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    [Incomplete] Henry is seven Parts 1-5

    Henry is seven (Not to be confused with any of the Shakespearian Henrys)

    The paediatric nurse

    Ellie is eighteen and able to leave school to pursue a career close to her heart. Ever since she was little she’d always wanted to take care of children and, when an opportunity came up to take a course in paediatric nursing she jumped at the chance.

    She’d already been a volunteer at Saint Clare’s the local hospice and of course, what also helped was being ten years older than her brother, so had, over the years, taken care of him when their mother was otherwise engaged. Ellie was a young woman full of care, consideration and love, all of which she displayed to those she was charged to look after. She loved the work.

    Her brother Henry had been born ten years after Ellie, same mother but from a different father.

    Her own dad, Michael Warren, had married his childhood sweetheart Debra Gold, when, at the age of twenty-five, they could see no reason not to. He’d got a well-paid job at the local quarry straight from school and she’d been a top honours student but wanted to work rather than pursue further studies. She quickly established herself in the financial accounts department of a legal firm and made quite a reputation for herself.

    With the birth of Ellie, decided she’d cope with child and career from home and set up her own freelance financial advice/accounts company. Unfortunately, eight years later an accident at the quarry had left the wonderful Michael fatally injured and the small family unit almost fell apart.

    They managed the best they could, the compensation pay-out helping alleviate the financial worries a little. However, eighteen months later Daryl Woodhouse met and dated Debra. He was a funny, slim man, almost the exact opposite of her first husband, and he brought a much-needed breath of fresh air into the household. Alas, he was a freeloader and Debra only realised her mistake when, as the money run out, so did he. By then she was three months pregnant but thanks to her daughter and close-knit family, managed to get over him.

    She wasn’t going to let her resentment of his father cloud the view of her new son, Henry (named after Michael’s father) and so put the name Warren on the birth certificate. Although Ellie and the family knew he was from a different father, Debra insisted that he be treated as if he was Michael’s son and he was never to know who his real father was.

    Keeping this lie proved easier than expected because baby Henry was a little treasure. Everyone, including his older sister, doted on this smiling bundle of joy and he instantly slipped into being an important part of the family.

    Brother and sister were inseparable; he adored Ellie and she was always there to help and teach him as he grew up.

    #

    With Ellie already having helped out at the children’s hospital and the attached hospice she knew that paediatric nursing was not an easy job. Not only was she helping children from babies to teenagers, she also had the emotional journey of all that entailed. Babies that needed almost twenty-four hour care, young boys and girls who from some accident or disease needed help or supervision, the job was as much about sensitivity as medical care. Ellie was determined to get it right from the off and throw herself into it with gusto… she didn’t want to get anything wrong.

    To this end she decided to enlist the help of Henry.

    He was a robust, noisy, exuberant seven year old, who enjoyed all the pleasures a second grader could appreciate. However, when asked by his adored sister if she could practice on him, he approached this request with some apprehension.

    He wasn’t sure what it entailed but she promised it wouldn’t involve any ‘medical’ procedure. She said she just didn’t want to harm kids who were already suffering in one way or another simply because of not knowing how to do something quickly, carefully and with a degree of professionality.

    Henry had always done as his sister wanted but now, at seven, he felt he liked his independence and was weary of committing himself to do anything. Especially as the summer break was here and he planned to be out and about playing with his group of school mates.

    Ellie promised she would only practice on him when he was home our before bed and that nothing she did would impose on his fun. His mother encouraged him to ‘rally round’ and had a private word with him saying how pleased she’d be if he helped his sister attain the job she so desperately wanted.

    He loved his mom and loved his sister so… how could he refuse?

    #

    Ellie explained to her brother just what her job would entail. He wasn’t aware she would have to look after kids who were nearly as old as she was and who needed help with even the most basic of tasks. Even though she’d changed Henry’s nappy when he was a baby, he was potty trained by his third birthday, and she really had no idea how to go about changing someone older. She knew she’d be taught how to cope with a larger body but there were other considerations to think about. Most of the paediatric staff was female but they would be required to attend to older boys as well as girls, she wanted to get it right.

    So, on that first night of ‘Henry practice’ the bandages and other medical kit she was going to employ to begin with had been left in a separate bag at the hospice. Thankfully, the actual bag she had brought had all the things she needed for other training purposes. She nappied him.

    He was embarrassed throughout the entire procedure and had been reluctant to let it happen. However, she’d insisted that some kids needed help even getting undressed so he should let her do everything and that included seeing him nude.

    Not that his sister hadn’t seen his naked little bum racing around the house ever since he could crawl but at seven years old bashfulness was becoming a thing he was aware of.

    Any unwillingness was overcome by a word of encouragement, and promise of some future wish granted from his mother, which meant Ellie could get on with the exercise and Henry would simply comply.

    She stripped him and applied the wipes and creams she’d been told were needed to keep that particular area free of ‘the nasties’.

    She let out a schoolgirl giggle when she described it with those words to her brother.

    He looked horrified that such areas should even have ‘nasties’ around.

    She explained throughout the procedure what she was doing and why.

    Despite the awkwardness he realised just what a hard job his sister was undertaking. The idea that older kids might need nappies had never occurred to him and, after giving him a couple of examples of the problems some of her patients had, Henry was a little less anxious.

    “Don’t you use disposables?” Henry wondered.

    “Most of the time, but some kids are allergic or have different needs so we have to learn to be able to do everything… and that my dear, sweet little brother, is why I need to practice on you.”

    She smiled as the soft but thick fabric was pulled up between his legs. “So feel free to wriggle around a bit.”

    Once fitted in the nappy and plastic pants she asked him to walk around and give his opinion of fit; tightness, looseness, comfort, etc.

    Henry looked at himself in the mirror and burst out in embarrassed laughter.

    “I look, I look like a big… a big… “

    “Maybe, but think of the poor kids who HAVE to wear that all the time?”

    Ellie looked at him in the mirror and patted the padding down a bit.

    “Erm, yes, er, it fits well.”

    For a moment guilt swept through his seven year old body when he realised some unfortunate kids had no alternative.

    After all, no one else knew or could see him wearing a nappy so why should it bother him?

    He knew his sister only wanted what was best for her patients and decided that if he could help, even in just this most simple of ways, he would. The padding wasn’t hurting him and Ellie had laid it on pretty thick (just like the nappy) he would be helping her help them.

    He paraded around the bedroom for a short while.

    “It does feel strange having all this between my legs… but it’s not uncomfortable.”

    “That’s reassuring,” she said relieved.

    With each unfamiliar step Henry could hear the tell-tale rustle of the plastic. The plain white vinyl cover really not hiding the fact of what lay beneath.

    “This,” he said rubbing the slippery cover, “doesn’t hide anything…”

    “It’s not supposed to,” Ellie confirmed. “It’s to keep from any leaks happening.”

    She slipped her finger between the tight elasticated legs and gently felt the soft fabric underneath.

    “This can get absolutely soaked so, like when you were a baby, it keeps the rest of your clothes and bedding dry until someone can come and change you.”

    He looked at her as if she thought he was stupid.

    “I know that.”

    #

    She patted his padded bottom.

    “Okay clever dick, let me try a different way of folding the fabric and see how that feels and then…”

    After a brief sigh he let Ellie get on with the second change and again was positive about a job well done. She explained that some kids were simply incontinent; whilst others had medical procedures that meant different techniques of protection were needed.

    Henry looked at the pile of disposable, fabric nappies, plastic covers and other assorted items she needed for her job and was glad he didn’t require any of this stuff on a permanent basis.
    Ellie was thorough as she manoeuvred the dense material under his bottom, pulled it through his legs and pinned it into place.

    As if on cue, his mother popped her head around the door to see how things were going.

    “Oh sweetheart, you look… lovely.”

    Although this had been said in a friendly way, Henry, who was laid out on the floor, and all but naked, wriggled in embarrassment.

    “Moommmmm.”

    “Sorry, sorry… but you do look cute.” She teased.

    “Mom!”

    There was no doubt about it, seeing her seven year old son wearing nothing but a nappy had made her go all gooey inside. She was shocked at just how much the feeling of maternal pride and love swamped her body just from seeing him look so sweet and vulnerable.

    She swallowed a gulp of emotion and smiled.

    “Okay. I’m making a hot drink… do you two want one as well?”

    “Yes please,” they chorused.

    “But not in a baby’s bottle.” Henry added.

    “Owww but sweetheart… you’d look…” She couldn’t help herself especially when she realised she wasn’t just teasing him.

    “MOM.”

    She disappeared just as Ellie pulled him to his feet.

    “For the last time tonight… how does that feel?”

    He stood up and walked around and gave a little jump. The nappy was soft, thick and fleecy and it did feel slightly different to the others.

    “A bit loose… I think with the plastic pants it would be alright.”

