An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

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.

  • Samantha

    My little boy did this for months. He would clench his whole body and will the poop not to come.

    And the crying. I’m so sorry.

    (warning constipation advice please don’t delete this because it works)

    Little baby enema. The glyserin (sp?) kind. Every time.

    He finally realized that if he wasn’t going to do it on his own that I would do it for him.

    And it worked!

    I hated doing it because there was screaming and wiggling and no one to help me at the time (former single mom). I would have to brace his little legs open with my whole body it seemed like.

    Sorry TMI. Anyway–I’ll pray for her and you all, because a little prayer never hurt anyone.

  • Elizabeth M. Johnson

    Poor thing.

    My younger brother had a lot of trouble with pooping as a toddler. I can remember how happy my mom would be whenever she’d get to mark a “BM” on the calendar. You would think he had won an Academy Award and thanked her, and her alone.

  • I am guessing Leta is still a little young for a cigarette and cup of coffee?

    Or, try taking her to a bookstore a la Seinfeld. That always works for me.

  • All hail King Chuck. That is the most patient dog on the planet.

    And i agree with whoever suggested smoothies, you can sneak anything into them and they just think you’re giving them ice cream. Poor Leta. We’ve been through this,too. One day, on what was like Day Five of no pooping, Lucy was having some horrific farts at daycare and her teacher, who was the kindest, most mild-mannered woman in the world, asked me (very gently) ‘Is Lucy having some troubles with her BMs? Because she’s had some, err, umm, gas problems.’ Poor child. I plan to torture her with that story when she’s a teenager.

  • jenn.dub

    Maybe Leta needs a new bedtime/pooptime story. Try Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi. In light of your public farting incident, Amazon has a special that couples Everyone Poops with a copy of The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts by Shinto Cho.

    Bless her sweet heart.

  • mom2werogers

    I had to post. My son was on MiraLax, after trying many other things, for almost 2 years. He was able to be taken off the medicine at age 3, and we’ve only had a few incidents since. We were able to put it in a small amount of juice, put it in a sippy, and he’d slam it. It worked WONDERS – my son was able to outsmart suppositories and mineral oil. Good luck with it – and hang in there. It is torturous when you just want to help them and they are panicked!

  • Aww, so cute.

  • Re: photo of the day – Chuck is the coolest dog on the planet. Sorry other dog people, but it’s just the way it is.

    Re: comment section – I’ve never read the word ‘poop’ so many times in my life. I feel like I need an enema just to get the word out of my head. I feel dirty!

  • lindsayc

    holy moley. poor leta! i hope it gets easier for you all. so far just putting my son on the potty gets the desired response, but he is just 11 months old. i am sure that as soon as he has more of a choice in the matter it will become an issue…

  • Samantha

    We have Miralax in the house as well. Thankfully for a short term thing. Made for some frequent and stinky toots. *sigh* The things we worry about are never the what we thought they would be are they?

  • If only we humans weren’t so disturbed by our own bodily functions. Then we could be like my roommates’ cat and do celebratory laps around the house after every poop in triumph and pride.

  • SarahJanesmomSue

    Funny, and not so funny. My daughter – who is now 3 and a bit – would not poop either. When she finally did, she would wail and cry because it hurt. Then, for the longest time, no one could come near her if she was pooping. The day before yesterday, she pooped in her potty for the very first time. I never thought I’d see the day!

  • I’m SO trying this with my clients next time I’m tight on a deadline.

  • If you’d like, I’ll send you my couch.

    Evidently, going behind the couch makes children poop. Whether or not they’re wearing a diaper. It’s a miracle laxative, my couch. I think it might be the putrid color that causes it, but I’m not sure.

  • KfK

    We have the opposite problem here. NO ONE is afraid of their poop, or even embarrassed by flatulence issues. In fact, sometimes, it turns out to be a show and tell kind of business when some really big ones escape from the bottoms of my children. “Hey Mom, come look at this BIG POOP!”

  • Ha. My teenagers still use the ‘I’m pooping’ defense, only now it’s so they can hide in the bathroom and get out of chores.

    When my oldest was still a little guy, he too had severe pooping issues. When he was 4, the (new) pediatrician diagnosed a hernia that he’d apparently had since birth.

    One little day surgery later, the kid never had a problem pooping again.

    Or maybe he was just afraid to tell me about any issues since he got circumsized at the same time.

  • I love that there is actually a product out there in ciruculation called “Miralax.” It makes me happy inside to know such laxative creativity exists in the world.

  • Miralax is a wonder drug. We were putting it in our son’s milk for several months while he got over his fear of pooping. It worked like a charm.

    I’m so happy that I don’t have to see the faces that he made while trying to hold it in. It was painful to watch.

  • Doing the Miralax, eh? We do that around here, too. Well, not me, but the other member of the family whom shall remain nameless because he would be horrified if I wrote about it to the ‘nets.

    Anyway, FWIW, he puts it in about 4 oz. of juice and drinks it relatively fast. I don’t know if this would work for you or not, but thought I’d suggest it. You still might want to serve it around mealtime so it goes down with the food and as such, helps the food keep going down. But if she’s into apple juice, I bet she might be able to get a bit more down than with the food she’s not eating. Just some assvice…

    Anyway, wow! a 2 year old on polyethelyne glycol 3500? That is serious. Miralax is about as lax as you can go and still remain hydrated. You Dooces really know how to dry out the plumbing!

  • Heather

    My six-year old gets backed up on occasion. At which time, I’m informed that his ‘poop is pointy’ and that I need to ‘make broccoli-the poop food’. His father told him that one. Like it isn’t hard enough to get kids to eat their vegetables.

  • Hi Heather! I’m honored to join you here.

    Poor Leta! I hope this poop thing gets easier for her soon! I’ve been having the opposite happen with my 3 year old. Been working on potty-training since last summer and she got the poop in the toilet thing down pretty quickly. Seems she loves to go poop, ‘cuz every time I sit her on the potty she says “I poop”. The child goes poop at LEAST four times a day, if not more! I get so tired of wiping her little poopy butt, and I’ll be glad when she can do it good enough herself!

  • Joanne Canfield

    my 33 month old daughter, camdyn is on the miralax too. her doc. told us we could mix it with juice, milk or water. it has no flavor (i’ve tried it). camdyn has had pooping issues her entire life – since birth. straining and crying and turning red in the face – veins bulging, eyes popping out of their sockets, etc. she would only poop once every three or four days. i tried changing her formula, adding fiber, getting her to drink more water. i have even used my own fingers to get the stuff out! we went to a few doctors who never seemed to know what was causing her constipation…

    finally we found a doc. who knew her shit (literally)! she said that after 2 1/2 years of chronic constipation camdyn’s colon had completely stretched out. this usually happens because of one really bad pooping experience. the child gets scared to poop again because it hurt so bad the time before. so they hold it in for as long as they can until they just have to get it out – which hurts even more than the last time. it’s a vicious cycle… so the miralax is supposed to soften the stool to make it easier and less painful to poop. the tricky part is getting the dosage right. you have to mess around with how much and how often you use it. sometimes camdyn will have runny poops – so i’ve probably been giving her too much and vice-versa. her doc. said she should be having two small soft poops each day. we’re not quite there yet… she also said that it could take a year or two for camdyn’s colon to shrink back down to it’s regular size.

    whew! sorry for the long comment – i just SO relate to what you’re going through! stick with the miralax, try adjusting the dosage and definitely try putting it in her drink instead of sprinkling it on her food. it has been a lifesaver for us! good luck!

    btw – leta is a beautiful little girl! i LOVE her hair!

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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