Who Wears the Pants - Part 4
by Jennifer Loraine
Every man must define his identity against his mother. If he does not, he just falls back into her and is swallowed up.
Camille Paglia (b. 1947), "Homosexuality at the Fin de Siècle," in Esquire (New York, Oct. 1991; repr. in Sex, Art, and American Culture, 1992).
He watched TV and napped most of Friday on the couch in front of the TV. He was too sleepy to care when she pleaded exhaustion that night and only made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner for him. When eight o'clock rolled around, Howard trundled off to bed without being prompted by Anita. He could hardly keep his eyes open as he stumbled sleepily towards the bedroom. Anita stayed up until ten o'clock so she could watch the local news and didn't come to bed until she had seen the weather report at the end of the show. By the time Anita came to bed at ten thirty, Howard had been asleep for two and one half hours.
Anita pulled the duvet down quietly and slipped into bed without disturbing Howard's slumbering body. After setting the alarm, she turned out the bedside lamp and rolled over on her side facing Howard. The starlight streaming through the open curtains illuminated Howard's childlike body making him look like a changling child that some dark elf had left in the night in place of her husband. Anita smiled in the semidarkness and stroked the hair on the back of his head affectionately, then laid her arm protectively over her husband's shoulders. Howard stirred at her touch and rolled over unconsciously to near her comforting presence. She put her arm over his back and held his shoulder blades in her hand. Howard responded to her caress by inching even closer to her and nestling his nose in the cleavage between her breasts. Anita sighed maternally and put her hand down to his bottom and pulled him towards her until her was huddled against her body. Howard whimpered in his sleep and buried his head deeper between her breasts like a small child having a bad dream. Anita wrapped her arms around him and held him close to her bosom until he became quiet again and fell into a dreamless sleep.
The next morning was a disaster. Anita woke to find that he had peed in the bed while they slept. She quickly decamped the bed and hauled his still sleeping body after her. She brought him into the master bathroom and ran a tub while she held him on her lap as she sat on the toilet seat and stripped the wet underwear from his behind. He looked up groggily as she lowered his half awake body into the tub of warm water and rinsed the urine from his crotch, then left him while she went to strip the bed. He was fully awake by the time she returned and took him out of the tub to get him dried off. Then she picked him up and carried him to the bedroom to get him dressed. Howard was surprised to see that the bed had no sheets and asked her why she was changing them so early in the morning. She usually waited until later in the day to make up the bed. Anita gave him a sour look and said, "Because you wet the bed in your sleep, that's why! There are going to be some changes tonight in our sleeping arrangements, Howard! I have no intention of waking up in wet sheets again!"
Howard was too embarrassed by his accident to respond. He sat on the unmade bed and let her to dress him in his briefs. They seemed a little large on him that morning when he got off the bed and went to the kitchen for breakfast. The elastic barely put any tension on his waist and the rear of the briefs drooped baggily behind him. After breakfast, she dressed him in overalls before leaving him at home while she went on her customary Saturday morning shopping trip. Just before she came home, he went to get himself a drink of water from the refrigerator. Somehow the handle of the refrigerator door caught his full glass of water when it swung shut and he managed to spill the entire contents of the glass on the floor. He was standing in the puddle of water wondering how to clean up the mess when the garage door opened and Anita walked in. Howard decided that she must have used the radio control on the automatic garage door while he was still in the family room. The accident in the kitchen had distracted him and he hadn't heard the Geo's engine as she pulled into the garage. She stood over him and shook her head at the mess surrounding his feet like a mother with an exceptionally clumsy child. Howard looked up at his wife and started to explain, but shut it again when he realized that excuses were useless. Anita put her purse on the kitchen counter and bent down, then put her hands under his armpits and lifted him bodily out of the water. She carried him to the family room and sat him down on the couch with his damp feet dangling off the edge of the couch. She told him to stay put and then went back to the kitchen to mop up the mess. Suddenly Howard was seized with an immediate need to urinate. He dropped off the couch and fairly ran to get the bathroom before he had another, even more humiliating accident. When he got to the toilet, he fumbled frantically to unzip his pants only to discover that his overalls had no front opening. Howard tried to shrug his way out of the suspenders to drop his pants, but the "Y" shaped yoke behind his back prevented them from being removed in that fashion. He forced himself to curl over his protruding tummy in a vain attempt to unbutton the unfamiliar straps before the inevitable happened; he peed in his pants.
The warm urine was still draining from his overfilled bladder when Anita came into the bathroom to find out why he had rushed off. The black stains on the carpet from his wet dirty feet had left an unmistakable trail for her to follow. He looked up at her helplessly as the dark yellow puddle at his feet continued to grow. The deep indigo-colored wet spot on his pants started at his crotch and ran down the inseams of the legs of his overalls almost all the way to the floor. He was soaked. A steady drip of pee fell from the cuffs of both legs and joined the damning proof of his childish incontinence that surrounded him.
