In Toni Morrison’s Sula, Eva is torn apart by her son’s drug addiction.  This is the child who was so constipated as a baby that Eva had reached her finger up into that tiny little rectum and removed the painful blockage manually, giving a whole new meaning to the truism that mothers are generally shat upon.  That he is now a man broken apart by his PTSD and his addiction is too much for Eva to bear, and so she sets him afire.

            There have been times in the past four-and-a-half years when I have wanted to set a few fires of my own.  I’ve never been tempted to burn the kids, but there have been not a few poops that led me to believe it might just be easier to set the entire house aflame than to try to dispose of the evidence.

            Such was the case on Friday, when I unexpectedly had the two-year-old boy who we carpool at my house for a couple of hours after school.  In the course of forty-five minutes, three out of four children needed my assistance with their bowels.  Our guest had a poopy diaper that was easily flushable.  Next, Zach had a movement; fortunately, he is old enough to do that in the proper location and I just need to come in after the fact as the Wiping Brigade.  And, of course, Benjamin had one of his thrice-daily Produce-Junkie Specials, poops so nasty as to make me desperate to finally convince him to avail himself of the toilet facilities we so generously supply.

            The only one who didn’t poop was Lilah.  Five-month-old Lilah, who had gotten her Rotavirus vaccine on Tuesday and had subsequently ceased to poop.  This is a new vaccine and it is oral, which in itself is complicated because we have learned she throws up all medicine unless she takes it on an empty stomach.  The first time she took it, at two months old, Lilah ended up in the hospital with pneumonia.  Since there was no connection between the vaccine and the pneumonia, we forged ahead and gave her the second booster.  I am just not one to turn down a vaccine that the doctor thinks we need.

            Except, now it appears that this particular vaccine stops up her bowel movements.  Crap.  Actually, no crap.  Except for tiny little green and foul smelling smudges that she pushed out that itty-bitty tushy with much sturm und drang.  One day I waited.  Nothing but mighty pushing and much face-turning-red.  Two days I waited.  Screaming, more red-facing, me holding her legs up to aid her.  Three days.  I really thought she was going to rip herself a new one.

            So, I did it.  I pulled a Toni Morrison.  I’m here to tell you, it’s just as disgusting as I’d imagined it would be.  And it still took three suppositories, four hours at the urgent care clinic, five days, and a pureed pear to finally clear that sucker out.

24 responses to “Shit

  1. Oh gosh, I remember the poopy days. You are a good mother.

  2. Oh, poor girl! And that applies to you and her.

  3. I just discovered your blog and have been enjoying reading your past entries. Yes, as a mother I have done things that I never would have dreamed I would or could do. And it never stops. I invite you to check out one of my posts at

  4. Poor baby, and poor you. Have you encountered Kyla’s brilliant term, fecal midwifery?

    I haven’t yet had to resort to such measures, though there were times when we’d thought we’d have to with Phoebe. (Now we have been combatting the opposite problem for many months.) (Yes, the topic of poop comes up frequently in our household as well.)

  5. This is the ultimate of all been-there-done-thats (I have been, and have done). So glad she’s feeling better.

  6. I have found with my 8 month-soon to be 9 month old, that baby food prunes or carrots (why carrots I have no idea) seem to clean her out well, so I keep both on hand at all times for the days when there is no poop. Its not instant, but so far we have seen results….

  7. Yup – you totally just topped any and all poop-related stories I might have. And I’m just selfish enough to sigh deeply and whisper a “thank god it wasn’t me,” although, darn it, shouldn’t be ANYONE.

  8. Nice. The things we do…though I have yet to do the Toni Morrison. I rely much more heavily on pears and peaches.

  9. You wrote about POOP.

    I am dying over here. 😉

  10. Thank you. For the reminder that there some things about that stage that I so don’t miss. We are, in the beginning, a digestive tract and everything builds from there. It is a wonder that characters in novels are more often dealing with digestive upset rather than just angst or obsession over sex or social status.

  11. I’m glad that this has resolved. Poor Lilah, and poor Mama. I hope that there are no more rotavirus boosters in the future.

  12. Oh the things that mothers do. There should be a video of this made available to all young girls who thing that becoming sexually active might be a good idea.

  13. Been there. Done that. A couple of years ago there was a comment discussion at my place with Kyla, Jen (Rosebud and Papoosie Girl) and others. I think it was then that Kyla coined the term Emergency Fecal Midwifery. She’s a regular pro at the procedure.

    I hope all is moving smoothly now.

  14. Oh no!!!!! That sounds horrible! Poor little pooper. 😦

  15. As you know, my son suffered from anxiety about pooping when he was almost three and wouldn’t do it, no way no how, for up to seven days at a time. I nearly went completely mad. I never stuck my finger up there – never occurred to me it would work. Anyhow, I hope the blockage has been cleared now and the effects of the vaccine wearing off.

  16. Oh gosh, I remember my mom doing that to my baby sister once. I was awed by her intestinal fortitude. Now I know, it’s jsut something Moms do, like it or not.

  17. oh sweet jesus, had I KNOWN where this was going I would have run the other direction SCREAMING.


  18. If that wasn’t the perfect post title, I don’t know what would have been.

    You are a goddess. And mother of the year.

  19. I had the “pleasure” of using suppositories with both of my totally breast-fed babies. Tight sphincters, on both of ’em, just like their mommy. Good times.

  20. Oh, NOOOO! I really feel for you there, girl. Thankfully, my son has never, ever been constipated in his life. I have a lot of friends that have had that pleasure, though, and I even have a friend that had to do the same thing for her failing 52-year old mother-in-law. Yep.

  21. Auuughhhahghhh! That sounds quite painful for everyone involved!!!

  22. Ewwwy. Noise used to get impacted when he first potty trained because he would hold it in. Then I had to go digging. It’s never fun, but the look of relief is certainly some kind of reward.

    I keep latex gloves all over the house now. Just in case.

  23. nothingissacred

    I’ve had to do the Toni. More than once. It seems like since I’ve had kids poop is a bigger part of my life than it really should be.