    He gave another little jump as if to prove his point.

    They didn’t fall down so he jumped again but the nappy stayed steadfastly in place.

    Not for the first time a smile appeared on Ellie’s face.

    “Mum’s right, you do look very cute in those.”

    “Look, if you’re gonna make fun I’m…”

    “No, sorry, you’re correct. Thank you for all your help. Let me take it off for you… unless you want to keep it on?”

    She chuckled to herself at the idea, whilst Henry simply pulled at the pins to dispose of the thing as quickly as possible.

    …to be continued
    Last edited by Les Lea; 06-02-2018, 02:36 AM.

    #2
    Part 2

    The challenge

    Back downstairs a cup of hot chocolate awaited the two ‘workers’. Their mother was a little disappointed to see Henry now wearing pyjamas but without the thick protection underneath. She thought it wise not to comment but couldn’t help but once again become swamped in the nostalgia of her youngest so dressed… he’d looked so adorable.

    Up until she actually saw her son wearing a nappy, and the loving way Ellie attended to him, she had never thought of him as anything but a growing boy.

    There was a sudden pang of realisation that took her by surprise, and that was, her little boy was growing up but she wasn’t really ready for such a change.

    However, there was little she could do about it, Henry was growing and a lively little chap he’d become as well. He was much liked at school, had loads of friends and, thankfully, was still a loving son at home. Some of the other kids on the estate were terrors so she was grateful Henry wasn’t one of those.

    It was strange though, every time she looked across at him sitting in his jammies watching TV, she wished he was cuddled up with her in the thick nappy she’d so recently seen him wearing.

    She couldn’t shake the thought.

    In her head and under her breath she cursed her stupid brain for thinking in such a way. In fact, the ‘under her breath’ bit wasn’t quite true because Ellie asked her what she just said.

    “Oh, er, nothing love,” she said thinking quickly. “Just wondering out loud about something your aunty said.”

    She smiled to diffuse the situation and both her children went back to watching their programme.

    #

    Over the next few days, when she got home from work, Ellie would engage Henry in further procedures. She went through a whole gamut of bandaging techniques, looking for veins for injections (although Henry never had to suffer the actual prick). He also had to pretend he was infirm, couldn’t walk, had motor neurone disease and a host of other problems that kept him immobile and so Ellie had to lift and make comfortable.

    Henry quite enjoyed playing these parts and got into them with a vulgar enthusiasm that took Ellie by surprise.

    He thought it was funny to act the way he did and at times he was being thoughtlessly silly so she suggested that perhaps he’d like to visit Saint Clare’s and meet some of the children there.

    The suggestion sounded like it was a pleasant invite but in fact Ellie wanted Henry to appreciate what he had and to see for himself what other kids his age had to put up with. After a bit of badgering Henry reluctantly agreed to visit that weekend. His enthusiasm for ‘having fun’, whilst Ellie had to manoeuvre his immobile body around, waned and he took his job more seriously.

    Their mother would keep popping in to see if she could help or offer refreshments… but the real reason was the hope of finding her son nicely bound in more protection. She’d become slightly obsessed but didn’t dare suggest to Ellie to repeat the nappying process.

    Henry’s nappy wearing had only been for only a couple of hours over two nights so, once Ellie had been satisfied she’d got it right, with relief from her guinea pig, he was quickly back to normal underwear.

    #

    Ellie was pleased that her brother had agreed to visit the children’s hospital and hospice. Although at first not keen, he’d wanted to join his friends on a weekend camping expedition, the bad weather had made the decision for him. The kids from the children’s wing of the hospital were encouraged to be friends with those in the hospice. The interaction was deemed a progressive way for those with illnesses of all kinds to establish understanding and compassion.

    He met ten year old Kevin, who was confined to a wheelchair and nine year old Liam whose internal organs were in such a dreadful state it was a wonder he was still alive. Both these boys were restricted to wearing nappies 24/7 but coped admirably with what made their bodies the way they were.

    The trainee paediatric nurse hoped her brother would understand, first - how lucky he was and second - how others managed their situations. Henry wasn’t stupid but as a boisterous seven year old he took a great deal for granted. Although his sister didn’t want to bring him down, she hoped he’d learn to be compassionate about other people, especially those dealing with infirmity and some facing a very insecure future. She also hoped that he’d make friends with some of the kids and become a regular visitor because some of the children only ever saw those in hospital and had little or no contact with people outside.

    #

    After a tentative start Henry got on well with Kevin playing a video game together and eventually just generally chatting as they read Superhero comics. Eventually, in conversation, the inevitable came up.

    “...my friends sort of disappeared once I was in this.” Kevin indicated his wheelchair. “Annnnd… the fact I wear protection all the time doesn’t exactly add to my appeal.”

    “What happened?” It was an innocent enough question.

    “Car wreck...” he shrugged as if nothing more needed saying.

    “Erm, is that, awkward…?”

    “The wheelchair or the nappies?”

    “Nappies I suppose.” Henry wasn’t sure he should even be asking such personal questions but decided as Kevin had brought the subject up it was okay.

    Liam was listening nearby; there was no denying the thick protection bulging out his grey cotton jogging pants.

    “Not really,” Kevin sighed. “If you have no choice you just get on with it and… your sister is lovely when she has to change us.”

    Henry giggled.

    “She practiced on me.”

    Kevin and Liam looked shocked.

    “You wear nappies as well?”

    “No, no, no… she just practiced on me. She didn’t want to get it wrong when she had to change you, erm, I mean, anyone.”

    “Well there’s a difference between wearing them for a few minutes and having to wear them all the time, especially if you don’t know you’ve filled them.”

    Liam said cheekily but there was also a guilty look on his face as if this happened far too often for his liking.

    “There are a good few of us that have to wear protection all the time,” Kevin added. “It can be embarrassing if you have company but, you’ve just to get over that.”

    “I bet,” replied Henry.

    The conversation went on like this for some time, Henry asking questions and Liam and Kevin adding the answers and in the end… a challenge.

    #

    Kevin was in need of a change. A certain smell had suddenly added to the atmosphere and Ellie came over to sort out the situation.

    “I’ve just suggested to Henry,” Kevin said as Ellie smiled and asked if he was ready to be taken to the changing area. “He should wear a nappy for twenty-four hours so he can see what it’s like… but I bet he daren’t.”

    Ellie raised her eyebrows at her suddenly cornered brother.

    “Well that’s a challenge isn’t it?”

    A few other kids had gathered around now, not all wearing padding but a good number of them that was for sure.

    She suddenly had an idea.

    “Well, I know Henry isn’t afraid of anything… he’s brave and courageous… and I’m sure something that simple isn’t going to faze him.”

    She looked intently at Henry to see his reaction.

    All who heard the challenge now stared Henry’s way who found himself both embarrassed and unable to speak.

    “I don’t blame him,” Kevin offered. “It’s not nice having to wander around wearing a sopping nappy…”

    He smiled as if to say the challenge wasn’t real and he didn’t really expect his new friend to comply.

    Liam was deciding on whether to make chicken noises when Henry blurted out.

    “No. I’ll do it.”

    Everyone was stunned.

    “Look, you challenged me for a reason.”

    It was true. Kevin knew that most of his friends thought of him as a big baby because of his nappy. They thought he was stupid because of the wheelchair and either talked loudly at him or ignored him and spoke to his carer… he hated the fact that most people were okay with that assessment. He wasn’t and at times it angered him but now realised he was being a bit unfair with a new friend.

    Kevin touched his arm, “I was only kidding Henry.”

    He looked over at his sister for support.

    “You know you don’t have to,” Ellie said, “but I’d be very proud if you did.”

    Whilst Henry thought a little more about what he’d just agreed to do, Kevin wheeled himself to the changing area, whilst Liam and others just looked on in admiration and congratulated their new friend on his pluckiness.

    “How bad can it be?” Henry half-heartedly muttered to himself.

    #

    The gallant seven year-old hadn’t thought it through. Although he had his sister’s support he had no idea how or when this challenge would take place. He wished he hadn’t agreed to it and was hoping against hope that something would come along to prevent it happening. Of course, he didn’t want to be seen as backing down but, and this was most important, he didn’t want to wear a nappy for twenty-four hours either.

    However, Ellie had an idea, which she discussed with her mum who was very excited about such a suggestion.

    The following Saturday was the Saint Clare’s Hospital and Hospice Funday, an annual event to raise much needed funds to provide specialist services and equipment for the institution. It had grown over the years from a simple tombola and raffle event, to become one of the main calendar events of the town. It not only took over the grounds of the hospice but also two nearby fields that were transformed into a huge funfair, performance area, market stalls, displays and a host of other exciting presentations… including the ever popular a line-up of vintage cars.

