When Pooping Hurts

When Charla was a baby she had horrible gas problems. At first I thought the nipples on her bottles were to blame. I tried different speeds, different brands and different styles but nothing helped. I purchased all new bottles that were supposed to vent the air out the bottom. They helped a little bit but she was still pretty fussy in the afternoon and early evening. Finally, I switched her formula from a regular one to a more sensitive one. Within a day or two she was showing a lot of improvement.

At her 9 month check-up her doctor said we could start offering her dairy. She could start eating yogurt, cheese and even drink some milk. She loved all of it and seemed to be tolerating it okay. However, a few months later she started having constipation problems. I never put two and two together, until now. So much is changing with little ones that it’s hard to keep tabs on everything and if something could be causing something else.

Charla was potty trained at 21 months. By that time, whenever she pooped it was in the form of small pebbles. She drank plenty of water, ate plenty of fresh fruit and most of our grains are whole grain. So, I figured since she was pooping at least once per day, this was normal for her. I asked her doctor about it at her 2 year check-up and he said to give her Miralax. I gave it to her now and then when it seemed to bother her but, for the most part, life went on as normal.

Back in December, when Charla was 2.5 years old, her hard poop seemed to start bothering her more. She would go days at a time where all she would push out was a pebble or two. I started giving her the Miralax on a more consistent basis. Tim ended up going to the doctor for an ear infection and I asked him to mention this while he was there. The doctor told Tim the same thing he told me, keep giving her Miralax. Tim asked him how long she could have the Miralax and he said indefinitely. I kept giving it to her on an as needed basis but she was getting some a few times each month.

Last weekend I was talking to my parents about Charla’s ongoing bathroom habits and how it seems to getting worse still. We got to talking about dairy products. I had read somewhere that lactose intolerance or milk allergies could cause constipation. I never applied it to Charla though because she didn’t seem to have a reaction to the milk — no tummy aches or gas. After talking with my parents I did some research and found out that constipation may be the only symptom some children have.

After reading that I decided to do a little experiment. I purchased some lactose free milk and told her preschool no more dairy items. This started on Monday. I had given Charla some Miralax on Saturday and Sunday but by Monday she still had hard poo. On Tuesday, her second day with no lactose, she had two normal poos. Today she had a normal poo. I really really hope this is the answer to her chronic constipation. I know these last two days of normal poo could still be because she had Miralax this weekend, but I hope that’s not the case. She has suffered with this for long enough.

My next step will be to eliminate the lactose free milk and give her soy or rice since it could be the milk protein she’s reacting to. If this doesn’t help, it’s back to the doctor. And if he doesn’t help, it’s time to get a second opinion or a referral to an allergist. This cannot continue.

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Add a comment June 22, 2011
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Control

I’m a control freak.

I get upset when I feel like things are getting out of control. If I have an idea of how I want something to go and then it doesn’t work out, I get upset. Having a child really brought this to my attention because there is very little I can control about Charla. She’s her own person with her own plans. I think the lack of control in some areas of my life has increased my desire of control in other areas.

I have a good day when I’m able to clean the house, get all my work done and still have enough time to relax in the evening. In order to achieve this I need to be on my game. If something starts slipping, everything starts slipping. It’s almost like, if I can’t stay on top of things, I may as well fall all the way to the bottom. Days like that are hard and it’s a struggle to pick myself back up and keep going.

I’m trying hard to untangle the things I can control from the things I can’t. But it’s hard and there are a lot of grey areas. And then some days, I don’t want to control anything. I want someone to swoop in and take over so I can rest. Of course this never happens, so those days end up being hard days.

Yesterday was a good day and I think that’s what got me thinking. Why do I have this need? It’s not like I don’t enjoy spontaneous days. In fact, those days usually turn out to be some of the funnest. Why can’t I sit back and let the day come as it will without getting upset?  The day will come as it will regardless of how I feel about it. Some days I’ll feel good about how things went and some days I’ll feel like I got nothing accomplished. Obviously all days cannot be good days  like yesterday. I got all my work done by early afternoon, I got the living room cleaned up, got dinner made and then had the entire evening to relax. It was wonderful. But I really want to be able to enjoy all my days (or at least most of them)!

