Tag Archives: encopresis

Starting school and more poo news

Well it has finally happened. My smallest small boy at barely 4 years old has started school.

My smallest small boy who is barely potty trained and is still tantrumming and hitting if things don’t go his way.

My smallest small boy who sometimes smells of strawberries and sometimes of damp dog despite us not having one.

My smallest small boy who wraps his arms around me and squeezes me just that little bit too tight so that I can’t breathe and snuggles into my neck all soft, whispering “I love you to infinity and beyond Mumma”.

I have waited and longed for this day, for the very difficult toddler years that I don’t cope well with to be over and for my freedom at last. How sad that sounds I know, it’s true though. I haven’t felt like a good parent this summer, shouting, controlling, trying to make order out of chaos, patience worn thin and feeling tattered and frayed around the edges.

I haven’t been very well this summer, my hypothyroidism spiralled out of control making me sure that the Multiple Sclerosis had taken a turn for the worst but it turns out that at best it was my thyroid and at worst it was a combination of the two. This isn’t an excuse for my shoddy parenting, just a contributory factor. One that I could do without though in the face of a new school year and a whole lot of new emotions to deal with!

We all tried extra hard over the holidays not to go on about “Big School” all the time as I know the pressure it can put on a small person who is already panicking about the unknown! I think I was just in denial though as I had just forgotten all the things that needed doing and all the uniform needed – jeeeeez!

Knowing what he is like I labelled everything and I mean everything including socks. Not pants though. Even I have a limit!! I just sat sewing labels into the smallest small shorts that even then looked far too big and just felt….I don’t know….scared. Excited too, don’t misunderstand me oh my god I knew I would be cheering with glee in the school car park the minute that I had dropped off my little darlings. But who would notice when he was hopping up and down needing the toilet but too engrossed in his current activity to realise? Who would cuddle him and rub his back to calm him down if he got upset and started lashing out? Hundreds of scenarios played themselves out in my mind as I calmly sewed the little name labels in, imagining him struggling to do up his buttons.

I sewed my love for him and my frustration at not being the parent that he so desperately needs at times into those labels, hoping that he would feel me with him in the moments he felt unsure and lost. Hoping that at least we had taught him kindness and compassion and that he would take with him all the things he had learnt from preschool where they loved and nurtured him in the safe environment he had grown to feel was a second home. I hope that he will grow to feel that about his new school in time.

I sewed my love for her into her labels, my strength to help her deal with the twists and turns of growing up as a girl, the challenges of friendships and emotional changes. She takes my breath away she is so beautiful and so smart and so courageous. She is everything that I would love to be, untarnished by grief and pain, new and shiny with all her life ahead of her. So excited and curious and questioning. I feel so full of love watching her on her journey.

The last few weeks leading up to the beginning of school term small boy’s poo problems returned. Probably a mixture of being in a less structured routine and his dawning realisation that things were changing. I tried to protect him from all of it but it is easy to forget that mentioning school can cause stress and hard to stop other well meaning people’s remarks of “Ooh you’re such a big boy now I bet you can’t wait to go to big school!” every single time we left the house.

He would have accidents and go off and hide his pants in the wash basket, get scared to use the toilet and start lashing out at us all again. We tried our very best to play it down, keep our cool and just pray every day that it would get easier for him. I had already pre-empted things with ‘Matron’ at school by explaining the ongoing situation and she was very supportive but I was still very scared.

The day arrived and he and his sister stood together in the kitchen in their new school uniforms. She, complaining because I had insisted on new dresses that had ‘growing room’. “Mumma I look like an idiot!!!” (okay she did look a bit like an orphan but I am a great believer in getting the most for your money) and he, with his feet so big in his school shoes that he looked like a puppy needing to grow into his feet and his unruly hair so short now.

I felt so proud of them whilst at the same time wishing so desperately that I could turn the clock back and do a much much better job than I have. Wishing that my Mum was alive to tell me that everything would be okay and that she had made all the mistakes that I had and see? it’s okay after all. God I missed her in that moment, I could barely speak as I felt my throat tighten with grief and pride and love all jumbled up together. I hope she’s watching all this somewhere I thought, I really could do with a hug right now. I know I look like I cope on the outside but it’s all a front a lot of the time, although less as time goes by. We’re doing okay all of us.

They both pottered into school with their bags, looking so smart. Big girl was thrilled to see her new classroom and looked so grown up it was untrue. Small boy skipped into his classroom and never looked back. I told him I was leaving and he said “Shush Mumma I’m building something!”. I spoke to his classroom assistant,who had also been big girl’s, about the toilet problems and she smiled and said “Oh don’t worry, lots of them have challenges and they all have accidents at some point! Some are still doing it when they leave us!!” she made light of it which was actually just what I needed. In that moment she made him just a normal little boy who sometimes has accidents just like everyone else and for that I will be forever grateful.

So, a week and a half in we are okay. I sent spare pants and we have had a few slightly wet pairs back but he has done all his poos on the toilet at home. He says that he doesn’t want to poo at school which inevitably means that he is holding a little but he is doing it at home, sometimes unprompted, which is amazing. I am not resting easy for one moment but for now I have 2 small people at school and they are tired but happy and that is all I want. For them to be happy. Although he made a sword out of cardboard yesterday and hit a poor girl in his class with it. I guess we need to work on impulse control a little.

Now what the fuck do I do with my life? Anyone want to offer me a job?


My boy

I’d never really thought about what it would be like to have a son, I had a girl and that was all I knew. When I was pregnant with my daughter I absolutely knew in my heart one hundred percent that I was having a girl even though we never found out until she was born. She is awesome and my absolute best little girl friend.

