I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from writing lately, but there is nothing like a good poop story to drag me out of my writing lull.
Let me start by explaining why my writing has been hibernating this winter. I have found since the untimely death of my laptop, that finding time to come up to my computer that is now safely situated in my bedroom away from the dangers of the kitchen table is extremely difficult. We opted for a desktop computer versus a laptop to ensure we didn’t face any water-spilling mishaps. I thought I had found a solution to this dilemma when I bought a new case for my iPad that had a Bluetooth keyboard, which meant I could use it to write as long as I downloaded the application Ever Note. It is much easier to work on my writing downstairs where the kids are playing otherwise they follow me upstairs and act like assholes jumping on my bed or stare at me and ask a million times to print something out, play DisneyJunior.com or SprountOnline.com while I trying to concentrate.
Then, on New Years Eve I found myself closing out 2012 with one last Apple product mishap. I taught cycle that morning and afterward the kids and I grabbed a snack in the café at the gym. Once we finished there, we were headed to go grocery shopping, so I had the kids go potty before we left. We headed into the family locker room and I purposely brought my purse and iPad into the bathroom with me so I would not leave it laying out for someone to take. Colin went first and then I did and while I was going to the bathroom, Colin opened the door and ran out. I hurried up and finished before some dad who had just taken his kids swimming saw me peeing, jumped up washed my hands and in my rush to run after Coin, grabbed my purse, but left the iPad sitting on the counter next to the sink. It wasn’t until I returned home two hours later that realized I had forgotten it.
I ran back to the gym immediately and not only was it no longer sitting on the counter, but whoever picked it up had a case of “finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers” and took it as their own. I tried to track it with the “Find My iPhone” application to no avail. It seems that the culprit had already changed the Apple ID to their own, so I couldn’t track it. Bottom line, it’s a goner. I filed a police report so I could claim it on my homeowners insurance, but as luck would have it we have a $1,000 deductible, and that is more than the value of the iPad and case.
No, I haven’t been sitting around with--pardon the expression--my thumb up my ass. Instead, I’ve had it up Colin’s.
It seems just when I thought having poop cleanup be number one on my list of responsibilities was coming to an end, it only got worse. Colin has been potty trained since the summer, but was still having issues with going poop. He was suffering from a very common ailment that many boys his age go through called “anal retention.” And I don’t mean his need to keep his socks and underwear in perfect alignment in his drawers. This Freudian term is defined as children who experience conflicts during the anal stage and may develop "anal" personality traits, namely those associated with a child's efforts at excretory control: orderliness, stubbornness, a compulsion for control. If you know Colin at all, it is his stubbornness that is to blame for this compulsion. In simple terms, he was holding his poop.
He could and would go for days without going despite several moments where he would stop dead in his tracks, his face would get red, his eyes would tear and I was sure he was going to crap himself. On several occasions I would run him to the bathroom only to have him sit there for long periods of time and not do anything. Unfortunately, this usually happened at the most inopportune times like in the middle of DSW show store, at the grocery store or right before we had to leave the house. I would sit in the bathroom with him, read to him, set up my iPhone on the counter so he could watch a Netflix movie or even let him hold on to me much like a woman in labor would do while giving birth without pain medication. If you saw what eventually came out of him, you might think he did actually give birth. That’s what happens when you hold poop in you for days.
There were several occasions when we sat there for so long, we would end up being late for things, like school, a meeting with my boss at the gym or I’d have to miss things all together like meetings for the 5k committee I’m on. Thankfully they were all things that could be missed and/or with people who I know well enough to say, “Sorry I was late/missed that. My son was trying to take a massive poop.”
I knew full well that it was a vicious cycle. He would be afraid or too stubborn to go for whatever reason and then the longer he waited, the more poop built up and he knew how much it would hurt (as it would anyone with 4 days worth in them), and that would make him even more fearful to go. I would try to wipe him to try and stimulate that area as well as to wipe away and residual poop that was ready to escape at any given moment. I even tried using the wipe to press on his butthole or went so far as to put the rectal thermometer up his but with some Vaseline on it to get things moving. Never in my life did I ever expect to spend so much time with my finger or other objects up a boy’s butt. Ever.
Tom would yell at me that he would go when he had to go. He didn’t understand why I was so stressed, but he also never experience a trip like the one to the dollar store where Colin stopped dead in his tracks and grabbed his butt. He didn’t have to drag Colin into the bathroom along with Maddie and peel off all the layers of winter clothes to get him on the pot. Then worry that all of our belongings were lying on the filthy bathroom floor of Dollar General. You would think with all those reasonably priced cleaning products they would use some of them on their own bathroom, but I digress.
Meanwhile, Maddie is having a panic attack because she has developed a fear of being in a small, enclosed bathroom that is about a thousand degrees while we wait 45 minutes for Colin to poop. Meanwhile, Colin has a large skid mark on his underwear where said poop has touched cotton and each time I wipe him, the toilet paper is not clean. That’s how I know he has to poop. Did I mention it had been 4 days since he pooped?
These marathon sessions would occur several times over a day or two until he would finally give birth, I’d plunge the toilet to rid it of the man-sized turd and we could go about our day.
The other fun aspect of this phase is that as he would have the sensation to poop, he would also feel like he had to pee and in most cases could only control one bodily function at a time and end up peeing his pants or if he did happen to be sitting on the pot, he’d push so hard he forget about his wiener and he’d pee on the floor, the wall across from him and if I didn’t get out of the line of fire, me.
I finally broke down and bought some Miralax to give him hoping it would encourage healthy bowel movement so a) he’d HAVE to go and b) when he’d go it wouldn’t be so hard. It started to work until he ended up with an ear infection and I was worried that the combination of antibiotics and Miralax would do a number on him. Within a few days, the magic of antibiotics had him pooping like a champ and he’d even go on his own without me sitting there and being his birthing coach. Unfortunately, he wasn’t so good at asking for help wiping, so he would end up with residual poop on his leg that we wouldn’t realize was there until later in the day when it was bath time. Oops.
Overall the situation has improved, and Colin has overcome his fear of “dropping the kids off at the pool.” He did have a rather large man-poop the other day that had me not only plunging the toilet, but using a hanger to break up the poop and then fishing it out of the toilet. Meanwhile, I ended up dipping the end of the scarf I was wearing into the toilet water that was dangerously close to overflowing over the top of the toilet seat. I swear some times my life is just one long episode of “Dirty Jobs.” Of course, when I’m not dealing with my own children’s feces, my darling dog enters the picture….but that’s a story for another time.