Add a comment June 14, 2011
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Weekend Hike

Before having Charla, Tim and I used to go hiking almost every weekend. We would pack some food, water and our dog and hit the trails. We didn’t just stick to Wisconsin trails either. We would drive down to Illinois or over to Minnesota for a day. Tim doesn’t mind the more natural trails. I, however, enjoy the state trails. The trail is clearly mapped out and usually covered with wood chips or gravel. It’s perfect for walking along and enjoying the scenery.

After Charla was born, we stopped hiking. For the first 9 months Charla hated anything to do with the carseat or stroller, so it was nearly impossible to even walk around the block unless one of us was carrying her. I had a Bjorn backpack for her, but she didn’t like that much either. So we just didn’t go.

Looking back on it, we should have tried going. There would probably have been enough to look at that she would have been fine and then fallen asleep. If/When we have another child, I’m going to try those experiences. What’s the worst that could happen? We have to leave early? We carry a screaming child for 15 minutes back to the car? Back when Charla was a baby, those scenarios would have been the end of the world. Now though, I think I would have a hard time keeping a straight face. That’s probably why studies show first-borns are more anal — their parents are.

Anyway, last fall we started hiking again. We took Charla on a handful of small trails and she really liked them. On Saturday we went to an amazing trail that is actually only about 15 minutes from our house. We’ve known about it for a few years, but never gone. We should have though because it’s beautiful. Charla really enjoyed it too. She got to eat a picnic dinner overlooking Lake Michigan and thought that was the coolest thing ever.

I got some nice pictures that I plan to blow up and hang in the bedroom. I have a few pictures from last year hanging in the kitchen. Charla looks at those pictures and still remembers taking that hike. Building memories….that’s what childhood is all about.

Add a comment June 13, 2011
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New Techniques

I don’t know who came up with the phrase “terrible twos” but I think they were mistaken. Yes, two year olds have their moments. The tantrums, the whining and the frustration that comes with not being able to express yourself properly are all part of being two. I guess one could assume that once a child reaches three, her vocabulary becomes that much better and she is able to express herself through words instead of action. But, as annoying as whining is, the words that can come out of a 3 year old’s mouth are much worse.

“Don’t talk to me.”

“You worry about you. I’ll worry about me.”

I hear those two phrases uttered a lot. And along with the phrases comes the closing of the bedroom door, the smirk with eye rolling and the walking away. Aren’t those supposed to be the actions of a teenager?! It’s like suddenly overnight my sweet 2 year old has become a pre-teen…But without any of the reasoning skills.

I tried something today that I’ve been waiting to try for over a year. I read about it somewhere (Love and Logic perhaps?). I had given her the 1 minute before nap time warning. She acknowledged and continued playing. After that minute was up I said it was time to go to her bedroom and read some books. I was immediately met with resistance, just like I have been for the last week. I knew something needed to happen so this didn’t become part of our routine. So, I asked her if she had any ideas on how she could come to her room happily.

At first she just said, “I could listen.” Okay, great, let’s go. Nope, that wasn’t going to cut it. So I said we need different ideas. She didn’t have any so I gave her some. I mentioned that we could hop to her room or we could walk to her room like cats. She didn’t like those ideas. I said she could drink some water while we read books. She didn’t like that either. Again I asked her if she had any ideas. To my surprise she said “I could drink water while you read and we can walk like cats.” Awesome let’s go! And she got up and happily went to her room. I was shocked. This entire process only took about 3 minutes and the end result was a pleasant 3 year old sitting on my lap, drinking water and listening to stories

So, maybe three year olds aren’t terrible, but the process in handling them is much more complicated!

Add a comment June 9, 2011
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Goodbye Diapers!

Today is HOT! We are already in the mid 90’s and have a few more hours of heating to go before we start cooling off. I filled Charla’s splash pool yesterday. She got to play in it yesterday afternoon and will again this afternoon. I have half a mind to get my swimsuit on and lay in it as well!

Charla reached another milestone this week – no diapers at night! She’s been potty trained since she was 22 months old and napping without diapers for about a month. Six months ago she would wake up with a leaky diaper 4 out of 7 days. It was annoying. Then all of a sudden the leaking stopped. Her diaper would still be wet but not saturated. It was so nice to only change her bed sheets once per week instead of four times!  In the last month she started waking up with a dry diaper. This ended up in two straight weeks with only one slightly wet morning diaper. It’s been 3 nights now and she’s doing great!

