This story is 8 chapters - 32 pages in word
A New School
Finding the Future
“Mrs. Teemore, I need to find a school that can meet the needs of my children. It has been a difficult search, due to their unique needs. I had hoped to find a school before we moved, but the ones I looked at did not have appropriate programs. We have been in the area now for two weeks and I need to get my kids in school. Some friends of mine have told me about your school and suggested I look into it.”
“Here at Learning Time Private School we feel that every child can learn and has the right to be pushed to their greatest potential. We serve grades Preschool through Eighth grade. Our school also includes a variety of additional services to meet the struggling or gifted student. Tell me a little about your children and we will see if Learning Time is a good match.”
“Well, I have two children; Joanne who is eight and in third grade, and Andy just turned eleven. None of the schools I have looked at have had programs that could meet Andy’s needs. He is not toilet trained, speaks only in two to three word phrases, and acts like an early two year old. He isn’t a behavior problem or anything. He is a well behaved little boy, always cheerful, but none of the private schools around appear to have programs to meet his needs.”
“I understand your struggle Mrs. Musee. Here at Learning Time we do have special classes for kids with ‘special needs’ but most private schools in the area do not serve children that low. Our founders felt it was important to provide ALL children access to quality education. The classroom we have for Andy currently has five children in it with two adults. The teacher Mrs. Jones has 20 years as a Special Education Teacher.”
“That is great to hear Mrs. Teemore,” Mrs. Musee said as she started to relax. “Finding a place for Andy has given me many sleepless nights. Having an eleven year old toddler is not easy at times. Joanne’s challenges are different, but just as difficult to deal with and find a placement for. Although she is able to function in a regular third grade classroom, she goes through periods when she struggles with her toileting skills. Most of the time, she is able to function in regular underwear with few accidents. When she is struggling with her toileting skills, I will put her back into Pull-Ups or Diapers depending on the severity of the issues at the time. Most Private schools I have looked at refuse to take a third grader unless they have NO toileting issues.”
“Like I said Mrs. Musee, here at Learning Time we do not hold weaknesses against children and view our job as moving a child from their current skill level to the next. If this involves toilet training, then that is just as important to their education as Reading and Math are. We do not currently have any third graders in the regular third grade classroom with toileting issues as severe as your daughters, but we can accommodate. There is a changing table in Mrs. Jones’ classroom for when she is in diapers and not using the toilet at all. . .”
“No, she doesn’t need to be in Mrs. Jones class with Andy. She functions at a regular eight year old level except for occasional difficulty with toileting,” Mrs. Musee pleaded.
“I understand Mrs. Musee. I am not saying that Joanne should be in Mrs. Jones’ classroom. To address her toileting needs however, we have two places in the building for a child to get changed when they have toileting issues. The office’s health room is used when a child is able to do most or all of the job of cleaning and changing by themselves. If a child needs an adult to change them or clean them up, like when they are wearing diapers instead of Pull-Ups, the changing table in Mrs. Jones’ room is used. That is where we have the staff and facilities to better meet that level of need. She would only need to go to Mrs. Jones’ classroom to get her diapers changed, not to be taught there. If she is able to handle the demands of the regular third grade classrooms then that is where she will be placed,” Mrs. Teemore tried to reassure Mrs. Musee. “If she doesn’t need to be laid down to be cleaned up, and is able to clean most or all of herself up, like when she is in Pull-ups, she can get changed in the Health Room.”
That night Mrs. Musee told her husband all about Learning Time Private School.
“So, they really don’t have a problem with Andy being an eleven year old toddler?” Mr. Musee asked his wife for the third time.
“Honey, Andy isn’t going to be a problem. They don’t even want to test him for entry into their program. They accepted and placed him just on my description of how he acts. They will start him in the ‘Special Needs’ class and treat him at the level he is functioning at. The administrator actually had very few questions about Andy. Joanne was the one we talked about the most. She will be tested with the schools computerized academic test to determine what her strengths and weaknesses are before they place her into a classroom. A lot of the discussion on Joanne however, was about her toileting skills or lack there of.”
“So, are they going to let you send her to school in Pull-Ups?” Mr. Musee inquired.
“Actually, when I told the administrator that Joanne had an accident at the store yesterday, she insisted Joanne wear Pull-Ups for at least the first two weeks. She seemed very adamant that Joanne not wear panties to school till she could prove to them that she could go two weeks keeping her Pull-Ups dry. She said, for sanitary reasons, she would rather be dealing with changing a child’s Pull-Ups or diapers than toileting accidents without protection.”
“Would they really let her be in diapers and in a regular third grade classroom?”
“Definitely, I was getting the impression that they would switch her to diapers if she started having multiple accidents in one day, or multiple poopy accidents in one week.”
