The heart-pounding (and orifice-puckering) Q-tip story

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I was snickering (with you! WITH you!) at some of your comments on my last entry, particularly the poster whose screaming son scared everyone enough to take him to the ER where he eventually ripped an enormous fart -- the apparent source of all his discomfort -- before immediately calming down and falling asleep. Ha ha ha! I mean, I hope it's funny now, because I'm sure it was a fairly horrible experience at the time.

Speaking of being able to laugh at past unpleasant experiences, I'm reminded of the time our first boy was a newborn and he hadn't pooped for a couple days. I had been obsessively detailing every single molecule that went in or came out of his body in an Excel spreadsheet (a crazymaking and frankly stupid practice we thankfully never considered for one hot second when our second son was born) and as I realized I hadn't documented anything in the appropriately-colored "POOP" column for more than 24 hours, I started to freak OUT.

With some barely-remembered set of instructions in my mind that had to do with -- I am not even making this up -- relieving constipation in pet rats, I did some Googling and verified that a well-lubricated Q-tip could do the same trick on babies. I stationed my husband nearby with the phone, ready to dial -- well, I don't know: 911? The National Guard? Oprah? -- and ever so carefully . . . I, um, "swirled" a vaseline-coated Q-tip in my baby's butt.I'd like to pause just for a second to let that, ah, sink in. I put a cotton swab in my child's butt! ON PURPOSE. I'm still cringing, I swear to god.

Looking back on it I really don't know why I decided to take matters into my own hand rather than just calling the nurse line, which I did on many other ridiculously panicked occasions ("Help! My baby has a brown, withered thing hanging from his stomach!" "Um, do you mean the umbilical cord, ma'am?"), but whether or not a Q-tip would have been medically recommended, it sure did the job. Our boy's hind end suddenly resembled a tube of toothpaste that was being vigorously squeezed from the top down, only instead of toothpaste coming out . . . well, you get the picture.

It's funny to me now, but man, at the time I think I was actually crying tears of relief as Riley performed Poopapalooza '95, because clearly the baby had been near DEATH. Which, in retrospect: no. No, in fact he was most likely 100% fine before some crazy woman went and shoved a Q-tip in his hiney.

How about you? Do you have any funny-only-in-hindsight stories of parental Trauma and Woe?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.