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To think its a bit mean calling a 3 year old 'dirty'

(23 Posts)
WahIzzit Thu 26-Sep-13 23:29:13

Dc (nearly 4) is in nursery, and fully toilet trained. Have not experienced any accidents in months but unfortunately today did a rather runny poo in nursery, most of it in her underwear. She was very upset about this when we got home, and seemed generally a little unwell so had a good cry while being cuddled in my lap. She then told me with a quivering lip that some poo went on the floor and a teacher had to clean it. I reassured her its ok accidents happen, and she said 'but mummy, the lady said am dirty!' I told her she isn't dirty and the teacher did not mean it, its not nice cleaning poo and she meant poo is dirty.
Anyway she was ok after a short while but I felt a little annoyed as that label of being dirty had made her feel so sad. (I know dc can make things up, but I know when she is fibbing or making up stories, and I have every reason to believe her as she likes to tell me all the nitty gritty details of everything and its usually always accurate).

Dc is at the stage of still getting used to nursery but as she is extremely shy and more or less mute while there so it is quite tough and emotionally draining for her. She told me she did not eat her yogurt in packed lunch other day as she couldn't open it and I wasn't there to open it, but didn't want to speak and ask the staff for help. So we have a lot of obstacles for the poor lamb to overcome yet! However I dont want the toilet becoming an issue too. Hopefully this was a one-off but calling her dirty is not great for the little confidence she has and I cant help feeling slightly annoyed. I know I may be being a little OTT but it breaks my heart to think she will have been so upset (she wails if her sleeves get wet while washing hands, she's THAT sort of child) and must have felt mortified at soiling her clothes. I won't be making an issue of it, but Aibu to think nursery staff should watch what they say, no matter what minging toilet mess the kids make?

BlackeyedSusan Thu 26-Sep-13 23:57:54

wwwell, i would see herr as dirty, as in needing to be cleaned up. perhaps you are both reading more into it than intended.

DoJo Fri 27-Sep-13 00:08:22

I agree - could she not have said something like 'let's get you out of those dirty pants' or similar? I understand that your daughter was upset, but I think it might just be one of those things and you will just have to reassure her that it's not a big deal. I'm sure the staff member wouldn't want to think of your daughter being sad about it, but it's not easy to find a 'gentle' way to say everything, especially not when you're trying to contain a runny poo leak!

CoffeeTea103 Fri 27-Sep-13 00:12:38

I think she might have said the word dirty but your dd might have interpreted it wrong. In that situation it wasn't pleasant to be cleaning up so also bear that in mind.

AgentZigzag Fri 27-Sep-13 00:17:41

Did she just mean it as in 'ooh, y'mucky pup' kind of way?

Or 'It's OK, I'm just cleaning this bit up, it's a bit dirty'.

I've got a nearly 4 YO too, and although she can talk the hind legs off a donkey, she doesn't have the skills to accurately get across everything that's happened (although she remembers every detail of things you would rather she'd forget grin)

If there are no other reasons for not being keen on it, I would give the nursery the benefit of the doubt.

WahIzzit Fri 27-Sep-13 00:20:17

You are right, I probably am reading too much into it. Not my idea of fun either cleaning up a runny poo! But at the risk of drip feeding, we are Asian and the staff member who cleaned dc is too. She used the native word for 'dirty' which can also be interpreted as 'dirty person' which I think caused me to think she may have said to dc in an annoyed way.

Oh well. I wasnt there so no use speculating and annoying myself more.

jacks365 Fri 27-Sep-13 00:23:11

"Oh you're dirty lets clean you up"

"You're dirty for pooing in your knickers"

Both use the word dirty but one is helpful the other is mean. I often tell my dd that she's dirty and needs a wash but that just means she's covered in mud and is in no way an insult

AgentZigzag Fri 27-Sep-13 00:25:45

Does it say something that you've presumed they meant that definition over a caring one?

I can't imagine any of the lovely staff at DD's nursery ever saying anything negative to her in that way.

If they did I'd be pretty nonplussed/vocal about it.

You're right to monitor what your DD says about what happens there, but it can be dodgy ground unless it's something concrete.

AgentZigzag Fri 27-Sep-13 00:27:58

"Oh you're dirty lets clean you up"

That's such a good example, they do take some things literally unless you explain the context behind it.

