Lately my son, Jake, has taken to exploring his “special parts” pretty thoroughly, especially in the bathtub. He’s four, and I don’t want him to feel ashamed or embarrassed, and hey, it’s his body, so I generally just let him fiddle away. The other night I’m sitting there by the tub reading a book while he’s playing in the water. I glance up and notice he’s doing his thing again. After a few minutes, he gets particularly quiet and he has this really strange look on his face.
“Jake are you pooping in the bathtub?!”
“Then why do you have that weird look on your face?”
“Well, I just pushed a crayon way up my booty.”
“Ah Jesus, Jake. Well get out of the tub, sit on the potty and see if you can push it out.”
He can’t. Not after repeated red-purple faced grunts. Not after 45 minutes. Three different pediatricians tell me I have to take him to the emergency room. I call friends, Jake’s Grammie, other mamas, my dad, my best friend’s mother’s husband just because he’s a nurse…you get the picture.
Finally, my partner Pete gets home. He calls his mom who’s a mother of four and she calmly tells us he’ll “pass it” and not to worry.
I worry anyway, of course. After a few more kids maybe it won’t bother me if they crap out small reptiles, but Jake’s my first and only. So I’m picturing twisted, impacted, internally exploding bowels. I pull out a rubber glove, lube up a finger and go in.
“Mama, you’re touching my special parts. Ha, ha, ha, ha! You’re gonna get poop on your finger! Ha, ha, ha, ha!” I can’t feel a damn thing.
“Jesus, Jake, how far did you push it up there?”
“Waaaay up there. Get it out! My belly hurts! Just push in there and grab it with your hand! Did you get it, Mama? Huh? Did you grab it? Huh? Want the tweezers? I can go get my tool set, Mama.”
No luck. Pete suggests giving him an enema. He’s so brilliant.
Twenty minutes and a buck-fifty later, we’ve got the kid laying nude, sideways on a towel on the bathroom floor, shoving a lubed-up enema in his rectum.
“Ok, ready? It’s gonna feel weird when the water goes in, but I don’t think it’ll hurt.” I squeeze his little cheeks together and tell him the directions say we need to wait five minutes. About thirty seconds later he yells, “I gotta poop. NOW!” Out plops a red, Crayola bathtub crayon, in all its slimy glory. Jake beams.
I was clearly more traumatized than Jake and he knew it. The next morning Jake gets mad at me when I tell him it’s time to go to school. After the ritual negotiation, begging, counting, bribing, I eventually yell at him. He screams back, “You stupidhead! I’m just gonna go up in your bathroom, find something really big and push it way up my booty!”