Tears of utter defeat and mortification ran down his cheeks and fell off his quivering chin to join the puddle below. Except for the terror induced incident at the playground, he hadn't had a real "accident" in his pants since he was a preschooler. Dribbling in his pants was one thing, but he had completely lost control of himself this time! He didn't even have the merry-go-round to blame for it. It was all his fault! He wanted to explain to Anita, but when he opened his mouth, words utterly failed him. He had peed in his pants like a toddler! Nothing he could say or do would change the fact of the evidence at his feet. He wasn't just a failure as a man, he didn't even have the self-control that every schoolchild had. He had become a pants-wetting infant, a baby who would to have his underwear changed when his lack of control caused him to dirty or wet them. Anita didn't say a word, she only stared at the puddle on the floor and nodded as if she was agreeing to something she had silently told herself. Then she picked him up out of the puddle and stood him in the tub. She took a towel from the rack and dropped it on the puddle and turned back to her incontinent husband. Howard had stopped peeing in his pants, but his soggy pants were still dripping. She smiled at him and said in the patronizing tone that women use with children who are too young to be held responsible for their actions, "Do you need some help, Sweetiepie? It looks like you've had an accident!"
Howard nodded dumbly, his profound embarrassment with his childish act had stilled his tongue and rendered him incapable of speech. Anita efficiently stripped his wet overalls and undies from his diminutive body, set the stopper on the tub and twisted the taps on the tub to begin filling it with warm water. The pounding of the water beating against the bottom of the tub filled his ears as he stood nakedly in the tub dressed solely in his T-shirt. He looked on helplessly while Anita finished mopping up his mess with the towel. When she was done, she took his pants and the towel to the utility room for washing. The water was up to his shins when she returned and pulled his T-shirt over his head. Then she ordered him to sit in the tub and turned off the taps. Howard complied passively, not wanting to start an argument after having made such an utter fool of himself. He was thankful that Anita hadn't commented on his accident. She could have made a fuss and told him what a child he was. Instead she cleaned up his mess without a hint of approbation. "Stay there and soak for awhile, Honey. Don't worry if you have another 'accident' while you're in the tub. I'm going to rinse it out after you have your bath anyway, okay?", she said kindly.
Howard blushed a deep crimson at the mention of his accident and nodded quietly in agreement. He wanted to tell her that he wasn't about to have another accident, but the words wouldn't come out. Besides, he couldn't be sure that his bladder wouldn't cut loose again unexpectedly. It was best if he remained there as she suggested and let the clean water wash away all traces of his sin. After half an hour, she returned and ordered him to stand up in the tub. She took a bar of Ivory soap and lathered him quickly, then took a washcloth and began to bathe him. When he tried to take the washcloth from her hand to bathe himself, she playfully slapped his hand away and continued her ministrations. After he was completely scrubbed, she dipped the cloth in the water and rinsed it out before wiping the remnants of the suds from his body. In a few minutes he was free of soap and she opened the stopper on the tub. Anita wrung out the cloth and hung it over the shower curtain rod to dry, then lifted him out of the tub as if he was a little boy. She grabbed a terrycloth towel from the towel bar and knelt down beside him. Then she began to vigorously buff him dry with the fluffy fabric. When she was done, she said not a word as she stood up, bent over and picked him up in her arms and carried him to the bedroom. Howard was humiliated. Never, never in his adult life had anyone treated him like a child. He felt helpless in her arms. His nakedness next to her fully clothed body only served to empathize how defenseless he had become. She had one arm wrapped around his back while her other hand supported his four year old bottom easily in her palm. When they reached the bedroom, she sat him on the bed and got a pair of clean underwear from the drawer. She made him lie back on the bed while she slipped his feet through the leg holes and pulled them down to his knees. Then she took his hands in hers and pulled him to a sitting position before helping him off the bed. Howard reached down to tug the underwear up his thighs, but she slapped his hands away so she could dress him herself. When she pulled them over his bottom, he was surprised at how soft and comfortable his underwear felt. They were tighter than he would have liked, but the feel of the plushy fabric against his skin made him feel like they were caressing his bottom. When he looked down at the front of his briefs, he saw to his dismay that they had no fly for urinating. "What kind of boy's briefs are these?", he thought to himself in confusion.
He fingered the soft cloth with his hand and discovered that they were thickly padded through the crotch with what felt like resilient foam padding and tight elastic at the leg openings. All at once, his small size, the lack of a fly on the brief, the foam padding and the elasticized legs concatenated themselves into a realization of what the briefs must be and he thought in shock, "Training pants! Anita's put me in toddler's training pants!" His embarrassment at wetting himself was forgotten as he thought to himself furiously, "What the Hell does she think she's doing? She has no business making decisions like that without my approval. I wear the pants in this family, not her!"
Howard looked up at his wife, his face contorted with rage over her chutzpah as he grabbed the crotch of his pants in his hand like a toddler needing to pee. The effrontery of the woman astonished him. "How DARE she do this me!", he thought to himself. He was too enraged to speak to her. The torrent of irate words that rushed through his mind refused to form themselves on his anger purpled lips. Howard stalked over to the dresser and yanked open the drawer to pull out a pair of regular boy's briefs. But when he looked in to the wooden tray, all he could see was more of the soft white cotton training pants stacked in neat rows across the bottom of the drawer. Their hidden elastic waistbands made them curve slightly rather than laying flat as proper underwear should. They looked more like piles of thick diapers to Howard than underwear. He turned back to Anita, and swung his arm expressively over the drawer full of toddler's undies. "Why?", he demanded, "Why did you do this? Why are you trying to make me look foolish?"
