So, yeah, it’s Friday again. And today was pretty much like any other day in the life of a Kindergarten Aide. Except it was a little more smelly.
The Bathroom Incident (as it will be referenced henceforth) was the exclamation point at the end of an unremarkable day including, but not limited to, more than one student who clearly hadn’t bathed since last weekend, adults and children literally falling to their knees in the halls as they were overcome with fever and intestinal distress, and a gang-style baby shower honoring three expectant moms/teachers featuring a giant frosted cookie I was waiting for someone else to slice into first.
After beginning the day with a “pretend” lock-down drill to prepare us for the “real” one coming down the pike next week (You. Yeah, you with the ADHD. Sit perfectly still and be silent for ten minutes.), I thought the worst was over. Not so much. After little Skippy excused himself from recess, presented himself to the principal, and plunked down for an exclusive coloring engagement in her office while his absence went undetected on the playground, we thought we had hit bottom. But, no. Soon enough, the guidance counselor abruptly high-tailed it out of our room in the middle of a lesson on good touch/bad touch to address an implosion elsewhere in the school. Done yet? Nope.
We were just getting warmed up. How about a little explosive poo to make things really interesting? Yeah, that’s the ticket. But first, off we marched to the library to select new books, which provides a much needed break (in theory only) for the lovely, brilliant and quite gifted Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Promise, and the aide (that’s me), Mrs. Snark. Bye kids. Have fun. See you in 40 minutes.
Off goes Ms. Promise to resolve the whole Skippy escaping from recess thing. And off I go to sort more books in our classroom collection, because we are supposed to teach these kids to read or something. Ms. Promise and I then take a few minutes to conference (commiserate) on the general joyless tone of the day, how to better reach the kids, and how to support the ones with real, tragic issues at home that cause them to act out at school. So, blah, blah, blah. Break’s over. Entirely unrefreshed, it’s time to pick up the gang at the library. Oh well, they’re running late. Let’s go around the corner and see if there’s any more of that giant frosted cookie left in the lunchroom. Onward. Ms. Promise heads toward the faculty bathroom, the undisputed almost-entirely-used-up-cans-of-air-freshener capital of the world. As I pass by the boys room, there are two brothers from different grades emerging from within. Did they plan to be in there simultaneously? Do they rendezvous every day at 1:15? Hmmm. Note to self to test the validity of this theory next week. “Hi boys.”
“Hi Mrs. Snark.” Off they go, down the hall. Running, of course. I continue on my giant frosted cookie quest.
“Mrs. Snark?” It is the voice of wee Pop Tart from our class.
I turn and there he is, standing in the hall weeping, sans pants (which turned out to be a most prudent choice after a cursory examination of the discarded garments). From the waist down, he looks like he has had an unfortunate run-in with a bottle of self tanner. Ms. Promise has heard enough from 15 feet down the hall to magically reappear by my side. We leap into action like Ninjago masters. She races to find coverage for the rest of the class, summon the nurse, and secure a change of clothes for Pop Tart. I envelop him in warmth and reassurance, while never actually touching him because the poor thing has soiled himself in more complicated ways than I care to remember. The bathroom is a crime scene of epic proportions. Reality check. What are the legal ramifications of me being in there with a bunch of oblivious boys at the urinals? I reassure Pop Tart once more, and wait in the hall until the urinals are unoccupied, continuing to offer affirmations from the doorway. I tear a streamer from the baby shower decor next door and tape it across the doorway to bar entry by other boys who don’t seem to notice anything has gone awry in the bathroom. Which is really saying something about their powers of observation. So my job description now includes talking a panicked and distraught child off the ledge after he has fallen victim to a septic tragedy that could only be resolved by a full on haz-mat team and, eventually, by a really big cocktail. Which I will now, at long last, enthusiastically consume. Twice.
So that was the rock bottom of this bottomless pit of a day. I now sit reflectively, typing this memoir of sorts, knowing I’ll be back in the game on Monday. But it will likely smell better. And we have that awesome lock-down drill to look forward to.