Lily has a fear of using her school bathroom. Her teacher recently wrote to me of her concern that Lily was not using the toilet at school and wondered if I might talk to her about it.
"Lily, your teacher told me you don't like using the bathroom at school," I said to her later that day.
"Well, I don't really have to go," she said, dismissively.
"Is it because they are dirty or messy?" I asked, then telling her that I too didn't like to use the bathroom at school when I was her age because the toilets were always so gross.
"No, it's just that one of the toilets overflows sometimes," she said, acknowledging her fear.
"Oh, well, that happens. So what you can do is, use the bathroom, get yourself all put back together, pants up and such, and then after you flush, run really fast out of the stall," I told her.
"KAREN!" Kurt said in dismay. "No, Lily, that is not what you do. What you do is, after you finish going, flush the toilet and stay and watch and if the water starts coming up just calmly go out and tell your teacher." (It would happen just like that I am sure.)
So, the other day, during conferences, we took Lily with us so that I could take her into the bathroom and help her get over her fear. She took me into the stall that has the moody toilet and I helped her with the process. When it was time to flush she explained that this was the toilet that overflowed once.
And you will be happy to know that I refrained from telling her, "Oh, that's nothing. ALL our toilets at home do that sometimes, too" thus leaving her forever afraid of going to the bathroom EVERYWHERE.
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