    The Hospice patron was Brendan Lee Cooper, a local young actor who had been a child TV star and who was now one of the leading teenagers in the country’s top soap opera. He was set to open the Funday, accompanied by the Scout’s marching band, whilst the town’s mayor would lead a charity auction.

    Part of the Funday was that helpers went around collecting money in a bucket from those who attended. The buckets were sealed with a plastic cover but with a slot where money could be slipped in. Over the years, everything from fifty pound notes to foreign currency had been collected but all of it had been useful and gone on to buy some wonderful equipment for the hospice. This time there were to be four ‘collectors’; a scout, a guide, a local bodybuilder who was dressed as Captain America and the local football teams mascot Kenny the Kangaroo. To this list, and after she’d explained the circumstances to the organisers, was added ‘Baby’ helper… Henry.

    #

    Debra was quite thrilled at the entire idea and asked Ellie if she’d do a sort of preview of exactly what Henry would be wearing on the day. She said she didn’t want him to feel silly but Ellie reminded her that he was to wear exactly the same as what Kevin wore. However, Kevin’s day time nappy was a padded disposable, which wasn’t as thick as his night time one which was a very generous, though fluffy, fabric nappy.

    So, come Friday evening and Ellie explained to Henry that they needed a run through because he was obviously nervous and the idea was to put those nerves to bed before he went to bed. She smiled at her not very clever explanation. Hesitantly, he agreed to go along with her suggestion after first getting a short lecture on obligations from his proud mother.

    #

    At eight o’clock on Friday night Ellie was tucking the thick fabric nappy into the nursery print plastic pants. Henry was horrified that he looked so much like a toddler he was on the verge of rebellion. He waddled downstairs to the kitchen, rustling as he went, to complain to his mother about just how thick his nappy was and how childish he felt.

    “Look mum… look what she’s asking me to wear… it’s, it’s… it’s stupid can you tell her…”

    “Well I think you look fine and wearing what all boys should to go to bed in.”

    It wasn’t the voice of his mother but Mrs Parkhurst, the old lady who lived across the street and three doors down.

    Henry was shocked that they had a visitor he wasn’t warned about and as he now stood in a nappy in the middle of the kitchen it was difficult to back out without appearing rude, which his mother would never allow.

    His mother turned and smiled.

    “Well I think you look perfect darling. You’re doing a wonderful thing for your friends and helping to raise money for the hospice.”

    She couldn’t help the strange maternal feeling overwhelm her as she watched her little boy turning red because of her guest. However, there was no getting away from it, he did look like a toddler but pretended it didn’t matter.

    “Say hello to Mrs Parkhurst dear… there’s a good boy.”

    “Erm, yes, ummm, Hello Mrs Parkhurst.”

    Henry wanted to turn and run but with both adults smiling and nodding in some kind of mutual appreciation he found he could hardly move.

    “As you know Debra,” Mrs Parkhurst started, “all my boys slept in nappies until they were ten.”

    This was news to no one.

    Mrs Parkhurst had made no secret of the fact that her three boys, who because of their circumstances all had to share a bed whilst growing up, had been made to wear protection until they were ten years old.

    “Of course,” she continued, “when we moved to this house, and we had more room, we could change that… although,” she reminisced, “Norman stayed in them until he was thirteen.”

    Everyone knew the story because at some time or other, nearly all the kids on the estate had been babysat by the woman. In fact, it’s fair to say that some parents, having got fed up with their child’s attitude, would organise her to babysit them even if they really had no plans. It was a well-known fact that she had very particular ideas about protection at bed time, and bed times.

    #

    Under tens were nappied and in bed by 7pm, over tens were nappied and in bed by 8pm. She was of the opinion, and one she often shared with any other parent on the street, that kids who were of school age should have regular early bedtimes. She believed that a growing body needed sleep but the nappies were just a sensible precaution. Also, when they stayed over at her house she didn’t want any unfortunate accidents in her spare bed where the kids she babysat slept.

    Mums and dads were often quite jubilant that she was a woman few, if any, kids dared defy. She was insistent that her rules were obeyed and any child left in her care, which was a job she relished now her own kids were all grown up, had no choice or say in the matter. Even those who’d been potty trained were not exempt from those rules and, on more occasions than she could remember, had been proved correct with her charges often waking up in a soaked nappy. Whether this was just a lucky happenstance or the children had been too afraid to go to the toilet was a matter of debate.

    She’d brought her own children up to respect and obey the rules of the house. More polite and friendly boys would have been hard to find so she must have been doing something right. However, other kids grew up scared of the woman, whilst some adults loved the fact they had someone who could bring a young terror to heel simply by babysitting them for one night. Just the threat of her babysitting had kids begging their parents not to send them to her. Discipline was achieved by proxy.

    #

    Mrs Parkhurst continued.

    “Yes, Norman was slow to stop his bedwetting but, as I always say, a soaked nappy is better than a soaked bed.”

    Ellie arrived.

    “Oh, Hello Mrs Parkhurst, how are you?”

    “Fine Eleanor Thank-you. Your mum’s been telling me about the new nursing job. She’s very proud of you.”

    Ellie smiled at the praise but also had a respectful, if nervous, disposition around the old woman.

    When Ellie was nine and she and her baby brother were babysat by her. Mrs Parkhurst had insisted that the resourceful and able young girl was nappied before bed. She protested, like so many before her, but found no amount of argument and insistence that she was well potty-trained had any effect. Nappies and an early bedtime were greeted the following day by yawns and wet padding. An embarrassed Ellie had proved Mrs Parkhurst’s defence options to be correct. Ellie was devastated.

    With nowhere to go, and now the subject of the discussion, a beet-red Henry stood anxiously as the three ladies continued their debate about the way he was dressed.

    “Of course, if he was mine he’d be in bed by now,” Mrs Parkhurst was back on her favourite subject.

    “Yes, well, er, it’s the weekend and, er, on school nights he’s… erm….” His mother was getting quite defensive but wasn’t sure what to say. She actually agreed with many of the old lady’s opinions.

    Ellie explained how brilliant Henry had been when visiting Saint Clare’s and how, out of sheer compassion, had agreed to be dressed as he was to show the other kids that wearing a nappy was nothing to be ashamed of.

    Mrs Parkhurst ran her hand over the slippery childish plastic cover.

    “Well, I have to hand it to you Eleanor; you have done a very good job getting your brother ready for bed.”

    “He’ll be wearing something similar tomorrow at the Funday… this was just a trial run... I, er... um...”

    “Under a uniform…” Henry chimed in, the first words he’d spoken for some time - the scrutiny of the women making it unnecessary for him to speak.

    Ellie hadn’t actually explained exactly what his ‘uniform’ would be like as it was still being made but she didn’t want to spoil the ‘surprise’ or give him an excuse to back out so kept quiet.

    She simply nodded and smiled.

    #

    After another fifteen minutes of inspection and chat Mrs Parkhurst said her goodbyes but with the promise that she’d see them all at the Funday.

    Debra had meantime made them all a warm drink and ushered her two children into the living room to watch TV.

    “I’ll just go and change.”

    Henry was about to disappear back to his room.

    “Just a minute young man.” His mother said in mock severity. “You heard what Mrs Parkhurst said, 7 o’clock bedtime for under tens or…” she said with a wink, “you can stay up with the grown-ups as long as you stay protected.”

    “But muuummm.”

    Although he thought she was joking he didn’t want to test his theory. So, reluctantly he waddled into the living room and plonked himself down in front of the TV. His favourite comedy programme was just about to start so he huddled into a corner of the sofa and drank his hot milk.

    She tried not to show it but Debra was beside herself with happiness. Her baby boy looked so special and wonderful sat in his thick padding and shiny plastic pants with the adorable printed baby teddy bears all over them. Unceremoniously she sat down next to him and gently eased him over so he was lying against her. She smiled and stroked his hair as he settled into the crook of her arm… this was something they hadn’t done for quite a few months but Debra was in her element.

    Surprisingly, whether through her gentle caresses of his plastic pants and soothing rub of his naked tummy, Henry soon fell asleep. She was enjoying the situation and in no rush to wake him up and send him off to bed. Ellie and her mum exchanged smiles.

    “He really has been a wonderful brother and example to the other kids at the hospice. I can’t get over that a boy his age to have such empathy. He’s well liked, has joined in with everything, he’s been a real little hero…”

    His mother looked down at her sleeping son and sighed.

    “He’ll be all grown-up soon and I won’t be able to do this… I just wish I could keep him like this for a little while longer.”

    His flawless chest expanded as he gulped in a huge breath, wriggling slightly to get more comfortable, his plastic pants sliding along his mother’s arm before settling once more and falling into a deep sleep.

    “Everyone has to grow up mum… he’s a credit to you.”

    “To us.”

    ...to be continued.
    Last edited by Les Lea; 06-01-2018, 02:05 AM.

