when Fiona asked. She seemed to be really enjoying my discomfort.

Eventually it was time to go home again, and so mum took me upstairs with Auntie Margaret, to her bedroom. I was laid on her bed and Auntie Margaret pulled down my shorts and pants. Mum handed her a nappy and she pinned it on me. She and mum were chatting away about how cute babies look in proper terry nappies as my plastic pants were pulled up, as if it were perfectly normal to treat an eight year old boy in that way. Even when I'd had to wear nappies to bed when I was five, at least they'd been discreet disposables. Now they were proper terry nappies. I felt so babyish and embarrassed.

I had my shorts put back on, but the bulky outline of my nappy was obvious to everyone again. When I went downstairs Fiona gave me a big knowing smile, and stared at my bottom. I couldn't wait to get away and into the car.

The twins needed to stop on the way home, but I was very relieved that I managed to hold on, and not wet my nappies.

When we got home I expected mum to take my nappies off, but instead she just quickly checked I was dry, praised me for being a good boy, and said she was too busy to change me now as she had dinner to prepare. Much to the twins' amusement I therefore had to stay in nappies until bedtime.

From that day on, every time we went on a long trip, or went out for more than an hour or so, mum put me back into nappies and baby knickers.

The more often this happened, the more blasé mum became about it.

Initially she would always take me into the privacy of her own bedroom, where she kept my nappies and things, and make sure the door was closed before changing me. But as it became more and more the norm when going out, she started taking shortcuts.

A couple of times I noticed she hadn't closed her door properly, and I'm sure that on a couple of those occasions one or both of the twins were peeking in.

After a few times of actually having to wet my nappies I got a bit of nappy rash. Mum bought me some cream for it, which I had to apply every day. Instead of keeping it in her bedroom with my other creams and powders, she put it on the shelf in the main bathroom. So every day, there was that reminder staring out at me, and the twins, and anyone else who used the bathroom.

A bit later than that she started changing me in my own room, and so cleared a shelf in my wardrobe to keep my nappies and baby pants. So even when I wasn't going to be put into them, I still saw them every day - a constant reminder of what was always going to happen again before too long.

It wasn't long before mum stopped bothering to close my door altogether. The way she looked at it we were all family, and the twins knew full well that I regularly wore nappies, so what difference did it make if they saw me having them put on?

Then instead of always drying my nappies in the tumble dryer, she started hanging them out on the line to dry. So all the neighbours got to see them. They could have been just towels, were it not for the fact that mum always hung out my baby knickers next to them.

I also found that mum was putting me into my nappies further and further in advance of us going out, and leaving them on me later and later after we got back. It wasn't too long before I found myself being put into nappies as soon as I got up if we knew we were going out later that day. So as mum took us shopping almost every weekend, I spent almost every Saturday from first thing in the morning until I went to bed in nappies and baby pants. Most Sundays I found myself in nappies all day just in case we went out.

It was shortly after this, when I must have been nine or maybe ten, that what I look back on as the next stage of this started.

The older I got, the more I protested about how obvious it was that I had a nappy on. I could just about get away with it if I wore baggy shorts, but as I got older, especially during the winter, I didn't want to wear shorts. And it was almost impossible to find jeans that would fit over my nappies.

This time, it was Rachel who suggested a solution. "Mummy," she said, apparently innocently, "if he was a girl, rather than a boy, and had to have a nappy on, he could wear a skirt, or a dress. If it was a nice flouncy one, or maybe with a multi-layered petticoat on underneath, no-one would see the outline of his nappy."

I listened in horror, and watched my mum's face as she let the idea sink in. I was now dreading the shopping trip that Saturday more than usual.

Lots of love


Thank you for your letter Emma. Your mother did the right thing since obviously you couldn't control yourself. We hope to read of your petticoat discipline in the future.

Auntie Helga

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