A warning: this post is almost completely about poop. Continue on at your peril.
Last week, after we got back from Grandma E's, I had to either schedule an endoscopy or come up with something else to do next. It was a great visit, but it was clear that Iyyar wasn't feeling well for much of it. I was giving him Pedialax strips (senna-based), which were making him go, but also clearly hurt--not surprising, since unlike Miralax, which acts by reducing reabsorbtion of water into the large intestine, Pedialax acts by strengthening intestinal contractions. He was going, but he wasn't happy, and there was a lot of "my tummy hurty."
An endoscopy is so invasive--at Iyyar's age it means general anaesthesia and most of a day at the hospital. So I decided to schedule another appointment with the allergist first, and retest him for pinworms just in case. We've been to the allergist already--it was one of our earliest stops--but she hadn't done that much testing, and when we went I thought that dairy was the one and only cause and the problem had been solved. In fact, taking dairy out of his diet only moved the situation from "crisis" to "chronic issue." So it makes sense that, since dairy was clearly the chief culprit, maybe other allergies/food sensitivities might be involved. I made the appointment, and mentioned it to some friends, two of whom made suggestions: one was to try taking out soy, and one was to be a lot more careful about possible cross-contamination with dairy than we had been. I'd been reading labels, but not worrying about "produced in a facility that also handles dairy." So we ratcheted things up there.
It's impossible to say what's really done the trick, but Iyyar seems to be, well, toilet trained now. He just kind of did it himself over the last week. In five days, he went from screaming for a diaper every time he needed to go (and then being miserable for a few hours until he actually went) to jumping up saying "I needa poop!", running to the bathroom, and just... well... pooping. And getting sorbet. With sprinkles. The first time this happened was last Thursday and the party we had was quite impressive. I pulled out all the stops. There was singing, there was dancing, there was Sesame Street, there was sorbet, there was serious candy. As Barak said, happily, "It's almost like Purim!"
Then Friday night it happened again, and Abba came home from shul at 9 PM to find everyone in the kitchen with chocolatey faces, playing with a brand-new toolbox toy I'd bought for tzitzis party presentation--but Barak had been selling Iyyar on the "worker man toys" he was going to get when he got his tzitzis, and then Iyyar thought he was going to get them that night, and I wanted nothing but positive reinforcement so I handed them over. Woohoo! The positive reinforcement has now been scaled back to one treat per, um, performance, but nobody seems to mind. Today's Monday, and for the last five days it has been nothing but good. Iyyar's happy, and he's informed me that I can give his diapers to Avtalyon now. He won't be needing them any more.
I'm not convinced that it's all OK and over with his stomach, though. For one thing, he's still having diarrhea, and the pattern over the last year has been spells of constipation, which are miserable, followed by spells of diarrhea, which he doesn't really seem to mind. I think it is possible that he just connected using the toilet with less painful elimination--we had a few conversations about how pooping on the potty doesn't hurt, etc. If, as the GI thinks, he's been deliberately withholding--which I really doubt is the case, but I'd be very happy to be wrong about that--it really could be problem solved. But if this is just part of the same cycle, well, we'll see in a few days, I guess. In the meantime, I'm keeping the soy and dairy completely out (which is harder than you'd think--many of the foods he likes and is accustomed to, like Rice Dream, soy yogurt, parve chicken nuggets, and rice milk cheese, are now out, along with every margarine that isn't loaded with trans-fatty acids). He's been getting way more apple juice than usual, and he's quite pleased about that--it's probably moving the diarrhea along, too.
Tzitzis party is tentatively scheduled for Friday. I asked Iyyar what he wanted on his tzitzis (my friend Yehudis does embroidery and has machine-embroidered trains and boats on other tzitzis for Barak). He asked for a chicken (I told you chickens had gotten big around here, didn't I?) I asked for a second choice. He thought Superman. Yehudis nixed that one. "My fingers couldn't do it." Then he said, well, maybe a steam engine like Charlie's? I hope he's happy with the train...