Monday, 7 September 2009

A Touchy "T"issue

Photo is copyright of Maggie May.

If you are about to have a meal or have just had one, then I suggest you come back later. If you haven't had close contact with children, then you mightn't like this post.
However, I feel this subject has to be written about.......... the very awkward subject of wiping children's bottoms.

When I worked in a Special School, this was just automatically done, alongside nappy changing and nobody thought anything about it. The children were very little and dependent and the job just had to be done. There was always somebody about, near the changing tables. Of course, that was ten years ago and things might well have changed since I left that job.

Its perfectly normal to help small grandchildren when they call out for assistance. Their little arms are just not long enough to reach their bottoms and even the nearly seven year old still calls out for assistance, usually while we are eating. Why do children always want to go right in the middle of a meal?

My son, Sam, moans to the girls, "How long do you think I am going to carry on doing this for?"
Amber replied, "Until I go away and get married."
That would make the perfect thing to say in a speech at her wedding (if there are still such things in operation, by then.)

No, I really meant that things can get tricky when you are not around and the children are at school.
Playworkers and school staff are not allowed to wipe bottoms, let alone go into the toilets, unless there is some really terrible mishap, in which case the parents are sent for.
So it is with with some apprehension that we will be sending Millie for full days in a Reception Class very soon, with no one to help her with wiping if she needs it.

As I work in an After School Club (as well as the school), I have found out from experience that some small children often smell and I don't mean because they are needy and neglected children. The vast majority come from really good homes. They smell the unmistakable stale smell of dirty bottoms that have not been wiped properly and now they have to wait a further two hours or more before they are collected and put in a probably, longed for bath or shower.
This is all because the staff are too afraid to help children with toileting, (in case their intentions are misinterpreted), and also because the Learning Support Assistants at school have busy schedules that do not allow for them to leave the children they are helping while they go to the toilets. There simply wouldn't be time, even if they were allowed to do it.

My other older grandchildren say they never do a poo in school (even though they have been wiping their own bottoms for years.) So it seems that children learn from an early age to save it for home time and that is why during meal times, there seems to be a tremendous urgency. They have held in all day.

I'd be interested to hear what other parents and grand parents (or anyone else) has to say about the children whose arms are simply not long enough to wipe a bottom successfully!





28 comments:

Jeni said...

You know, it's funny now that you mention this but I don't remember how, exactly, I learned to take care of this function when I was a child, but I do know that by the time I started school at age almost 6, it was not something that was problematic for me. With Maya now -who will be 6 in October -she is finally seeming to get the hang of doing #2 in the potty. The wipe-up after though -not good at all! She has in the past "held it in" which we think is part of her problems in this aspect to this day and that it has taken her so long then to get the "hang" of things ya know. She's really intent now on insisting to us that Kurtis has to be potty trained and do it NOW please. She takes him back to the bathroom and removes his diaper, then sits him on the commode (on a mini-seat) and issues commands to him like "You better do this or that, Little Man!" Too comical and thankfully, he is much easier to deal with in that respect -sitting on the potty -than she was at that age! (In school now, she has a TSS or Wrap-Around aide -who goes with her to the bathroom and helps her out there.)

Valleys Mam said...

is this part of the PC manifesto again Maggie.
I thought back to when my girls may have needed this,of course the nursery staff would have helped. How ever mine were perfectly able to wipe their own botts.
I do think that the cult of disposables has made children more dependant and mums lazy about toileting. Just to stop having bucketfuls of nappies soaking made me very "spit spot" about getting mine fully toilet trained sooner rather than later.

Suburbia said...

Although mine seemed to have had long enough arms in time for reception stage, my eldest would not 'go' at school then or now. She always complains that the toilets are dirty (no excuse for this in my opinion) and she 'holds on'. Sometimes, when I collect her from the bus stop she is truly desperate. I have explained that this is bad for you but at nearly 13 she still won't use the school toilets.

My issue is how dirty she says they are, apparently the year 7 (senior school) toilets had packed lunches stuffed down them which inevitably blocks the whole system. Ewww. And then there is the issue of privacy and people looking over the top at you.

I work in a junior school,rather than infants, so only one or two children with special needs need that sort of care. We have only had one particularly messy incident, which the SENCo and one LSA managed between them, there was just no other option, if you know what I mean!!!!

Thanks for bringing it up though. It is definitely and issue all round!

Strange your insets are this week?

Casdok said...

I am still wiping C's bottom (and the walls and the floor!!) as are C's staff. They have to have 2 staff present as 1 on thier own is not allowed. I long for the day when C is able himelf to have some dignity.

dottie said...

If I had known how awful Alex was going to be at potty training, he would have been an only child. He would not go at pre-school, and as others have said, quickly learned how to hold It in until home time. However, by then it was a tough call, ouch. Innes learned fast from Alex, and as Wee Murdo was in washable nappies, he learned fast too.
As far as I can tell, they all wait until they get home to Sit Down, although they do pee at school. I would agree that there may be privacy and bullying issues involved when children just do not want to use the toilets at school. And toilets used by lots of people tend to smell rather grim... off putting.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

I think Casdok's suggestion of two being present is a great one. I am heartily sick of how society creates such problems for the many when a few are at fault and therefore everything gets banned. Poor kids. I am grateful I had my breakfast before I read this though!

Sandi McBride said...

OMG I've not laughed that hard in a long while...just thinking about Amber's "til I go away and get married" sets me off again!
Sandi

Rose said...

I give you credit, Maggie May, for broaching a delicate issue. Youngest Daughter always avoided "going" at school and would come home and immediately rush to the bathroom. I suppose that's one way of dealing with it. Older daughter and I had a funny conversation just a few years ago on this subject. She told me that I taught her you must always wipe 3 times. Until she was in her 20's, she assumed this was a rule:) I don't remember even telling her this, but I probably did to make sure she cleaned herself properly.

