Friday, 22 February 2013

Holding It In

It's amazing how long you can put up with a problem without dealing with it.
Correct that: It’s amazing how long I can go. And this lack of action now affects
someone else.

I wrote about my wonderful breakthrough with the Guppins, who finally, at
eighteen months, took a bottle. Well, that turned into a baby eating disorder.
She was going through thirty ounces of homo milk per night, in her crib — yes,
in her crib, teeth be damned — but she was suddenly, miraculously, basically
sleeping, and she was putting on weight…and constipated.

I’ll never forget the first time it happened. We were in front of the bathroom
mirror. I had just lifted her, squealing, out of the bath. Protruding from her bare
ass was what looked like the beginnings of a very solid footlong. She was
suffering. I had to think fast. I grabbed a tissue, wrapped my hand around the
bad boy, and pulled it out.

We are looking for a support group.

We started adding water to the milk, cutting back the milk, upping the fibre: the
usual Google cures. But unfortunately, the Guppins has developed this thing you
never want your kid to develop: fear of pooping.

Oh mamas, it is a vicious cycle. She feels the urge, but she holds it in. She’ll
do anything to hold it in, she runs on the spot, she clenches, she climbs stairs,
she cries, it goes on and on, and I hold her hands, I encourage her, I show her
my poop, but she is just too afraid. My mother suggested putting Vaseline on
her anus. It helped. She was encouraged and pooped a normal-sized poop the
next day. Four days later, no poop, much gnashing of teeth, long exhausted
freak-outs, tears…in short, misery. I picked up Dr. Sears. I read about glycerine

The image that came to mind: those yeast infection suppositories I used in the
90s: a giant Easter egg to be inserted by the Canadian Space Arm... Oh dread. I
didn’t think I could do that to her, but the alternative?

I go to the drug store.

Me: Hi there.
Pharmacist (warily): Hello.

Me: How are you?
(Wrong question. Small-town Ontario customer service, I am reminded, sucks.)
Him: Okay.
(He literally just said “Okay” like, “Fuck off, Lady.”)
Me: My two year old hasn’t pooped in days. I was thinking she might need a
Him: Oh, she’ll need one alright.


He walks me up the aisle. Shows me the box. It’s little.

I procrastinate my way through the hair accessories. Finally I buy, drive home,
and wait. Sir Dick brings her back from the market. I take her inside.

I say to her, “This is going to be great. Mommy has a really fun activity planned!”

I say to Sir Dick, “This is going to be bad. Don’t feel like you need to stick around.
I mean, you can, you can if you’d like...”

We have these issues around pain and suffering and the child and him wanting
to have nothing to do with it. Just this morning, after our late-night conversation
around how to help our poor constipated baby, what to alter, what might help
her, he waltzed into my bedroom where she was attached to my boob (which he
hates) and says, “Hello! Would you like some HONEY?” offering up a piece of
toast slathered in it.

Sugar. There is it. From the diet of a war baby. Sir Dick was born in England
during a World War II blackout, raised on rations of sugar, pastry, gummy bears,
sticky syrup, marmalade, jam: he can’t get enough of the stuff. To him croissant
is a grain, wine gum a vegetable, and candied licorice (pause) vegetable matter.

I shoot him a look.

“Oh right!” he says. “You’ve got problems to solve. I’ll be leaving now!”

I hate hate hate him sometimes.

He beats a retreat. I take her to her bedroom. Gawd, this feels worse than sleep
training. I didn’t think it possible for anything to be worse than sleep training.

I open the box. I am encouraged. The glycerin — which, literally, is what it is —
is shaped like a miniature icicle. Smart. I unpeel the foil. Good, bends to
my touch, it melts a bit, it reminds me, strangely, of honey.

I’ve gotten pretty good at coating her anus with Vaseline. Which I do, while
quickly inserting the icicle. She yelps but not much. I squeeze her butt cheeks
together as per the package directions and sing, “Old MacDonald had a BOOBY,
ee aye ee ay oh” at the top of my lungs and simultaneously shove her onto my
breast, all while keeping those cheeks pressed, one eye on the clock, waiting for
that crucial first minute to pass.

Super mom, I know. Right?


Fair enough, I think.

I release her. We climb the stairs to his retreat. We can see in her face she’s
losing the battle. She grunts. She quivers. She stamps her feet. There are tears.
But finally she can’t hold it in any more. Resolved grimace... she takes her
father’s hands, she pushes, and all of a sudden a wide grin spreads across her
face. She throws her hands in the air and cries,

“Poopy! Yaaaaay!”

Two thumbs up.

Problem solved (for now, anyway).

-Drama Mama

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