Thursday, November 15, 2012

Belly Button

While we're on the topic of strict teachers I really need to ask for everyone's (anyone's) opinion.  I added the poll to the top of the page (so we can see the results! - But now we can't see the question - which is - Do I Take Away Miles' Belly Button?).  PLEASE VOTE!  I'm just so confused and not entirely sure what to think - and really I need some outside help.

Today, after the napkin incident, Miles' teacher told me that we have a problem.  She said she noticed that Miles likes to play with his belly button -- a lot.  And she said that it is not okay for him to do that.  In fact, as she was saying this I was holding Miles and she saw him doing it again and told him - "No, no.  We don't do that.  That's dirty."  Assumably saying that his belly button is actually dirty, I guess. 

Miles has been doing this since probably around 3 or 4 months old.  It's a soothing mechanism for him actually.  He never took a paci or sucked his thumb, instead he's always soothed himself by playing with his belly button.  It's nothing crazy - all he does is have his fingers on it playing with it and/or rubbing it.  You'd barely notice unless you were paying attention.  He's so obsessed with it though, that I had to get rid of all his onsies early because he couldn't play with his BB with them on.  He normally rubs it right before he falls asleep, but at other times too.  When he's bored and/or stressed.  And I've never thought twice about it.  If anything, I find it adorable, but I'm his mom so that's no surprise.

So imagine my complete and utter shock when she said that I need to tell him no and make him stop.  I was floored.

So I asked her why!

She explained that in school this would be a huge problem.  They will absolutely not let him do that in class in kindergarten.  Then she relayed a long story about a boy who liked to play with his privates and how that's a big no-no.

But, this is is BELLY BUTTON!  And it is most certainly NOT dirty!  I'm not even sure where that part came from, but just thinking about it makes my blood boil.

I tried to explain that and argue with her, but Miles had had enough and jumped out of my arms and left the classroom.  In my shocked state I didn't even know what to do, so I just said sorry and left.

So, this is where I need some help.  Am I crazy for thinking that it's no big deal WHATSOEVER for Miles to play with his belly button whenever and where-ever he wants?  Do schools really regulate that you cannot touch your own belly button??  And lets say that kindergarten will require that - isn't 2 a bit young to start enforcing this rule?  Especially since it's his first week and he's stressed and confused and now your also taking away his only comfort?  AND on top of all that - am I insane to think that this teacher has no right to call my son's belly button dirty?!  The NERVE!!

Despite all this, I do like everything else about his teacher.  And maybe she just thinks she's following the rules.

So, do I say something to her about it?  Or do I have to restrict his belly button from him?

17 comments:

  1. It's above the belt, that's free range in my world. I say, take her to task.

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  2. I think his teacher has some nerve. Has she ever had kids? Belly buttons aren't dirty. He's two for crying out loud. It might be different if he was in high school; that would be weird then.

    And the napkin thing also seems ridiculous. He can use his napkin however he wants. Maybe he likes it folded!

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    1. I know, the napkin thing almost makes me laugh. But this issue just sets my teeth on edge. And she does have kids, so she should absolutely know better!

      I just keep thinking - at 5 (if it's even still an issue then) I can explain to him him - "this is something we only do at home." And we can discuss so he can reason why. But telling him no now is only going to confuse him. It's not something you can regulate except for reprimanding him all day, every day... and so help me if I find out she's doing that!!

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  3. I have such a huge problem with this - and I would be blood boiling angry, too! Not to take this too far - but pick up ANY parenting book and they talk the importance of NOT shaming your kids...it makes them feel like things are perverse that aren't. Like playing with your belly button!

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    1. That is my point exactly Kelly! I just cannot believe that I have to teach that to a TEACHER! UGH!!

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  4. So, I like to think about what something is teaching them long term. Teaching him that his belly button is "dirty" seems problematic, to me, because it teaches him that a part of his body is "dirty". Our viewpoint is that God made our bodies and no part of them is dirty, so we do not tell our kids that any part is dirty, only that we don't share all parts. And with the stomach area for boys, teaching him that his stomach is private is sending confusing messages because then we ask them to take off their shirts to swim. So yeah...the restriction seems a little problematic long term and that might be something to bring up with the teacher.

