Thursday, September 13, 2007

Rough Night

My son had a great day at school. Or so I thought when I picked him up. He was wearing different shorts and there was a plastic bag filled with what I assumed were his wet underwear and shorts that he was wearing when I dropped him off this morning.

"Did you have an accident?" I asked, assuming that he had pooped in his pants since this was something we'd been working on. He told me that he had peed and I didn't make a big deal of it but added, "You didn't make it to the bathroom in time?" He shook his head, "No," and then grabbed my hand to leave. He was the last child there for the day so he was ready to go home. So was his teacher.

I didn't notice the bandage on his knee until I was getting him buckled into his car seat. I noticed his right knee and mentioned it to him. That's when he showed me his left elbow and the bandage there. I asked him what happened. He said he fell. I didn't ask any details but made a mental note about the fact that his teachers didn't mention anything to me about him falling.
Little Bruiser Toddler T-Shirt
He didn't have much to say on the way home. I kept trying to ask him questions about his day, and trying to keep him from falling asleep.

Everything was fine until it was time to hop in the bath. I took of his bandages and noticed that his elbow was pretty raw. He looked at it as soon as the band-aid came off and immediately started crying. I cleaned him up as quickly as I could and tried to comfort him at the same time.

When I realized that there was nothing I could say to help him to calm down, I asked him if there was anything I could do to help him feel better. He said, through his tears, "Yes, you can not send me to school in underwear anymore." I was completely confused but figured that he was upset about the fact that he had an accident and was tired and was thinking about school and his day and all of his emotions were unraveling at once.

"You don't want me to send you to school in underwear?" I asked, hoping he could somehow make sense of it for me. He went on to explain that he was outside playing when he realized that he had to go to the bathroom. He ran to try to make it in time, but ended up tripping and falling. He was still crying pretty hard while he was telling me this but he told me that he fell, didn't cry, but then didn't end up making it to the bathroom in time.

I'm hoping that after a good night's sleep he'll be ready to put on his clothes for school and march in there ready for a brand new day. He's pretty brave and the fact that he didn't cry when he fell made it that more heartbreaking to see him have a meltdown over the situation when he was given the opportunity to talk about it.

He's a sensitive little man and I'm proud of him for being able to express himself with me. I tell him every day that he can come to me and talk to me about anything and everything.

It wasn't until he had fallen asleep for the night when I thought back to the time when his friend had an accident in school and when his father came to pick him up at the end of the day, had taken him aside and reprimanded him for not being able to do his business on the toilet.

I can't imagine what would happen to the bond between my son and I if instead of letting him take his time and explain the situation when he was ready, I had punished him or made him feel bad about having peed in his pants.

It's so easy to make the wrong decision or react in a way that might not be the way we would do things under different circumstances, but it's great to see that my patience and allowing him to be responsible for his emotions has helped him to work through his thoughts and gather the strength to share exactly how he feels. Not every little boy (or girl, for that matter) will hold on to this ability but I'm working on teaching my son how wonderful it is to be free to cry, laugh and remain silent when the words just aren't there to be said.

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