Anita shrugged indifferently and said, "You're too young to wear anything else, that's why." She pointed at the crotch of his pants and said, "The padding will keep you from peeing all over my furniture and carpets. If you pee in your pants like a toddler, you're going to be dressed in toddler's training pants, Howard. I can't go chasing after you with a mop to clean up your puddles. I know how disheartening it must be, but short of catheterizing you and putting you in bed until you get better, I can't see any other way of handling the problem. If you've got a better idea, I'd certainly like to hear it. Would you rather wear diapers? What do YOU propose to do about your problem?"
"I donít know right now," Howard replied, "But I do know there must be a better way! Who said you could buy training pants for me without consulting me? You had no right to make a decision like that! I'm the man around here and I make the decisions! I don't need your help!"
"When you come up with something, we'll try it! Until you do however, you're going to wear training pants because that's all we have that will fit you!", Anita replied, turning on her heel and leaving the bedroom.
"Aniiiita!", Howard cried in frustration as she walked down the hall, "What about my pants?"
"A big man like you can dress himself without my help," she said without breaking step or turning around, "You said you don't need my help, so do it yourself!"
"But I can't button the buttons!", he whined.
"Then don't wear them. You can sit around the house in your underwear for all I care! I don't care what you do. You're the man, you make the decision," Anita said as she passed out of earshot.
Howard stood in the bedroom quaking with rage. First she dressed him like a toddler and then she abandoned him to his own resources. What the Hell had gotten into her? After a few minutes Howard calmed down and realized the mistake he had made. He was utterly dependent on Anita for everything since his mysterious illness had robbed him of his adult abilities. He couldn't drive a car or fix a meal for himself. Hell, he couldn't even dress himself without her help. So what if she made a few decisions without asking him first? If she couldn't find underwear to fit him, it wasn't her fault was it? As much as he hated to admit it, she was right about the training pants too. It wasn't his fault that his illness had made him incontinent. There was no reason to be ashamed of it. Lots of people had medical conditions that made them incontinent and they did what was necessary without getting upset. He had overreacted to Anita's efforts. Sure it was embarrassing to have to wear training pants, but what else could he do? Wear diapers? A cold chill ran down his spine just thinking about having Anita change his diaper as if he was an infant. "Better to wear training pants that will protect the furniture and still let me use the toilet when I need to," he thought to himself, "I was too hard on Anita. She was only trying to do her best. After all, she's only a woman! I can't expect her to think as clearly as a man. I'll apologize to her and she'll forget all about what I said. Women are like children; they only deal with the immediate present. Then things can get back to normal around here!"
He walked softly into the family room and stood in front of his wife while she watched TV. From the expression on her face he could tell she was really irritated. He hung his head abjectly and said in as humble a voice as he could manage, "Honey, I'm sorry. You were right. I shouldn't have said what I did. I need your help. I've always needed your help and I need you now more than ever. Won't you forgive me?"
"Did the big man forget how to dress himself? Are you asking help from a mere woman? Aren't you afraid that it will tarnish your macho image?", she asked viciously.
"I'm sorry, Honey. I didn't mean what I said. Of course I'll wear these pants. It's the only rational thing to do under the circumstances. You were right to buy them for me," he said contritely.
"Howard, we need to come to an understanding right now. I'm tired of listening to you rant about being the man of the house. You don't look like much of a man right now! If you want me to help you, you're going to have to start listening to me! Do you understand?", she said firmly.
"Yes, Dear," Howard said with his head bowed.
"I don't think you do," Anita snapped, "Look at you! You're no bigger than a four-year-old!"
Anita took the folded pair of his suit pants laying beside her and held it out in front of him, saying., "Do these fit you, Howard? These are a man's pants. If you tried to wear them you'd look ludicrous. Even your training pants droop on you! Don't they?"
Howard felt behind him with his hand and palpated the fold of material that came down from his bottom. She was right, they were too loose for him. Anita nodded at his self-discovery to affirm what he had felt and said, "I'll bet if I looked in your mouth, all I would see would be baby teeth. Am I right?"
"Yes, Dear," Howard agreed quietly.
"You can't do the slightest thing for yourself. You can't feed yourself, dress yourself and now you're starting to lose your potty training! Tell me, what's so all-fired great about being a man like you? Did you think ahead to plan for this? I did! I made sure that when the time came, I was prepared. You weren't! All you could do was throw a temper tantrum when things didn't turn out the way you wanted them to. You don't think, you only react. You've been acting just like a little boy. You had the temerity to stand there and criticize me for my decision without having thought the problem through yourself, didn't you?", she said pointing at his protuberant belly.
"I'm sorry, Dear," he apologized.