Over the last week Tim and I have been trying to split the night time routine. It used to be me doing 100% of it because Charla would cry if Tim tried to do something. The problem came around when she started needing baths every single night with this warmer weather. I did not want to be the only person spending 1 hour every night putting her to bed. I told Charla that daddy would either give her a bath or put her to bed. She got to choose which one she wanted him to do. The first night she choose to have him read to her and after that she’s wanted him to bathe her. It’s been so nice to split this responsibility. At the end of the day, I just don’t have the energy to do everything for her. Plus, Tim wants to spend some time with her after being at work all day. So, it’s a win-win.

Add a comment June 7, 2011
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Balancing Busy

There is nothing better than a busy but fun weekend. Weekends are meant to be busy. They are meant for getting together with people, going to new places and playing with children. Of course, there needs to be a balance between being busy and allowing yourself to relax. This past weekend supplied both opportunities simultaneously.

My brother and his wife rent a townhouse that supplies a pool. The pool is in great shape, is fairly large and it’s heated. We all love it and, now that the weather is improving, we’re taking advantage of it. By the end of last summer, Charla was able to swim with her life vest on. We’ve gotten into the pool twice so far this year and, while Charla is a bit more timid in the water, she is still loving it. I bought her a floating tube which she loves. She hangs onto its sides all by herself and spins herself in circles. We stayed in the pool for close to 2 hours. Then we sat on the porch and dried off. It was fun, relaxing and the weather was super.

Sunday was our relaxing day at home. I spent some time straightening up the master bedroom. We have lived in our condo for almost 7 years and I still have not given the master bedroom a personal touch. It is a room I go into to sleep and not much else. Over the years it has built up some storage items, even though we have a storage area in our basement. Yesterday, I focused on getting the storage stuff out of the bedroom. This took me about an hour and made a huge difference in the room’s appearance. Then, I bought some sheer, white curtains and hung them. They give the room a very cozy feel. I need to hang a few pictures on the walls, but it’s starting to feel more homey.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to focus on decluttering. The closets and cabinets desperately need this. It’s amazing how much junk gets accumulated. It is slightly life-threatening when opening some closets. Most things have places to go and I try to keep them there. The kitchen is a constantly losing battle because of dishes. I always feel like I’m one load of dishes behind what I should be.

We have 3 more weeks before our long holiday weekend. With the long weekend last weekend and the short week that followed, I’m out of synch and not ready to get back to work this morning. Life goes on though and the weekend is only 5 days away. Can you tell I live for my weekends?!

Add a comment June 6, 2011
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Discipline

When I was growing up, I said I wasn’t going to be like my parents. I thought they were overly strict and didn’t understand what it was like being a teenager. I was going to let my children make their own decisions and let them live with the consequences whether they were good or bad. I still have that mentality but I can tell its going to be much harder than I thought.

A year ago, Tim and I took a class about discipline using Love and Logic. The basics of this sort of discipline is allowing your child to learn from their actions. For instance, instead of fighting with your child about going to bed at night, let her stay up so she knows how tired she is without the proper amount of sleep. Obviously there are some catches here because you will then be fighting with your child the next morning when it’s time to get up.

I haven’t found too many opportunities to use it with Charla over the last year. Two year olds don’t have many decisions to make and they are still learning right from wrong. But I will refer to it in the future. Right now I am doing a lot of explaining and a time-out here and there depending on what she did. I don’t like time-out. I don’t think it teaches anything except the fact that when she does something wrong she gets sat on a chair and ignored. That’s not exactly the lesson I want to teach, so  they are a last resort.

One aspect of my parenting that I am very proud of is the fact that Charla has never been smacked or spanked by either me or Tim. This was very important to me. I feel like if you allow yourself to hit your child, you are walking a slippery slope of becoming more and more abusive. My parents were spankers and yellers. It is hard sometimes to overcome this; the yelling more than the spanking. I don’t want to have to constantly raise my voice to get Charla to hear me.

