Suppository Avoidance and The Big Braum’s Tease

Sometimes medical professionals have a hard time diagnosing me. It’s not that I’m made of steel or that I am from the planet Tatween; it’s that I’m somewhat of a hypochondriac plus there was that time I drank the tiger blood.

My heart arrhythmia from college was first thought to be caffeine-related, then due to stress, then a result of a PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale), then it WASN’T a PFO, then (later in life) because I was pregnant.

My (two) ineffective epidurals from Things One and Two respectively were due to bad first attempts, then supposedly to insufficient volume of medication, then to the wrong KIND of medication, then finally because I have “a weird nerve thing ” — to quote Nurse Anesthetist #2.

My unreliable right knee — the one that gives out sporadically like it’s trying for a Seinfeld-esque dance move — was first thought to be patellar tendonitis, but then last week when it gave out for the third time at therapy, my physical therapist asked if an MRI had been taken because it “seems like a meniscal tear.” I will not be surprised if I am ultimately diagnosed with “probable incubation of a small but testy knee troll.”

Come to think of it, I’m not so much a hypochondriac as I am just a resplendent mystery. Or circus oddity. An enigma wrapped in bacon. Take your pick.

Thing One is No Different.

After his successful week of peeing in the potty, we started gently applying pressure on Drew for the big Number Two. Big Boy day came and went, and while he was keeping his pants as dry as a sun-baked kneecap (what a weird thing to say), he was also, ahem, continuing to pack heat. Which is terrible and soul eating.

I’d see him waddling down the hall like a duck and would close my eyes in quiet horror, knowing another pair of Thomas underwear were on their way to the Diaper Genie like a common Huggie. We began gently shaming him. You’re a big boy now Drew, and it’s really gross for big boys to poop in their pants, we would say.

Then he stopped pooping. For three days.

Gordon began to worry. I was kind of glad. Drew complained of being sick. Madeline beefed up her arsenal of self-defense moves while her brother was somewhat inert.

I guess I should say he didn’t COMPLETELY Katy-bar the doors. He would, ahem, let off a little steam just to keep the pressure at an even poundage. I would find small rat droppings on the rug — falling out of his shorts — and in other various locales, like he was leaving a trail of hate and evil for me to follow into hell.

Up to this point we were strictly positive-reinforcement-type potty trainers. Our big promise? Ice cream. But this week, something snapped within us and we began withholding things: his favorite airplane, his favorite truck, and yes, even Caillou watching privileges. After all, this situation worse than diapers. At least with diapers you can predict where the waste will be ensconced.

Still he held out. (While holding it in).

On Wednesday night, Gordon looked at me gravely: I think we need a suppository.

Off to Walgreens I Went.

I leaned over the pharmacy counter and half whispered: My three-year-old, he is, um, I think, kind of constipated? And I was wondering if, like, there is a, um, a suppository (I said this like there was a rancid lemon in my mouth), maybe one for kids, that I could give him?

The man looked at me. The anorexic-looking girl in line behind me was very still, like a mannequin. I could feel her bored stare on the back of my head.

Let me get the pharmacist, he says.

(This wasn’t the pharmacist? They let anyone back there? I’m going to have to publicly say the word CONSTIPATED again?)

I repeated my spiel to the real pharmacist.

He recommended this. Gives me involuntarily Kegel spasms:

Drew had already gone to bed when I returned. This box sat on my dresser that night, looking at me as I read in bed. I could still feel its cold stare when the lights went out.

But Then It Happened.

The next morning at dawn, Drew pooped his Pull-up. Oh well, I guess there’s no Caillou tonight, we said. Well, that was that. A close call.

But later in the afternoon he got up from his nap and went into the kitchen where he remained unusually silent. Because this is by definition suspicious and because I needed a cookie, I went to investigate.

He stood holding his shorts in his right hand like it was a limp flag. Did you poop? I say.

Need to poop, Mommy.

You NEED to poop?

We rush to the bathroom. I’m trying to play it cool and collected as I sit his little tush on the wide white plastic seat. His eyes probe mine, looking for signs of treachery.

It’s OK, Baby, just push it out! Push it out! You can do it!

A look of panic and then somewhere in the distance a church bell tolled and a chorus of roaring lions resounded at the zoo, and — JACKPOT.

Elation. Rapture. Reveling.

Yet’s go get ice cweam! He shrieks.

Oh YES, Baby, let’s go get some right now!

Here’s how proud he was. Can’t you see the swagger?

The Sour Smell of Regression

And then there was…yesterday.

I dropped him off at his day camp. When I picked him up, his teacher tells me he asked to pee in the bushes outside and didn’t go in the potty. If this doesn’t ring any bells for you, read this blog and get up to speed.

She continued: We didn’t let him go in the bushes because we didn’t think it would reflect very well on the church.

Indeed not.

Then his other teacher drops the real bombshell: Drew pooped in his swim shorts before they left for their field trip.

Pooped in his pants? After that big mound of ice cream? He wants to pee in the bushes? What the heck? What gives? What’s the diagnosis here? Is he from Tatween?

And, can I go to Vegas?
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If you liked this blog, you might also like:
1. To Quote Elmo: I’ll Be Back.
2. Things of Steel: Cars, Trains, Bladders and Resolve

6 Comments to “Suppository Avoidance and The Big Braum’s Tease”
  1. becky says:

    Oh the joys of potty training…I’m sure he’ll figure it out before college 🙂

    My 5 year old (who’s been potty trained for 2 years) still hasn’t figured out wiping himself…we tried to hand him the reins in this area but after a couple weeks of cleaning poop off the trash can, floor and toilet (me) and breaking out the plunger to unclog the toilet a few times (hubby) we decided wiping him ourselves was easier. I tell myself I’m sure he’ll figure it out before college.

  2. Deanna King says:

    Hey Julie, remember me? I’ve got to say your blog is hysterical! Coming from a Mom that raised 6 children, oh how did I do it – I still have no clue* but I did and now my son Anthony and his wife are going through the same thing as you guys with my Grandson – Sorry but this Grammy get’s to sit back and smile…Good luck and trust me it does get better!

    • Julie Rhodes says:

      Hey Deanna! Wow, so great to hear from you! I can’t even imagine SIX kids, let alone the FIVE my mother raised. There is special grace all around us moms. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  3. Suzanne Barker says:

    Oh Julie! This makes me hurt for you! SO frustrating… Let’s go get a drink, yes, that’s my solution.

    • Julie Rhodes says:

      I’m actually kind of used to it now. Unloading cotton underwear into the toilet, then kneading it between my fingers, then hanging it out to dry, then dry heaving, all makes me feel like a tough-as-nails prairie woman. Hear me roar.

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