"Being sorry won't cut it this time, Buster! I'm tired of being treated like a second class citizen. Who do you think I am anyway, your servant? I have a doctorate and I'm a professional. I'm a manager for a pharmaceutical company! Just who the Hell are you to question my judgement? God? Just because you're a man doesn't make you any better than I am. I have no intention of putting up with your childish tantrums any longer. I'm the breadwinner in this house, Howard, and what I say goes! From now on, I run this house! If you want my help, Howard, you're going to have to do what I say! Everything I say! Is that clear? If you don't like it, there's the door. Your clothes stay here. I was going to give them to Goodwill anyway."
She held up his pants again and folded them carefully as she continued, "This is the last of them. The rest of your old clothes are already in the trunk of the car ready to take to Goodwill. All except your suits, they're too expensive to give to Goodwill. I'm going to take them down to the second hand suit store and sell them. Even though they're used, they're still worth something. YOU sure can't wear them anymore. If you want to leave you can keep your training pants and thatís it. I'll give the clothes I bought you at Goodwill back to them. You can toddle out of my life in your training pants and do whatever your little heart desires!", Anita said.
Howard blushed furiously at being treated like a child, but he knew that she had the upper hand. He nodded silently in agreement to her conditions. She smiled in victory as she continued, "Don't forget, I have your full power-of-attorney and I can divorce you like that!" She snapped her fingers to emphasize her point.
"I hope you weren't thinking of driving off in the Suburban, were you?" Anita asked with a vicious tone in her voice.
"WellÖ,uh," Howard temporized. He had been thinking exactly that. The only thing he hadn't figured out was how he was going to drive the van with such short legs. He was sure he could jerry-rig a means of reaching the petals if he had time, but he doubted Anita would wait for him to come up with the solution.
"If you are, forget it! You're too young to drive, your feet won't even reach the pedals! You'd be stopped and arrested before you got two miles!", Anita asserted, "If you go one step towards the Suburban, I'll call the police!"
"WhÖWhat's going to happen to my Suburban?", Howard asked with a quivering chin.
"Your Suburban?", Anita laughed, "You don't own a Suburban! Don't you remember signing over all your assets to me? I own everything, including the Suburban! It's mine now! I'm going to sell the compact and use the Suburban for running around. It's much more practical for carting a child around in the back seat. There's room for you and all the groceries in the back without having to squash everything into that itty-bitty trunk my Geo has. I shouldn't have any problem selling the Geo to some poor college student who needs cheap reliable transportation. I had an ad put into the paper today and have already gotten two offers for it."
"You can't take my car!", Howard said defiantly.
"I don't have to take it. You signed it over to me with the rest of your property, remember?", Anita said with a grin.
"But you can'tÖ", Howard objected.
"I already have!", Anita rejoined with a grin.
"I take it back! I never meant for you to do this! One call to my attorney and he'll have the papers withdrawn!", Howard shouted.
Anita smiled grimly and said, "I'll bet you didn't notice there was clause in the power-of-attorney that granted me guardianship over you if for some reason you became incapable of handling your affairs, did you, Howard? Were you aware that the full power-of-attorney you granted me was irrevocable? I have every right under the law to make all the decisions for you and you can't do a thing about it. As far as the law is concerned, you're my dependant ward. In other words, Sweetiepie, as far as the government s concerned, you're my baby! Besides, since you signed over all your money and property to me, you no longer have any money to hire an attorney! Even if you could find an attorney that was foolish enough to take the case for a percentage of the settlement, do you really think you could win the case? What do you think would happen if you went into a court looking like a toddler and wearing training pants? Do you honestly think a court would find you competent to allow you to manage your affairs? Think, Howard! If you go to court your involvement with the polluters will come out! The next court you'd find yourself in would be a criminal court!"
Anita shook her head and said, "No, Sweetheart, you're not going to take me to court. You're going to stay here and do exactly as I say!"
Anita's face became fierce as she continued, "UnlessÖI change my mind about having to take care of an infantile husband. If you give me any more grief you may find yourself out on the street wearing nothing but the training pants on your sweet little bottom! You know, there are other avenues for your care other than staying with me. Maybe I should put you in a nursing home and let them take care of you. They won't put up with any nonsense from you. They'll put you in a steel crib and let you spend your days staring out of the bars at the bare walls of a dingy hospital room. I'll bet they wouldn't trouble themselves to let you wear training pants. They'll just put you in diapers and have done with you! Would you like me to do that, Howard? It won't take me any time at all to have you put away for the rest of your life. Is that what you want? All it will take is a few phone calls and you can be out of here forever! You're so good at making snap decisions, Howard! What do you want to do? Do you want to stay here with me and do everything I say or do you want to go to a nursing home? Tell me right now, Howard, or I'll make the decision for you!"
Howard was beaten and he knew it. She could carry out her threat and there was nothing he could do about it. The only course left open to him was a graceful surrender to her will. "Here," he answered, "I want to stay here with you."
Anita favored him with a cream-laden catlike smile of triumph and said, "There won't be any more arguments from you about what I chose for you to wear. Will there, Howard?"
"No, Dear", Howard said sullenly.
"You'll eat what I set before you without argument, won't you, Howard?", she said, pressing her advantage.
"Yes, Dear," he replied.
"Do you know what I'll do to you if you behave like this again?", Anita asked dangerously.
Howard opened his mouth in shock at the new threat. He had never imagined that she would take her petty revenge for his outburst so far. What did she have in mind for him?
