An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

This is what is wrong with mommyblogging

Marlo’s preschool requires parents to volunteer a few hours here and there each semester, and I realized before the holiday that I had yet to meet that obligation. I asked her teacher to put me to use wherever they might need me unless it involved interacting with three-year-olds. You ever met one? Horrible people. Little deranged convicts.


But I guess volunteering in a classroom full of three-year-olds means acknowledging their existence? Because they can’t read social cues like LEAVE ME ALONE or PLEASE STOP MAKING WORDS WITH YOUR MOUTH. So demanding.

I was thinking I’d get to rinse out some paint brushes or wipe down some tables, but no. No such luck. In fact, I got to volunteer the day that the kids were finishing up an elaborate craft project, and you know how I feel about craft projects. Wheeeee! Hey kids! After we mold these pipe cleaners into fun shapes let’s pour a cauldron of bubbling lava over our heads! And then hack off all our limbs with a dull pocket knife! Here, I’ll go first.

The portion of the craft project requiring my assistance involved gluing glitter to a holiday ornament, and yeah. You saw those two words in there, didn’t you. GLUE and GLITTER. The two most evil crafting supplies in existence. Is there anything more horrifying to hand to a three-year-old? They’d do less damage with a can of mace.

And here’s where I go off on what will seem like a tangent but is in fact crucial to all this complaining you’re enduring: somehow Marlo up and potty trained herself a few months ago. Just decided one day that she didn’t like walking around with excrement in her pants. THERE. There’s one thing nice I can say about three-year-olds! They have enough brain cells to recognize the discomfort of sitting around in their own feces.

The road to her decision was a little bumpy, but show me a road to diaper-independence that’s not. The major obstacle in her way was not an uncommon one. Kids that age have one painful bowel movement and decide that they’re never going to poop again leading to horrifying constipation. So horrifying, in fact, that many of us, NOT JUST THAT MONSTER HEATHER ARMSTRONG, have to administer enemas.

Oh fuck, you guys. I’m writing about enemas on the Internet again. And here you are reading it. You are aiding and abetting an Internet enema writer. Shame on you.

So, yeah. I had to give Marlo a few enemas along the way because she’d go, nine? Ten days? Ten days without pooping. You go right ahead and try that. Five days in and you’d be begging me to write about the fact that I went out and bought you an enema.

I’d always try to make it as low-key as possible (despite what you’ve heard, enemas are not a party), so I’d remain calm and tell her it was time for butt medicine. Yeah. Butt medicine. What? You don’t think that’s cute? Because that is cuter than a polar bear snuggling a pug. It’s cuter than a newborn puppy taking a nap and having its own fart startle it awake.

Butt medicine got her through the fear of bowel movements, and then suddenly she was potty trained. Thank god for the person who invented enemas if only because I no longer have to carry diapers and wipes in my purse. MORE ROOM FOR MY WEED.

Jump to the craft project in her preschool class. She and a few of the other kids were sitting around a low table with me, all of them dressed in plastic aprons, all giddy with the idea of destroying the planet with glitter. Her teacher had prepared a tray with bottles of glue and bowls of glitter and was approaching the table with this tray when Marlo’s face contorted with panic. I looked back at the teacher, and before she took another step I put the whole thing together in my head: the tops of the glue bottles had been removed (probably because they get clogged so easily? I think I remember this from my childhood?) and in their place she had stuck a paintbrush. Little white glue bottles with the wooden handle of a paintbrush sticking out of them. Marlo’s vision did that crazy Good Fellas camera trick where the foreground gets closer as the background recedes because, you know, imminent death.

Before I could do anything she screamed, “BUTT MEDICINE!!!!

She sure did. Loud enough and with such dread that I’m pretty sure you couldn’t have mistaken it for, “But, medicine?”

The teacher shook her head as if she didn’t hear her correctly, and Marlo continued hysterically, “I DON’T WANT BUTT MEDICINE! I DON’T WANT BUTT MEDICINE! NO. BUTT. MEDICINE.

I very quickly explained to Marlo that it was glue for the glitter and not butt medicine, nope, not butt medicine at all, not one bit. And then I gave a huge smile to the teacher who had raised one of her eyebrows.

“Yeah, it’s a long story,” I said. “But I assure you. Totally legal.”

  • hysterical!!

