Opinion: An oldie but goodie, circa 2008


How would you react if your son caught the winning TD pass in the Super Bowl? Would you cheer? Cry? Twerk? I did all three when my extremely constipated 4-month-old son finally managed to “pass his own football” after an hour of straining and screaming. Honestly, I couldn’t have been prouder! The next morning, our momentary trauma long-forgotten, I vowed to add juice to his diet, and that was that.

Then, five years later and still constipation- ignorant, I found myself at a Promptcare with an obscenely hot physician, trying to explain how, even with laxatives and a children’s en- ema, my infant daughter couldn’t go. I watched in horror as he nonchalantly “extracted” the blockage with a Q-tip and then lectured me on the importance of dietary fiber. Not my finest parenting moment, to be sure.

Now, thanks to another child, I’m finally an expert on children’s constipation. He’s had it so bad that we’ve been seeing a pediatric G.I. for more than two years. Part of his problem is his diet, which rarely sees a fruit or a veg- etable, but the other part is just his body. His intestinal tract hasn’t matured enough yet to process foods properly. There’s nothing I can do for his genetics, which I blame entirely on my husband, but I can address what he eats. Unfortunately, that’s a lot easier said than done. After all, he can’t down 12 espressos to stimulate his bowels, and Mueslix just tastes nasty.

Our main course of action has been Miralax, which is exactly as the name implies, a miracle laxative. The beauty is it’s “tasteless, odor- less, and dissolves instantly in liquid,” so I can sneak it in hot chocolate fairly easily.

Next up are the fiber supplements. Two candy-like tablets a day plus Benefiber sprinkled on and in anything he eats. We’ve also switched out Wonder Bread for its bril- liant imposter, whole-grain white, and changed to iron-free vitamins. As for the MIA fruits and veggies, he’s only come on board with canned pears and peeled apples, neither of which pro- vide much fiber, but it’s a start.

Hypothetically, we should be able to wean him off all this subversive counter-constipation “crap” any time now, but on the few occasions when we’ve forgotten to administer his “meds” for several days, he’s reverted right back to a strung-out 6 year old, red-faced and crying on the toilet. According to his doctor though, he’s a healthy normal little boy who may just have to deal with a laxative addiction. And I’m okay with that, as long as he says “Hi Mom!” while holding the Lombardi trophy. Poop out! Please!

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