Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm Not Good at Being a Grown Up

Last night when I went to check on my 6 year old boy, who I thought was sleeping, I found him sobbing in his bed.
He told me his dad just came in, too, but he stopped crying then and pretended he was asleep.
He was very upset, but was too scared to tell me what was wrong.
This is very usual for my boy.
He doesn't like to tell me much, particularly when something is wrong.
He finds it impossible.
Earlier this year when he fell and bumped his head at school, he refused to tell me or his father how it happened.
I eventually got the story, hours later, after I managed to find the right series of questions.
I discovered last night, that is the secret.
It's not that he doesn't want me to know, it's just that he can't say it himself.
He's happy to answer yes or no.
So after a lot of creative questioning, I discovered his problem.
It's a toileting issue.
We've been having that kind of issue with him since he was 3.
Apparently the children in his class are not permitted to go to the toilet in class time and if they do they must sit out of play during one of their three breaks for 5 minutes.
Being an ex-teacher I can understand why the teacher would enforce this rule because it is maddening to have children constantly going to the toilet and often some children 'go' just to get out of class.
However they are only Year One, and I do think it's a little harsh.
Especially for my boy who has 'issues'.
And she knows he does.
Granted, she doesn't know about this issue in particular.
But now I'm worried and nervous about having to talk to her about it this morning.
This is where the "I'm not good at being a grown up" comes about.
Ever since I was a child, I've had a problem with talking to people about certain things.
I remember saying to my mum when I was a kid, "But I don't know what to say."
And wanting her to always do the talking for me.
Now I see my boy doing the same thing.
He's been checking with me every five minutes this morning, making sure I don't forget to talk to his teacher this morning.
I'm worried that she won't 'get' it.
I'm worried that I won't find the right words.
I'm worried for my boy who is scared of sitting by himself at playtime and having to tell a teacher on duty that he doesn't know why he is sitting there.
This is such a small thing, but it's a major upset for my boy.
He's going to have to face much bigger things, and that worries me, too.

After my boy finally settled and fell asleep last night, I sat down to watch one of my favourite shows, Parenthood.
I could see so much of Max in my boy.
Not as severe, but similar in so many ways.
When Adam asked Max if he knew what empathy was, I cried.
I've recently had the same discussion with my boy.
I cried and cried and cried.

So this morning, I'm off to school to 'see' the teacher.
Something I hate having to do.
But I need to stand up for my boy.
Wish me luck, I'm scared.


  1. Forgive me if I missed it, but did you follow up with an assessment for him?

    I watched Parenthood last night too. And found it so very different to our journey.

    Am actually blogging about it today.

  2. When it comes to our child(ren) you will be right you will find the right words & the voice to speak to his teacher.

    (((( Hugs )))) XXXX Kisses XXXX

  3. Oh dear...I'm reading this at work and almost crying as I am the same. My girl has various 'issues' and doesn't know how to explain them to me, and is scared of the teacher. She is very sensitive and I just really don't know how to deal with it. Her usual teacher is on leave and she seems to be responding well to the relief teacher. I will keep a check on her once the usual teacher returns and do the 'talk' then. I must watch Parenthood again. Thanks for this post!

  4. Oh darling, hugs. I know what you're going through. We've had some very similar issues. And I constantly have to re-issue notes and reminders because they might do it one day and not the next.
    I also watched Parenthood with mixed feelings. C. doesn't go quite as over the top as Max did, but it's almost there. If routines change, for whatever reason; if you use the wrong pen by mistake; it's all very upsetting for him and other people don't get it. He is learning empathy though and is probably over empathetic at the moment. He will cry his heart out over things on the news or shows like Bondi Vet.
    It's hard.
    Just want to let you know I understand. Just take a deep breath, go in there, and do it.
    If you don't, no one else will.
    And remind yourself you are doing an ace job.
    Hugs. xo

  5. Huge hugs for you!

    I'm lucky, mostly, in that I have no trouble talking to people in that way. We were also lucky that when DS had toilet issues in Kindy that he had an incredible teacher and Principal who were as keen as we were to solve the problem. Makes things so much easier when you're all on the same page.

    Hopefully it went well for you this morning, and you can all help your gorgeous boy in whatever way he needs. xx

  6. It breaks your heart, doesn't it, Thea?

    There's nothing worse than your kids being upset. My 9yo was very upset and stressed after a terrible day at school yday...I hate it...


