I am "trash".

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Shari, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Maybe its just the compilation of events recently, but this stung to the core. I am sitting here doing my best not to just throw in the towel. My feelings of adequacy have been tested to the limits for today.
    I just got an email from the school nurse.
    "It has come to my attention that difficult child comes to school and on most days has a terrible hygiene problem. It is now to the point that other students are making comments. I do not want this to escalate to the level of difficult child being made fun of or isolated due to poor hygiene.
    Please make sure that he is bathed daily, hair washed, teeth brushed, ear cleaned, nails trimmed and wearing clean clothes daily. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter."
    Today is the first day EVER that I have sent him in pants that weren't straight from the wash and is because we are having an electrical problem in our house and the electrician that we had out yesterday suggested I not run my washer until its fixed because my washer is a new front-load with a lot of electronics in it. So I sent difficult child to school in a pair of pants that he had worn inside for about 5 hours on Friday. We were late to school because he wouldn't get out of the bathtub. He eats breakfast at school and brushing his teeth is a big sensory thing so I don't always make him brush his teeth in the morning - he gags on bubble gum flavored toothpaste and he can't handle the mint flavors, so he uses his toothbrush dipped in ACT rinse, then rinses with it, as well. We use glycerin soap and natural laundry detergent on his clothes. I don't wash his hair every day because of the sensory thing, but we keep it cut military short, and when we wash his hair, usually we scrub him up with a wash cloth.
    I want to cry. I am not a clean-freak, but I don't think I'm that dirty, either. Clutter, but not just dirty. Heck, we bathe our dogs once every couple weeks or better, and they are little bitty dogs that spend very little time outside, but they bother me if they don't get their baths.
    difficult child's sheets get washed at least 5 times a week because he wets the bed almost nightly. Our sheets on our bed might get skipped for 2 or 3 weeks, but his are always clean. I have a small fortune in waterproof pads and sheet sets for his bed, so I always have a set clean.
    Last week, we lost one of our two deep freezes. Saturday, our remaining one seemed to be on the fritz, and we discovered its an electrical problem, so we spent all weekend trying to keep a 16 cubic foot deep freeze full of our year's supply of meat frozen. husband's mom is in the hospital with gall bladder problems, so he's taking care of their place. I promised the kids a movie, so I took them to a movie yesterday and easy child 2 threw up all over husband's car on the way back, so I had to scrub the car out, all the while worried about the stench in there, then HAND WASH all the puked on clothes and towels. While I was doing that, they left their Easter baskets down and difficult child's dog got into the candy and puked on our bed quilt, so I had to hand wash it, too. Of course, difficult child has wet thru his last set of sheets, and the utility company still hasn't shown up, so I'll be hand washing sheets tonight. And now this....
    I am mortified and feel like an utter failure who tries way too hard and comes up way too short.
  2. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I would give the above information to the nurse. It is possible that she has your son mixed up with another child or your son manages to get messy and smelly from the time it takes him to get from the car to the classroom.

    I understand sensory issues I have raised three kids with them. This letter from school is serious though. Kids that are percieved to be "dirty" often are ridiculed. With difficult child's problems he does not need this too. But even more concerning is that schools can and will call in DSS if they feel there is a possiblity of neglect. I would stay calm and make an appointment or a phone call to the school nurse ASAP to get this cleared up. -RM
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Arrgh! difficult child 2 is going through this too. He smells, apparently. Well, I KNOW we are having him bathe every night, and brush teeth, and wear deodorant plus we discovered he is mildly lactose intolerant (hence the flatulence).

    He didn't have school Friday, so I had him take a bath about noon. difficult child 1 reminded him to shampoo and reported that when he got out he smelled like oranges.

    By the time I got home from work, he smelled AWFUL. He has a military-style cut as well and his head was the worst. I asked him what he had been doing. Playing inside with his army men.

    I asked him to change shoes before he went to biomom's (he didn't go, but never mind), and was in my room when I smelled this horrible reek. I followed my nose and he was changing his shoes! No wonder the kids have a problem when he takes off his shoes in class! EWWWWW! (Shoes went in washer on BOILING after Lysol soak.)

    You're not trash. Neither is your child. You may want to let the nurse know as RM suggested, also maybe ask her to brainstorm ways to help the issue.
  4. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I think I would have to pay the school nurse a visit. I would need to ask what exactly the issues are, since he leaves the house clean each day.

    I would however try to find a way to get the teeth brushed. I know my difficult child tries to sneak by without brushing. I just cannot stand to be around him then. But, my difficult child does not have sensitory issues like that. Have no suggestions in that area.

    I would want to know exactly what the nurse is talking about though.

    Good Luck.
  5. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    As for shoes, both my kids have the terrible foot/shoe oder. We bought odor eaters for easy child's shoes and odor eaters powder for difficult child. He likes the powder.

    I believe you can also buy spray. That doesn't help when the feet sweat though.