"Well?", she said, tapping her foot impatiently, "Cat got your tongue? If you won't hazard a guess then I'll have to tell you. If you ever, ever behave that way with me again, LITTLE man, I'm going to put you over my knee and spank your bare bottom! It's bad enough that I have a husband who looks like a toddler. I won't tolerate a husband who acts like one too! If you behave like a child, then you'll be treated like one! Do I make myself clear?"
Howard was speechless with shock. She really meant it! He couldn't think of how to react. It was all some sort of bad dream, a nightmare from which he couldn't wake. What had happened to the passive, docile Anita he had married? The wishy-washy woman he had married was gone. In her place was a terrifying creature who demanded his obedience. He didn't know what to say.
"Well?", she demanded. When he didn't answer she rose from the couch to stand up in front of him. Howard looked up and gurgled in fear at the woman who towered over him. He couldn't talk. He felt as if he was a child again and his mother was standing over him after he had done something naughty. He was petrified. Howard did the same thing he had done under similar circumstances when he was five years old. He peed his pants. The warm urine bounced back from the cotton cloth and ran down the skin of his pubes. Anita grabbed his shoulder and reached back her hand above her to swat him on his behind. Howard wanted to gibber in fear as he saw her hand descend to land with a resounding thump on his heavily padded bottom. It was too much to bear, Howard's knees collapsed beneath him and he folded to the floor like a wet dishrag. Then he began to cry.
"Silence!", Anita roared, "If you don't quiet down this instant, I'm going to give you something to really cry about!"
Howard's wails shut off as if she had thrown the main power switch to his lungs. He knelt before her on his knees while she stood over him and smirked at the spineless wimp of a child that her husband had become. She shook her head and thought, "All it took was one swat on his fanny to reduce him to a sniveling tot! I've seen two-year-olds with more courage than he has. So much for his vaunted manhood. Look at him! I'll bet that in a week he'll be sucking his thumb. He looks young enough to start now. He won't argue with me in the future. If he does, I'll show him what a real spanking feels like!"
Howard gazed up at his wife with a tear streaked face and said in a small voice, "I wet myself again, Anita. Would you help me change into some dry underwear? Please?"
Anita grinned and replied, "What did you say? Did my LITTLE man go wee-wee in his panties?"
Howard nodded that he had indeed wet his pants.
"Say it, Howard! You went wee-wee in your panties like a little boy, didn't you?", Anita smirked. She was enjoying every minute of Howard's humiliation.
"Y..Ye.Yes," Howard stammered.
"Say it, Howard. If you're going to pee your panties like a little boy, then tell me like one. Did my little boy make wee-wee in his panties?", Anita demanded.
"Yes! Yes, I went wee-wee! Please help me change into some dry underwear!", he pleaded.
"But you don't have any big boy underwear, Honey! I can't change you into something you don't have, can I? All you have is a little boy's training panties, don't you?", Anita crowed.
"Please change my panties!", he begged.
"Not now, Honey," Anita said. She was mollified by his surrender but wanted to prolong his humiliation so she continued, "Maybe in a little while if you're good, okay? Why don't you sit in front of the TV and watch some cartoons? I don't think you've learned your lesson about who's in charge yet. A little while in wet training pants will help you remember who's boss around here. Now don't make a fuss or you'll have to wear them the rest of the day. We donít want that to happen, do we? If you spend all day in wet panties, you'll get a terrible case of dydee rash! You just sit right there while I go get something to put down on the carpet for you to sit on."
Anita left the room for a minute and returned with an old comforter. She folded it over twice and laid the resulting rectangle on the floor for Howard to sit on while he watched TV. He crawled over to the comforter and sat in the middle as she turned on the set and adjusted the channel to one of the children's stations on the cable. When he spread out his legs in front of him to maximize exposure of the crotch of his panties to air to help them dry more quickly, he felt a trickle of urine run down the inside of his leg to soak his bottom. He was still peeing! There was nothing Howard could do about it, so he remained where he was and watched cartoons until Anita forgave him and came to change his panties. Howard wasn't all that uncomfortable, despite his wet pants. The comforter's quadruple thickness made an effective pad for the floor and cushioned his bottom nicely. As time passed however, Howard became uncomfortable. The urine had cooled quickly in his sodden pants, making them cold and clammy by the end of the first thirty minutes. Toward the middle of the third hour, a sharp odor of decay began to rise up from his soggy pants as the bacteria on his skin converted the urea in his pee into ammonia. Howard chemical training made it easy for him to visualize the chemical reactions that would shortly cause his skin to break out and begin to itch intensely. He fidgeted as the ammonia fumes reacted with the amino acids of his skin, destroying the outermost layer of his dermis. In layman's terms, Howard was getting diaper rash. He itched horribly and longed to be washed and changed into a clean pair of training pants to end his torture. Every time he moved his legs, the crotch of his training pants squished wetly, reminding him of his punishment for behaving childishly. Movement also increased his itching to a maddening level. Howard was thoroughly ashamed of the gutless way he had acted in front of his wife. No wonder she was treating him like a small child. He deserved it for breaking down and crying after she had swatted him. It was just that he had felt so small and helpless at her feet. She had seemed so forbidding andÖ.maternal. He couldn't help himself. She was right, he had acted like a little boy. The problem was that he felt like one. He would have given anything that moment for a teddy bear to hug and he had an almost overpowering urge to suck his thumb. He felt so alone and helpless. Just being in her presence made him want to run to her side and be cuddled. Howard was afraid that in the next few days he might do just that. Anita was turning into his mother.
