my summer is going great.
today I was in charge of the 13 preschoolers in my classroom while our lead teacher took her lunch break. I had just finished making some kid apologize for something when little Joy came up and said she needed new underwear because she had just peed. awww poor sweetheart, I thought. then I looked down and realized she was still peeing.
that’s when my mind drew a sort of blank apathy, which concerns me because I’ve always hoped that my stress response would be more of a take-charge-and-fix-the-emergency kind of thing instead of a deer-in-the-headlight thing. but whatever.
at least I had enough sense to shout “DON’T MOVE!” when Joy started moving toward the bathroom. then, in what I can only describe as the strangest five seconds of my life, the two of us stared at each other while Joy continued to pee.
when it seemed over Joy followed me to the bathroom, leaving behind a trail of pee-footsteps. I said something sweet about how everyone has accidents now and then or whatever, and then I pulled off her dress and looked for her spare undies bag, which I couldn’t find. “it’s gonna be ok!” I said, “i’m going to get you some new underwear; wait right here.” I pointed to the ground and said stay like she was going to leave or something, then I left her standing naked and ran out into the chaos of our classroom, where 12 other four-year-olds had hardly noticed the path of puddles across the floor and were jumping around and screaming at each other like everything was perfectly normal.
I squealed in my most ominous voice, “I NEED EVERYONE TO GET ON THE RUG RIGHT NOW,” to little avail. some kids walked through the pee to get onto the rug; some ignored me. “ALL THE TOYS ON THIS RUG NEED TO BE PUT AWAY…HEY!…WE ARE PUTTING AWAY THE TOYS…IT IS CLEAN UP TIME…WHO IS CLEANING UP?!” I had no authority. they could smell my fear.
I kept shouting and pointing while I grabbed a stack of flimsy paper towels and laid them over the pee trail. even if I wipe this up, I thought, this place is still going to smell like pee. not a spectacular thought but insightful for me at the time. I was also going to need a hundred more of these thin paper towels to soak up all of the puddles. there was so. much. pee!
a kid started crying because so-and-so had punched him in the stomach, so I had to deal with that, which meant dragging so-and-so’s butt into a corner and doing more ominous voice talk to make him say sorry. “ONTO THE RUG!” I shouted again. between these angry rascals hurting each other, the pee-puddle hazard that stretched across our room, and the naked and afraid kid in the bathroom, I had no idea what to do first. I was going crazy! “WHOEVER CLEANS UP THE MOST TOYS…WILL BE MY NEW BEST FRIEND.” I proclaimed. that actually worked well enough.
I ran to the phone and dialed the office. “Hi someone just peed in the floor and there’s so much of it and it’s all over the place and Miss Ashley’s not here because she’s on her lunch break and—”
“Who is this?”
“It was Joy! Joy peed. Oh wait, this is Meg, sorry.” I asked the office to bring me some size six panties and said thank you so much and hung up. I went to pull some more paper towels out of the dispenser for the pee trail. when I turned around, our teacher was standing at the doorway with wide eyes and some size six panties. I did a sheepish cutsy smile thing.
“Hi, te-he-he. Joy peed a lot and just kept peeing. Does this place have a mop?”