[Updated below! A new pee-in-the-house incident to be investigated! Read on!]
Some people think the best thing about my job is that I always have stories about the kids' bodily function problems. Just about every day, someone asks me, "Okay, who peed on themselves today?" We are not a preschool that requires our students to be potty-trained; in fact, we advertise as a school that assists families with potty-training. This makes for some really funny stories... if you don't have to live them.
Every. Single. Day.
On one particularly memorable day, I'm monitoring the playground when Blondie (a little girl of two and a half), suddenly stops and stands in the middle of the tan bark.
"Blondie," I say, "what's u-"
And then she pees. And since she's wearing a dress - as opposed to pants - there is pretty much nothing to hide this fact.
So I bring her over to the concrete where I can change her clothes. She's crying, of course, and I'm trying to calm her down while simultaneously explaining that this is not really an okay way to act in school. "Remember, Blondie, when you have to go pee pee you say, 'Miss Lara, I have to go pee pee' so that I can take you to the potty."
While I'm explaining this, Banana Baby comes over to see what's up. When she sees what happened, she says, "I pee in my pants!"
"BB," I say with a quiver of fear in my voice, "did you pee in your pants?"
"Yeah," she says.
Fortunately, a quick check of her undies shows that this is not true - she just wants to be a part of the conversation. "No, BB," I say with a smile, "you don't pee in your pants. When you have to go potty you tell Miss Lara and we go in the potty like a big girl."
"Yeah," she says, happily trotting away.
BB: Faster than light.Just as I finish with Blondie, BB returns saying, again, "I pee in my pants!"
A glance at her jeans reassures me that she is still just playing along with Blondie's new "game." I tell her that no, she's a big girl, and she goes in the potty, to which she again agrees before running away to join her friends.
As she disappears from view, Puff-Puff walks - no, waddles - up to me and says, "I need a diaper change."
And I sigh and close my eyes, hoping against hope that he picked this "game" up from BB, because?
"Puff-Puff, you're not wearing a diaper."
He looks at me intently for a moment, trying to process this new and confusing information, even though he's been out of diapers for months. Finally he says, "Oh," and pauses for a second before repeating, "I need a diaper change."
A quick peek down his backside reveals a special gift left just for me in his Bob the Builder underpants. I'd be waddling too if I had to carry that load around. Thanks, Puff-Puff.
As Puff-Puff and I head towards the door to get him a change of clothes, BB returns yet again with her triumphant cry: "I pee in my pants!"
"No, BB," I say, "You pee in the potty, like a bi-"
Because there, down both legs of her jeans, are the tell-tale patches of wetness.
I turn to Boss Lady and say, "Well, that was a self-fulfilling prophecy if ever there was one."
And all that? Was just one day.
We got a new student a few weeks ago - Freedo - who is "potty-trained." Yeah. Right. On his second day with us, he was playing with a few other kids in the play house when he pulled down his pants and peed. Right there in the house.
When we told Freedo's dad this at pick-up that day, we were informed that, "Yeah, he does that a lot. He definitely knows when he has to go. He just doesn't like going to the bathroom, so he just pulls down his pants and goes wherever he is." Boss Lady came up with something tactful and moderately intelligent to say. I had to clench my teeth not to shout, "What the HELL does your house smell like?!"
Well, a few days ago, I'm watching a few kids in the sandbox when a few snippets of conversation near the play house catch my attention.
"Well, I didn't do it, so who did?"
"I don't know, but that's gross."
The scene of the crime.When you hear this kind of thing from preschoolers, it doesn't signal anything good. So I walk over to see what's going on and Elfin says, "Miss Lara, who peed in the house?"
Because there, in the middle of the floor, is a big puddle of pee. Standing around it are Elfin, QueenR, Blondie, and BB. All look perplexed. Clearly, it's time to play detective.
I start by asking the group, "Who peed in the house?" This may seem stupid, to ask them a question that one of them just asked me, but you'd be surprised how often little ones ask questions to which they already know the answers. Often, asking the question back will elicit the correct answer.
Unfortunately, that doesn't happen this time, and they all claim not to know. So I do the logical thing, of course. I go look for Freedo.
He's playing in one of the little cars, and I ask him, point blank, "Freedo, did you pee in the house?"
"No," he says.
"Are you sure?" I ask. (Again, it may seem stupid, but you'd be surprised.) "Did you pee in the house?"
"No," he repeats, this time adding, "I'm fine now. I go pee pee in the potty. We don't go pee pee in the house, only in the potty." Great, our brainwashing is working. This leads me nowhere in my investigation, however.
I'm beginning to panic, wondering how the heck to figure out who did it if no one confesses. Then, I see BB walking towards me. Except, she's not quite walking, it's more like... yep.
"BB," I say, "did you pee in the house?"
"Yeah," she says.
Her jeans are only wet in the back, up high on the butt. Piecing this together with the appearance of the puddle, plus the fact that BB was present when Freedo peed in the house the first time, I come up with this scenario:
BB saw Freedo pull down his pants and pee in the house. She thought this was interesting and decided to try it herself. So she pulled down her pants and peed. Unfortunately, not being as adept as the expert himself, she either dragged her pants through the back of the puddle, or accidentally sat in the edge of it, thus soaking a small part of her pants.
Forget CSI, I'm PSI: Pee Stain Investigation.
These are the kinds of stories my friends hear all the time.
Update, 1:57pm, 10/16/07: Guess what Miss Lara found in the house today? Yep, more pee. This time it was a big ol' mess - no nicely formed puddle, so obviously an amateur. Unfortunately, the criminal also knew enough to not only deny the deed when asked (because I asked them all), but knew enough to repeatedly deny it and never show a single physical sign of having peed anywhere other than a toilet. Eventually, we figured out it was Reya, though I admit some nefarious interrogation techniques were involved.
I got down to my top two suspects - QueenR and Dino - pretty quickly. When Boss Lady came out and I told her about what had been going on, she went straight to Freedo. I told her it was fruitless, but she was convinced it had to be him. Eventually, after talking to him for herself, she came around to my way of thinking. Dino was in a diaper, though, and had been for at least an hour; the chances of pee staying in the house unnoticed for an hour or more are pretty slim. My money was on QueenR for the ballsy way she looked me straight in the face while shaking her head and giving me a wide-eyed, "No, Miss Lara," when I asked if it was her.
Eventually, we resorted to just telling her we knew it was her, and she believed us and confessed. Sneaky? Yes. Underhanded? Yes. Unfair? A bit. But it worked, and we aimed our lecture about not peeing in the house at the right audience.
Not that it matters much - at the rate this idea is spreading through the little ones, we should probably be lecturing the others as a preventative measure.