  7. Ohh, I hope it went well! I'm sure you managed to find the right way to bring up the situation with his teacher - all mums seem to have a way with the words :)


  8. Oh I hear you on the toileting thing. We have the same thing happening with Punk Chic at the moment in Prep. Spoke with the teacher at the beginning of the year and while she has been great I think there is a little bit of that "Why do you need go to the toilet when you only went five minutes ago?" kind of thing going on. I did explain to the teacher the other day that I think she is second guessing herself at times and this is why sometimes it will be only five minutes between stops. AND I try to remind her that she is the youngest at the school. She isn't even five yet. I always feel a bit unnerved having to approach the teacher about it but always do it anyway with the hope that I'm just being a bit self conscious and really the teacher is fine with me approaching her about it.

    Good luck. I hope it all went well today. :D

  9. I so hope all went ok this morning for you Thea! My Mr6 also has toileting issues at school, mainly due to a horrible Prep teacher last year who wouldn't let him go, so he would have accidents all the time, but not tell anyone (black shorts, you didn't notice unless you felt them or smelled it). A couple of months ago his teacher called me in one afternoon as she was worried about him. He was going 7-8 times a day during class times! Why? Well, like your little one, its like trying to get blood out of a stone, but after asking the right questions I found out its cause he is so scared he is going to have an accident, he was overcompensating and going all the time (grey shorts this year, you can tell if they are wet!). I too had to have a talk with the teacher, and pretend to be a grown up for a bit and it is hard. Especially about sensitive subjects like these. Luckily we have a gorgeous teacher who is only too happy to help so it made it a bit easier.

    Anyway, thinking of you and I hope that you and the teacher can work on a plan of action for him and the toilet.

  10. Hi Thea
    Hope everything went ok with the teacher today !! Im sure you relayed what had to be said and fingers crossed the teacher understood and a positive outcome came out of it all. sorry to say as they get older, these "confrontations" become a bit more scarier. Thank goodness for email; the highschool teachers fave way to communicate. I find it easier to write about something, especially if is something i am passionate about (less bull in a china shop more refined and intelligent) well thats what I hope !
    Daniele x

  11. Oh Thea, this post breaks my heart. I totally get where you're coming from. It is bloody hard being the adult and can make you feel very vulnerable when it's something that is upsetting one of your babies. Your poor little man, he is still just a little boy, surely the teachers can offer some leeway in this situation... afterall it's a fairly common issue.
    I do hope the talk went ok, chances are it won't have been anywhere near as bad as you prepared for xoxo

  12. Thank you all so much for your comments! This is one reason I LOVE blogging so get the mummy support group online, it means so much to me.

    Madmother - No, we decided not to...yet. The school hasn't suggested we should and while it's frustrating for us sometimes, it's not so bad that we feel we need help...again...yet. We haven't ruled it out though.

  13. I'm not quite there yet but I do kind of get it in a 'I'll be doing this soon enough' kinda way.

    Whenever I've had to put my foot down so far (my daughter is only 9 months old) I've just reassured myself that it's my job to advocate for my child because she doesn't have the capacity to do it yet. These reminders make it a little bit easier when I remove bubs from another relatives arms because she needs to eat or sleep and her needs NEED to come first. Cuddles with the grandparents are not needs but wants!

    For me the most important thing is that my kids know they are loved and they can trust their mumma, and clearly your son can trust you. When you're nervous about being an adult, remember that you've got a little boy that loves and trusts you and has total faith that you can fix his problem, and then I'm sure you'll find a way to do just that.

  14. Your poor little man. So hard for them to comprehend what really is an odd toileting rule, they are still little, not that long out of kindy. Am hoping that his teacher looks at this in it's individual case & is flexible.
    Good luck....
    Lisa xx

  15. hope it went well today … picked up MisterThen7 in agony one day because he has sensitivities about toileting, teacher had forbidden kids to go more than once during classtime, but boys were playing in the toilets at recess, kicking in doors and throwing sticks over the stalls so he couldn't face going then.

    already had various issues with his teacher but had to deal with this one … i thought i would kill her before the year was out, but funnily, we get on really well now.

    good luck, stay pleasant and ALWAYS 'on topic', you'll be fine! xt

  16. I cant believe it has taken me so long to find your blog, and then I do and you have me crying with the first post I read!
    I have a 6 year old boy who doesnt like to tell me things either, and he is quite an emotional soul - so it can be tricky to find out what is really going on.
    Hope all went well with the teacher and that your little man is all happy again!


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