    Comment


      #3
      Les Lea another great start??

      Comment


        #4
        Part 3

        The Funday

        Eventually Debra led her sleepy son up to his room. He seemed exhausted and didn’t even try to pull his pyjamas over the thick protection but simply crawled into bed as he was. His mother lovingly patted his padded bottom before pulling a blanket over and left her son to all the sweet dreams he could summon before the big day.

        Although the week had begun cloudy and cool, the last few days had seen a return of the summer sun the weather forecasters had been promising. Henry woke up to find himself sweating as the early morning sun streamed in through his open window.

        He stretched and yawned and wondered why he’d woken up naked, then remembered the previous night and knew he wasn’t quite naked after all. He reached down and felt the slippery cover and the thick bulk between his legs and wondered how he’d managed to sleep with all that pinned to him. However, he’d had no trouble sleeping so threw back the cover and looked at his padding.

        He was feeling very hot down there, the plastic pants keeping all the heat in as he sweated even more once the sunlight had begun to do its work. He slipped his hand down the front of the nappy and it felt moist, he was sure he hadn’t wet during the night but couldn’t be certain. Furtively, he dragged down the plastic cover and unpinned the fabric. Cautiously he looked to see if there was any tell-tale signs of him having peed the bed, thankfully there was nothing and his nappy showed no staining that might have indicated anything else. It was simply perspiration.

        #

        A gentle knock on his bedroom door meant that Ellie wanted to come in. That reminded him of the fact that today he was ‘volunteering’ at the Funday and she’d come to see he was fit and well and hadn’t suddenly developed some rare and incapacitating disease. Even if he had he was sure his mother wouldn’t let him back down, she was so proud of her little boy having such a community spirit.

        Ellie cautiously opened the door and saw the nappy and plastic pants in a pile on the floor. She smiled as her brother hopped around desperately trying to quickly get into a pair of underpants to hide his nakedness, which was silly really as she’d seen him naked most of his life.

        “Did you sleep alright sweetie?” She enquired.

        “Mmmm, I think so, no probs.” He replied having succeeded in getting his briefs in place but now distractedly looking for a pair of shorts.

        “Great, er, um, do you want me to put your nappy on here at home or wait until we get to the hospice?”

        Standing in just colourful cartoon briefs and holding a pair of shorts he looked undecided.

        “Remember you said you’d wear the same as Kevin for twenty four hours…?”

        “Yes, yes, I know,” he seemed a bit annoyed at being reminded. “I suppose it’s best to change here. What time are we expected at the hospice?”

        “Well, there will be a briefing and I think you should go and chat to your friends there first… so they can see for themselves how committed you are to the challenge…”

        “Okay, okay, um, does the fact that I spent the night wearing a nappy go towards the twenty-four hour…? He ventured in hope.

        “I don’t think so sweetie but you can always tell Kevin you got to wear a nappy last night and see if he agrees.”

        Henry thought for a while.

        “He’ll think I wanted to wear one…”

        “Maybe.” She smiled at the memory of both her and their mother admiring just how cute he looked.

        It was in Ellie’s DNA. She’d always had a soft spot for babies and children, that’s why she wanted to become a paediatric nurse. But even before that, with her little baby brother, she always loved getting him ready for the day ahead; cleaning him up, feeding his breakfast, dressing him in nice toddler outfits, he was such a happy, loving child and eager to please. That was Henry’s major attribute – he was a loving and caring... and a handsome boy who everyone liked.

        After a little thought he suggested that perhaps just before they have to set off it would be best if the disposable was fitted then. He also wondered what exactly his ‘uniform’ would entail.

        #

        However, owing to a slight misjudgement, both mum and her daughter taking longer than anticipated with their ‘make-up’ regime, Ellie didn’t get time to pre-nappy Henry before they made it to the hospice so had to do it there.

        At Saint Clare’s Henry was telling Kevin and the other interested boys (which seemed to include them all) about what his sister had arranged and that was – from the time he is made ready for the Funday he would be wearing exactly the same as what Kevin would wear at any given time… “...except without the wheelchair”. Liam giggled at that bit.

        That means disposable by day and an extra thick padded nappy at night and the challenge would last a full twenty-four hours. He didn’t mention that he’d already spent the night dressed in a similar way, he didn’t want them to think it was something he enjoyed doing. However, now that he had spent so much time dressed that way, he was a little less worried about the challenge.

        Kevin had stopped saying that Henry didn’t have to accept the challenge, instead he was in admiration that his new seven year old chum would go to such lengths… but wasn’t sure why? Anyway, the Funday had given them all an excuse to dress up if they wanted; fancy dress had been offered should the urge be taken by any of the hospice’s patients. The younger ones wanted face painting, whilst some of the older ones just wanted to meet new people and didn’t think fancy dress would do their reputation any good whatsoever.

        Eventually Henry had to go and get ready for his collecting duties and said that no doubt he’d see them around as he went about trying to get money from strangers. What he didn’t know was that his sister and the committee had come up with a special outfit that would prove embarrassing, but highly effective.

        #

        The Funday was just minutes from the opening ceremony when Henry arrived at the volunteer’s tent. The scout, the guide, Captain America and the mascot were already and armed with their buckets. Ellie rushed her brother into a slightly cornered off part of the tent, it was to be used as a First Aid post so needed a bit of privacy, and helped him off with his clothes.

        She asked him to lay out on the rickety bed that was there so she could fit the nappy but added lotion and powder she thought would be advisable as he was to wear a nappy all day and in such hot weather. Because he was a little late and everyone was waiting for him - a photographer was expecting to take a group shot for the local paper - Henry didn’t object as she taped him snugly and expertly into a thick disposable. She then pulled up a pair of plastic pants,
        not unlike the nursery print ones he’d worn the night before, but which he thought were just too juvenile.

        His objection to them was stopped as an urgent call that the photographer was getting anxious and Henry was holding up proceedings. Henry, although doubtful about what he had to wear wondered where his uniform was. Ellie slipped a small revealing baby blue t-shirt over his head and quickly led him by the hand out to join the rest of the group. He had no time to realise the t-shirt read:

        ‘Pweeeze giv’ in swirly pink childish writing, whilst on the back it said ‘tank U’ in an equally toddlerish manner. The t-shirt hardly reached the top of the plastic pants, which in turn were very crinkly as he waddled out of the tent.

        A bucket was thrust into his hands and the photographer gathered the collectors around the famous patron and a couple of kids in wheelchairs, who Henry didn’t recognise, for what he said would be the main picture for the local paper.

        Henry tried to ask Ellie where the rest of his ‘uniform’ was but all he got a shrug of her shoulder as if to say “That’s it.” She was busy chaperoning a group of toddlers who wanted to go to the children’s play area.

        He didn’t get time to complain as they were all rushed to the stage where soap-star, and kids favourite, Brendan Lee Cooper officially opened the event. All the collectors were on stage, with Henry feeling embarrassed and exposed in what little he was wearing, which was compounded when the soap-star signalled him out as the cutest collector he’d ever seen and encouraged the crowd to give generously.

        As the Funday began Henry had no way out. He wasn’t to know how it would all pan out or his part in its success.

        #

        The kids from the hospice saw the way Henry was dressed and laughed. He hadn’t needed to go to such extremes but there was no doubt about it, he was really proving a point. They didn’t know that Henry had had no say in what he wore and had been duped into wearing only this rather babyish outfit. Although Kevin and all the guys from the hospice knew that quite a number of them wore nappies, they were never expected, or made, to parade around the wards in nothing else. Each patient was treated with respect, no matter how old they were. It was funny to see Henry wearing nothing but a nappy but, they all agreed, he did look the part.

        It was a wonderful day to hold such an event. Over the past few days the weather had been getting warmer and by the time the Funday got underway, it was as if summer had finally arrived. A perfectly blue sky, a gentle warm breeze and the promise of some excellent entertainment, had brought the crowds out in the hundreds… probably even thousands.

        The collectors wandered the grounds, cheerfully stopping people and rattling their buckets, pretty soon these were being filled up with all manner of charitable donations. Henry could hardly go a couple of yards without being stopped and a photo request made, it seemed everyone wanted a picture with him. His bucket was filled up first and he went to the organiser’s tent to get it emptied.

        The seven year old was given another bucket and encouraged to do his best but, with the hot day and constant attention, Henry was fading fast. They gave him a large refreshing soda, which he downed straight away, but then gave him a baby’s bottle full of juice, which they said would add to his appeal. He wasn’t keen on the idea but realised that he’d been quite thirsty most of the time so to have his own supply wasn’t such a bad idea.

