the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Frightened now of our child’s adolescence, as if we weren’t before

Lately we have been sprinkling magic fairy dust into Leta’s food to help combat her constipation. It’s called MiraLax and looks suspiciously like artificial sweetener. MiraLax has to be taken with food which is all sorts of frustrating since we told the doctor that Leta doesn’t eat food. He nodded and said, “Sprinkle this on the food she doesn’t eat.” What then? Is she supposed to stand near it? Spread it on her body so that it soaks in like moisturizer?

Because she still refuses to eat anything we’ve been supplementing the MiraLax with a few mild laxative drops every morning just to get things moving along. Part of Leta’s problem is that she has become terrified of pooping and whenever she feels the urge she holds it in. Her whole body shakes as she forcibly subverts nature, her face a mess of red bulging veins, a pig-tailed spectacle caught in a desperate mid-clench battle with her colon, and she looks around wildly at nothing in an attempt to fool you, to get you to look elsewhere. What? Why are you looking at her? There is nothing to see here. Move along so she can fully concentrate on denying the act of defecation out of existence.

The laxative drops have thrown a wrench into her master plan, and now when she is unable to hold it in she throws her arms out and calls for help. “Mama, I’m pooping,” she’ll whimper and then cling to my neck like a life raft. It’s incredibly heartbreaking, and both Jon and I have spent hours holding her like this in an attempt to convince her that everything is going to be okay. Let it out, I’ll say, or Look! I poop and I’m not dead. Yet.

Yesterday I was sitting on the bed trying to work when Leta wandered into the room and began slamming the bedroom door. Jon had been watching her and when he heard the noise he came running in to see what was going on. Leta promptly slammed the door again, and Jon caught it before it tore off its hinges. “LETA!” he yelled, and the second she heard the angry rise in his voice she dropped to the floor, shot out her arms and chirped, “Daddy, I’m pooping.”

Right. Daddy, you can’t be mad at me if, conveniently, my bowels are in distress.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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