My son has defecated on his carpet more times than I can remember at this point. Recently, he began to add urination to his destruction process. During the snow days, I spent many hours cleaning the carpet and the walls. Between the human waste and the ripped up pull-ups, while I scrubbed the carpeting, I noticed that the fabric on the floor got disgusting. Beads from inside the pull-up still embedded in the carpet even after I vacuumed came flying up at me while I scrubbed the floor. I realized we’d never get the carpet clean – truly clean. Never again. We could pay a professional to clean it, but how often would we incur that cost? Meanwhile, I inhaled chemicals from the cleaning supplies used to get all of the bacteria out of his room. How many chemicals exist in his carpet now?
I vowed to call someone on Monday and see if anyone had an answer on how to deal with this situation. Could we get some help? Honestly, I know no one will help us with him. No one will come late at night and observe that behavior and tell us how to handle it. I wanted to know if some program out there existed that we could use to get that disgusting carpet out of his room. Hell. I don’t want new carpet. I don’t want carpet in his room ever again. If we could put some solid mats down, like a gymnasium, that would be cool, even safer for him. Honestly, I wanted to ask if we could something like that installed on his walls to prevent holes in the walls and for his safety, but I didn’t get that far.
I decided to call our Easter Seals rep first. I fumbled with my wording on the phone. I suck at asking for help, honestly. When it comes to asking for anything financial, I really struggle, because I just don’t ask people for things like that. Honestly, though, we cannot afford to do anything about this situation. We still have two holes in the wall that we cannot repair. He’s picked away the drywall, so it’s not a simple spackle job anymore. Now we’ll have to go through a whole process with it of getting spare drywall and patching it up. But I digress…I told her I needed to ask her a question and I fumbled through asking her if she knew of a way to deal with the situation with the floor.
The response I got was that she acted as if I asked a ludicrous question. And I honestly didn’t intend it to sound like I was asking her specifically. I wanted to know if she knew of anyone out there that could help us. But the way she talked to me, I didn’t feel like even reaching farther out. She then scolded me for not appealing the rejection letter we got for the Intensive In-Home Services a few months ago, stating that this very thing was why she told me to appeal it. I asked her if these people would come to my house during the night to observe this behavior so that they could then come up with suggestions to help prevent it, because it occurred during the night, not during the early evening, as they had suggested that’s when they could come to my house. She got curt with me and told me she would speak to the person there that helped with the program and see if that person could come up with some suggestions with me about handling the behavior, but that’s all she could do.
A few minutes later, she called me back, and gave me the suggestions. All of the suggestions given were things we had already tried. She told me to make sure we had a bedtime ritual that was consistent every night (check). Make sure that he goes to the bathroom before he goes to bed (check). Maybe he’s constipated. When’s the last time he’s been to the doctor? Oh, I don’t know? Let me got through all of our medical bills. Did I mention that his pediatrician also has no idea how to stop this behavior? He’s not constipated. Maybe he’s doing this because he doesn’t want to wear a pull-up. You know, kids like him sometimes have trouble communicating things like that. Already asked him. He likes his pull-ups and doesn’t want me to take them away.
I didn’t bother telling her that we had done all of these things, that I’m not an idiot, or that as a special education teacher, I know how to manage most behavior issues. My son’s behavior issues are not easily solved. I just gave her a lot of “uh-huhs” and then hung up. Why bother? She had already rendered her judgement of me.
Why is it so damning that I want a more sanitary room for my child? I’ll never figure that one out. I’m sure thousands of parents out there wonder the same thing. For that, I am sorry. For now, we will resort to bleach for the wall, Resolve for the carpet, and the occasional carpet steamer rental until we can phase out the behavior. Eventually, when we can afford it, we’ll purchase an alternative flooring. It won’t happen any time soon. We thought about linoleum, and then realized that, as a picker, he quite possibly would peal up the floor then. I certainly won’t ask anyone else for help.
It’s just frustrating that people who have no idea what we’re going through judge us. I could hear the judgment in her voice that day and the self-satisfied smugness coming out in her sound words of advice that she just knew would solve our problems if only we’d follow them. Of course, I know in her mind, she felt we wouldn’t. After all, parents never listen. We’re all the same, you know. It wasn’t until I got off the phone with her that I wished I had told her off. I wished I would’ve told her, “Here. Take these boots. Walk in them.” She has no idea. None. We do the best we can with what we have. I try to be resourceful in getting our needs met when that’s not enough. Shame she cannot understand what it must feel like to have to do that.
Have you ever had someone treat you like you’re 1 inch tall before? How did you handle it?