    There are also socks you can buy that keep the sweat away from the feet, keeping them dry. this helps with the odor also.

    Some smell is due to certain foods that are eaten. Anything ring a bell?
    Some people just have a smell. Would a light smelling cologne or maybe "shower to shower" powder be too much for him? I definately know I cannot handle perfume - makes me want to throw up.
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Hugs, Shari. You've got too much going on right now, that's why her message felt especially painful to you.

    I would thank her for her concern AND let her have both barrels, letting her know about difficult child's issues AND all the carp going on right now. Maybe next time she'll actually be sensitive about this naturally sensitive topic and will think to call you first and ask if everything's okay rather than fire off a callous accusatory email.

    People could use a good lesson in walking a mile in someone else's shoes before they open their mouths...

  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Shari, put the info in letter format and make sure it gets put in difficult child's file at school- even if it's just the file in the nurse's office- just get it documented. Then, don't worry about it anymore. You know that you're doing the best you can and difficult child isn't living in a dog house.
  8. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!


  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I am thinking that because the nurse doesn't know you well, she may have felt embarrassed to say it to you in person or on the phone, so instead she sent a note home. And while trying in earnest to be direct and concise her note came off feeling accusatory and so dry that it was hurtful rather than helpful.

    I would extract what you've written to us below, put it in a letter and hand deliver it to her so you can chat afterwards. I would also cc difficult child's caseworker at school (in our case the Special Education teacher).

    We sometimes forget that our kiddos interact with many people we're not in contact with on a daily basis; people who are not privvy to our kids' IEP, or simple school folder.

    By immediately making contact with the nurse to bring the current issues to her attention, you will be bringing her into the loop. It is not out of bounds for you to clearly state to the nurse your/difficult child's need for a little compassion and understanding on her part. If she is aware of this small piece of his/your life, perhaps she will try and muster up a little empathy.

    Maybe I'm being too soft on the nurse, but if you have no prior misunderstandings with her, it is likely she was just trying to help in her own way (albeit not so gracious).

    Hugs to you. You obviously love your son and care for him appropriately. Try not to let this one person's observations ruin it all for you.

    Is there any way you can get to a laundrymatic or use a family/friend's washer/dryer just to catch up until yours is fixed?
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Dear School Nurse,

    Thank you for your recent note. While I was sitting around feeling like an utter failure I felt it necessary to share with my friends ( who have an idea what goes on in a day of my life) your concerns. Here's what one gal in particular had to say.

    Thanks for your concern regarding my nephew. It's true - sometimes he comes to school, and his nails are not clean, or he refuses to take a bath, or can't brush his teeth because he has sensitivity issues, or stays in the bathtub too long goofing around because he's a kid. Most days my friend Shari does more before 5:30 AM than the rest of us have done all day. Farm life is tough - our family has a farm. It's never ending, non-stop, we get no help from the government, hard, back breaking, dusty, dirty, low level of appreciation kind of work. Most women would literally fall apart after a day or two.

    So my suggestion to you is that instead of sending a note home the next time you see my nephew less than what he should be - please just take him aside, throw him in the bathroom with a bar of soap, hand him some nail clippers, and a comb....I'll even suggest to Shari that a spare set of clean clothes be kept in your office. Boys are boys - and your appreciation and observation of his current situation is astounding -

    They've only been without their washing machine this weekend - but how keen of you to notice!! You're really doing a great job. I appreciate this. I'll tell Shari to leave a clean change of clothes, a bar of soap, clippers, comb and anything else you think could help him - at school, just as soon as they get their electrical fixed - a clean set of stuff will be available.

    Somedays - we struggle to get him to get in the tub, some days we struggle to get him out of the tub. ALL days we struggle to get him to brush his teeth - so if you have any other suggestions? Maybe he'd listen to you. You being the nurse and all.

    Thanks again - for your keen insight to the situation - I'm sure as soon as their electrical problems are fixed, both 16 ft. freezers with a years supply of their meat and vegetables are fixed, a load of clean sheets can be washed in the machine and not handwashed as one of the children has enuresis - and boy they go through sheets to keep everyone dry and clean.....and once we get Shari out of the field from cultivating the back 40 or sowing or planting or pulling up crack - we'll be right on that clean laundry thing.

    Sincerely -


    If you don't like that one - then send the abridged version -

    Dear Nurse -
    You stink too -

    oh and by the way - you are NOT trash - I wasn't kidding about most women crumbling - Farm life is tough - farm life with wild livestock and children? Tougher - Farm life with wild livestock, children and and absent husband?

    All I can say is that school would be sending you a note thanking you for making sure your kids CAME to school clothed and shoed - period. lol
  11. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    This part made me crack up. Girl, you are gonna get me fired one day. There is NOTHING funny going on in this office right now to excuse the peals of laughter. And Shari, you're not trash - trash wouldn't care....or more accurately, trash would think the school was just "out to get her". You face your problems head-on. Your difficult child may be a bit earthy, but you're stellar.
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    My job is nearly complete!~ :tongue:
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Shari...the school did this exact same thing to me when Cory was little. Only it was the school principal in an IEP meeting. I was told, or should I say accused, of sending Cory to school in dirty, urine soaked clothing. Now nothing could have been further from the truth. I may have been poor and our clothes may have been second hand, but I made sure they were clean each morning. I made my kids take baths every morning before school too. Cory did tend to wet the bed sometimes so I made him bathe in the mornings.

