Potty training little boys can be hard enough, but one mom took to Reddit to share how one little mistake she made turned into a two-day nightmare of her own creation. The mom in question, who we'll call Ellie, was just trying to fix her 4-year-old son's constipation - we'll call him Jack. It had been a solid week since poor little Jack had had a bowel movement, so Ellie, in total desperation, turned to the one substance she should have known to leave well enough alone: laxatives. Her woeful journey led her to discover the reason why doctors usually don't suggest using adult laxatives on children of a certain age. She might have been deeply embarrassed by the events she set in motion, but an important part of motherhood is learning from those mistakes and passing that knowledge on so other mothers don't do the same thing.
Ellie's son Jack had always had digestive issues, even as an infant. He suffered from constipation for so long, his pediatrician eventually suggested Ellie and her husband, Jim, use PediaLax liquid glycerin suppositories "from time to time" to get him regular as a last resort.
"Before and after that, he would spit up almost constantly. I never left the house without at least 5 burp cloths and if you held him, you definitely needed to wear one.. or you'd be wearing his already-digested formula. On more than one occasion, he spit*up in my mouth,"* Ellie wrote.
Happily, this and switching to solid foods solved their problems for the next couple of years. Once he turned four, Ellie and Jim began to re-introduce dairy into his diet. Though they were a bit cautious about how it would turn out in the beginning, they were pleased to see that he took to it like a duck to water. Soon enough, though, little Jack's troubles came back, and with a vengeance.
Both Jim and Ellie had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), so they'd never suffered from constipation a day in their life. Usually, for them, the opposite was what cause them trouble. Their son's constipation struggles were unlike anything either of them had ever been through.
"This is an entirely new world for us," Ellie admitted.
At this point, it had been a week since the last time Jack pooed. That day, Jack's preschool called Ellie to report that Jack had been in pain all day, complaining of a stomach ache. While he was able to have one, hard poo during that day, his teacher was worried he might be constipated. Ellie swore to the teacher that she would take care of it and that Jack would be right as rain the next day. Well, by promising that, Ellie wrote a check her butt couldn't cash.
As she was driving home from work that night, a lightbulb went off in Ellie's head. She recalled Jack's earlier difficulties and how they'd been able to solve it: Liquid Glycerin Suppositories. While sitting in the parking lot of the store, she did some quick Googling to figure out if she had any alternatives. Using a suppository on an infant was a lot different from using one on an active 4-year-old and Ellie wanted to avoid that if at all possible.
"Do you know how strong and agile 4-year-olds are?!" Ellie wrote. "My husband has a weak stomach, so it would be up to me. I'm barely taller than my son is! I also really don't want to stick anything near his butt that isn't a wipe. It would traumatize both of us. At least as an infant, I didn't really have to...go in. And he was none the wiser. But now? Oh no. Not doin' it."
Luckily, she saw that the brand she was looking at through Google also offered a chewable children's laxative that would no doubt make her life easier. So Ellie went to the laxative aisle, only to find that the store was completely out of all children's laxatives. Ellie and her family didn't exactly live in the middle of nowhere, but it was basically the next thing to it.
"No time for Amazon, we need it TONIGHT," wrote Ellie. There was no other store nearby for Ellie to go to, so she wandered over to the adult laxative section and began asking herself some hard questions.
After a short search and a lot of Googling, Ellie decided on a pack of chocolate flavored, chewable laxatives. They were marked for adults, but Ellie figured that the proportions for a 4-year-old couldn't be too far off. She went home and had a nondescript night. Then 7 pm struck. As nonchalantly as possible, Ellie asked Jack if he wanted a piece of chocolate. "Of course he does, he's my son," she said.
For a moment, Ellie debated whether one small square of chocolate would do the trick. After all, the poor boy had been backed up for a week now. On the box, there was a suggested serving size of two squares for children between the ages of 6 and 12, so she decided to go the cautious route and stick to one square for now. That was the one good decision Ellie made that entire night, but it wasn't going to be good enough to keep the inevitable from happening.