Like when I told DD to put her hand up when she was coughing, and she put her hand up like she was in class with a confused look grin

WahIzzit Fri 27-Sep-13 00:31:34

When I asked what exactly was said, dc told me 'she just said dirty nothing else' which made me think she meant it as 'dirty person' as opposed to using dirty caringly in a sentence.

ThisIsMummyPig Fri 27-Sep-13 00:32:15

I don't have a problem with her using the word 'dirty' in English. We all tell our kids not to touch poo etc because it's dirty.

I have a bit of a problem with her using a different language though. I am assuming she is in a school nursery. I think she is leaving herself open to accusations if she is saying things which can be misinterpreted.

Hope your daughter feels happier soon

AgentZigzag Fri 27-Sep-13 00:33:58

Are there any other things you've seen that you're not happy with?

Does your DD go in happily?

What about the other children? How do they seem?

mathanxiety Fri 27-Sep-13 00:43:46

I have sympathy for your DD here. I don't think dirty is the word the teacher should have used. It has pejorative associations and should not be used when dealing with small children who are close to potty training/inexperienced with the toilet, and at an age and in an environment where tummy bugs often strike. It can have ramifications for toilet use and can make a child feel unworthy/unclean. The teacher should have used the term 'accident' and should not have cast aspersions in any way on the child, or spoken about what had happened to the floor in a way that made the child ashamed.

It sounds like a teacher got a bit frustrated and used the term in the pejorative tone, not the playful one. Just because a child is three-going-on-four doesn't mean she can't tell the difference.

I would want to know if she is generally happy in the school apart from this incident, and what is the ration of staff to children.

mathanxiety Fri 27-Sep-13 00:44:31

ratio not ration.


WahIzzit Fri 27-Sep-13 00:49:02

I am happy with the nursery overall, no issues at all. Dc would go in at weekends too if she could Its not part of a school btw. Its very big and has a large number of children and staff, though I am not familiar with all of the staff yet. The children have their allocated groups and rooms but are free to mix and all play together. They all seem happy and as most are there full time, the poor mites do get very tired.

Dc is mute with teachers and in their presence, but has many friends and does chat to them when she thinks no adults are around grin
The staff in dc's group including his keyworker are all English, and it isn't a problem as dc is fluent in English much more than his native language. There are a few kids who speak very little English, so perhaps due to dc's mutism this staff member assumed dc is one of them.

DontPanicMrMannering Fri 27-Sep-13 00:51:39

Bad phonetic spelling here bit did she say "douza"?

If so then YANBU very out of order!

WahIzzit Fri 27-Sep-13 00:54:42

I will have to get dc to point out which staff member helped her in the toilet yesterday, as I'm not 100% sure. There are a number of students I've seen but surely they wouldn't be allowed to tend to children in the toilets?

WahIzzit Fri 27-Sep-13 00:57:29

No dont panic it wasn't that. I think I have given too much info already so wont say what it was.

DontPanicMrMannering Fri 27-Sep-13 00:58:32

Ok well <<phew>> because thats the only 1 I know and I know that DH and his brothers don't mean it in the nicest way when they chuck it at each other hmm

AgentZigzag Fri 27-Sep-13 01:12:38

It took my DD a little while to get used to it and she still hides a bit behind me when we get there, but she'd stop over weekends/nights too if she could grin

All the noise (which leaves DD talking full volume at home because she's used to having to shout to be heard!) and colour, different aged children, new people, new toys, it's bound to be a sensory overload for her.

If she's happy, that's got to be a good sign.

She'll come out of her shell once it's normal life for her.

finncotta Fri 27-Sep-13 02:01:54

Aww she sounds like a sensitive little soul. I think what was said to her wasn't ideal but unfortunately these things do happen and she will have to get used to it. We're a loud and jokey family and my dcs shrug things off easily so I do have to remind myself to be more "careful" with how I talk to dcs who aren't like mine. That's probably just what happened with your dd.

mathanxiety Fri 27-Sep-13 04:28:34

The teacher shouldn't be muttering in negative tones even if she thinks the child she's muttering about doesn't understand. Some other child will understand, and it will spread.

mathanxiety Fri 27-Sep-13 04:29:23

You should ask about toilet policy if you are not aware of how these things are handled.

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