Now that she’s 3 and entering a more social time in her life, I want to give her the words to use to express herself. I’ve been doing this all along and it showed in her school report when her teacher wrote that she expresses herself very well. Now though, I have to teach her how to communicate to people when she is sad or mad. Yelling, pushing or throwing temper tantrums are not good ways to communicate. It’s a learning process and I plan to continue teaching her until she’s an adult. At that point I think advice would be given versus teaching, although I suppose that could be slightly interchangeable.

I want her to be able to look back on her childhood and feel like she was understood and listened to. I’m going to make mistakes. We’re going to get into arguments and feelings will be hurt. But, when we both calm down, I want her to be able to come to me, we can both apologize and finish working out the problem together. Idealistic….yeah. But something to aim for.

Add a comment June 3, 2011
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Existing

I have come to the conclusion that nothing exciting ever happens to me. It amazes me how some people can go on and on about what has happened to them in just the past week. Maybe these people are just really good story tellers, or they embellish. Or maybe, I lead a really boring life.

In some ways a boring life is good since it also means that bad things aren’t happening to me. But it’s boring!

When I was in high school I would have a million different stories to tell people. My friends and I were always coming up with some stupid idea we would try to pull off. It made life exciting, though I’m not sure how much my parents appreciated that. The first few years of marriage were exciting, but then life seemed to settle. We got into a daily rut which just worsened once Charla was born. Now it seems like every day is the same. I guess that’s part of having a child, but I honestly don’t even update my Facebook status much because I just don’t have much to say!

Life needs to become more exciting because right now I feel like I’m just existing. I exist to work and clean and take care of Charla. I don’t know how to make things more exciting though because the truth is that those three things need to be done. I guess I have to get out of my own head and start paying attention to what is happening around me. I don’t want to have tons of regrets when I get old and I definitely don’t want to be a cranky old person who won’t try anything new.

Add a comment June 2, 2011
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Summertime!

Today is officially the start of summer. There are so many things to love about summer: thunderstorms, swimming, popsicles on  the front porch, relaxing in the shade and so much more. I plan on making many family memories this summer. Charla has reached an age when she may be able to retain some of the things we do for the rest of her life. Making memories is such an important part of being a family.

I have a lot of memories from summers. I remember playing baseball with my dad, going to a neighborhood park, playing outside with friends, splashing in my kid pool and taking our annual family vacation up-north. Each of these memories is special in its own way. It’s fun to think back to those times when life was so much simpler.

Tim and I have started planning a few things. We go to the zoo and the fair every year, so we are excited for those two things. We are planning a weekend trip with my brother and his wife and then in early August we’ll be camping with my parents, my brother and his wife. So, a lot of fun trips coming up in the next 3 months.

We try to do something special every weekend as well. It doesn’t have to be big. A trip to a park, playing at the beach, filling up the kid pool or having a picnic. Now that Charla’s older these plans are much more feasible and fun. I am looking forward to a wonderful summer!

Add a comment June 1, 2011
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24

Back in January, Tim and I decided to take a break from trying for our second child. Tim had just started a new job, our insurance was switching and I had just started some part-time freelance writing. We waited for 4 months before deciding we were ready to begin again. This month was our first month of trying and, of course, it’s going to be a bust.

I don’t know what’s wrong. What I do know is that neither Tim nor I want to spend a fortune (that we don’t have) on treatment. I talked to my Ob/Gyn back in late fall and he didn’t seem concerned. He said for some couples it can take up to 3 years. This is frustrating but it doesn’t mean there is something wrong. I don’t feel like there is something wrong, so I declined further testing.

I feel like we need a stopping point though now that we are back on the wagon and Charla is 3 years old. We agreed to try for 24 more cycles. Charla will be 5 years old and starting Kindergarten in the fall. I feel we will be so far out of the baby stage that we won’t want to go back. I’m already sort of reaching this point. I had wanted the kids about 2.5 years apart. The fact that this is not going to happen just plain sucks. It’s not fair but I can’t control it. I refuse to let it get me down. I have a beautiful daughter, a loving family and my husband is my best friend. What more can I ask for?!

So, I am starting the countdown this cycle. I’m crossing my fingers that by the end of this a baby will be on the way. If not, I have to move on. I only have one life to live and I want to enjoy it to the absolute fullest.

Add a comment May 28, 2011
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