Tuesday, April 08, 2008

it's sterile, you know

Today, while I took the kids to their first swimming class at the YMCA, Charlie went on a tour of the Montessori school I visited last week.

The kids loved swimming and they did great. Until, William had to use the potty the last five minutes of class and came running out to find me. And, once the cool air hit his skin, he started screaming.

Screaming, I tell you. Screaming.

We rush in to use the potty and since I had been nursing Henry in the Bjorn, he is hanging upside down while I'm trying to help William peel off his wet bathing suit. He's chattering so hard that he can't stand still and standing still is an important thing to do when you are a little boy - using the potty - and you haven't yet perfected your aim.

He finishes up and I'm walking him back to rejoin his class, with my sopping shoes, but class was just dismissed. Carolyn comes running out - doesn't see me - runs past, and when I call to her, she turns around, slips and falls on the floor. Elizabeth, who is less than a step behind, falls on top of her. They are laying on the floor, wet, and crying. William is crying. Everyone is so cold, they are blue.

I get the girls up, wrap them in their towels, usher them in to the locker room and try to get them in to a warm shower. And that's when I realize that it's impossible to give 3-three year olds a shower at the YMCA without getting the front half of yourself completely drenched.

They are all in the shower screaming, "I COLD!! I COLD!!" and just as the water warms up and I get all three situated under the spray, Carolyn starts crying "Mommy, I have to go PEE-PEE!" and so I tell her, as quietly as I can "Just go, Gracie. It'll wash right down the drain."

But she is insistent and hollers, "I NOT GO PEE-PEE IN SHOWER, MOMMY!!"

But I am also insistent, because I'm not going to haul three soaking and chattering kids out of the shower and in to the restroom - with a big bulky stroller behind me - and I'm also not going to leave all of them unsupervised, so I can take one to the toilet.

Something tells me she won't be bathing her children in the kitchen sink.

As discreetly as I can muster, I urge her again, "JUST GO." More of her screaming ensues before she finally lets loose. William starts yelling "Gracie go PEE PEE in shower, Mommy!!" and Elizabeth is sticking her foot in to the stream and yelling "Oh, it's so nice and WARM!!"

I notice that all the people that had been talking in the shower area, are now quiet, and instead of trying to hush the kids, I ask them to sing their alphabet. Or, count to ten. Or, goodness, do anything but talk about pee-pee as it is running under the shower stall and in to the communal drain.

Once I finally get them dressed and am trying to herd them out of the locker room, I avoid eye contact with anyone that is staring at me and undoubtedly heard me coercing my child to urinate in the shower, by feigning extreme interest that with each step I take, water (or maybe pee?) is oozing out of my shoes and my pants and shirt were so wet I could actually wring water out of them.

I just walk in the door at home, when the phone rings with Charlie calling to tell me about his Montessori visit. He said that after less than five minutes, he was ready to burst in to tears and run out of the room.

He felt completely freaked out and thought that all the children he observed were brainwashed or maybe on drugs. Since we had visited several other preschools last week, this experience was not at all what he expected.

He incredulously asked, "What three-year-old sits still like that? What three-year-old raises their hand to talk?! It was amazing, Jen."

But then, he said that after another five minutes in the class, he was convinced that we must do whatever we possibly can to make sure that our children attend Montessori school. So, he lined up their first interview for next Friday.

If they are accepted in to the program, I'll be looking for someone to purchase my left kidney so we can cover the cost of tuition.


  1. We vacationed every Feb at the same place, a small apt complex, in St. Maarten. The owner was considering installing a gray water system but decided against it because most Americans pee in the shower.

    Kathy from NJ

  2. I am a lurker - at home right now by myself. BUT I have just laughed so LONG and HARD, my cat came looking to find out what all the fuss what about!
    I imagine they can hear me down the street!

  3. That's a good one! Hey, check out the Blog - we went to Death Valley last weekend and had breakfast at the Crowbar! Thought of you, as the pool table is STILL there! chuckle chuckle!

  4. You make me laugh every time! Don't worry--I probably would have done the same thing in the shower...only people with a few small kids would understand.

  5. This post cracks me up. We have been in swimming lessons at the YMCA since last September and the showering is always an adventure. My husband taught our kids to pee in the shower too. So funny! I do have to say that the lessons at the Y are the best and such a great deal. Just think 1/2 hour to spend with your sweet baby boy uninterrupted.

    Thanks for the laugh.


  6. You are George Constanza. Charlie may be Kramer washing his lettuce in the shower, but you are George.

    I think what makes me laugh the hardest is the pictures. If you think people are looking at you funny because of your kids...oh, no my friend, it's the fact that you are taking pix of the merriment!