Howard turned his complete attention to the TV and tried to lose himself in the cartoon. Autohypnosis was the only solution to the terrible itching that threatened to unbalance his mind. He ordered himself silently to relax and enjoy the show. Soon the itching diminished in importance and he forgot that it was there. His eyes riveted on the TV picture in rapt attention while his hand unconsciously stole silently up to his face. When Anita returned she smiled at the dulcet image that her husband presented. He was sitting on the comforter in front of the TV with his legs akimbo. The dark spot on the comforter beneath his bottom told her that he had continued to wet after she had left. Howard was oblivious to her presence. He seemed enthralled by the cartoon in front of him, unaware that his thumb was in his mouth and that he was sucking it for all he was worth. Anita decided that she would have to start taking his nightly temperatures with a rectal thermometer. He was much too young to be trusted with an oral thermometer. If he became angry for some reason while she was taking his temperature with an oral thermometer, he might bite through the glass and end up with a mouthful of mercury. He had become too emotionally unstable to be treated like an adult. She thought it was better to play it safe and take his temperature in a manner that befitted his behavior. He wouldn't like it, but she was past caring whether he approved of his treatment or not. Anita had no intention of letting a pants-wetting toddler tell her how to run her household. She walked up behind him silently and said in a syrupy tone, "Sweetie, it's time for me to change your panties! Come on, Sweetiepie! Your cartoons can wait. Let's get you out of those soaked panties before you get a rash, okay?"
Howard turned his head around at the sound of her voice and stared up at the woman who now ruled his life without taking his thumb from his mouth. He nodded and dropped his eyes to get up and suddenly noticed that he had been sucking his thumb. Howard withdrew his thumb guiltily and tried to hide his hand behind his back. Anita merely smiled at his childish attempts to hide his actions. She had been right to lay down the law to him earlier. His behavior was regressing along with his body. In a few days, his attention span would probably begin to wane until he had the concentration powers of a small boy. She had already made arrangements for him to be cared for while she was working. Anita knew he would probably throw a tantrum when she told him about it, but he no longer had a say in the matter. He had become her little boy rather than her husband and she would make all the decisions in his life. Poor little Howie was much too small and childish to be allowed to make decisions for himself. He had to be cared for like the toddler he had become. He had to be protected from himself.
Anita reached out her hand to help him up and held onto it as she walked him down the hall. She noticed with some amusement that he was walking bowlegged. The acrid ammonia smell that wafted up from him told her that his pee had soured in his pants. She knew he must have gotten a rash while he was watching TV. She chided herself for not changing his wet panties sooner, but she had been busy in the spare bedroom getting it ready for his occupancy. Anita took him to the bathroom to get him cleaned up before she changed him. She stood him in the tub still wearing his soggy training pants. She knelt at the side of the tub and grabbed the waistband of his pants in both hands, then pushed them down his legs to fall at his feet. She made him step out of them, then laid them on the side of the tub while she took a washcloth and wet it under the tub's faucet. When she spread his legs to wipe his pubic area, she saw that his skin was red and angry looking. He had gotten a mild case of diaper rash in the few hours that he had been in the wet training pants. She washed him gently and applied a thin layer of vaseline to the affected area. Then took him out of the tub and patted his groin and bottom dry with a towel. After his bath, Anita took him by the hand and led him into the spare bedroom to dress him in clean training pants. She told him as they walked through the door, "I have no intention of waking up in a wet bed, Sweetheart. From now on, you're sleeping in here."
Howard frowned when he saw what she had prepared for him. The spare bedroom had been transformed into a small child's room. The odor of drying latex paint assaulted his nostrils as she led him through the doorway. Anita had repainted the walls and changed the color from the oyster shell white she favored for the rest of the house into a pleasing shade of extremely light blue-white hue. The wooden parquet floor had been stripped of its wall-to-wall carpeting and had been cleaned and freshly waxed in the anticipation of a young child's tenure. Across the room from him was a handsome pint-sized walnut armoire to hang his clothes in while a matching dresser stood at the opposite side of the room. It was plain to Howard that the furniture was intended for a very young child, the top of the armoire barely came up to the level of Anita's chest. The door of the armoire was slightly ajar and he could see that the newly purchased pants that Anita had bought for him hung from its rod and their cuffs had folded over on the floor of the armoire because the interior height of the armoire was too short to fit their length. Clearly the armoire was meant for smaller clothes than he wore. All the furnishings matched as if Anita had gone out and purchased a suite of new furniture rather than buy each part piecemeal. Howard couldn't get over Anita's extravagance in having purchased such expensive furniture. Each piece was solidly made and had obviously had been intended for years of use. It was a fantastic waste of money to spend enormous amounts that he would only be using for a few months at most. Where was her vaunted skill in managing money? Did she intend to pay for this with the money she would get from the sale of her car?