    Now boys will be boys so sometimes they did get messy before school started or while eating breakfast. I couldnt help that. They were in their care at that time. They were clean when I put them on the bus! I also left changes of clothes at school in case accidents happened but I never got anything returned to me.

    Ticked me off to be told I sent him to school dirty!
  14. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Thanks for the vote of support.

    I emailed the nurse back. "What, particularly, is the problem? He was nearly late to school today because he wouldn't get out of the bath."

    Nurse replied "SpEd teacher stated that last week was really bad. He "smells" but not like BO and his ears were dirty too. She said that his ears were better today but he still did not smell good. Are you supervising his baths?"

    To which I replied "He's barely capable of wiping his own butt... I have to supervise his baths. I don't stand in there for every moment he's in the tub, but I wash him down then he plays for a while on his own. I don't make him wash his hair every day because that's always a big fiasco, but we wash it 2 or 3 times a week.
    Other than the first week and a half after daylight savings time, he always takes a bath in the morning, and even during that time, if he woke up and had wet thru his pull up, he had a bath. He wets the bed terribly, pretty
    much every night, so he has to have a bath every morning or he reeks of urine. He wears pull-ups but I still end up stripping the sheets 5 days a week, at least. He uses glycerine soap and natural laundry detergents at the advice of his doctor. Something about the xenoestrogens or something - sounded bogus to me, but we figured it was worth a try. It does seem to cut down on the sexualized behaviors, tho I don't think the laundry detergent works as well as "regular" laundry detergent, but when I went back to Cheer, he started grabbing people again.
    His shoes reek, I assume because he doesn't wear socks. We bought him a new pair of shoes becaus the old ones smelled so bad, but he did wear the
    old ones all last week. His clothes came out of his dresser and were folded, so I assume they are clean, since he doesn't seem to have a problem with obsessively folding dirty laundry and putting it back in his drawers.
    I am absolultely mortified. I will do whatever i need to do to fix this, but I don't know how he smells bad or what to fix to correct it.
    I will try to get some foot spray and see if that helps. Please let me know if it does or does not get better."

    And a short while later, she said it sounded like i was doing all I could do, and there's not much to do for stinky feet, and she apologized for striking a nerve.

    I don't think she meant to be insensitive - she has a 20+ year old son who's a quadrapalegic and lives at home - i think she just wrote assuming he stinks cause we don't take care of him.
  15. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    Your reply was perfect.
  16. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    Maybe if she has a quad at home? HER days don't go so well either. :(

    Sounds like things are going back to normal in the Broom CLoset.
  17. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    As the parent of a quad, she ought to know...he soaks his bed almost every night and he doesn't come to school smelling like pee, so obviously I have to be doing something right...unfortunately, he doesn't come to school smelling good...apparently that's a crime.

    I don't like the way my laundry smells with his detergent, so I wash most of his clothes seperate and we use regular detergent for our clothes. I wonder if this is what the SpEd teacher is picking up on? That and a total lack of perfumes - I am very allergic to most and obviously wee difficult child's clothes and soaps have nothing like that in them.

    Oh well. I forgot easy child. difficult child stinks. C'est la vie.
  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Tried to respond to this post about an hour ago.....had power go out and lost it. grrr.

    husband and Travis have a unique body odor even right out of the shower. It's inherited. father in law had it too. I combat it with gold bond foot powder, reg washing shoes, good deodorant and Old Spice bodywash. The Old Spice is the only thing I've really found to combat it effectively. Other products either make it worse......and trust me, you don't want it worse...or don't work at all.

    Someone commented to me about Travis' hygiene in Jr High. I told them they were more than welcome to come force him to bathe and brush his teeth. I had all I could do to keep him from wearing the same outfit everyday for a year. lol

    And now I have trouble getting him out. He's worse than the girls.

    I took my notice with humor. But then, I wasn't having your week either.

  19. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nope-not even close to trash! I'm glad she apologized!
  20. ML

    ML Guest

    I'm really glad you were able to address this and the nurse understood.

    I understand the hygeine battles. Manster is 10 and I shouldn't have to stand outside the shower or bath (but I do) telling him to wash his pits and privates till I'm blue in the face. I even put it all on a picture but if I don't supervise outside the shower or bathroom door he will just stand there in the water playing.

    We have a new rule that he must wear socks with shoes. It does help. Marg recently shared a regime with me about the foot odor thing which was brilliant. Let me know if you can't find it and I'll cut and paste.

    You are a wonderful mother. I thought Star's note was perfect. We love you girl.