        He bumped into his mother who was there with a clutch of women from a support group she organised. She proudly introduced her boy and told them how keen he’d been to get involved with the hospice’s work and how wonderful it was that he’d helped out his sister. The women were obviously impressed (as his mother hoped) and each found Henry in a nappy to be the cutest of cute (again something his mother hoped but didn’t say anything), they dug deep and slipped several large denomination notes into his collecting bucket. Praise was coming his way in bucket-loads but he had little chance to enjoy it before someone else grabbed his attention.

        More photos and another contribution-filled bucket followed.

        #

        After a couple of hours the large soda made its presence felt and he really did need to pee but, despite the presence of his disposable, preferred to use a proper toilet. There were many blocks of Portaloos scattered around the site but the young lad didn’t fancy using any of them. They had a very strange atmosphere; smelling of plastic and urine, whilst the seat and surroundings looked like a heavy disinfecting would make the unit a much better place. He probably wasn’t alone in making such a decision but at least he knew of an alternative. Finding his way back to the hospice he went to the only toilet that was not being used, the disabled toilet, and eased himself out of his plastic pants.

        He was hot, tired and bursting so once he had manoeuvred his disposable down he sat down and relaxed to completely empty his bladder. Unfortunately, his little willy was facing out and not down so when he began to pee the warm golden stream didn’t hit the pot, it shot under the seat rim and pooled very nicely into the back of his disposable. He only discovered what had happened when he pulled everything up.

        The feelings of shame, disgust and annoyance weren’t helped by the sudden banging on the door of someone desperate to use the facilities. As he wasn’t handicapped he now felt guilty that he was stopping someone needier than himself and had to act fast.

        Although he didn’t want to, he had no alternative than to fasten the sodden thing in place, pull up his plastic pants and hope they’d hide what had happened, then try to find his sister to get changed.

        With a guilty nod to the distressed looking girl in an electric wheelchair he escaped without having to explain himself but the soggy back of his disposable was hard to ignore.

        No sooner was he back in circulation than he was being grabbed and cajoled into various group photo opportunities, whilst once again his bucket was slowly filling up.

        The squelchy mass had expanded so he was now walking with a slightly more pronounced waddle. The crowd just loved him, patting his plastic padded bottom with familiarity and using baby talk as if he really was just a toddler... and this was just the first few hours of his self-imposed twenty-four hour nappy confinement.

        His drenched padding and plastic pants, together with the nonstop sunshine, was making things difficult for the little volunteer but eventually, after a further hour, he found his sister and tried to explain what had happened.

        She could believe he had an accident, just not the accident he was claiming. He also complained that the plastic pants were making him too hot. She got around that problem by simply tightly pinning him into a thick fabric nappy and sending him on his way because a queue of other wet toddlers had turned up needing to be changed.

        #

        Although embarrassed by wearing merely a nappy, Henry had to admit that without the plastic pants he didn’t feel as clammy... also he was not followed around by a continuous crinkle. The fact that Ellie had fastened it so tightly also meant that it wasn’t in danger of falling down any time soon. He also appreciated a dry nappy, the soggy one had clung to everything and had been quite uncomfortable but this new soft and fleecy nappy gave him a renewed confidence.

        Before long a third and fourth bucket had been quickly filled with donations.

        Henry had been popular and, as the organisers were keen to point out, he’d raised the most out of all the collectors.

        As the event drew to a close Henry was struggling with his final heavy bucket, what he hadn’t noticed was the fact that his baby’s bottle full of juice had leaked and the front of his nappy was covered in very orangey hue. When he finally returned to the tent with the last, heavy contribution everyone was congratulating each other on such a splendid day and, the organisers were in no doubt that it would be a record fund-raising event.

        Henry met Kevin and a few of the other kids for a chat and a catch up because ‘the collector’ had been so busy, he’d hardly been able to stop and speak to anyone for any length of time. Although he kept spotting his friends from time to time, there were so many attendees that they sort of got lost in the crowds.

        Meanwhile, they’d had a great time watching bands perform, going on some rides, whilst Kevin had particularly enjoyed inspecting the display of vintage cars. They all appeared to have had a great time and sympathised with Henry who had hardly got to experience any of the entertainment.

        Anyway, the boys were congratulating their friend on a job well done and were even proud of his soaked nappy. Henry tried to tell them it was spilled juice but again, although they nodded in agreement, they all thought he’d really just peed himself like they did. No one was having a go at him because it’s just what happens when you have to wear a nappy 24/7.

        #

        ...to be continued
        Last edited by Les Lea; 06-08-2018, 02:31 AM.

        Comment


          #5
          Part 4

          A friend in need

          By the time the event ended and the family returned home, they were all pretty exhausted. Henry had been cheered by all the kids at the hospice, Debra had been congratulated on having such wonderful, thoughtful children and Ellie had been a huge success with the toddler group. The seven year old was even too tired to change out of his ‘collector’s uniform’ and was driven home just as he was. The ‘Pweeeze giv’ t-shirt looking a bit worse for wear, whilst the bulging nappy was in a sorry, saggy state... but he was simply past caring.

          The entire day had been exciting, busy and energy-sapping so all Henry wanted to do when he got in was rest. Ellie suggested he take a nice relaxing bath, then she’d put him in his night time fleecy nappy so he was ready for bed when he wanted to go. He was past thinking and let Ellie do what he’d agreed with Kevin he should wear for the rest of the challenge.

          So, after a lovely soothing, foamy bath, Henry had the appropriate lotion and powder spread all about him. The new thick, well-padded night time downy nappy Ellie fitted snuggly around his waist was indeed something huge and cumbersome, whilst the addition of a pair of frosted vinyl pants noisily crinkled as they were pulled up his thighs. She said that it was exactly what Kevin wore every night when he went to bed so, as per the challenge; her duly encased brother was unable to complain about the awkwardness of it all.

          Movement was ungainly and Henry wondered if this was what all the nappy-wearing kids in the hospice and children’s wing felt like every night. Despite this he nodded to Ellie when she suggested he should come down to spend some time watching TV, relaxing and having a nice ‘slurpy’ drink.

          For a moment he lay out on his bed and thought about the day. He’d got Brendan Lee Cooper’s autograph, with a personal message, and had made friends with just about everybody he’d met... it had been a fantastic, if hectic, day. Even Mrs Parkhurst, who he’d seen briefly, commented on what a good job he was doing, but of course repeated to anyone within earshot her usual refrain that any child under ten should always wear a nappy. She insisted that an excited child couldn’t be trusted to not wet their pants so it was simply a sensible precaution. Despite that, and his babyish outfit, it had been exactly what it was supposed to be... a brilliant FUNDAY for the visitors, and, although hard work for him, was glad to have been part of it.

          Alas, the cool strawberry milkshake lovingly made by his proud mother and standing enticingly on the coffee table downstairs stayed undrunk because a shattered, well-padded and cosy little chap fell asleep on top of his bed.

          #

          Later, when his mother popped her head around the door she couldn’t help but think what an adorable sight her son made. He’d not even got round to slipping on a t-shirt so he lay naked but for his thick protection, his room still quite warm from the day’s heat. She stood for over fifteen minutes just watching her little boy sleep as his stomach gently expanded and fell with each softly taken breath.

          Though Henry had acted nothing like a baby, it was the way he was dressed which filled her full of overwhelming emotions. He wasn’t a delicate boy, he was always coming home with cuts and scrapes, and he’d shown just how determined a seven year old could be by his recent action. However, looking at him swaddled in a huge nappy and enormous plastic pants cut through that boyish bravado and all Debra saw was her sweet baby boy once more.

          Eventually, she took one of his old soft cuddly toys off the dresser and gently laid it in his arms. Automatically, his hands seemed to sense its presence hugging it close. Debra was quite overcome, it was like Henry was two again and all those feelings of maternal love and protection for an infant came flooding back. She just wanted to pick him up and hug him to her chest so he’d sleep in her arms. The urge was strong but she fought it back.

          The day had been strange for her as well. Every time she seemed to look up her son, dressed in a nappy and looking to the entire world like a big toddler, was being photographed. Everywhere he went people wanted him to join in their selfies. At times she was both jealous and frightened for her boy because he looked so vulnerable, yet had launched himself into the challenge with a steely determination like a boy twice his age.

          Eventually she reached over and pulled a blanket over him, he wriggled and crinkled in sleepy contentment; that was her cue to kiss him goodnight and leave him to his dreams.

          #

          Henry slept like a log. His mother came in at 8am Sunday morning and the little fellow was still hard on. The ear on his soft toy was soaked where he’d spent the night sucking on it like he used to do when a baby. She gently roused him and automatically slipped her hand down the front of his plastic pants. He was too tired to notice but surprisingly his mum found him saturated as he stretched and yawned his way into consciousness.

          For some reason a smile appeared on her face. Why she should be happy that her seven year old son should be soaked she couldn’t justify. However, there was no way to pretend otherwise, it did please her.

          “Morning sweetie,” she grinned. “You must have been worn out... you’ve slept for over twelve hours.”

