Friday, September 26, 2008

Out of the mouth of babes

yesterday i found three three year olds under the play structure in our school playground. This in its' self is not unusual as they like to play "Ice Cream Store" and "Doctor's Office" under there, what was unusual and a little shocking for me was that one of the girls had her shirt up and one of the other children was nursing from her. When I came over the girl who was clearly acting as a mommy lowered her shirt and the one who was nursing said "I'm drinking milk from M".

How do you explain that this is not ok to do? is it ok to do? My head teacher seemed to think it was a fine activity that showed connections to real life being made- I found it to be unsettling. I wouldn't have been weirded out if the girls shirt was down or there was a less realistic portrayal of nursing happening, but the other child had his mouth around her nipple.

My head teacher dismissed my urging to talk a little about how we can't touch other peoples bodies in harmful ways (there is also a lot of pushing and shoving going on in our playtimes)

I am at a loss for words.


InventingLiz said...

I don't know either, I've read discussions about this kind of thing and am not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, is it really any different than playing mommy and baby by pretending to give the other kid a bottle? You don't want little kids to think there is something "dirty" about breast-feeding. On the other hand, at what point does it become inapproriate? Would it still be okay if they were five year olds? Six? Seven? Where do you draw the line?

regina said...

thats exactly how i felt about it- the problem for me was not the nursing but the actual mouth to nipple part of it- the call child services part of my brain was saying " this kid has had this done to them" and the other part of my brain was saying " the kid has a nursing sibling" i talked to my director and she said i was right to talk to the kids about how only mommies can give milk- real mommies not pretend mommies and that we shouldn't touch anyone else's skin with our mouths, but my head teacher mentioned it to the parents in a laugh it off kind of way which irritated me (but she irritates me anyway)

Anonymous said...

wow! what a though provoking issue. especially for me who is breastfeeding, sometimes in public, and struggling w/ how I feel exposing myself in this way. it also brings to mind that sexual harassment is really in the mind of the 2 parties involved - even "innocent" touches can be provacative if perceived that way, or not - and it's really only the people involved who know. and based on some of the breastfeeding blogs I read, the kids in question could be breastfeeding still themselves (or just recently weaned).

Anonymous said...

Maybe as just a larger part of how we touch our friends - hold hands, hugs - and how we don't - hitting, private places under our clothes? I'm not really sure, because you don't of course want them to think that their bodies or what they're doing is bad or dirty.