So...are you aware of this phenomenon in which toddlers get constipated, have a hard poo, and consequently become terrified of pooping and hold it in for days, causing more constipation and, even better, almost non-stop screaming and crying, day and night? I was not. But apparently it's a thing. Apparently many young children are medicated for this every day until they're five because it's so fucking horrible. All I can say is WHAT.THE.FUCK.
Bobby has dragged me out of bed several days in a row at 6 AM (and much of the previous night) with his screaming and crying, complaining of "poop issues" (yes, I used this phrase once and he adopted it) and just wanting to be held. And of course I indulged him because I am not going to leave my kid screaming and crying in his room. But it's no joke having your two-year-old up that early. It's ruined our routines and left me exhausted, sleep-deprived, and scrambling to catch up. Because when he's out and about I can't take a shower and leave him and the baby unattended, so the baby has to be left screaming in the attic while I frantically try to "hose off the big chunks" and throw on whatever clothes happen to be handy from the day before; then I have to try to breastfeed the baby while Bobby is wreaking havoc and distracting the baby, causing him to of course clamp down on my nipple and drag it with his head as he turns to look at his wacky older brother, etc etc. In the meantime Bobby is having these episodes every few minutes where he turns bright red and starts screaming and wants me to pick him up. He asks for food and then won't eat it. I can barely throw a couple of spoonfuls of cereal down my throat between catering to B's every whim, holding him and rocking him every time he starts screaming in agony, while also thumping the baby's back to bring up the lump of banana he's currently choking on, and/or trying to spoon some dribbly purée into his mouth as he slaps the spoon out of my hand and it sprays all over me and the kitchen. Suffice it to say, between this and the endless fights/cajoling/bargaining required to do even the simplest tasks - wiping noses, brushing teeth, putting on socks and shoes, getting down the stairs to the car - I am raw and over it before the day has really even begun.
At least at my mommy meetup today we were able to determine that B was in fact refusing to poop and not technically constipated (I had loaded him up with poop-inducing food the night before so I was so frustrated when this morning he was worse than ever). One mom told me her son has been on Miralax for a year. I made a very unpleasant stop at the drugstore for this one item on the way home and spiked his water with it.
The rest of the day was so frustrating. Bobby would be fine one minute, then screaming and crying and demanding to be picked up the next. And he stank horribly from constantly letting little streaks of poo escape but fought me if I tried to change him. I insisted he have a bath because he was such a mess, but that turned into a battle royal, resulting in my yelling at him to "sit down, god dammit!" as he screamed and fought me not to rinse the shampoo out of his hair. I felt such an intense rage that I left the room, intent on walking into the hallway and just screaming my head off, but then I remembered I would probably wake the baby, so I just stood there and breathed long and slow. Came back into the bathroom to find he'd pooped in the tub. And - surprise! We're completely out of bleach. FML.
If anyone ever told you that parenthood would push you to your absolute limits, they were so, so right. I can't remember being this out of control and rage-filled since I was a child myself.
Thank God this kid has such a short memory for this stuff. Literally minutes later he was laughing and playing and handing me my watch to put back on. I chalk this up to: a) he's two, and b) he's a dude. I, on the other hand, will be traumatized for quite some time by today's events, the two mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches I just ate notwithstanding.
I often think of my mother and grandmother at these moments. All the times I felt my mother was being unfair or unkind when I was a kid. All the times my mother said her mother was unkind to her, like the time my grandmother hauled my mother away from the dinner table and beat her for not eating her food.
I want to say to myself and everyone who's ever felt this way about their mother - did it ever occur to you that you might have been a monumental pain in her ass? Did you ever think of that?
Picture my grandmother in the stifling 1950s, dreams of going to Cornell blighted by the times, instead a hardworking secretary married to a philandering non-contributing alcoholic, just trying to hold it all together, cooking nutritious meals from scratch every night after a long day's work, and your daughter won't eat because she doesn't like it. Was it ok to beat the crap out of her? Of course not. Do I kind of get it? Yup.
And yet it could be worse. So, so much worse. Measles is ravaging our state and I am panicking that Theo can't get his vaccination for it for another six weeks. I can't even handle a little constipation, can you imagine an actual life-threatening illness? And tonight I had the pleasure of paying my utilities, remaining property tax payment, and giant credit card bill. Can you imagine if I hadn't made the money I needed...?
For now I am going to collapse into a stupor, try to find something humorous about today, and shake it out of my system like an Etch-A-Sketch ready for the next masterpiece.