I am the youngest of three children and the only one my mother breastfed. I was born at a time when it was vogue for women to formula feed their children, but by the time I came along my mother wanted to experience breastfeeding, and did she! 22 months of nothing but breastfeeding — no bottles, no solid food, no pacifier. The result? Her youngest child is a wayward Democrat, whereas the other two are God-fearing, law-abiding Republicans. Oh vile, evil breast!
Pediatricians say that it is perfectly normal for a breastfed baby to go several days without a bowel movement. Some breastfed babies can even go a week without pooping. My mother says that after I passed all of my meconium poops (the black, tar-like sludge that comes out of babies in their first days of life) I didn’t have a normal bowel movement for over 14 days. She called my pediatrician several times concerned that something was wrong with my inner workings. He assured her that this was normal and that I would grow up a healthy, intact kid with normal plumbing, albeit one who would eventually grow up and vote for John Kerry. Sorry, Mom, you can’t have everything!
As it turns out, I’m a pretty healthy kid, moderately intact and surprisingly good with multiplication tables. But we all know that there is nothing normal about my plumbing. Those first 14 poopless days did something awful to my bottom system, and I have suffered constipation my entire life. And when I say suffered, I mean pain that only women who have given birth without drugs can understand. I have had bouts of constipation more agonizing than the pains of labor. If they made epidurals for pooping they would have to name it after me, The Dooce Poopidural.
Haven’t pooped today? Try The Dooce Poopidural. Numbs your ass so you can pass!
I don’t have enough fingers or toes to count how many times in my life I have gone multiple days without proper regulation. I remember my fifth birthday party when I swallowed over 200 gumballs in less than a half hour, a strategy I employed to keep my older brother from stealing any of them. Five days later my mother sat on the edge of the bathtub holding both of my hands, coaching me through pain management techniques as the gumball tried to find an exit out of my body. I think I pushed so hard that it eventually came out of my foot.
There was that one time when I was living in West Hollywood and had just reintroduced meat into my diet after eight years of being a strict vegetarian. I was living with my boyfriend at the time, and we had guests staying with us for the weekend. I spent over two hours in the bathroom praying fervently to the god of poop that he might spare my life and let me return to the guests waiting in the living room. I finally had to call my boyfriend over to the bathroom door where I whispered, “You’re going to have to get me an enema, otherwise I won’t come out alive.” My boyfriend and one of our guests, another male, walked a couple blocks down to the Sav-On drugstore on La Cienega in the most homosexual neighborhood in Southern California and bought two Fleets Enemas “for my girlfriend back home.” I’m sure the cashier was thinking, “RIIIIGHT. I get it. These enemas are for the girlfriend.”
My system is so sensitive that if my daily routine varies even slightly my body forgets how to poop. I have to drink two cups of coffee at the same time every morning. I have to drink at least a half gallon of water and eat at least one bowl of bran-infused cereal a day. At four o’clock every afternoon I stand in the middle of the backyard, hold out my arms, turn in three circles to the left, then one to the right, touch my toes and clap my hands twice. If I forget and only clap my hands once I don’t poop. If the wind changes direction I don’t poop.
Leta has no problems pooping, thank the Lord God, Jesus H. Passion of the Christ. She has pooped at least once every day since the day she was born. I am insanely happy about this, but I know that life has a way of compensating and it may mean that she’s going to grow up to become a registered Republican. At least she’ll be a pooping Republican, one that isn’t full of shit.
I’ve already trained her to think that pooping is funny. It’s part of my master plan to raise a crass, tasteless little fuck. She is so regular that she only poops when she is breastfeeding, and it causes her to stop sucking, her mouth still attached to my, you know, milk producer (I promised myself that I wouldn’t mention my boobs in this post, and I know I just did, but since it occurred in between parentheses it doesn’t count), and she grunts and wrinkles her eyebrows. I know that the grunting means that she’s pooping, but it looks like she’s angry at my (boob) and that she’s trying to tell it, “Are you talking to me? I know I need you, but you are NOTHING without me.”
And I can’t help but laugh at my angry little pooper, her hands up my shirt. And she sees me laughing, so she laughs, and now every time she poops she laughs. And a house full of laughter and poop is a house full of love. This house is bursting with poop and love, at least for as long as I remember to clap twice.