Anita had decorated the walls with gaily colored balloon appliques that made the room appear as if it had been designed for a child of three to five years old. The bed was much smaller than a regular twin bed and was draped with a coverlet that had a Winnie the Poo motif. Anita led him to the foot of the bed and hoisted his naked body to sit on the coverlet so she could dress him. She turned and went to the dresser to get out a pair of training pants for him while he watched her from the edge of the bed. He noticed that the flat top of the dresser was strangely designed; there was a railing made of lathe-turned walnut spindles around the two sides and rear of the dresser top. A second shorter railing sectioned of a portion of the rear of the top surface to form a storage area at the back of the dresser. Howard couldn't imagine what the cabinetmaker had intended for the storage area, but the sight of it gave him an foreboding feeling that all was not right. Howard had the strongest impression he had seen a dresser like that before, but he couldn't remember exactly where he had seen it. When she returned to the bed, she put her hand on his chest to push him down to lay on his back. As he put his weight on the mattress, he noticed that there was a strange crinkling sound coming from under the sheets that was muffled by the coverlet. "What's that sound, Anita?", Howard asked in a high pitched voice.
"What sound?", replied Anita as she lifted his legs and worked his feet through the holes of his training pants.
"The bed makes a funny sound when I move," explained Howard.
"Oh that," Anita chuckled, pulling the pants down to his knees, "That's only the mattress cover. Don't worry your little head about that, Darling!"
"Why is making that funny noise?", Howard persisted, "I've never heard a mattress cover make a noise like that!"
"Yes you have, you just don't remember," Anita said with a grin as she lifted his legs again to slide the pants down his thighs and over his bottom.
"I'm sure I haven't," Howard said in consternation, "Why is it making that noise?"
"There's a plastic waterproof cover under the sheets to keep you from wetting the mattress," Anita explained as she pulled his pants up the front and worked the folds out of the waistband at his sides, "I'm sure you had one like it on your bed when you were a little boy."
She was right. Howard had a vague memory of having a bed that crinkled when he was little but hadn't thought about it in years. She put her hands underneath his armpits and pulled him to a sitting position on the bed, saying, "There you go, all snug as a bug in a rug. Be sure to tell me if you wet your pants again. I don't want your rash to get any worse, okay?"
"Don't I get something to wear over them?", Howard whined, "Some overalls or something?"
"No, Sweetie. There's no point to getting you all dressed up if we're not going anywhere. It just makes it that much more difficult for you to get undressed if you need to go potty. Besides I want your skin to get as much air as possible to help it to heal," Anita explained.
"Oh," he replied, "I guess you're right. But can't I wear a T-shirt or something? You're all dressed up and I've got nothing on but these pants. It makes me feel soÖ.naked," he said, feeling sheepish to have admitted his vulnerability.
"Don't be difficult, Howard. Remember what I said about letting me make all the decisions. Little boys often wear nothing but their undies around the house. And you're my little boy now!", Anita said with a grin.
"I'm not a little boy!" Howard exclaimed petulantly, "I'm a grown man! Itís just that I've gotten...
"Then how do you explain wetting your pants? Or sucking your thumb? Don't try to fool me, Howard. I saw you sucking your thumb to beat the band in front of the TV. Are you trying to tell me you weren't sucking your thumb?", Anita asked sweetly.
"I was trying to feel something in my mouth," Howard lied glibly.
"Then why were your cheeks moving? Don't lie to me, little boy, or I'll put you over my knee and give you a spanking you'll never forget! You were sucking your thumb. You know it and I know it and there's no use denying it. Just accept the fact that you've become my little boy. There's nothing either of us can do to change the fact, so you might as well get used to the idea. Okay?", Anita said reasonably.
"OÖOkay," said Howard reluctantly.
She lifted him off the bed and set him on his feet, saying, "Come on, little boy! Let's get you some lunch and then it will be time for your nap."
"But I don't want to take a nap!", Howard quailed.
"Would you rather have a spanking?", Anita asked, "I told you I would spank you if you disobeyed me. Did you think I was kidding?"
"N...No," Howard replied hesitantly.
"No what?", Anita asked.
"No, I didn't think you were kidding!", Howard said in an angry tone.
"That's not what I meant. Little boys are expected to be courteous to their elders. What do you say to me to be polite?", Anita asked.
"Now I know you MUST be kidding!", Howard responded tartly.
Anita reached down and swatted his bottom smartly in reply and said, "No, I'm not kidding! Now what do you say to me to be polite?"
Howard looked up at her with a quivering jaw and asked contritely, "Mam?"
Anita nodded and said, "That's right! Yes, mam or no mam. If I hear you address me in that rude fashion again, I'll paddle your fanny. Do you understand?"
Howard hung his head and said in a low voice, "Yes, mam."
