My son just left my arms, wailing. He's wailing because life isn't fair, though he didn't use that phrase... yet. Life isn't fair for my little boy tonight because I said, "No. I'm sorry but you cannot have apple juice." Of course, the only reason he asked for apple juice right before bedtime is because he saw that his twin sister had a jug of it - literally, a jug.
WARNING: GRAPHIC, EXCREMENT-RELATED CONTENT TO COME
My son has never had a problem pooping. From his infancy through his toddler hood, we could count on at least two poopy diapers every day. And when I say "poopy", I mean completely, utterly, and disgustingly messy and smelly. He has never shied from eating veggies and fruits, and he drinks - oh my goodness does he drink - every ounce of liquid we put in front of him. His poop flows regularly.
On the other hand, my daughter has the opposite problem. Probably because she refuses all green veggies and rarely finishes her cup of juice/water/etc., she struggles to be regular. There have been times when she hasn't had a BM in a week (or more). During one particularly dry spell last winter, we tried every remedy her doctor, my acupuncturist, and my friends suggested. Just as I was about to use my finger (the last resort recommended by her doctor) to unleash her stool, she decided that she really did like apple-prune juice if she could drink it through a straw directly out of the plastic container. With diligence on the part of all her caregivers, we helped her through her block, and since then, she has had an easier time pooping.
As you might imagine, having twins with opposite poop problems poses challenges. In order to keep my daughter regular, juice is part of the diet. In order to keep my son from blowing out every day, we must limit severely his juice intake. We get creative, watering down his juice, giving hers in an opaque cup, and we keep track in the daily "kid care" log that helps the transition between sitter and parents, marking off when each child has a "BM". I don't even bother to look at the box in my son's column. I know it will be checked. But I keep track of my daughter, and I stay diligent about the juice in her diet.
My sitter knows that I don't like the kids to have more than one cup of juice per day. I learned from nearly every parenting magazine I have ever read that this is the "mother-of-the-year" limit on juice, and since I know I'm failing in other categories, I try to achieve high marks in this one. Because of my daughter's recurring problem, we keep apple juice stocked in the house. However, it's not an every day treat. In fact, both I and my sitter often forget about it -- until my sweet girl starts grunting.
Now that we are potty training, her constipation has become a real pain in the butt (literally for her and figuratively for us). This past week she has passed several small stools in several short intervals. She's great about asking to go "poop on the potty," but as I hold her on the big potty and watch the turtle head hang in oblivion, I cringe. Now she's taken to asking me to "help get it out." Lovely.
After two days of pulling turtle heads out of my daughter's butt and crying inside as she grunted in pain, I started the apple juice regimen. "She needs to have a least a cup a day until we get her regular," I told my sitter. My daughter knows that the juice helps her "tummy feel better," so she will ask for it when she's feeling poopy.
Tonight she looked at me and said, "My tummy hurts. Can I have some juice?" I obliged, and since she had accidentally dumped the entire cup I had given her earlier in the day, I decided to double up on the serving. I found a kid-sized jug , filled it, and sent her off to drink her apple a day.
Not surprisingly, my son showed up on my lap asking for apple juice. Unfortunately for him, he had already devoured 2 cups of orange juice AND a cup of apple juice today. In no way did he need a cup of medicinal apple juice. In order to try to keep my "mom-of-the-year" status in the juice category, I couldn't say yes. In order to avoid the third disaster-poop of the day, right before bedtime, I HAD to say no.
As he wailed and watched his sister marching past with her now nearly empty jug of apple juice, I explained that life doesn't always seem fair. I'm sure he heard me - right before he threw himself off my lap and wailed into the next room.
And now, as the gods have dictated, I am being called by my daughter who has "a poopy in my pants." I can tell it's a big one, rivaling her brother's in smell and consistency. Apparently the apple juice worked. And my husband is still at work, so I'm on diaper changing duty in addition to being the "life is not fair" dictator. Sometimes, life just seems too ironic to be fair. But at least my little girl is regular again.