          His bleary eyes eventually focused and he nodded back to his mum.

          “Is it time to get up?”

          “Only if you want to... you did mention that you’d help out at the hospice this morning and I’m sure you need to catch up with Kevin and the clan.”

          “Mmmm, I s’pose so,” he stretched more and then detected the crinkle of his plastic pants.

          At the same time he became aware of something else. Debra didn’t want him to be embarrassed about wetting his nappy so cheerfully brought it up.

          “Seems my little hero was too shattered to make it to the toilet...” she smiled.

          Henry turned red with embarrassment.

          “No need to feel embarrassed sweetie, you were dog-tired after all you did yesterday so a little accident is nothing to be worried about.”

          This was awful. How did she know he was wet? Henry was on the verge of self-conscious tears.

          “Sweetie, don’t worry, it’s not that important... and besides, you were well protected so no harm done... it’s an accident.”

          Although his mother was being positive and encouraging, Henry was none too happy. He knew some of the kids at the hospice wet themselves but couldn’t work out why he had. He was sure his mother wouldn’t like the fact that her seven year old had wet his nappy as if it was normal.

          However,suddenly his mind went to something Kevin had said about waking up wet, The feeling of being changed into something fresh, clean and dry made up for the morning’s damp discomfort.

          The stiffness in his body eased as he let himself relax.

          “Look darling, let’s have breakfast before I get you out of those,” his mother said pointing to the bulk. “After, have a shower and then I’ll take you over to see your friends.”

          #

          Although he’d sat around in a nappy several times now, this was the first time the bulk had been added to with his pee and it felt strange. It didn’t feel the same as the day before when he’d accidentally peed in his disposable. He wasn’t sure if the difference was down to his knowledge that he’d actually peed in his nappy and had known nothing about it, or that he’d peed in his nappy and his mother appeared fine by it.

          Just sitting in such a thick wet piece of material in the first place was a peculiar sensation but now it had expanded his waddle was far more pronounced, in fact, the entire thing was odd. However, and this was another thing that shocked him, he wasn’t fazed by it. Perhaps, after all the positive things Kevin, Liam and the gang had said about having to wear a nappy was beginning to sink in that it was something you just got used to.

          After breakfast, and as per instructions from Ellie, Debra changed her son into his daytime disposable. If truth be told, she’d actually been a little envious of her daughter changing Henry so took her time (and great delight) in getting him ready. Henry, although a little shy of his mum being so thorough, knew he’d be hopeless if he’d had to do it himself. He comforted himself with the fact that this would be the last time as by noon his twenty-four hour challenge would be up. His mother, on the other hand, wished this wasn’t the last time she’d get to do this.

          #

          Much to his initial embarrassment, she reminisced throughout the procedure about how she used to change him (kissing his tummy and making him giggle), when he was a baby. However, even when she finally pulled everything together through his legs and taped him securely in place he still found himself amused at some of the things she said. He was chuckling away at her silly impression of Mrs Parkhurst saying all children should be in nappies until they were “...ten, no... twenty, no... thirty years old”.

          Besides, she’d done a great job - the disposable was nice and tight and had chosen a pair of plain blue plastic pants instead of the nursery print ones.

          Dressed in his blue and white polo shirt, his pale blue shorts and blue sneakers he looked like he was destined for the beach more than a visit to see his friends at the hospital. The bulk was barely showing under his shorts, the firm grip of the plastic pants adding a secure feeling, and he felt good about himself.

          He wondered if Kevin and the others ever felt like this or did they just put up with it because they had to?

          His mother patted his padded bottom as he got into the rear seat of her car and really wished she had more time with him like that but of course said nothing.

          As the car drove off the phone in the hallway was ringing. It was Ellie trying to tell her mother not to bring Henry to Saint Clare’s.

          #

          Unfortunately, once at the hospital a different atmosphere pervaded than the previous Funday.

          Yesterday afternoon, whilst enjoying himself with his mates at the Funday, Liam took a turn for the worse. One minute he was laughing, the next he was struggling for breath and sadly, despite the doctor’s efforts, they couldn’t revive him. His friend finally gave up the fight just as Henry fell asleep at home from his exhausting day.

          The seven year old didn’t know about death and even though Ellie had explained the purpose of the hospice side of the hospital, it came as a shock. When he walked into the ward he found a sad bunch of kids, some still in tears, mourning their friend’s passing. Henry didn’t know what to do or say but found Kevin and automatically went and hugged him.

          The release from Kevin was instant and audible as he poured out his grief whilst his new friend embraced him. Ellie was about to intervene but, with arms wrapped around each other, both boys emptied their sorrowful hearts.

          Tears were part of the grieving and healing process but for now the boys could only think of the loss of their friend. They unashamedly found what they needed in their mutual support. Despite his lifelong affliction Liam had been positive, fun and great company, although everyone knew what was coming, the suddenness, and at such a joyous occasion, had stunned them all.

          Ellie had been surprised at just how compassionate her little brother had become... and in such a short space of time. Henry was proving to be a surprisingly perceptive seven year old.

          #

          Outside in the hospital grounds and surrounding fields the clean-up operation continued. The stage had to be dismantled, so did all the stalls and rides, rubbish cleared and a lorry was going round the site picking up the Portaloos and loading them on the back. It was this last activity that got Kevin and Henry out of their funk. As the crane device hooked up one of the big blue plastic toilets and lifted it into the air Kevin nodded to Henry and said he hoped no one was still using it.

          There was a giggle of relief followed by a full belly laugh as the boys broke the sombre mood. Liam wasn’t forgotten but life went on for the rest of the hospice’s patients and the comment went a long way to restoring a little life back into proceedings.

          Ellie was doing the rounds and asked Kevin if he needed a change, which he answered with a shy nod. She looked over at Henry who seemed to suddenly realise he was also wet. He hadn’t known that his emotions had let loose his bladder and he’d unwittingly filled the front of his nappy.

          There was also an air of pee which he had detected from some of the nappy wearers at the hospice which Liam and others had said “...was an inevitable outcome of incontinence”. What Henry didn’t realise was that air of pee was now coming from him. Some of the patients wore bags to collect their urine but most preferred their comforting thick protection; it was a choice some struggled with.

          However, this was the second time he’d wet himself without knowing it (he didn’t count his Funday experience as that was simply an accident) and was thinking frantically for an excuse.

          “Erm, um, Ellie, I think I need a change too.” He said quietly, desperate to come up with a reason.

          He didn’t need one. His sister understood they’d both been under immense emotional strain and that was plenty enough explanation for her.

          “Okay sweetie, come with me and Kevin and I’ll change you after him.”

          Then she realised something else.

          “Henry, I know your challenge is just about over but, I’m sorry to say, I haven’t brought any underpants for you to change into... I’ve only got...”

          Henry nodded that it was okay to be changed into a nappy. For the time being at least he didn’t feel the need to alter anything that reminded him of his friend, in fact, all his friends.

          #

          Kevin had eased himself out of his wheelchair and on to the counter top to be changed. Ellie once offered to lift him but he said it was one of the few acts of independence he had, so no matter how difficult, he’d always try and do it himself. Once laid out Ellie undid his pants, eased off his plastic cover and pulled the tabs apart.

          “Well sweetie (it seemed she called everyone sweetie), you’re pretty well soaked so let’s get you into a booster as well as a disposable... is that okay with you?”

          Kevin grimaced as his soaked disposable landed with a sodden splat in to the ‘used’ bucket. His nurse was quick to cover him up with wipes and cleaned the area before smoothing in a fair amount of lotion and topping it off with a liberal sprinkling of powder.

          The ultra-thick nappy was fastened in place and his white, shiny vinyl pants were shuffled up his legs. Soon he was back in his wheelchair and out to meet Henry who was patiently awaiting his turn.

          “Next.”

          Kevin and Henry fist-bumped as they swapped places.

          Ellie had already organised a disposable and quickly got to work sorting out her brother. Even so, she was just as thorough as she’d been with Kevin although Henry’s nappy wasn’t quite as thick. However, she noticed that some of the leg elastic on his blue plastic pants had started to crack and replaced the ones he had with a pair of soft pink vinyl.

          “Pink! They hardly go with my blue shorts...” He said with arms folded.

          “Yes I’m sorry but those,” she said pointing to the blue ones he’d only recently been wearing, “will cut into your thigh and may even leak...”

          He didn’t mention it but they had been pinching at his thighs a little bit so was pleased to get an alternative.

          “Don’t you have any white ones?”

          “Sorry Henry but they’ve all gone. We have pink and nursery print... oh, and these heavy white rubber ones.”

          She held up a voluminous pair of rigid rubber pants.

          Henry shuddered at having to wear something so large and wondered who at the hospice they were for.

          “Okay, okay pink it will have to be.” He said reluctantly.