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    1. EXACTLY! I don't want Miles to think any of his body is dirty. If anything, she can teach about germs and sickness, but there is nothing he can spread from his BELLY BUTTON! She's out of her mind.

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  5. This cracked me up because it just seems ridiculous! I can't believe out of all of the issues kids can have she is taking the time to discuss this with you. Miles must be an amazing kid if she is looking this hard to find something wrong! I do think a 5 year old picking up his shirt in class would be a little awkward but a 2 year old?!? Not an issue. She needs to stop looking for things and move on!

    I am planning on sharing your napkin post on my Friday Favorite post today!

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    1. That's funny because she did go on and on about some performance her class puts on for Christmas and how she was worried that as the new kid, Miles wouldn't want to dance. And she was SO grateful that he loves to dance and he does a great job during practice!

      So, ya - she seems to really be searching for things to complain about. :(

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  6. First I don't see an issue with him playing with his belly button at all. Does she have an issue if a girl plays with her hair? What about tapping feet? It is just his version of self soothing.

    Let's pretend though it is an issue, just for a moment. It really concerns me that she can't recognize that a two year old, in his FIRST week of daycare is going to need something to help him self soothe? I'm sure she is a capable teacher, but she might need to be in a classroom with older kids where her expectations can be met by children who can meet those expectations.

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    1. That's probably true, an older class might meet her expectations better. Maybe she was in an older class before and just need to chill out.

      It was so sad this morning though. I dropped him off and saw him reach for his belly button and then look at his teacher and stop. I really need to say something today I guess.

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  7. For one, she approached this in entirely the wrong way. For two, he just started school there and if this is a soothing mechanism, of course he would be doing it more. For three, if she it telling your son no, that is dirty, without talking to you first, I would have HUGE problems with her. Four, is it in the schools list of rules that belly button play is verboten? Five, he is two, not anywhere near kindergarten in which this will probably go by the wayside as he gains maturity. And yes, you might want to start teaching him that it is okay to do it at home but it is distracting in school but not that it is dirty and wrong. For chrissakes, what is wrong with that teacher?

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    1. Maybe you're right that I should start encouraging him to do it at home only. I just think, during the first week of school isn't the right time to start. Maybe give him time to adjust a bit first! But then, maybe I'm coddling him too much. But he's just so cute. Ugh... so torn! thanks fot weighing in Maureen. I'll start addressing it soon!

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  8. Okay, as a teacher... I have no words for this. Wow. I would really try to talk to her and figure out what her deal is (and not just during the 45 crazy seconds you have at drop-off or pick-up). Because this is definitely an issue that needs to be resolved - you two are not just on different pages on this one, you're reading from completely different books! But since you're happy with her in all other regards, take the time to communicate here. Maybe she has a belly button phobia. Or maybe she can explain to you what she's noticing and why she feels like it's a problem (all the other kids are pointing and laughing, it's stigmatizing Miles, all the other kids want to play with his belly button too... who knows!)

    I know as a teacher, I want to hear from my parents if they have an issue with something I'm doing, and I want a chance to explain myself. Often they don't have a clue what happens in the classroom full of kids, just like I don't know what goes on behind the scenes at their house. So communication is key.

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    1. Oh thank goodness, I was really hopeing you would weigh in! I agree, I did plan on takling to her - and of course I wanted to do it the nicest way possible - she seems great other than this issue. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't off base before I dissagreed with her. I think what I'll end up saying is something along the lines of - I don't think the approach of "don't do that" is best because of how stubborn he is. I'd rather we just misdirect him and encourage him to do that just at home. The one thing I'm worried about is telling her to NEVER call anything my son does "dirty" . I feel really strongly about it, but I HATE telling people what to do. Even his teacher. I just don't want to come across as mean or bossy

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    2. This stupid iPad is making it difficult for me to comment. ugh. Anyway - I know I need to say it, I just want to find the nicest way to say it. Without being bossy...

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