To all my readers, please help!
My middle son, who is five and half years old, has a massive problem at the moment. I will start with a long story to lead up to my question (and I apologise in advance for the information overload!)
For the last few years, he has been an exceptionally picky eater. This kid doesn’t eat meat, fresh chicken (but will eat chicken nuggets), vegetables, pasta, rice and most fruit! For as long as I can remember, he has been living on bread, cheese, yoghurt, bananas, pears, chicken nuggets, hash browns and polony (only recently branching out to cereal and eggs)
Basically, the more processed it is, the better!
Of course, I realise this is a terrible diet, but the kid has to eat something! I tried to be tough on him, and that if he didn’t eat what was put in front of him, then he would not get dessert, and went to bed hungry. But he is just as stubborn as I am, and would happily go off to bed with his stomach empty. After a couple of days of not eating his evening meals, I would cave and give him cheese on toast, so he would at least have something in his belly!
It’s weird. If the other kids are having pizza, he isn’t interested, but would have cheese, ham and sauce on toast (go figure!?) He did recently try pizza for the first time at my Mum’s house, so hopefully I can convince him to eat it at home now!
At Christmas, we realised how much he loves eggs too, as he devoured about 7 boiled eggs! So now, he will happily eat quiche (but in our house, we have to call them “Eggy cakes” for him to eat them) I have tried to start hiding veggies in them, with zucchini making it down the hatch without any question. However, if I try putting carrot in them, he wont touch it! He wont even eat carrot cake because of 1.) the name, and 2.) because it has carrot in it!
A few months ago, my concerns for a balanced diet reached an all time high, as he was showing signs of malnourishment. He looked like an Ethiopian orphan…skinny arms and legs, spine visible, with a distended belly. So I started giving him a glass of fruit and veggie juice at least once a day. I made him pick out a special bottle and it became known as “Ethan’s special juice” (In no way was I going to tell him what was actually in it…but at least he was excited to drink it!)
About three months ago, I was talking with an occupational therapist, who was a guest speaker at my special needs support group, who recommended that we put in a referral to see a feeding team to get him to eat properly. This is a team of dieticians, speech therapists and occupational therapists.
A psychologist is being considered, as he will start making excuses as to why he cant eat if he finds out earlier in the day that dinner is something he doesn’t like (ie. Im too tired to eat…etc) If he has the plate in front of him, he will actually start shaking as the food approaches his mouth. If (say, for example, a tiny piece of chicken breast) manages to make it into his mouth, he will gag on it, but hide it under his tongue and will say he swallowed it.
I jumped on board and got the paperwork started. We are still waiting for our first appointment.
For at least a year, he would make a mess in his pants, but not know he had done it. If you asked if he had a “stinky bum” (code in our house for having done poos…sorry for the “too much information”) he would reply with an innocent “No!”
He would have a smear in his pants, but it would stink out the house with a distinctive and unmistakable smell. The problem was that he had no idea that he had done it. Doing wees on the toilet wasn’t an issue, however I couldn’t trust him to wear undies, so he was constantly in nappies or pull-ups.
I tried to give laxatives every now and then, thinking constipation was probably the issue. I thought it worked, but it would just happen all over again a few days later.
The crunch came around New Year’s, where one night he couldn’t eat anymore, not even his beloved toast, and was complaining of a sore belly. I poked around his belly, with possible appendicitis in mind, to find that his belly felt rock hard. I sent him to bed and decided to see what he was like overnight.
By morning, I could actually see his large intestine bulging through his stomach. I knew that there was a serious problem. I took him up to the emergency room at the hospital, where they performed an xray on his stomach. It showed chronic constipation, with a lump the size of a fist in his pelvis, and enough poop backed up the intestine to hypothetically fill a football! He was in some serious trouble! The small amount of mess in his pants daily was because of fecal overflow, where poop was leaking around the blockages. The reason he didn’t know it was happening was because the anal muscles were that stretched, they had lost the ability to tell that there was poop there.
The hospital staff gave him oral laxative, and an enema (which of course he didn’t enjoy) We were sent on our way with a warning that we had about 20min to get home before things started happening.
Unfortunately, I had to take off to work straight after, leaving him in the care of my husband…and Ethan screaming on the toilet over his ordeal. When I came home, my husband said that it seemed to do the trick. He was able to eat again, but we were still getting the smears 😦
About 5 weeks ago (around 2-3 weeks before he was due to start pre-primary) I woke up to a massive mess. I have never seen that much poop before…but it was obviously what he needed, because after that, he was consistently using the toilet, no accidents. We were jumping for joy that he was able to start wearing undies again.
By the skin of his teeth, he was in undies when he started school. A massive load came off my shoulders…until about a week and half ago…
He has started messing his pants again. Despite the advances in what he is eating, he is obviously “bunged up” again 😦
This is becoming an issue at school. We don’t want him becoming notorious for smelling and messing his pants. It can’t be comfortable for him, and it is a bit of a health hazard for the other children. It is happening daily.
His teacher has pulled me aside a few times to discuss the issue. She is an awesome teacher who knows all the dramas in our family (and feels so sorry for me because of this extra stress) She is going to speak with the school nurse for advice in the meantime.
I obviously need to put him back on laxatives for a while. I will also be booking an appointment with our GP. I am desperate for advice from parents who may have gone through a similar situation, as I am honestly lost as to what to do!
If anyone out there had any advice, whatsoever….please, please share! (Bare in mind, I have taken the steps to get professional medical advice.)