“Well,” Mr. Musee said while getting up from the couch. “Sounds like we have a school for our two little ones. Tomorrow go get the money out of the Savings Account for tuition and get them enrolled before the school changes it’s mind.”
A New Reality
“Mom, what do you mean I have to wear Pull-Ups to school on the first day? I am not a baby like Andy is. Why are you treating me like one?”
“You actually have to wear Pull-Ups for the first two weeks Joanne.”
“TWO WEEKS! Everyone is going to think I am a baby. I will never make friends if I go to the first two weeks of a new school wearing Pull-Ups.”
“That is fine Joanne. If you don’t want to go to school the first two weeks wearing Pull-Ups you don’t have to,” Mrs. Musee calmly said as she turned around and headed out of Joanne’s room.
Joanne knew the tone in Mom’s voice did not match her words. Mom also never let her win in situations like this. “M - - M - - Mom. MOM,” Joanne said jumping up from her bed and running after Mom. “What do you mean I don’t have to wear Pull-Ups?”
“It is very simple Joanne, if you don’t want to wear Pull-Ups to school, you don’t have to.”
“So I can wear my panties to school?” Joanne hesitantly inquired.
“Yup, the school said you can wear your panties again once you can go two weeks in dry Pull-Ups.”
Joanne stopped in the hall staring at her mom walking down the hallway. What she was saying didn’t make sense. How can she have to keep her Pull-Ups dry for two weeks before wearing panties, but still have a choice to NOT wear Pull-ups to school on the first day? She had wet her pants three days ago while picking up some stuff at the store for their new house.
“Joanne,” Mrs. Musee said looking at her as she turned into Andy’s room. “Once I get Andy’s diaper changed and have him dressed for his first day of school, I will be in to help you get ready.”
Joanne stood in the hall just staring down at Andy’s doorway. Mom had gone inside to get Andy ready, but she was still puzzled by Mom’s comments. They didn’t make any sense. She couldn’t wear panties till she had been in dry Pull-ups for two weeks, but she didn’t have to wear Pull-Ups to school? If she can’t wear panties, and she doesn’t have to wear Pull-ups, then she would be wearing . . . wearing . . . “NO!” Joanne yelled.
Joanne stomped up to Andy’s door. “MOM, I AM NOT GOING TO SCHOOL IN DIAPERS!”
“Joanne it is your choice. If you don’t want to wear Pull-Ups, you can wear diapers instead. The school is okay with you wearing either one, but since you had an accident three days ago, you have to wear one of them.” Mrs. Musee finished diapering Andy and started to dress him for the day.
Mrs. Musee didn’t respond. She finished dressing Andy and then turned to Joanne who was still standing in the doorway. “Okay, your turn Joanne. Come on over here and I will put a nice clean and dry diaper on you for your first day at your new school.”
“Well Joanne, you said you didn’t want to wear Pull-Ups on your first day, so that just leaves diapers. So let’s get your diaper on and then get you dressed for the day,” Mrs. Musee said patting the top of the changing table.
“No Mom. I don’t want to wear Andy’s diapers to school.”
“Okay let’s go down to your room and get some of yours. I really don’t care whose diapers you are wearing. But since you decided you were not going to wear Pull-Ups to school, diapers are the only other choice.”
“I’ll wear Pull-Ups. Honest Mom I will. Just don’t make me wear diapers to school. I am not a baby like Andy is.”
“Be nice Joanne, Andy is your OLDER brother. Now come with me down to your room and let’s get you dressed.”
Joanne looked at Andy, her eleven year old brother. He was dressed like a preschooler, which included a preschool character on his bib-overalls. He was sitting on the floor playing with a ring stacker. Shaking her head, she headed for her room. On her way she wasn’t sure if Mom would let her wear Pull-Ups or not. Had she pushed Mom too far? Would Mom let her be a big eight year old, or would she decide that a kid needing to wear Pull-Ups or Diapers to school needs to dress like a little kid.
Walking in just behind Mom, Joanne tried to push Mom towards letting her wear Pull-ups, by going straight over to her supply and picking out a Pull-Up for her to be changed into.
“Oh, I thought you didn’t want to wear those, but if you changed your mind, that is okay. Let’s get you out of your wet night-time diaper and into this dry Pull-Up.”
Very quickly Mom had Joanne’s wet diaper off and had her into the Pull-Ups. Joanne didn’t like that she used a lot of baby powder in the process, feeling that it made her smell like a baby, but she didn’t say anything to Mom.
“Okay Joanne, this will not be your first day in your classroom, but it will be the first day for you and the people at the school to meet. The headmaster said you needed to take a test today, so they can figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are. I want you to be a good little girl and try your best on the test,” Mrs. Musee said as she went through Joanne’s closet looking for the perfect outfit for her little girl to wear to school.