  7. That's absolutely hilarious! :D I don't see anything wrong with peeing in the shower. After all the water is already filled with everyone's dead skin cells, hairs, and various other bodily fluids (YUCK!) so a little uric acid won't make that much difference. No one's going to be reusing that water and if they did, it wouldn't be for any purpose that required clean water.

    Everything in this story rang true to me... made me laugh. Thanks!

  8. Oh my gosh Jen, I was laughing so hard that my 5 year old son caught the giggles and was laughing too. If I were in your shoes I would have done the exact same thing.
    With regards to schooling, I have been visiting Montessori's out here in Northern NJ and have found that they vary greatly in their adherence to the Montessori principles. I just observed a 18-36 month old class where the brochure touted an environment that "Is usually quiet, with a low hum of activity". I thought to myself- yeah sure. Well, I nearly fell off my toddler chair when during a 15 minute observation nobody spoke above a whisper in the classroom. It was the most incredible thing I have ever witnessed. My extremely boisterous 21 month old son would be like the proverbial "Bull in a china shop" in that classroom. The lovely "Buzz" would be more like a "Clang-Screech-Howl" with James as member. Neeedless to say, I will be investigating more "moderate" Montessori's this week. Good luck with your "fundraising", and thanks for the belly laugh!

  9. And you still pulled out the camera.....we so love you. My son was taught he can pee in the shower but no pooping in the tub by his father.!

  10. "What three-year-old sits still like that? What three-year-old raises their hand to talk?!"

    Tell Charlie that SINGLETON children do that. I know. I know. It's berrying bizarre, but that's what they do! Singleton TWO years olds sit in class and wait their turn and don't even try to hoard all the crayons or scissors. I didn't know this until I took Austin by himself this year. They must have hated me last year.

    I cannot believe your kids don't pee in the shower OR the pool. Good grief, Jen. You had me in tears I was laughing so hard.

  11. After several pee / poop in the bath incidents this month (from my 9mo old I should add, not the preschooler!), this post made me almost wet myself laughing! And also made me forward it to my husband, who said he can't take my two kids swimming by himself (hah!)

    Regarding the Montessori thing - yeah, Charlie, it is FREAKY! I have to say that even though I have been working in education on and off since the age of 17, and know all the Montessori methods well, it still freaks me out when I peek into my son's preschool class. The boy who runs around screeching at home (he's a singleton - and doesn't need encouragement from siblings to run riot!), puts his feet on the dining table and says 'no food mummy' at dinner - sits there demurely at Circle Time, walks quietly round the room, pours his own milk and shakes hands with his teacher politely. Whhhaa?? Sure, it's brainwashing - but if I could achieve that at home, OKAY!! I talk to friends who have similar age kids in standard (non-Montessori) preschools, and they are different kids. At least 5% of the week, my son behaves like a civilised human (rather than a preschooler!!), and that's 5% more than his non-Montessori friends. I'll take the yelling at home and all the cheek, just for that 5% of promise.

    Good luck with the interviews and hope the kids get accepted into the program. Are you going to put them all in at the same time or split their attendance over the week?

  12. Thanks for the post and I've just been reading through some of your archives to get caught up on your story!

    Montessori schools are very popular choices around here. I don't know much about them either except they are definitely not *free*. Good luck with hawking your kidney!

    Anyway, nice to meet you and I look forward to reading more about your blog!


  13. ha ha! That's priceless. I know Stacie of the Twinkies is happy with their Montessori...

  14. One of my guys used to climb out of the pool, squat and very obviously pee right next to it. Then he'd climb back in, the pee in his trunks of course...
    And I've once had a very lovely turd-in-shower incident at the same pool, while also showering myself (which in my country is done in the nude). What to do? Pick it up, what with, and put it where? Naked and wet with the poop-smeared child in the shower, squatting. Or force it down the drain? Either way, I had to act quickly, before anyone else showed up. I truly don't remember what I did, must have suppressed that part of the memory...

  15. Hey there... I have been a lurker for a while but had to comment on this post. I was cracking up laughing the whole way through! Very entertaining stuff! I thought life with a 6 month old was hard!

  16. This is hilarious! I just had both my kids at swim lessons over the weekend and got drenched.

    What a fun time!

  17. Remember the Seinfeld episode where George gets cuaght peeing in the shower in the health club and gets kicked out? I would love to see them try to kick you guys out, not because I'd want that of course but because what else could you have done? 3 three year olds in a shower and a baby with you? You had no choice! Plus, as I learned in health class 101, pee is sterile - if you are going to pee in a shower or even a pool, it isn't going to hurt anyone. But still, I felt so bad for you! But it was funny!