  • Jen Wilson

    Enemas are so horrid. My then-9-year-old had intense abdominal pain and I had no idea what was going on (I thought appendix, since I’d had mine out at about the same time), but nope, it was poop. Too much poop. So, an enema and 15 minutes of pooping later, we were home. My daughter walked in the door, looked at my husband, and said, “I DON’T want to walk about it.” We still (lovingly) tease her about that. (She’s got a sense of humour, she can take it.)

    Also, thank you for making me snort-laugh. I needed that this morning.

  • Jen Wilson

    This is what happened to my kid. Got so backed up she had to be on stool softeners for three months till her colon could go back to normal.

    Just because it’s rarely talked about doesn’t mean it’s not a regular occurrence for many kids/parents.

  • Megan Gordon

    Totally yelling “butt medicine” at the top of my lungs at some point – preferrably at one of my son’s school events. He was three once too. Paybacks.

  • Tina Beveridge

    Dangit I’m laughing so hard my eyes are watering and mascara is running. But it is comforting to know my kid isn’t the only one who screams embarrassing things.

  • Tina Beveridge

    and usually fall asleep in a different place than they wake up.

  • Tina Beveridge

    My husband just told me that when he was a kid, his cousin called sanitary pads “Mommy diapers”

  • PandoraHasABox

    All I gotta say about glitter and crafts with kids is that if you are compelled to engage in such activities, school is the best place possible. Some one else will have to deal with all the glerpes fallout.

  • Arnebya

    Alternating between yelling I PEED IN THE MOTHERFUCKING CUP and BUTT MEDICINE on the subway today, just to make it a more interesting commute home.

  • MissyMooMoo

    miralax was a miracle drug for us. Our son had major trouble with holding his bowel movement from 3 years of age to 9 years of age. I had to give him an enema at the doctor’s office once. If that hadn’t worked, he would had to go into the hospital to have the poop removed. He now tells his younger sister when she is holding on to hers; to go an poop because it is very bad. He periodically asks me if she has pooped recently. How many 15 y.o. boys worry about their younger siste;s poop!
    When he was beginning toliet training, he wouldn’t let us change his diapers when there was a poop sometimes. He would tells us “that it was sleeping.” The it being his poop.

  • Forrester L

    dooce, the way you tell a story, i just love it! And I love how I can comment on your posts again instead of having to log into the community.

  • Jen

    I love this and had to send it to my husband. This fall my three year old had a rectal prolapse (ever seen one of those? You will think your kid is dying…google it…dare ya…) and it did it 3 times…so we had to call it his “butt owie” because telling him “your butt is falling out, would be a bit traumatic”. Apparently this is common?

    BTW…I’ll make that batch of cookies… 😉

  • Teal

    I have Spina Bifida (a neural tube defect) which means that I have no bowel or bladder control. I’ve had many, many, many enemas in my life. If I wasn’t getting an enema, my mom was chasing me around the house with Saran wrap on her finger…just use your imagination! For the longest time, the “Cheers” theme song would remind me being constipated because I would sit on the toilet and listen to that show while trying to go, usually unsuccessfully. I had surgery to help the situation, but things didn’t regulate until I was 19. Yep, it’s been a long, and winding, and stinky road to Poopdom in my life!

  • Sally

    My 7 yr old gets constipated any time there is a change in routine. We’re partial to pear juice and prunes, and me asking “have you pooped today?” and then demanding that she drink pear juice, eat a prune and GO SIT ON THE TOILET! Luckily, I’ve never had to administer an enema! But I did get to look at an x-ray of her intestines filled with poop. I can’t wait until I don’t have to worry about my children’s excrement.

  • “Hey Dad, Please don’t ever write about me getting enemas.” -My son traveling back in time to stop me from writing about enemas. And him. For the future.

  • I have a friend who used to call it “the fecal finger of death.”

  • I tried giving my kid some oral laxatives to make him go. He hated them. We informed him he was getting an enema if he didn’t take them. He informed me he would rather take his poop medicine, “Up the butt” that swallow that stuff, so up the butt it was.

    He’s one day older than Marlo. I have to say I would have chugged the drink.

  • Do I have the same Childhood? Maybe not!

  • Nephthys48

    Yeah, great analogy. I’m trying to remember where I heard it first. Lewis Black comes to mind, but I’m not certain.

  • Mrs. K-6

    My son’s preschool puts their glue in bowls and give the kids paintbrushes. This is what has caused my son to be afraid of cookie frosting utilized in the same manner. Yours was way more funny though.

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.

read more