This is a story that I posted on an old blog of mine that has since been shut down. I remembered this moment today and thought you would appreciate an extra smile, or an additional chance to laugh today. I will warn you though. This parenting story is about poo. It is not one of those stories that is simply a parent oversharing for no comedic benefit… I hope. This was written almost two years ago and the memory has me in stitches. Here goes…
My soon to be two year old son has developed a phobia of doing poos. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the toilet or in a nappy, the thought is so terrifying to him that he will do whatever it takes to keep it in. Sometimes he manages this for days. He’ll say ‘Mum, poo!’ And I’ll take him to the toilet, sit him on it, then after 30 seconds and nothing eventuating, he tells me he’s finished, wipes his clean bum, washes his hands and off he goes. I could do this more than 20 times a day and still nothing.
After a day of this and nothing eventuating, his anxiety increases. Day two and onwards presents with him squeaking ‘poo, poo, poo, no, no, no’ while walking around on his tip toes clenching both his bum cheeks and his teeth to make sure that the little sucker doesn’t work it’s way out. I mean, I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that by the time he just can’t keep it in anymore that sucker is a long way from little!
On day three I had a couple of friends over witnessing the hilarity of his objection to pooing. One told a strange story of childhood constipation that involved her mum using a syringe of some sort to relieve her. What?!?
The next day, day four, and I was beginning to get pretty worried. I spent the day pumping him full of fruit (half a punnet of strawberries, half a punnet of blueberries, apples, prunes), fruit juice AND Movicol Junior (laxatives). Still nothing! He started carrying on again while we were in the car on the way to visit my Dad. My four and a half year old’s tolerance was wearing thin and when he couldn’t take it any more he yelled… “Just get that butt squeeze thing!!”
I was like, “what?”
“The Flash thing! (Flash is my syringe friend who visited). Get him the Flash thing and he’ll poo!” Totally hilarious but also heart warming. He wanted so desperately for me to help his brother and relieve him of his pain and discomfort, that he wanted me to relieve him with a syringe!
Throughout the day I kept hiding laxatives in his water in the hope that something would get moving. Finally. Finally, he just couldn’t hold it in. With the most contorted expression on his face, gripping the couch until his knuckles were white, and yelling “no, no, no, no” the entire time, the urge to poo defeated him and his nappy was full to the brim. Oh the odour. Oh my god. That was something else!
Afterwards he looked as though he was in an anti gravity room. Floating. The most tranquil look on his face. Relaxed like never before. Utter relief.
Feeling more relaxed myself I began packing our things in the car to head home. I had buckled the baby and the toddler in and looked around to find the four year old, when my eyes rested on him I saw him holding the plastic sippy cup, now empty, that used to hold a fruit juice and laxatives solution. Not to mention a dose each of paracetamol and antibiotics for the toddler’s throat infection. Oh dear.
The busyness of early evening life with a young family of six, conveniently pushed this from my mind. I was brutally reminded of the fact when the two little ones were in bed and the effects of the laxatives made themselves known!
This kid started carrying on, like really carrying on. He was squirming on the couch, grabbing at his shorts and yelling. And I mean really yelling. Yelling that he desperately needed worming chocolate because his bum was itchy. Yelling that his shorts were too… tight, short, loose, long, stiff… You name it, his shorts were it. I was paranoid there would be diarrhoea all over the couch any second so told him to go to the toilet. He vehemently objected and completely lost it.
Usually I’m a pretty calm and controlled parent. I was tired. Worn out. He caught me in a moment of vulnerability and I allowed myself to be lured into a yelling match with a four year old. Ugh! Weak.
Anyway, so we’re in a yelling match. I’m telling him to go to the toilet and he’s telling me he needs chocolate. We were back and forth like nobody’s business. He yelled ‘I need chocolate and I need it now!’ He was red in the face and crying. Poor kid. This is when my husband stepped in and pointed out the obvious; that my yelling wasn’t helping. So I stepped back and he took over. That lasted all of five seconds. I couldn’t take it anymore and I decided I needed to find my authority!
I probably, well definitely, didn’t go about this the right way. I told him he had a choice… Go and do a poo, or, wait for it… I’ll lock you in the garage. I’m not proud. But he made the right choice. Begrudgingly, still squirming, clutching at his bum and pulling on his shorts, he went to the bathroom.
He was gone a long time. My god, when he returned he was a changed child. I got to witness, for the second time that day, the gravity defying walk, the tranquillity in his facial expression, the complete and utter relief written in his wide and bright smile. Bliss. With a shrug of his shoulders he looked at me out of the corners of his eyes, a little hesitant, and said, ‘you were right Mum’.