Mrs. Musee picked out a frilly pink dress. Upon seeing it, Joanne closed her eyes and sighed. Pull-Ups, baby powder, and being dressed like a five year old was not Joanne’s idea of an ideal start to a new school. To make matters worse, Mom put her hair into pig-tails coming off the top of her head, just adding to the little girl look. Joanne wanted to be a big girl, but as she headed down to breakfast, she didn’t feel like one.
“I only have to wear Pull-Ups for two weeks, right Mommy?” Joanne asked as she followed her mom into Andy’s room.
Getting Andy away from his toys and heading down to the kitchen, she replied, “Two weeks IF you can get all your pee-pee and poopy in the potty. If not, it will be longer.”
“I won’t have any accidents at school Mommy. I promise.”
“Joanne poopy,” Andy said.
“I am not going to poop my pants at school Andy. You do that, not me. No way are the other kids going to find out about my Pull-Ups and Diapers. If I poop my pants at school they will find out, so I am NOT going to poop at school.”
“Joanne diapee,” Andy said. “Andy diapee.”
“That is right Andy,” Mrs. Musee said as she put a bib on Andy. “If Joanne can’t keep her Pull-Ups dry and clean she will be wearing diapers to school just like you do.”
“WHAT! You would make me wear diapers to school like Andy? No Mommy. In diapers you say I have to use the diapers, not the potty. Don’t make me go poopy in the middle of my third grade class, please Mommy. I will be a good girl and use the potty. I promise Mommy. I promise.”
“Joanne, it is not up to me. You will decide if you wear Pull-Ups, Diapers, or panties to school. If you can always use the potty at school, then the school will let you wear panties. If you can’t, then they will put you in diapers. You decide, not me.”
Mrs. Musee poured milk into the kid’s cereal.
Joanne walked into the school’s office first, followed by Mrs. Musee holding Andy’s hand. As Joanne walked up to the secretary’s desk, she kept looking around the office.
“My oh my, you certainly are a lovely little girl. You look and smell like a sweet little angel,” the secretary commented. Looking up at Mrs. Musee she asked, “Is this little cherub joining our Kindergarten class this year?”
Joanne looked up at her mom with horror. She knew she looked like a baby, and the secretary just confirmed it. They thought she was a kindergartener, not a big third grader.
“No, Joanne here would like to be in your third grade class this year, but I guess if she doesn’t do a good job on the entrance exams today she might be placed into Kindergarten. I wouldn’t mind if my baby was still in Kindergarten. I definitely wasn’t ready for my baby to be a big third grader.”
“Oh I am so sorry Joanne,” the secretary said. “How old is our big girl here?”
“I am eight years old,” Joanne said with pride.
“Well big eight year old Joanne, we certainly don’t have any eight year olds in Kindergarten. Here at Learning Time, we make sure kids are placed in a grade according to their skills, not their age, but the testing will tell us what grade you will be placed in,” the secretary said with a smile.
“And this is Andy,” Mrs. Musee said ruffling Andy’s hair.
The secretary giggled, “Hi there Andy, and how old are you?”
“Me eweven,” Andy replied hugging onto Mommy. “Me big boy.”
“Yes you are Andy. It is so nice to meet you.”
“Mrs. Teemore said he will be in Mrs. Jones’ class. She said he could visit the class today while Joanne was taking her tests,” Mrs. Musee said to the secretary.
“Yes, they were expecting him. I will call Mrs. Jones and let her know Andy is here,” the secretary said as she picked up the phone.
Mrs. Musee got the registration papers out of her purse, and put them on the secretary’s desk. While waiting for Mrs. Jones, the kids were directed over to some chairs.
“Mommy,” Joanne quietly asked?
“What is it princess?”
“Will they really send me to Kindergarten if I don’t do well on the tests?”
“No Joanne, but they may put you back into second grade. That is why it is important that you try your best on the tests today. Show them that you belong in third grade and they will put you in third grade.”
“Even if I am wearing Pull-Ups,” Joanne quietly inquires? “Third Graders don’t wear Pull-Ups, do they?”
Smiling down at Joanne, Mrs. Musee reassured her, “Yes my little princess. If you can do third grade level work they will put you in third grade, even if you are in Pull-Ups or Diapers.”
“Mom!” Joanne quietly expressed her disapproval of mom’s comment about diapers.
Mrs. Jones interrupted the interaction as she came into the office. She introduced herself and then focused in on Andy.
“Me Andy,” he said jumping up from his chair. “You teacher.”
“Yes I am,” Mrs. Jones said with a smile. “I am your teacher, Mrs. Jones. Can you say Mrs. Jones?”
“Mwisses Jones. You teacher. You teacher. You Andy teacher.”
“Yes Andy. Do you want to go down and see the classroom?”
“Me go. Me go. Mommy,” Andy inquired while jumping up and down? “Me go?”
“Yes Andy, you can go with Mrs. Jones down to your new class. Be a good boy for Mrs. Jones.”
