Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Wet Pants: Timing Is Everything

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Wet Pants: Timing Is Everything

Article excerpt

I just returned from a conference to find this email ditty.

Wet Pants (Anonymous)

   Come with me to a third grade classroom... There
   is a nine-year-old kid sitting at his desk and all of a
   sudden, there is a puddle between his feet and the
   front of his pants are wet. He thinks his heart is
   going to stop because he cannot possibly imagine
   how this has happened. It's never happened before,
   and he knows that when the boys find out he will
   never hear the end of it. When the girls find out,
   they'll never speak to him again as long as he lives.

   The boy believes his heart is going to stop; he puts
   his head down and prays this prayer, 'Dear God,
   this is an emergency! I need help now! Five minutes
   from now I'm dead meat.'

   He looks up from his prayer and here comes the
   teacher with a look in her eyes that says he has
   been discovered.

   As the teacher is walking toward him, a class mate
   named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl that is
   filled with water. Susie trips in front of the teacher
   and inexplicably dumps the bowl of water in the
   boy's lap.

   The boy pretends to be angry, but all the while is
   saying to himself, 'Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!'

   Now all of a sudden, instead of being the object of
   ridicule, the boy is the object of sympathy. The
   teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym
   shorts to put on while his pants dry out. All the other
   children are on their hands and knees cleaning up
   around his desk. The sympathy is wonderful. But as
   life would have it, the ridicule that should have been
   his has been transferred to someone else--Susie.

   She tries to help, but they tell her to get out.
   'You've done enough, you klutz!' Finally, at the end
   of the day, as they are waiting for the bus, the boy
   walks over to Susie and whispers, 'You did that on
   purpose, didn't you?' Susie whispers back, 'I wet
   my pants once too.'

While you can't dispute the touching and warm sentiment, I would normally have smiled and hit delete; after all, I get dozens of these Hallmark genre blurbs a week. But timing is everything.

The conference I attended was no ordinary conference (most of the conferences I go to are not ordinary, there are few "ordinaries" in the world of developmental disabilities), but this was beyond the "unordinary" conferences I attend and participate in. This was the Innovating for Continence Conference, a novel three day conference that is held every two years and attracts a diverse group of people somehow connected to an interest in "continence" in all its forms and configurations. …

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