          “Well, these are mostly white with just a few cartoon animals on.” She held up the nursery print.

          “Oh, I don’t s’pose it matters,” Henry sighed in resignation. “I s’pose they’re going to be hidden anyway.”

          “Precisely.”

          As she was holding the nursery print pants at the time it was those that got fed up his legs to cover the disposable.

          #

          Ellie watched with interest at how the boys handled the death of their friend. The hospice of course had seen its fair share of young deaths, but it had been a new experience for Henry. He’d shared in the ward’s grief like he’d shared in their nappy regime and hadn’t expected to be treated any differently from the others.

          After lunch, and as the summer weather still held, the boys went outside to watch the dismantling of the Funday equipment.

          Kevin found some prizes that hadn’t been claimed (or simply left) in a plastic bag by a rubbish bin. He became the owner of a very sad looking plastic clown, a brown pottery dog, a cheap looking water pistol, a large unopened Toblerone and a half drunk bottle of Coke.

          Somehow they managed to make up a story regarding the clown and the dog and were giggling like maniacs before too long - they decided to give the bottle of Coke a miss but enjoyed the triangles of Swiss chocolate. A few of the other boys and girls came to join them and the mood changed to a slightly better, chocolatey atmosphere. They went off to find a tap to fill the water pistol.

          At one point Kevin said about Liam.

          “That’s what the hospice is all about... you know... making the last few days or weeks or however long you have left... better. I think he was happy... well I hope so.”

          Henry just nodded and put an arm around Kevin’s shoulder who, after a few seconds, slipped his hand down to his friends padded bum and said he bet he’d never get used to underpants again... they both laughed.

          Later, when Henry got home and it was time for bed he didn’t remove the padding; he just slipped under the cover and snuggled down wearing only his protection. He would wear his briefs tomorrow but for now, in memory of Liam and his well-padded jogging pants, he would stay as he was.

          #
          ...to be continued
          Last edited by Les Lea; 06-15-2018, 02:04 AM.

          Comment


            #6
            Part 5

            Embarrassment

            The sun was up early on Monday morning and so was their next door neighbour’s youngest, Carmen. Like Henry she was seven and one of his best friends. They played together, went to school together, and rode bikes together, except recently she hadn’t seen as much of him as usual. However, today she’d been excited to see a lot more of her friend because in the local paper, which had just been delivered, and on the front page no less, was a colour photograph of her buddy.

            At the breakfast table her family had read the article and smiled at the photograph of Henry wearing his ‘collector’s uniform’ and the by-line that accompanied it. The heading promised a full report on the record-breaking Funday inside on pages 4 and 5, the large image on the front of the paper was just a teaser.

            What had made the family smile was the image of the nappy-clad seven year old, which showed his nappy with orange stains down the front and him straining to lift the heavy coin-filled bucket. To all intents and purposes, it looked like he was straining in his sagging nappy to fill that rather than the bucket.

            Underneath the by-line read:

            Volunteer, seven year old Henry Warren helping out at the St Clare’s fund-raising Funday – a bucket full of change before a nappy change.

            It was a throwaway gag heading but one that caught the imagination of the paper’s readers.

            #

            Debra answered the incessant knocking on her front door wondering what the excitement was all about. She was surprised to see Carmen waving a newspaper and enthusiastically pushing it at her.

            Before she had chance to take in what was happening the little girl animatedly announced that Henry was famous.

            They wandered through to the kitchen.

            “See, see, see he’s famous, he’s on the front page... mum says he must be famous...”

            She jabbered on as Debra, looking stunned, saw the photograph, read the by-line and burst out laughing.

            “Oh my. Oh my-oh my...”

            At the same moment Ellie arrived in the kitchen, surprised to see her neighbour at such an early hour looking bright and excited next to her mother.

            “Hello Carmen... you’re up early... are you going somewhere special today?”

            The little girl just continued to giggle whilst Debra passed the offending article over for her daughter to consider.

            A smile spread across her face which she had trouble keeping in check.

            “Oh, I think we know someone who’s not going to be happy.”

            She looked at her mum then turned her attention to the still gleefully giggling neighbour.

            “Happy in a nappy, Happy in a nappy...” her little voice began to sing-song.

            “Unhappy more like,” Ellie said as an aside to her mother.

            “I’m sure... but doesn’t he look so damn cute?”

            Ellie nodded.

            “We’re going to have to put a positive spin on this...”

            “Put a spin on what?”

            Standing in the doorway a sleepy Henry wanted to know what was going on with all the door banging and laughter.

            #

            “Oh hi Carmen...”

            He took in his friend but had completely forgotten what he was still wearing.

            “Happy in a nappy. Happy in a nappy.” She sang and giggled and pointed at Henry’s sleeping attire
            .
            He suddenly flushed. It was all a bit saggy, even though he was still dry and although he’d been seen around the Funday wearing a nappy, for some reason it felt strange that he should be wearing one around his neighbour away from the hospice.

            He felt guilty and exposed.

            He was about to turn and disappear back to his bedroom when Ellie said she had something to show him.

            Debra quickly added that they were so very proud of him but, it appeared he’d made quite an impression on the local photographer.

            “What do you mean?” Henry questioned.

            “Well, erm, um, it appears that the reporter... you know... the guys from the local paper? Well, it would... erm...”

            She handed him the cover photograph.

            He couldn’t take in that it was a fantastic image, the colour wonderful and the focus superb, all he noticed was that from the expression on his face he looked like he was just about to mess himself.

            “Muuuummm.” He cried. “What... if... why... er, ummmm, NO!”

            “You’s famous,” Carmen added with a sweet smile. “Mummy says you look like my baby brother...” She thought for a second, “’cept he’s not on the front of the paper... wearing a nappy.”

            Henry blushed with embarrassment and found himself speechless. He was making some sounds but actually saying nothing, he couldn’t believe it.

            The phone rang and his mother answered. It was another neighbour who’d just picked up her copy of the paper.

            “Yes, were looking at it now. Yes it is a good photograph.” Something else was said. “Well, Henry was volunteering to help out at the hospice and that was the outfit they gave him... it was part of a challenge...”

            The conversation continued out of Henry’s hearing but Ellie had pulled her dumbfounded brother into her arms and was both consoling and praising what he’d done the day before. Henry wasn’t happy. She didn’t realise she was patting his padded bottom as she spoke and Carmen couldn’t take her eyes from his thick padding and shiny nursery print plastic pants.

            “Henry wears a nappy. Henry wears a nappy...” This was a tuneful refrain he didn’t want to hear.

            #

            Debra thanked Carmen for bringing the paper but ushered her out the door before she could come up with any other rhyme or song to annoy her son.
            Tears had erupted and Ellie fought to keep her brother from feeling bad. He, on the other hand, was angry at the injustice of it all. He didn’t see it as the reporter saw it; having ‘fun with the Funday’. Complete with a rather wonderful photograph that, to the reporter at least, said all that was good about the fund-raising event, and that was... every one happily getting involved. As far as Henry was concerned the journalist had made him out to be a silly, nappy-wetting baby.

            The phone never stopped ringing; family, friends, folk from the hospice and Henry’s school chums were all eager to comment on the photograph. The cover star himself hid up in his room and refused to speak to anyone. The overnight nappy and plastic pants were irritably thrown into a pile in the corner as he lay on his bed wearing just a pair of his favourite underpants and wondering how he was ever going to live down this total embarrassment.

            #

            Later that afternoon the phone rang again. Debra had hardly been able to get any work done because of the constant interruptions and had decided that after this call, she’d unplug it for a few hours so she could get some peace.

            Hello, could I speak to Debra Warren?”

            Speaking, who’s this?”

            Oh, good afternoon, this is Thomas Peake, editor of the Echo, I got your number from Saint Clare’s.”

            Ahh yes, Mr Peake, thought you might like to know you’ve made a young boy very unhappy... he’s refusing to come out of his room, embarrassed about what people will say after seeing that HUGE photograph on your front page.”

            “Mmmm yes, that’s what I wish to speak to you about... it’s had the most amazing reaction.”

            Yes it has here... my son...”

            “Sorry to interrupt Mrs Warren but money has been flowing into our office to go towards Saint Clare’s fund and all, I repeat ALL, because of that photograph. It seems to have hit a nerve with the public that we on regional papers rarely see. He’s made a connection with the community that in my twenty years as the paper’s editor I’ve never seen the like of.”

            Erm, I’m sorry. What did you just say?”

            “The front cover image of your son has hit the ‘charity’ button with hundreds of people. We are being inundated with cheques, cash donations... most saying it’s because of your son that they wished to... well... help Saint Clare’s reach their fund-raising goal.”

            #

            They spoke for over twenty minutes and Debra explained about her daughter wanting to be a paediatric nurse and Henry helping her out. About his visit to the hospital and immediately hitting it off with some of the kids there and of course... the ‘nappy challenge’.