When I became pregnant for the second time I felt very different. I spent time wildly vacillating between boy and girl feelings unsure of how I would feel if I was to have a boy or another girl. I could never feel definitely in either direction. My intuition failed me entirely. I said to my husband one morning that I thought we were having twins. He thought that I was joking (he looked terrified). I wasn’t. Something felt very very wrong though, I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly but I just knew something was….I don’t know….not how it should be. Then the bleeding started. After much to-ing and fro-ing without boring you with the finer details I was told at the 13 week scan by a very lovely sonographer ironically (or aptly however you choose to view it) named Joy “Mrs Moore do you have twins in the family? Look…..you can see your baby? See the empty sac attached? I’m sorry, you’ve miscarried one of your babies. You were carrying twins”.

Grief and happiness in one extra special womb shaped package. One little fighter had made it….the other not so lucky or maybe my body knew something that I consciously couldn’t. That it was for the best. That’s what people say don’t they? It’s for the best. At least you’re still pregnant. It wasn’t meant to be. You’ve got MS, twins would have been extra hard. You are lucky.

I didn’t feel lucky. I felt like someone had sucked all the air out of the room and then put it all back in again minus something very very important. I felt bereft, half empty not half full. I felt heartbroken. Devastated. I felt that I was not allowed to grieve the miscarriage of my baby.

Because I had ONE left. Because after all I didn’t KNOW that I was pregnant with twins did I? Only that I was pregnant and surely I still was so that made it okay. How lucky I was that my baby had survived the miscarriage of his sibling and that we were both okay. My husband couldn’t understand how I felt because he hadn’t even got his head around us having twins because we didn’t know we were definitely until it was confirmed that we weren’t. I don’t blame him for that at all, despite how this might sound. He had seen me laid on the floor bleeding and crying and praying that my wonderful midwife Sue would find a heartbeat. She did of course although I still spotted on and off for the remainder of the pregnancy so she loaned me her spare doppler so that I could check for myself if I ever got anxious. I checked..every….single…day. More than once. For the rest of my pregnancy.

There were many more scares, consultants trying to tell me that I had reduced blood flow to the placenta, threatened inter-uterine growth restriction and risk of pre-eclampsia. I walked away with the support of my dearest husband and midwife Sue. We asked them to come back to us when they had hard evidence. Not vague possibilities and not because I fit the profile for their case studies. 

I went into labour early, almost 4 weeks. I thought I would as my daughter was 3 weeks early. It was a glorious, life changing home water birth which I wrote about and will publish here sometime. My very small, noisy, heart stealing boy had arrived. Nothing and no-one could have prepared me for the love I felt at that moment. Again. You don’t truly believe you can love that much again when you give your heart and soul to your first child. But you can and you do. Also he looks like a mini version of my husband so of course I fall in love with him again and again. I couldn’t stop smelling one of his ears….I know, weird eh? Gorgeous.

There are other tales entwined here. Tales of postnatal illness, coping with two children, being without my Mum again and more but that’s not where I am heading today. Today I am remembering the fight that my son and I had to get to that point because at the moment it feels like all we do is fight. It feels like every day is a struggle, a battle, a negotiation and I feel like I have failed him in so many ways. I want and need to remember the moment I pushed him into the world and the overwhelming joy and elation I felt on holding him and looking into his ink black eyes.

My boy has encopresis or chronic constipation. We have been toilet training since he was 2.5 years old. Something has happened and we don’t know when or what but he struggles and fights with going to the toilet. This means that he gets blocked up and this forces his bowel open all the time meaning that even though he is constipated the soft poo higher up leaks out around it. So we are always having to cope with accidents. We have tried to deal with this on our own for over a year now as we very wrongly thought that he would grow out of it. We thought that he knew he was doing it. We didn’t know that he had no control over it at all. 

It has been really hard and still is. It affects his behaviour in so many ways – he is uncomfortable because he is holding it a lot of the time as he has become frightened to go. He is irritable because of this, constantly wriggling, fidgeting, unable to get comfortable. He no longer knows that he needs to go only that he doesn’t like how he feels. If he has an accident he has to get cleaned up. Last week he wouldn’t let me wipe him and screamed and cried at me for half an hour. We both cried, great heaving sobs of frustration and hurt. Him because he doesn’t want this. Me because, despite doing everything that I am told and advised to do by the relevant health professionals who are now involved, I feel that I can’t help him and I have failed him. It must be my fault because he is my boy and and I should be able to fix this. 

To the outside world he looks like a boisterous, sometimes aggressive, difficult child at times. But I know he is so much more than that. He is kind, loving, ridiculously affectionate and caring. I feel that his and our life has been overshadowed by this and I am struggling to find my connection with him a lot of the time. 

He starts school in September and I am scared. I don’t want him to be labelled as the naughty boy who poos his pants every day. It is not his fault. I want to run away and pretend this isn’t happening. I don’t know what to do most days.

Except love him.

Because he is my boy and that is what I can do. I haven’t got any brothers and I don’t have a huge wealth of experience with boys as I am after all a girl albeit a old one. I feel very old today. Sometimes I just don’t know how to be with him and all I can think about is has he been for a poo today yet for fucks sake. That isn’t what either of us signed up for!! But it is really isn’t it? After all, I am his Mum and he needs me to be there for him and love him and cope with this. 

So I will.

I will love him because despite what a rubbish Mum I think I am most days I know one thing for sure…

I love him and he loves me.