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It’s no mystery that Mike has irritable bowel syndrome (by my expert diagnosis) because his bowels get stopped up, he starts getting neurotic, and I get VERY irritable.  We are coming off another “I’m never going to poop again” phase, and with that comes multiple trips to the bathroom.  Fine, right?  I mean at least the kid is trying to get back to a “regular” schedule.  Wrong!  He needs me to accompany him there every time he gets stomach cramps that preclude the possibility of elimination.  Multiple times a day, after I have done everyone’s bidding like “Mommy, can I have something to drink?” Or “I’m hungry, mommy—can I have a snack?” Or “Mommy, come and look at this!” and finally sat down after a hundred loads of laundry, vacuuming, dusting, etc—that’s about the time I hear “Mommy, come with me NOW, I have to go poopy—my stomach is cramping.”  I swear an alarm inside his body is wired to the sofa to go off as soon as my backside puts any pressure on the cushions.  Even when I tell him to “go into the bathroom, leave the door open, and I’ll be there in a minute…or holler for me if you need me,” he won’t go.  Eventually he will, but it’s a matter of putting some time between the bad bowel experience and the normal return of good bowel habits.  In the meantime, I escort him to the bathroom, where I sit on the edge of the tub and keep him company.  Sometimes I wash my face or pluck my eyebrows.  Sometimes I bring a book.  Three out of four times there is some passing of gas and then I am told “The stomach pain passed away, I don’t think I need to go now.”  It’s a great waste of time. 

Today I went out with my girlfriend for a 6 mile walk (which I do once every week or two, incredibly, it results in pretty much nothing as far as weight loss—but believe it or not, we have a good time!) I had to run a couple of errands afterwards to pick up the things I couldn’t find at yesterday’s delightful Big Lots experience.  When I got home, Greg was bathing the boys, and I was unloading the car.  After everything was put away, I sat down to some lunch, and just as I was finishing, I hear “Mommy come with me to the bathroom.”  Really?  I tried my usual excuses combined with the encouraging of independent bathroom habits and the radical pay-off of being able to achieve elimination in privacy.  Just like you probably stopped listening to that last wordy sentence, so did he…  I went with him and stood in the doorway making faces and talking over him as he whined and whimpered about his “tummy hurting”—then I resorted to making noises and loud sobbing every time he spoke, until he finally laughed.  Then he “tooted” and told me that “the cramping passed away (I love that!), and I can’t poop right now.  Do you have to do an enema because I couldn’t poop?”  No, Mikey, not when you went yesterday.  Then he tells me, “If I toot, it means I’m done, and if I don’t toot, it means I’m done.”  Great—I don’t know what this means exactly (other than he’s done), but it sounds like some nonsensical explanation I would give when I am tired of answering ridiculous questions.

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