            The editor found all this fascinating and reckoned there was a further story there, a human interest story featuring a fearless, empathetic little seven year old, that might get even more people to donate.

            “Hold your horses a moment.” Debra tried to slow the conversation down. “This all sounds very good but I have a shattered and sullen seven year old who thinks the world is laughing at him. He may not be too keen on being part of more publicity.”

            Mr Peake had simply assumed that Mrs Warren would be incredibly keen to have her son involved and hadn’t slotted into the equation Henry being less than thrilled at the prospect. There was something else that he had to tell Debra and that was, piles of nappies, disposable and other clothing had arrived at the Echo office, addressed to the ‘Sweet Nappy Boy in need of a change’.

            The editor was convinced he had the makings of a fantastic story and hoped that Mrs Warren would be able to get Henry to agree to it... after all, he was only seven, so how hard could it be to convince him of the good he’d do for his friends at the hospice.

            #

            When Mr Peake heard from Debra about the sudden death of his friend Liam he knew he had another angle and suggested that perhaps, they could make all donations in memory of the boy. Did she think that Henry would go with such an idea?

            Debra wasn’t too sure but the editor convinced her that the story had merit and agreed to speak to her son about it.

            Meanwhile, Thomas Peake, sensing a really good feature that he hoped would be picked up by one or two of the nationals, set to work. By late afternoon, he had spoken at the hospice to the fund-raising committee, Kevin and one or two of the other kids, as well as having a long chat with Ellie.

            Like her mother she wasn’t sure how Henry would go with it but saw the truth in the fact it was a great story and one that could lead to even more contributions to the expansion work Saint Clare’s was aiming to undertake.

            The sooner they reached the £1million ear-marked for the start of building work, the sooner more deserving children could be accommodated at the hospice.

            Meanwhile, the number of hits on the Echo’s online site where loads of other images of the event were stored only advanced Mr Peake’s conclusion that there was one hell of a story waiting to be unleashed on a receptive public.

            #

            The tap on his bedroom door brought a snoozing Henry slowly to his senses. Debra took in the fact that his discarded nappy and plastic pants were thrown into the corner but he’d obviously fallen asleep reading a book and wearing only his underwear. Even though the window was open, it was still stuffy and warm in the room.

            “How you feeling sweetie?”

            His mother stroked her son’s head and lifted the book away from his chest.

            After the past few days of Henry wearing a nappy he looked strange in just his thin cotton Ninja Turtles briefs, it didn’t seem he was dressed correctly but didn’t say anything straight away. She told him about all the phone calls, ALL of which she said were positive - saying what a brave and wonderful example he was to others his age. It wasn’t completely true but Debra had to make her son feel good about what he’d done and not dwell on the negative.

            “Actually sweetheart, the photograph has had a very positive effect. The Echo called and said that because of it, people are sending in further donations... and that my darling, is simply down to you being so understanding to the needs of Kevin and the other kids at the hospital.”

            “But mum, they made it look like I was messing myself. People will think I did.”

            “I’ve talked to the editor and, he thinks he can make it okay by telling your story about the challenge.”

            “Who told him about that?”

            “Well I did sweetie. I know how upset you were with the photo being taken out of context, so I told him you were dressed like that for a reason.”

            She looked to see if Henry was taking any of this in or whether he was still mad with the world. It was difficult to tell, although he was obviously thinking about something.

            “He thinks you are more of a hero than... a little baby. He says you taking up the nappy challenge was a courageous think to do, and thinks, if we tell that story... other people may well add to the fund-raising. That would be a good thing... wouldn’t it?”

            #

            She continued in this manner for a short while, hugging her son to emphasise certain bits of her argument.

            “But Carmen saw me in a nappy and she’ll tell everyone I wear...”

            “But sweetheart, it doesn’t matter because once the real reason is out there, no one will be able to see it as anything but a good thing.”

            Debra wasn’t sure if this would be true but she at least had to try to make him less anxious about that front page and be more optimistic.

            “Mr Peake, the editor at the Echo, has even suggested that maybe he could get the people at the hospice to name part of the fund-raising after your friend Liam... now wouldn’t that be a great way to remember him by?”

            Despite all the positive words Debra wondered if she’d over stepped the mark when Henry burst into tears. He held onto his mother as he roared his heart out at the memory of Liam. She realised how stupid and insensitive this had sounded and was angry with herself for being so abrupt. This was not the way she’d hoped that suggestion would go but comforted her son, who seemed grateful for her reassuring cuddles.

            At the same time he was crying his hardest, he involuntarily peed into his briefs. The sudden realisation that he was wetting his pants for a third time made Henry clamp his bladder closed as tightly as he could. There was not enough to cause a flood but enough that his mother would probably notice.

            As he came round from his sorrow he was feeling very guilty, he was wet for the second, no, third time, and desperate to deflect what he was convinced would be his mother’s anger. She surely wouldn’t put up with her toilet-trained youngest starting to wet himself again. He looked over at the nappy and vinyl pants he’d earlier so bitterly kicked into the corner and at that moment wished he’d still been wearing them.

            After so childishly wetting his briefs, and the warm clamminess beginning to worry him, and before the dampness alerted his mum to what he’d done, he knew what he had to do.

            Debra knew none of what was going on in her son’s head. Nor was she aware her son had wet himself, something he hadn’t done since he was a toddler. So, oblivious, she just beamed and hugged him when he whispered that it was okay to do the interview with Mr Peake.

            #

            It was 5pm when the editor arrived at their home for the interview. He’d already spoken to all the others and it was just a few words from Henry and his mother to finish the piece. In his head Thomas Peake already knew he had a great story and couldn’t wait to see the reaction in the following morning’s edition.

            Henry had secretly changed out of his wet briefs, cleaned himself up but was wearing shorts and a polo shirt when the photographer arrived. Although tempted, he decided to avoid the disposable and wore another pair of briefs (the wet ones having been rinsed through and guiltily hidden in the laundry basket).

            The photographer wanted a shot of mother, daughter and son all together, as well as a couple of Henry playing with his toys or out in the garden. Both the editor and photographer were sad that he wasn’t still wearing padding though Mr Peake had brought the bundle of clothes that had, along with several hundred pounds worth of cash and cheques, been donated at the Echo’s office. He offered it as evidence to show just how much people had been influenced by Henry.

            #

            Henry wasn’t sure why people would donate clothes but, as they had been addressed to ‘the Boy in a Nappy’, they’d definitely been for him. Not only was there an array of both fabric and disposable nappies, there were several pairs of plastic and rubber pants, dummies and what appeared to be big onesies that would be the right size for Henry.

            The seven year old couldn’t understand why people would send such stuff but the editor explained that not everyone read the article but only saw the image and decided to send something they thought would help Henry personally. For instance, he clarified, the drooping nappy would be held in place by the plastic pants and the onesie that fastened with snaps between his legs.

            Henry was getting a bit confused and annoyed.

            “Yes, I know, I used to have one when I was a baby but why would they send them to someone my age?”

            “Ellie told me that some of the kids at the hospice wear them,” his mother spoke trying to calm him down. “They like the fact that it holds all their protection in place... and it’s easier to change someone...”

            Her explanation drifted off because she was imagining him wearing it.

            Meanwhile, the editor relied on all his powers from his journalistic trade, to cajole the story from the boy and to try and enlighten the lad of the power an image can have.

            “Henry, I’m told you didn’t like the fact of your photograph being used.”

            “No I wasn’t.” He harrumphed.

            “So, let me tell you that to many others this image, your image, was the visual kick they needed to stop being complacent and actually do something.”

            Henry wriggled uncomfortably in his seat now that he was the complete and utter focus of the editor’s argument.

            “You, and that wonderful photograph, have set in motion something that may well be bigger than you can imagine. You are an inspiration to others who, by their donations of money and clothing, have proved that not only was the Funday a way of raising funds, but by your unselfish action, more donations and ways to raise further finances for the hospice have become possible.”

            The positive reinforcement, the encouragement, the intensity of the editor’s words scared Henry. It was as if he would be letting everyone down if he didn’t agree and that comment about a memorial to Liam more or less sealed his fate. He’d have to do what was being asked of him otherwise he’d look a very bad friend indeed. He tried to put a brave face on it... so reluctantly agreed.

            It had been a lot for the seven year old to take in but Henry deduced, by the praise and smiles from his mother and sister, all this was a good thing and he should be proud of himself and not worry about what a few people might say.

            However, that was his big worry and despite being up for the twenty-four hour ‘challenge’ set by Kevin, he really wasn’t happy with being known as the ‘Boy in a Nappy’.

            #
            ...to be continued
            Last edited by Les Lea; 06-21-2018, 12:51 AM.

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