For the next hour, Ellie and Jim constantly questioned Jack about whether or not he had to go. He kept answering no and Ellie began to get nervous. Bedtime was quickly approaching and she worried the laxative might kick in while he was asleep. There'd been an...incident not that long ago. Though Jack was 4-years-old, he still used diapers from time to time, especially when it came to number 2. He was perfectly potty trained, as far as number 1 went, but he had some issues going number 2, which Ellie fully acknowledged.
During the incident in question, Jack pulled off his poopy diaper in the middle of class and proceeded to fling it around the room, pelting his classmates, teachers, and classroom at large with his feces. That, Ellie was quick to add, was a one-time incident he had never done before or since. Finally, just before bedtime, Jack had a poop. It was fairly small, considering how long he'd been backed up, but at least it was something.
"Houston, we have lift off," Ellie wrote. Jack went to bed happy that night, as did his mom and dad, blissfully unaware of the morning that awaited them.
It was Jim's day off work, so it was his turn to take care of Jack's morning needs. He got up at 6 am sharp, leaving Ellie to sleep for another hour before her own alarm went off. Jack was already up at this point, so Jim went to his room to check on him. All Ellie heard was, "OH GOD, SON!" Then came the sound of Jim gagging as he ran across the house to grab a plastic bag.
"JUST PUT HIM ON THE POTTY," Ellie yelled, trying to be as helpful as possible while still not getting out of bed. Her alarm wasn't going off till 7am and, as a tired mom, she wanted Every. Single. Second of sleep she could possibly get.
Jim couldn't get Jack on the toilet fast enough, so Jack came running to his parents' room, climbed up on the bed next to Ellie and cried out, "MOMMY, I NEED TO TAKE MY TEMPERATURE!" He was freaking all the way out. He kept farting and every time he did, a little bit came out. By this point, he was half-crying in his panic. Ellie reluctantly got out of bed and walked Jack to the bathroom. "My husband is hiding in a corner somewhere," Ellie wrote, "rocking back and forth, intermittently gagging." It was all up to Ellie now.
She got Jack on the toilet, but he was still freaking out. He was literally shaking as everything that had been backed up in him for so many days came rushing out all at once. His butt was "making noises I've only ever heard come from a grown man," Ellie wrote.
Finally, the worst of the storm had passed and now Jack wanted off the toilet. To keep him occupied, Ellie let him flush the toilet as many times as he liked, ("whatever works, man") while she called down to Jim to bring her some wipes. For a job this big, regular toilet paper just wouldn't do.
"I can't do it," Jim called out through his gags, "I'll throw up." Rolling her eyes, Ellie ran to get them herself, mentally preparing herself for the moment she got back. She just knew that Jack would pop off the toilet in her absence, and Lord only knows what he'd get up to once he did.
To her surprise, however, Jack actually stayed put, which made the job of cleaning him up all that much easier. She cleaned him up, then hopped in the shower herself. An hour passed by and there were no more poops, so Ellie and Jim figured they were in the clear. Jim got Jack ready for school and dropped him off, while Ellie headed into work. She went in, feeling great about everything that had happened so far. Then came a call from the school.
The teachers had become concerned because Jack had had two bouts of diarrhea since they'd dropped him off that morning. Bad bouts. They had to clean him off afterward. It should be noted that Ellie did not use the word "wipe." In this case, wiping wouldn't have done anything. They practically had to hose the boy off to get him clean again. The teachers were concerned that he was sick and wanted to take his temperature.
Ellie knew what was really going on and who was actually at fault here, though she'd die before she let her son's teachers know she did something so stupid as giving her son an adult laxative. She arranged to come and pick Jack up from school, playing along the whole time as if she really thought Jack might be sick. She took him back home, where he got to spend all day with his dad - his poor, poor dad, with the sensitive nose.
After this ordeal, it's safe to say that Ellie really learned her lesson, and definitely will be reading the directions on medication a little more closely next time!