I guess parents need to make sure they've taught their children how to do this before they start school...and to make sure they have a bath each night!

Expat mum said...

Hmmm, now you've got me thinking. I assume my teenagers are OK (you never know) but the little guy? He seems to be able to wipe properly, and doesn't smell of it. Another problem with improperly wiped botties is that they can get very sore. It's a pity that all schools can't employ the "two adults need to be present" system.

Akelamalu said...

I know exactly what you're talking about Maggie. Our eldest grandson who was about 6 at the time was using the toilet and shouted to me "I've finished". I told him to do the necessary adding "what do you do at school you don't shout the teacher do you?". "Yes" he replied "but she ignores me!".
Then only recently his 4 year old brother asked me to do the honours, which I did, but I asked him what he was going to do when he started school (today). He said "I won't go at school". I'm sure there are many children who do not want to 'wipe' but they all have to do it eventually don't they?

My two boys could do it themselves from an early age but used almost a full toilet roll each time until they left home! Our shopping bill was almost cut by half when they left. LOL

The Things We Carried said...

All I can say is I have wiped many a tiny bottom in my life! Jane alays yells from the bathroom, "I'm done!" and none of us even knew she was going poddy :)! I'm done is her way of telling us she is ready to be wiped!

humor in life every day. Funny post, Maggie!

Brian Miller said...

quite an interesting topic...lol. my boys were a bit dramatic, calling us in only tofind them bent over in full moon position. not something you want to see if you are having chocolate cake for dinner. i think i'd rather not have others wiping them though. too much bad stuff out there...

Hilary said...

What an interesting post! Both of my guys were capable of wiping themselves by the time they were in school full days (grade 1). However they still waited until they got home. My younger son still does when he gets home from work. Go figure.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Great post Maggie - it made me laugh too and not just at Amber's witty reply to her Dad. Have just had a week away with a 5 year old grand-daughter and was called upon to "wipe" one day. Great memories! A x

VioletSky said...

Oh my, the things I have avoided having to think about by not having children...!!!

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Interesting photos for those who have children.As of now i am out of this..Unseen Rajasthan

Working Mum said...

I wait till I get home from school! Ha ha, no, seriously, I did worry about this when my daughter started school (amongst a lot of other stuff!)so I tried very hard to teach her to wipe her own bottom properly before she started school so that it wouldn't be an issue and in the main we succeeded. I don't know how I would have felt if she hadn't been able to do it herself.

Suburbia - I know in my school loos are always an issue and it is always the way the pupils treat them (you would not believe the things they do). However, our sixth form girls had theirs totally refurbished with sensor taps and Dyson driers and they seem to be in good order still (better than the staff ones!). I doubt that lower school ones would stay like that.

rosiescribble said...

This is a really interesting post, Maggie. There does seem to be a problem with this issue in schools. My daugter didn't go at all in school for a whole year which made life really difficult for her and she would often come home in pain. She is fine noe that she has time to get used to it. It seems to be an issue that staff run away from.When I asked for assistance with it I was told that it was not their job.

Wendy said...

This is a rather unique post. Good for you for bringing it up. I agree with the blogger who said that society is getting offtrack by a few offenders. When my granddaughter's pediatrician had to explain why she was checking the little girl's labia, I was surprised. "you're a doctor, you're supposed to check!" After we had left the office, my daughter informed me that nowadays, even doctors have to explain every little thing.

It's too bad there aren't more Aides to help the little ones or the ones with Special Needs. It's just common decency to help small children with clean-up. And as somebody else pointed out, dirty bottoms not only smell, but cause irritation and soreness.
Maybe somebody will invent a toilet that wipes bottoms too! LOL!

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Those poor children that must walk around all day with poo stuck in their bums. We taught Avery with the moist wipes and that seems to take more off than just the toilet paper. It is a subject we can all certainly relate to. When we were potty training Avery she had a video that would have a sing-along, "Everybody's got to poop!" I thought that was a hoot.

Maggie's garden said...

For some reason my grand daughter doesn't like to have her bottom wiped and she's only 7 months old! Betsy over at My Five Men had her son wipe his bottom accidentally with the shower curtain. Yikes...
Thanks for stopping by my blog.
Cheers!

SandyCarlson said...

Well, my daughter insists she has it under control, though I learn otherwise when I do the wash. She gets there. I love your honesty!

MarmiteToasty said...

I have a 'wiping bums policy' :)

x

Crystal Jigsaw said...

How unbelievably ridiculous this world is becoming. I find it totally ludicrous that staff who are looking after small children are unable to assist the child is such a natural activity. And we know why this has happened don't we. Because of all the perverts out there who have spoilt it for the innocent amongst us.

CJ xx

Deb said...

I taught first grade for 10 years so I could write a whole blog about bathroom stuff but my own kids quickly 'learned' to hold it until they got home but...I often wonder how healthy it is for them to do that. My oldest daughter went to a High School which never had toilet paper in the stalls so she carried a roll in her backpack. I hate to think about the kids who didn't come to school prepared! Interesting, honest post!

Life with Kaishon said...

What a great post. I love that you help children Miss Maggie. You are a dear! My grammy used to help children with special needs also. She just loved it so much. Children are precious!

Bina said...

My daughter has insisted on wipping herself since she about early five, late four. But I always had to make sure she did it right! She must hold it at school though, unless she just goes at home, too! LOL

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

This really rings a bell with me Maggie, as it probably does for most grandparents. I happily help with grandson's wiping but can imagine that it's tricky at school. I must ask Grandson what happens at his school.M xx
PS.I really agree with Crystal's comment too!