When they got to the kitchen, Anita took the booster seat she had bought him that morning and put it in his customary chair at the kitchen table. Then she hoisted him up to the chair to sit on it. While she made sandwiches for the both of them, Howard looked at the seat she had bought him. It was bright yellow and made of contoured molded plastic that seemed to fit his bottom exactly. It made him feel as if he was an infant in a high chair. She placed his plate and cup of milk before him and sat down in her chair to eat. When she was half done, she said, "Howard, I've made a decision. You've gotten too small to leave all alone by yourself while I'm at work. Look at you, you're too small to even sit at the table without a booster seat! You can't even wipe your bottom by yourself when you go to the potty much less wash your messy hands after you eat. Now that you've started peeing yourself, I can't even trust you to stay dry while I'm at work. I wish I could afford to hire a babysitter for you, but the cost would be prohibitive."
"Babysitter!", Howard yelped in surprise, "Surely you don't mean you'd let someone come in and see me like this?"
"Hush, Howard. Don't interrupt while I'm talking. Little boys should be seen and not heard," Anita chided, "As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, I can't afford to hire a babysitter for you, so I've thought of something else. I'm going to send you to daycare."
"Daycare!", Howard squealed.
"Howard! This is your last warning! If you interrupt me one more time, I'm going to spank you and stick your nose in a corner for a timeout! Do you understand me?", Anita said.
Howard stared at his plate and said quietly, "Yes, mam."
"I've enrolled you in the daycare center where I work. Starting Monday, you'll spend your time at the daycare until I get off. I've told them that youíre my nephew and that my sister has become ill. I explained that my sister has given me custody of you until she's out of the hospital. They won't know what's happened to you and you won't tell them. Will you, Sweetiepie?", Anita asked in a threatening tone.
"No, mam," Howard responded humbly.
"You're going to have to pretend to be a toddler so that I can keep my job. I don't want anything to interfere with my upcoming promotion. With you being unable to work, I've got to be careful about endangering my job. I should be hearing some news soon about my promotion. In less than two months, I'll know for sure whether I've been put in charge of research. Once I get the raise that comes with the promotion, I can afford to hire a babysitter or governess for you. In the meantime, I want you to work at sounding like a toddler. We don't have to worry about the way you look. I don't think anyone could tell you're not four years old."
Anita chucked and said, "You seem to have gotten childish 'accidents' down pat and you suck your thumb without thinking about it. You shouldn't have any problems with the TV shows they have there. They're just your cup of tea; cartoons. It's your other behavior that worries me. You have the high pitched voice of a toddler, but you don't talk like one. Fortunately, that can be easily remedied. You can start by calling me Mommy."
"Mommy?", he asked querulously, "BuÖBut you're not my mommy, you're my wife!"
"Not anymore, Baby!", Anita told him, "You're the little baby nephew whose been 'adopted' by his aunt. I want you to start talking like a toddler. I can't take the risk that someone will get suspicious and inform the authorities. You don't want to go to prison wearing training pants do you? No? I thought not! Who knows what might happen when one of the inmates changed your soggy panties? Of course you could get lucky and the court might decide that it's too dangerous to send you to prison. I wonder what the alternative might be? Juvenile hall? Foster care as some adoptive family's wayward child? Maybe they'd just throw up their collective hands and send you to a nursing home until it was time for your release. I doubt you'd like that alternative. You know the reputation of the state supported homes. Like as not, they'd keep you in a crib the entire time you were there. I wonder how long your sentence would be? Two years? Five? Ten? In your condition they probably wouldn't throw the book at you. On the other hand, environmentalists are a powerful voting block so they couldn't let you off with a slap on the wrist. I imagine that the judge would try to strike a middle course and give you five years. After a six months confined in a crib wearing nothing but diapers, you wouldn't be able to walk and your toilet training would be gone forever. The boredom would destroy your mind in the first year or so, so you wouldn't mind too much having to wear diapers for the rest of your life. If you started biting yourself in self-inflicted rage, they'd simply have the hospital dentist yank all your teeth and put you on a diet of baby food. They might have to feed you baby food after a few years anyway. With the poor dental care that the State provides, after a couple of years in a State home, I doubt you'd have enough teeth left to eat adult food. I'm sure you've seen pictures of people who've been confined to State nursing homes for long periods and how gapped toothed they look, it wouldn't be any different with you. You'd be released to my care after your term was up to spend your days crawling on the floor in your diapers. You'd be free as a bird. Free to poop in your diapers whenever the need arose and cry when you became angry or frustrated. You'd look soooo adorable; lying in your playpen, drooling incontinently and incoherently gurgling your needs to me. You don't like that idea? Poor Baby! Then you'd better do as Mommy says or you'll end up just like that!"
Anita's words struck Howard like physical blows. He winced in psychic pain at every mean suggestion of his potential fate at the hands of the authorities. What had made her so cruel? What had he done to deserve this?
She chuckled evilly at the thought of her husband being reduced to helpless infancy and continued, "Where was I? Oh yes, now I remember. The other thing that bothers me is the way you've been occupying yourself while I'm at work. It isn't natural for a child your age to watch television all the time. You going to have to start playing with toys like other little boys. I bought some toys for you this morning so you can practice playing with them this evening and tomorrow. Don't worry, Honeybunch. By Monday morning you'll look, sound and act just like any other toddler in the daycare center. They won't suspect a thing! Now finish your lunch, Sweetheart, and Mommy will unpack your new toys for you to play with before your nap!"
Who Wears the Pants - Part 5