When you have a child on the spectrum, poop takes on a whole other meaning. Does your child poop? How often does he poop? What makes him poop? What does his poop look like? What is the typical shape of his poop? How large are his poops? Does he poop more than once a day? Where does he poop? What is the makeup of his poop? Is his poop solid?
For years, Sam took Miralax daily to help him go poop. He has had gut issues (for those unknowing, gut issues = problems pooping, processing food, and everything else you can conjure up in your head) his entire life. Pooping is an olympic event at our household. Poop would sometimes happen just once or twice a week before we started him on Miralax. Sometimes there would be so many days between his poops that his tiny tummy would become so big you were just waiting for it to spew from his mouth and ears. (very bad visual)
We talked with doctors, homeopaths, natural healers, and nutritionists and everyone had a different opinion. We tried oils (or stuff that basically looked like cooking oil in a jar), certain foods that should "make him poop", there was gunk to drink, mixtures and concoctions, and then there was Miralax. Miralax basically softens things up a bit and gets the process moving. Long before Miralax became available over the counter, Sam was taking doses that would be the equivalent of what a 220lbs man would take. Every doctor appointment we would be reminded to never, ever mistakingly take a sip of his drink that had Miralax in it or the repercussions would be nasty. He weighed less than 45lbs and was taking the equivalent of a 200+lbs man? It still bewilders me. We were never convinced that this entire process was that healthy or safe but for goodness sakes...the kid has to poop.
After extensive eating therapy Sam was finally eating more than 3 foods a day. We waited for a good period of time to pass before we began introducing the GFCF diet even though we knew something about the foods he would eat seemed to cause problems. We first had to celebrate eating more than just a few foods. We never went "full-on" as some people recommend with the GFCF diet. There is an entire camp that swears if you even have a food item in the pantry that doesn't coincide with your diet then you "really are not on the diet". To each their own I suppose. None of us had extremely severe allergies either so we were lucky we didn't have to go as drastic as some people must. The adjustments that we made in his diet improved Sam's gut issues tremendously. It's funny how simple the changes can be to create such positive results. It wasn't easy by any means changing his. But, the results that we experienced after modifying his eating habits had a tremendous impact on his behavior. Alas, we also had some regular pooping going on. Miralax was benched and looked like it wouldn't be entering the game any time soon.
Well, the past few weeks we have seen some of the old-school poop problems coming back. We have evaluated his diet and started getting concerned that we may end up having to do another colonoscopy. (The colonoscopy deserves an entire blog dedicated to that life changing event so I will stop there) The doctor recommended trying a small amount of Miralax to see if that would get the party started. Miralax is now seeing some playing time again. Sam is not pleased by this at all. He fully understands what is going on and he is now afraid of pooping again. For years, he was afraid of pooping because when it did happen...well, let's just say that it was no small event.
Tonight there were tears, he was going around the house hitting his belly trying to make the pain stop, and there was a serious debate that puts the US Presidential debates to shame. To poop or not to poop.....the debate raged on, and on, and on. Finally, we convince Sam that giving it a go on the pot would make everyone feel much better. We were all worn out after the back and forth about the benefits and struggles of pooping. He gave in and jumped on board the porcelain chariot. Two minutes later, "I pooped!" We were all excited as he leaned forward on the toilet to open the door and peek his head out while covering his ears. Luke was in the bathtub and he began clapping. I think he was just relieved (no pun intended) to not hear us battling over poop with Sam anymore. Angie and I raced to check it out and make sure the poop was real and ready for the big flushing exit.
Sam finished up his bath and we all enjoyed some typical potty humor. I figured, this poor kid is so afraid of pooping because it hurts so bad this is just one of the many battles he has to deal with all day so we have to have some fun. There was a major need for levity. I'm proud to say that Sam has become fully aware of the masculine approach to poop. Big Poop = Big Man....grunt grunt huff huff. There was some cool poop dance moves and then the songs and cheering began. Pooping and scooping and having lots of fun. Give me a P, give me an O, give me another O, give me a P.....what does that spell....Poooooooopman! We are the Poopers couldn't be prouder, if you can't hear us we'll POOP a little louder! Ah, the joys of poop.
I have officially made pooping into a musical. I apologize in advance to his teacher if she hears him humming the ballad of Poopman. What was so great about all this potty humor and fun was what it did for Sam. He was no longer embarrassed and he was listening intently. He just smiled that big, beautiful smile of his and he opened his arms wide and fell towards me wrapping them around my neck. He held onto me tightly with his face buried in my neck and simply said, "I love you."
You know what Sam-the-man....I love you too.