Thursday, 28 February 2013

Shame-busting

So by now you've probably read that Mini wets himself...often. He does it at night (usually before something different at school, or when we have something exciting or different planned for the weekend), and from January up until half term he was also wetting nearly every day at school too.

We know his wetting is anxiety based. We know when he's feeling secure at school as we get drier beds more often than wet ones, and dry days too (this week, he's had no daytime accidents - big well done Mini!), and only 1 night time accident.

For me, wetting is one of the hardest things I deal with. It sounds pretty minor in the grand scheme of things....the violence, shouting, hurting, threatening, the destruction. But, my house is so often full of stinky sheets, pjs and clothes that need washing, damp sheets, pjs and clothes that are drying and a stinky mattress drying out, plus a stinky, yet stubborn child who refuses to shower or get cleaned up. My house pretty much smells of pee all the time. It gets me down. It doesn't seem to get Mini down. Sometimes he doesn't notice that he's wet himself. Sometimes he denies it. Sometimes he's ashamed and tries to cover it up. But mostly he just seems to accept that it's how things are.

But enough about me.

Mini came home from school quite regularly at the start of term in wet trousers. School hadn't noticed. Mini hadn't noticed, and if he had, he hadn't told anyone. He started to get rashes...nappy style from sitting in wet things, despite always having a spare set of clothes at school.
Now to be clear, Mini really really does not notice sometimes. The look on his face when it's gently pointed out that he needs to change is one of surprise and amazement.
But I was getting worried that sometimes he did know, and was just too ashamed to ask to go to the toilet or ask to change. I had to talk to school about it, to save Mini's skin from getting sore if nothing else!

I must say, school have been brilliant with this one.
Using various resources, they found some poems about going to the toilet, and I now have a copy of one of them at home. Mini and one of the teaching assistants look at it together sometimes, and it's to reassure him that as long as he asks, he can go whenever he wants/needs to. When I looked at it with Mini at home one day he confided that often he doesn't go because the other children are only allowed to go at break and lunchtime. Not only was it fantastic that he opened up to me, but it meant I could reiterate the poem and reassure him that he could go whenever he needed to as long as he checked with a teacher first.
They've also invented a special fake job for Mini, a 'shame-buster'. This is so Mini feels able to go and change when he is wet, without it being obvious to everyone where he's going. So if Mini asks or is told to do his 'blue star job', he wears a sticky blue star and takes himself off to the accessible toilet where he can change without any of his friends/classmates knowing - they all think he's off doing something to help the teacher.
Inventive of them really. It does feel a bit gimmicky, but for now it seems to be working, and even on the wetter days, his skin has been rash-free, so he's definitely been changing quicker.

We've still got a long way to go, but now one aspect is being addressed, we can look at other areas of his emotional well-being and school-life. At the moment, thankfully academically he's doing well...above average in every area except for his handwriting and letter formation, and we're working on that at home, and it was built into his IEP too. The first review for the IEP is next week so we'll see how that goes. Watch this space!

14 comments:

  1. Wetting seems to be a really difficult one to shift so I can well understand how it gets you down. It sounds as though Mini's school are dealing with the whole issues really sensitively.
    Hoping you get some drier spells soon x

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    1. Thanks Sally. We get those dry spells every now and then, but something always comes along to ruin it again. At least school are onside with it, and it's one thing that they actually see so sympathise with. x

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  2. Fab strategy - great to have the school's support & well done to Mini for being brave enough to chat about it. He'll get so much confidence seeing how something that's been difficult for him has been made easier by talking to you and that school are helping find solutions. x

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  3. What an amazing and sensitive idea from the school. It makes such a difference to have them on board. A huge well done to Mini for opening up to you about it. Katie has only recently stopped wetting herself although she regressed for a week or so recently. She doesn't appear to notice (or doesn't say anything either). I hope that you can get to a point where your house doesn't smell of wee all the time. We had a cat who was blind and used to pee everywhere and I know firsthand how embarrassing it gets when you have visitors and feel you have to apologise for the smell.

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    1. Yes. I do wish they were on board in other areas too, but little steps!

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  4. I love the blue star job, that is a great idea from the school, even better that it is actually working as well. I feel your pain about the wetting it got me down for a long time and trying to understand that the child really isn't aware is a bit mind blowing but is so often the case. wishing you a less smelly house soon. xx

    Thanks for linking up with the Weekly Adoption Shout Out

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    1. Thanks Sarah. Am pleased school thought of this with little direction from me..so does show a good understanding.
      I think trying to explain to others that he isn't aware is harder than accepting it yourself. For now, we'll stick to the scented candles! xx

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  5. What a great idea with the 'blue star job'! Also sounds like the school is receptive and open to strategies which is always so great to hear about. I can imagine the bed wetting would get anybody down. Jonathan still wears a pull up at night because he often wets himself...I can only imagine where we would be without those little miracles! I wish I had some wise words of wisdom to share....maybe try a Scentsy like product...not sure if they ship to your area but they do fill the air quite a bit:) http://www.perfectscentscanada.ca/scentsy-canada/

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    1. Thanks Lindsay, we have something similar, and of course electric plug-in air fresheners too, but once it gets up my nose, the smell lingers no matter what!
      School surprise me, sometimes they are less than helpful (you'll read about that soon I'm sure), but sometimes they come up with these little gems of ideas.

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  6. I love the blue star job sticker system - schools should be on board with lots of strategies to help - so good to hear they are as school is a long day and week without effective systems and strategies in place. my little one can seem oblivious to wet pants and seem not bothered at times - and seem amazed that is has happened.

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    1. I think at the time of wetting Mini is anxious and thinking about whatever is making him anxious, there's probably fight/flight issues and thoughts, and the wetting action and feeling probably just comes waaaay down the line after all the other things in his head.
      But I'm pleased we're finding something that although doesn't stop the accidents, helps reduce potential shame afterwards :-)

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  7. That blue star idea is fantastic, I hope it continues to help. Another great post, and fabulous source of information for my own future I am sure. Keep it up.

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    1. Thank you. I'm so pleased we've got a good strategy...anything to reduce shame or the possibility of it can only be good :-)

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