Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bodily Fluids and the New School Year

I had a milestone this year. It was the first year in four that I didn't get peed on on the first day of school.

Getting peed on, or puked on, are normal occurances in the life of a preschool teacher. After a while, you get really good at figuring out how to avoid these things, but it usually takes a few weeks when the school year starts.

Three-year-olds all have their individual "I need to pee" signals. The signals can be subtle, like a slight rocking back and forth, or very apparant like the grabbing the crotch and crossing the legs while still trying to play with that truck. Some kids also have very specific times when they need to go. After a few weeks, I get quite good at reading each child's signal or knowing their schedule, and can calmly and firmly lead them to the restroom when it becomes apparent that the need is there.

Today I spot a little guy making the international signal for "I need to go now!" and tell him it is time for him to go to the potty. (I have a bathroom in my classroom, so the kids can just head in there when the need strikes).

Little Guy: "But I don't need to go"

Me: "It is time, come on, I will go with you."

The little guy puts his head down, slouches his shoulders and shuffles over to the bathroom, glaring at me from the corner of his eye all the way over (like 10 steps). He gets to the bathroom and just stands in there, head down, looking put out.

Me: "It is time for you to go potty....go ahead, I will be right outside the door."

Little Guy: "I don't want to go!"

Me: "Don't you need to go?"

Little Guy: "I need to go really bad."

Me: "Then why don't you just go??"

Little Guy: "Because I DON'T WANT TO!"

And he drops his head to his chest and heaves a dramatic sigh. By the way, this whole exchange is taking place while he is still performing his "I need to go" dance.

Me: "It is time for you to go."

Little Guy huffs over to the potty, starts to pull down his pants and I close the door to give him his privacy. A few minutes later he comes out, having flushed the toilet and washed his hands without being reminded. He looks at me, beaming, and says, "Thanks for reminding me to go potty, I feel SO much better!"

The first few weeks of school also brings the inevitable mystery pile of poop on the floor. This is always fun. First of all...gross! There is poop on the floor! Everyone please stay away...no! Don't touch it!

But I, as the teacher, get to touch the poop. (Seriously, the absolute worst part of my job). How do I clean it up without actually touching it, all the while keeping an upbeat and cheery look on my face while at the same time trying to figure out whose poop it is?

This year, it was surprisingly easy. I was informed by a student to "check out what is over here on the floor!" I make my way to the offensive pile and start trying to identify possible suspects without actually having to use my nose.

Me: "Well, what happened here?"

Adorable new student, looking at me with the cutest eyes: "I pooped in my pants and it fell out onto the floor."

Well, that was easy.

Long story short, I cleaned up everything and everyone and I made a mental note to stock more baby wipes in my bathroom.

So, here's the thing. School is a big deal for these little people. It's new, different, exciting, and probably quite scary. Can you blame them for pushing the urge to go potty to the back of their minds? I mean, they are not me, where an unplanned sneeze is not a fun experience. They have so many other things to do and to see and to experience, going potty is just TOO boring. Plus, they might lose their turn with that awesome truck.

It is my job to learn their signals and routines, and help them understand that even if it boring, going potty is necessary.

One day last year, I went to the potty in the public restroom at the same time my students were in there (we go to the public restroom as a group after recess). This was apparently a big deal, because, I was informed quite seriously, that "teachers don't go potty!" The girls were so excited to tell the boys "Mrs. Velarde peed!". I was so famous for that incident that I vowed that future students would think I never went to the potty except to tell them to go.

So far...so good.


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1 comment:

Jasmine said...

Jason and I laughed so hard I ALMOST peed my pants...Thanks for sharing!!!
Jasmine Moore