Any parent of a constipated child knows that the situation can get increasingly more tense as the days roll by without a good poo. As I recently have had my first experience with this, I came to realize that the situation I was in was much like the negotiating scenes in movies where hostages have been taken and need to be rescued. Emotions run high, and we all know the longer the coup goes on, the safety of those held grows more and more perilous. Here are 5 ways the two situations mimic one another.
- Every hostage situation has a hostage taker. In this case, your little darling plays this role. For a variety of reasons, your little one is hoarding her poo inside her tiny little abdomen, and the thought of relinquishing it is implausible. It is typical for a toddler to refuse to pass her waste for fear of it hurting; perhaps one bad experience did her in, or something just isn’t feeling right. Whatever the reason, she is firm in her decision, and so is the poo that is now storing inside her lower intestine. The longer the poo remains, the less water it contains, the harder it becomes, the more difficult it will be to pass it, the less your little hostage taker wants to release any hostages.
- You better get good at your negotiating skills. In a hostage takeover there are typically a primary and secondary negotiator who makes contact with the perpetrator. You, as the parent are the primary, and whomever you consult, your doctor, your friend who just happens to be a nurse, the internet, becomes your secondary negotiator.
- Assess the situation. Your goal as primary negotiator is to assess the situation. Find out as much as you can about the perpetrator. What has she been eating? Has she been ill? Are there other stressors that could cause a slowed digestive tract? In my case, my daughter was sick, and was choking on food other than noodles. She got backed up, and I tried the preliminary negotiations of extra vegetables, increased fluids, extra exercise,and massaging her back. As the situation became a bit more tense, I started using Constipation Ease, warm baths and then finally a half dose of Miralax two times a day.
- Generally, hostage situations call for as much stalling and time as possible. This allows for emotions that run high to defuse, yet this is a little different in a toddler poo coup. My hostage taker was holding strong and attempts at communication were getting stressed. Despite my attempts to provide for the hostages what they needed most for an easy release, she would not budge,refusing to even attempt to push. Even when her older sister was trying her hardest to demonstrate how to push, and the lovely effects of tooting which pushing produces, still, she refused.
- The final stage of a hostage situation is diffusion. By giving and taking the two sides can reach an agreement. I was ready to pull out the big guns, a Pedia Lax Liquid Suppositories. I had consulted with several secondary negotiators, read many reviews online and it sounded like it would bring about an end to the standoff in minutes. While I feared for what the experience would be like for my toddler, the fear of what an ongoing stand off would entail was far worse. I had located the suppositories at a local drug store and was about to leave to purchase, when a surprise negotiator begged for just a little bit more time. Another voice stating to just give her a little longer to pass on her own, and lo and behold within an hour’s time of this last negotiation, the hostages were set free.
Both sides were getting what they wanted. I had a child whose belly was not hard and full of crap, and my little hostage taker got a lollipop. Yes, I know sugar isn’t good for the situation, but in the negotiating room, everyone has to give and take a little. Recovery from such a takeover as this that lasted 6 days is nothing to bounce back from, and we are still working on a total recovery, but having been through this once before, I now know the ropes a little better, and we will find our way to better gut health in the future.