When my daughter was still very small – we’ll say, somewhere in the range of half a year old – she wound up with a case of constipation. As parents of any small children will tell you, this is something to be concerned about. A couple of days is nothing to rush off to the emergency room for, but several days in a row requires attention. After all, people have to poop; not doing so can mean that something is wrong, and can also cause a whole host of other issues.
At first I wasn’t too concerned, and maybe even a little bit relieved, since I’d changed an awful lot of poopy diapers up to that point. After a few days straight I thought I’d best ask our family physician about it. After sitting in the waiting room with a squirming baby for almost an hour, I was told to “just give her some prune juice”. The suggestion did not amuse me, since at this time my daughter refused to put anything other than breast milk in her mouth, but this particular physician (who shall remain unnamed) is the kind whose first suggestion is his final suggestion, so I gave up and left.
Hubby and I tried several things to “get things moving” for the baby. We tried the aforementioned prune juice, although it was nearly impossible to get her to actually swallow any. We tried giving her little tummy massages and pumping her legs up and down (hey, don’t look at me…we read it online). We tried several things that I won’t mention because anyone who hasn’t done those exact things will be more than a little creeped out – just trust me when I say that they were legitimate suggestions from other parents and health care professionals.
Eventually, it had been more than a week. I ended up at my physician’s office again, and recieved the exact same advice: “Just give her some prune juice.” I nearly bit his head off this time, because I was genuinely getting worried, and as I tried to explain, prune juice is useless if the kid refuses to swallow it.
We didn’t know what else to try. The baby seemed happy and healthy enough, so it wasn’t as though it was a medical emergency, but we were definitely concerned.
I can’t quite remember why we decided to go shopping in a town that’s a half-hour drive away. I’m sure we must have had a reason because we rarely bother to go this town unless we’re looking for something specific that we can’t find in our own town. Whatever the reason, on day 8 of my daughter’s refusal to defecate, after having barely left our house for over a week, we found ourselves in a Shoppers Drug Mart that is a 30 minute drive from home.
Kid’s have impeccable timing.
If I’m recalling the event correctly, hubby had been holding the baby and I had wandered into another aisle, when suddenly he came storming toward me with great concern in his eyes. I think we got into the store’s single washroom without anyone noticing what had happened. There was no changing station in that single bathroom. There wasn’t even a counter. The sink was tiny and had no ledge around it. Literally the only place to lay the baby was on the floor. I tore half the roll of paper towel out of the dispenser and made a make-shift “change table” on the floor, and hubby laid the baby down.
And there we were, in a Shoppers Drug Mart bathroom, a 30 minute drive from home, trying our very best not to throw up as we struggled to clean the result of 8 days of constipation from the baby and ourselves. Trust me when I say that whatever you are imagining right now is not horrifying enough to explain the actual event. I used an entire pack of baby wipes. My hubby could barely watch while attempting to hold the baby still as I worked, and he kept gagging off to the side. Twice I actually had to get up and run over to the toilet because I was sure I was going to vomit. What felt like hours later we had the baby all cleaned up and in a new set of clothes (that, thank god, I’d had in the diaper bag). I washed my hands in such scalding hot water that I’m amazed the skin didn’t peel right off them.
I’m pretty sure I remember the baby laughing at me during this part. I’m not sure. My subconscious might be sensationalizing her role as antagonist in this particular piece.
The point is that when it comes to kids, preparation is great, organization can be key, but expectation is a fool’s game. Kids will always surprise you with their ability to pick the absolute best time to do the absolute worst things. In retrospect, yes, my hubby and I should have considered that a blow-out of mass destruction was imminent sooner rather than later, and that this kind of thing would not be best dealt with while out in public, but I guarantee you that if we had taken that trip to Shoppers on day 3 of this little episode, the little bugger would have chosen that moment to explode from the inside out. Kids just have a way of knowing the exact perfect time to strike.
“So what’s the point?” you might ask. “If they’re going to surprise me no matter how much I plan ahead and think that I’m ready for anything, then why even bother telling me this?”
Because it makes for one hell of a story, that’s why. And that’s another thing I know about kids: they’re great for material.