Rules for a Special Instructor #2: Special Instruction gets messy.

children getting messy with special instruction

Rule #2: Special Instruction Gets Messy

(click here to read more about Special Instruction) Special Instruction is an early intervention service for children under the age of 3. Children that age can get messy. Special Instruction service takes place in the family’s home or child care center. People’s homes can be messy. Spending time in a child care center, well, that can be messy. Special Instruction involves traveling from location to location. Being in your car all day can get messy too! Let’s just be honest, Special Instruction is MESSY! How does a special instructor prepare?

The “mess risk factors”

Each situation brings with it a different set of mess risk factors. You have to know your situation, know your risk factors and be prepared for whatever you think you may encounter.

Mess risk factors in order of least alarming to most: trash, dirt, art supplies, food, tears, spit, germs, snot, vomit, poop.

Messy Situations

Let’s break these down by location:

The Special Instructor Lunch: In your car

You start your day in the car. You’re driving. What about food and drink? Do you take a lunch break or eat on the go? I eat in the car on the go. I pack my self lots of snacks, water and caffeine.

Problem: snacks in the car involve possible spills which involves risk factors food, a possible sticky situation, and trash. Plus if you’re eating with your hands you want them to be clean because, you know, risk factor germs.

Baby Wipes, special instructor!

Possible Solution: I always, always, always keep baby wipes in my car. I buy them in bulk. I also keep hand sanitizer handy. Using hand sanitizer alone can feel icky because germs are still there, just dead. The ideal situation would be to wash you hands, of course, but sometimes you make due. That is why I keep the baby wipes handy. I give myself a good wipe down as needed. What are the brown paper lunch sacks for? Trash. I learned that tip from Lisa at

In a classroom, you are exposed to all kinds of germs. Just try not to touch anything unnecessarily. Don’t expect there to be tissues. Bring a small pack of your own in your pocket. Oh yeah, you’re going to want lots of pocket space. Once you get in the car, use hand sanitizer and baby wipes.

Also, in the classroom there art supplies. There’s play dough, paint, glue, markers, stickers, glue stick, glitter, sensory materials, chalk. What else? Be prepared to get that all over you.

Baby wipes.

Ok now let’s get real. Babies poop. Toddlers poop. Toddlers potty train. Potty training toddlers have accidents. Babies have blow outs. It happens. Sometimes it happens in your lap. Sometimes it happened on the floor, and you sit in it before the teacher has a chance to clean it up.

Wash those hands, special instructor!

WASH YOUR HANDS! Go to a gas station, find a creek, pop in a McDonald’s or a Subway. Whatever you have to do, you must wash that off. Oh and vomit. If there is vomit involved, leave immediately, run, hide, pray you don’t get sick.

Runny Nose Babies? Special Instructor has tissues

Every baby I have ever met has had a runny nose for a significant portion of their life. Maybe I just meet a lot of snotty babies? Maybe it is normal? Also, babies cry. Crying brings with it tears. Maybe they are crocodile tears, but there are tears none the less. Sometimes little ones crawl in your lap and lay their sweet sweaty head on your shoulder and wipes those tears away. Go ahead baby. Go ahead.

Remember the tissues in your pocket?

The hand sanitizer in the car?

Baby wipes can be pretty effective at wiping off snot from scrubs. FYI.

Spit Happens. It all happens.

I have a coworker who has been pooped on. I’ve been puked on. Spit up is a special category that is kind of like puke, spit, and food all mixed together. Spit happens. I have been stuck in the mud. Peed on by the dog. Spilled food in my lap, coffee on my shirt, stickers on my butt. Chalk on my pants. Chalk all over! I have a pair of scrubs stained with an ink pen that leaked.

Keep Going, Special Instructor!

Sure! Things get messy, but in the end, it’s all good. If we didn’t love working with these babies, we wouldn’t endure all the mess. If we didn’t see a purpose for our work, we wouldn’t love it so much! There is purpose. There is benefit. Go to the store, buy hand sanitizer, tissues packs, baby wipes, paper bags, paper towels, more baby wipes and maybe some vitamin C. Most importantly, keep going.

Even if you get the bug, catch the crud, your car is messy, you stain your shirt, or you embarrass yourself in public with stickers on your butt. This is Early Intervention, baby!  You are a Special Instructor, and it is wonderful.

February 7, 2018

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