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.