“Me good. Me big boy.”
Joanne shook her head back and forth and rolled her eyes.
Mrs. Musee handed the diaper bag over to Mrs. Jones and waved bye as they walked away.
As soon as they were back sitting down, Mrs. Teemore came out of her office and called Mrs. Musee over. “Morning, is Joanne ready for the testing?”
“Yes, but Joanne is nervous. She is also worried that you will put her in Kindergarten, especially since she is wearing Pull-Ups.”
“I am not going to put an eight year old in the Kindergarten classroom.”
“I know, but with her wearing Pull-Ups, she feels more like a Kindergartener at the moment, than a Third Grader. Look at her though,” Mrs. Musee said looking lovingly at her baby girl. “She was so upset this morning about people at school finding out she is wearing Pull-Ups, but now she is playing with the hem of her dress showing her Pull-Ups off to everyone. I am always telling her to put her dress down, and five minutes later it is up again.”
“Little ones in diapers and Pull-Ups don’t seem to be as careful to hide their undergarments, as kids in underwear are,” Mrs. Teemore said understandingly. “Why don’t we get her started on the tests.”
Next to the Headmasters office was another small room with a conference table and a computer in the corner. Mrs. Teemore logged Joanne into the test and got her started. The gown-ups left her alone to take the test and went back to the Headmaster’s office.
“Mrs. Musee, it is going to take Joanne an hour or two to finish the testing. Have you had a chance to finish the registration paperwork?”
“Yes, I gave them to the secretary,” Mrs. Musee paused in contemplation. “Could we go down and look in on Andy? I am a little worried about whether or not he will fit in.”
“We usually don’t like the parents observing in a room within the first few hours a child starts, but considering it isn’t exactly a regular classroom, let’s go and peek in.” Mrs. Teemore led the way.
As they approached the classroom, Mrs. Teemore set down the rules. “Now, we will look in on Andy. If we can do that from the window next to the door, then that is where we will stay. If we can’t see him from there, we will go just inside the classroom. Try not to interact with Andy. Andy and the staff are working on developing a bond and learning their roles. The staff is also trying to figure out his strengths and weaknesses.”
From the classroom window they could see Andy sitting at the table in the room happily playing with a See’N Say. Andy would pull the lever, listen to the toy and then say the name or sound of the animal. He would clap with glee before pulling the lever again. Mrs. Musee also looked around at the other kids in the room. One of the kids was working on a task involving crayons and paper with Mrs. Jones, while the other children were playing with various toddler and preschooler toys.
The assistant in the room suddenly stood up and looked around the room. She walked around the room stopping momentarily at each child and ending at Andy. Saying something to Mrs. Jones, she took Andy into the back room.
“That is the bathroom,” Mrs. Teemore said. “Looks like Andy needs a poopy diaper changed. Mrs. Jones’ assistant, Teacher Mary, is very good with the kids.”
“Timing is about right,” Mrs. Musee replied. “It has been about an hour since breakfast. He usually needs to be change forty-five minutes to an hour and half after he eats.”
Back in Mrs. Teemore’s office, she started talking about the plans for Joanne, “The academic tests will determine if she is put in second or third grade. At eight years old she would fit into either grade level. I have picked a teacher for each grade level and have already talked to them about Joanne. Both said they would like her to start today after the testing, if that is okay with you.”
“I don’t really have a problem with her starting today,” Mrs. Musee hesitantly said. “However, I didn’t bring any supplies for her to start school today. Since some of their school supplies are still packed away, we were going to go shopping after the testing, once we had the supply list.”
“The teachers know she probably will not have any supplies, but they still welcome her to stay,” Mrs. Teemore said.
“The other concern I have is how she might react if you put her back into second grade. She started this school year in a third grade classroom. She tries really hard to view herself as a big girl, especially considering her older brother. With her having to wear Pull-Ups to school and being put back into second grade, she might need a little bit of time to adjust. It is a lot for a little kid to deal with.”
“The offer is there if you want it. Even if she ends up back in second grade, I would still recommend it. Immediately facing an issue is often better than letting the fear of the unknown build inside.”
The two of them continued to chat for a while until they were interrupted by a kid who was sent to the office for teasing. Mrs. Musee went out and sat in the school office while the Headmaster dealt with the child. It took Joanne just over an hour to finish the Reading and Math tests.
“How do you think you did princess,” Mrs. Musee asked as Joanne was hugging her.
“It started out easy Mommy, but then got hard. I didn’t know how to do all the problems it gave me. Does that mean I can’t go to third grade Mommy?”
“We are going to have to wait and see Joanne. The test wasn’t designed just for third graders. They give the same test to all the kids Kindergarten through Fifth grade. We knew there would be some hard questions, that is part of the test. Don’t worry about it Joanne. We just have to sit and wait for the results.”