Double The Trouble
Changes in schools from elementary to intermediate broke up the misfit support group. Barb and Tuan went to a different school in the district, based upon where they lived; Rebecca transferred to a private school.
Already near the end of 5th. grade and elementary school, signs of impending pre-adolescent changes were happening. Tara was 11, and beginning to develop, as in: mature physically. So were several of the others, but it happened late enough in the school year and messed each of them up enough in its own way that the changes weren’t discussed.
That summer gave the Pelvig household a double-whammy: Tara started menstruating, and growing into her adult body. Both meant she was becoming a woman. The latter meant that she was widening enough that sitting sideways on an elongated-bowl toilet was rapidly becoming insufficient. Both were double the trouble—at least! She felt great shame about both, and especially the toilet-outgrowing, using a bucket to catch what the bowl no longer could, then cleaning it, doing all she could to only use the bathroom at home (which was not always possible, and the source of major consternation).
Her parents were intelligent, having planned ahead as best they could for this time now upon them which they knew would come. Tampons weren’t an especial problem: buy twice as many. Pads were an issue insofar as they required undies to support them, and Tara was more and more recalcitrant to wear the inelegant and, honestly, uncomfortable 3-legged pairs her mother and one or both grandmothers still made for her. Draining during heavy flow was a problem for the same reason anything else involving a toilet was a problem.
Her father had long had a plan for the toilet, which started to fall apart precisely when he needed to execute it. Tara overheard her parents arguing about it from a distance one evening:
“What do you mean the company can’t make our toilet?!”
“That’s what I said, Joan: U.S. Standard was bought out by Yang Chow Porcelain 2 years ago, at which point all the U.S.-based engineering staff was let go. Today’s U.S. Standard wants us to pay the several-thousand-some dollars all over again for a new engineering design done by their engineers in China.”
“She’s crapping, bleeding, and peeing all over the bathroom floor, and doesn’t always clean it all up!”
“I’m doing the best I can! This doesn’t even count the drain rework in that bathroom which will be required to hook the normal sewer piping up to the custom toilet flange!”
“Tell me about it!”
Given all she’d been through in her life up until this point, it was delightfully amazing that Tara Pelvig had solid, balanced self-esteem. These new changes and the concomitant problems tipped the balance to an unbalanced point, though not permanently. She redoubled her efforts to keep everything in the bucket (and toilet bowl) and clean up better when she missed. When her mother was too emotionally undone to go to the school district on her behalf to discuss toilet issues, she bravely stepped up, getting into detail regarding the problem and presenting the solution she was utilizing at home. The principal was impressed enough with her responsibility and maturity to arrange for Tara to use one of the women’s teachers’ restrooms, where she could keep a dump bucket, have access to the necessary cleaning supplies, and not be taunted by other students as she did what she had to do.
No one is perfect, and that certainly included Tara heading into adolescence. She and her mother fell into common parent-adolescent child power struggles. Her mother had been having more and more trouble functioning before this started, with these struggles adding to her mother’s issues. Her father tried not to get involved, sometimes having to step in when things got out of hand, such as when her mother raged on her one day for growing out of her custom undies and shoes so fast—something over which Tara had no control, given that it was normal growth.
Delays arranging for a custom toilet plus a whole string of other life issues (many of which did not involve Tara at all, though many others did) took their toll on Joan Pelvig: she snapped. Totally broke-down lost it, driving off one day with a carload of her most prized possessions to run off with a man she’d started an affair with many states away, and never looking back, other than sending Roger divorce papers.
Roger was shattered; Tara badly shaken up. Joan’s parents felt great shame regarding their daughter’s behavior, coming by to apologize and make it clear that they totally respected Roger and that Tara would always be their beloved granddaughter, and that both were welcome any time other than the few times Joan and her new man might be around, and that they’d do what they could to help Tara into adulthood. This grandmother and Roger’s own mother worked with Tara to help her learn how to make her own 3-legged panties. Grateful as Tara was, she hated panties, going commando other than when she had to wear pads, or rare days of bowel or urinary problems.
Destabilizing as Joan Pelvig’s departure and divorce from her husband were, father and daughter pulled together to make it through. The household certainly became much more peaceful, with almost no friction between Tara and her dad. He absolutely set limits and didn’t let her run wild, but it was with a far lighter touch, and rational explanations in a calm voice when she questioned him.
The brand-new custom toilet from a whole different company arrived a few months after Joan left. It was plumbed in within a day or so, inspector-approved and ready to use. Tara loved it!: sparkling new, stylish, with a huge enough oval bowl 90° off the normal elongated bowl angle to allow her to sit both butts on it facing forward, like a normal person. The custom woodgrain seat had three layers instead of the usual two: Tara’s very big and wide seat, a seat which fit atop that one to center normal-sized single butts more or less over the middle, and the usual lid. The ample sizing of the bowl allowed plenty of room for growth should it happen, with the current seat acting as a butt adapter so she wouldn’t feel like she was falling in. She again went out of her way to use this new toilet at home as much as possible, learning how to shift her eating to shift her output timing, and hold things in better.
Budding adolescent Tara had another round of self-image hits to deal with, of a nature shared by many of her peers: she wasn’t pretty. Not ugly, but plain… very plain. As bad or worse, some other girls were starting to develop up top and “bust out” a little bit, sending out clear signals of the womanly changes they were undergoing. Her development was minimal: not even a U.S. 30A cup yet. This was a terrible disappointment, especially given that she remained on the thick side and was thickening still more. She didn’t need any more down below, but that’s where much of her softness went: she was a double pear! Not at all a huge pear flare yet, but now there was consistent double inner thigh chub rub where there had been little to none before.
Technically Tara never truly suffered from clinical depression, though she did go through a blue period where she changed a lot of things up, as her body changed these just-discussed things up on her. She lost interest in soccer, and running and exercise in general. A good student all along, she became more quietly scholarly, reading many things both on electronic screens and printed onto paper. She had new friends, but there was some age-related aloofness or coolness that kept them from being as close as at her elementary school.
The blues did a very slow fade, but Tara Pelvig still wasn’t having an especially happy childhood, or life.