It was 1954 and I was so excited because I was going to a morning nursery school program just like my big brother. Such a BIG moment in a 3 year old’s life.
Here is a memory I will never forget!
We were seated in a big circle and the teacher was reading a story. My tummy started to hurt but I was too afraid to say anything because the teacher had just taken us all to the potty. I tried…oh I tried to hold in in, but to no avail. Soon everyone in the circle was holding their nose and saying, “Something smells stinky!” The teacher put down her book, took off her reading glasses and went around the circle sniffing every child. I prayed she would skip right over me but of course that didn’t happen. She took me by the arm and took me to the bathroom to clean me up. I remember she didn’t even bother to close the door which allowed all the other 3 year olds to watch. Then she gave me a pair of old boy’s shorts (no underwear) and told me to put them on. I was devastated!
When my Mother came to pick me and my big brother up from nursery school, the teacher (in her most dramatic voice) told my Mother what had happened and handed her a bag with my soiled clothes. My Mother took the bag but remained silent.
On the walk home, I started to cry and said, “Mommy, I am sorry. I didn’t mean it to happen. I just couldn’t help it!” My Mother made my brother and I stop walking and bent down to look me in the eyes. “Debi darling” she said, in her most matter of fact voice… “Everyone poops in their pants at least once in their life!” The incident was never mentioned again.
Years later, when my Mother was very ill, I was cuddling in bed with her, sharing stories. I reminded her of when I pooped in my pants in nursery school. She was surprised that I remembered the incident. I thanked my Mother for not making a big deal about it and being so supportive.
My Mother looked at me.” I wasn’t a psychiatrist, she said, ” but I had this theory that if I was relaxed with my 5 children about toilet training and/or accidents, they would not grow up sexually dysfunctional.”
And then my very g-rated Mother winked at me and smiled. “I did a good job , didn’t I?”