no poo

Posted on: 27 December 2013

So, Ashelyn is constipated … I think?

I mean, no poop for as long as a week and a half is a pretty clear indicator of constipation, right?

She’s always had a slow gut; one poop every few days was our normal. Her previous record was ten days, but she was five months old then and exclusively breastfed. I was more mystified than anxious because I knew I couldn’t have done anything wrong.

Those were simpler days, when the fibre content of her diet wasn’t on my radar. Ashelyn eats well enough, but I can never be bothered to push her to consume food she rejects by serving it in different ways or sneaking it into known favourites.

Even now, the only sign of constipation is the actual lack of poop. There’s an odd absence of associated symptoms – no bloating or apparent discomfort, normal appetite, normal pees. When I prod her belly she giggles. She’s her regular cheerful self, running and jumping and dancing all over the place, all the live long day.

Except that diaper changes seem to terrify her. It’s like she expects them to hurt. (And she says as much, sometimes. She can indicate her diaper area and say, “Hurt!” Unfortunately not specific enough to be very useful. Does it hurt now? Or do you remember it hurt once before? Or are you afraid that it will hurt?) Diaper rash has never been a problem. And we mostly just wipe her with water and cloth.

Her “poop signal” hasn’t changed – it’s a specific facial expression and crouch – it just isn’t followed by poop anymore. There’s some straining and complaining going on when she does this. I can’t tell for certain whether she’s trying to go, without success, or fighting to hold it in.

I wish I knew which it was.

As for how this came to be, my best guess is that some time ago Ashelyn had a painful poop, or a brief series of painful poops. That plus her ever-increasing agency equals – unfortunately – poop resistance. And the rest is a vicious cycle.


You’ve taken to imitating your new little cousin. And, as it turns out, you’re a stunning mimic. The first time you echoed his cry we all thought it was him! When we visit, you’ll climb into his baby rocker – perhaps you remember it from your first year? – and flail your limbs in a grand show of helplessness.

You’re awesome at saying peese, dhank you, even sahwy and excuse me … though that last one is borderline indecipherable and sounds rather like mini. But the best part of teaching you these social niceties is the following exchange:

K: Now what do you say?

"What sound does a baby make?" "Waaah!"

“What sound does a baby make?” “Waaah!”

I’ve joked about your OCD leanings, but on second thought you aren’t compulsive, just obsessive. You’ll insist on fixing a drawer with an edge of blanket sticking out. One of our ceiling lights burnt out, so daddy took off the cover until we could replace the bulb. In the interim you WOULD NOT STOP pointing out the naked socket: “Uh oh! Uh oh!” All is not right with the world!

You’re showing interest in numbers, letters, and colours. Mostly numbers and letters. Mostly 1, 2, o, p, and l. Especially 2 and o. You love the letter o, and to you 2 seems to represent all of numerology.

Although colours and shapes are only beginning to pique your interest, you’re stellar at identifying animals. We really must take you to a zoo or petting farm or something. You ask me to draw cows and ducks and pandas (and snowmen and angry birds). You ask to see pictures of owls and penguins and giraffes on the computer (thanks, google image search).


I’ve been happier with your food intake lately. You’re far more likely to eat greens if (1) they’re presented in small morsels, (2) they’re soft and mushy, and (3) I call them “leaf!” Toddler life hack.

Grandma nagged me enough that I finally trimmed your bangs, which had grown out again after she sneakily cut them a couple months ago. Now you enthusiastically tell people that scissors go “ni ni nip!” Oh, and you do the snip snip snip hand gesture, too, except with the wrong fingers. You use index and thumb, so what you’re actually demonstrating is a pinching crab claw … whatever. It’s no less cute.

Your hair is plenty long enough for clips and pigtails, if only you wouldn’t rip them out two minutes in. Sigh.

Then there was the time you woke, sat up in bed, and the first words out of your mouth were, “Morning! Love you!” And I knew all was right in the world.

Pregnancy was kind to me. I was happy, well-rested, and very fond of my bump. Unpleasant symptoms? Well, I had mild nausea in first trimester. Does that time I threw up a cucumber count?

The early months of motherhood were likewise kind to me. Mommybloggers seem to predominantly prefer toddlerhood to infancy, a common refrain being “I don’t miss those [dark, shock-to-the-system] days.” But although Ashelyn’s babyhood wasn’t half as interesting or fun as the present whirlwind of my waking hours, I remember it being easier. Back then I was still reading through my kindle library, sleeping baby in the crook of my arm. Now, I hide my kindle from the whirling dervish who has already cracked the screens on my phone and ipod touch.

So I’m one of those people. I liked being pregnant and I like babies when they’re brand new.

All this to say … I have an itch.

An itch for another mini!

Maybe, maybe.

However, Ashelyn is still breastfeeding (going so strong, in fact, that I periodically wonder if it interferes with her appetite for regular food). Aaand I haven’t gotten my period back. Which is lovely and all, but is this normal?

My sister-in-law's one-month-old. It appears I've forgotten how to handle tiny ones already.

My sister-in-law’s one-month-old. It appears I’ve forgotten how to handle tiny ones already.

It boils down to this: though I’m aware that conception is definitely not impossible, it doesn’t seem extremely likely at the moment.

I’m okay with those probabilities.

This should be where I say, “Goodbye, birth control!” Except we’ve actually only used birth control once, maybe twice, since Ashelyn was born. We’re mature and responsible that way.

(Then again, frequency of sex post-baby is like a form of birth control in itself … but that’s another post that in all likelihood won’t ever be written. Don’t hold your breath.)

You’ve adjusted beautifully to our new place, even though it’s a dramatic downsize. We still managed to play a hysterical three-person game of hide-and-seek the other evening, though. Your first!

The nearest library is only a few blocks away (as opposed to thirteen, before) and we’ve definitely been taking advantage of that! Our current haul has been a major hit. Not only do you enjoy repeated back-to-back readings, you request specific books by name … not always by their official titles, though. For instance, Al Perkins’ Dr. Seuss-esque Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb features a refrain that goes, “Dum ditty dum ditty dum dum dum.” You call this book “beer bum.”

Addressing the dearth of female drummers.

Addressing the dearth of female drummers.

You do this with songs, too, and usually have strong opinions about which one you want to hear. The wrong tune is sure to be emphatically rejected. And your pitch seems pretty good so far; by this I am inordinately pleased.

You pronounce f as w: phone is wone, finished is winished, flower is vwower. Tofu is wohwu. Pillow, for some reason, is babu. Toddlerspeak: it’s the best. (I can’t wait till grammatical gymnastics kick in.)

If out of nowhere you start shrieking, chances are you’re playing with a collection of homogeneous items – like a deck of cards – and can’t get them into perfect alignment. Or perhaps you’re trying to screw a lid on but it happens to be crooked. I’m sorry. You inherited this crazy directly from me.

You’re also particular about cupboard doors being closed, and will promptly shut them after us if we leave them ajar (intentionally or otherwise). You like wiping down your own highchair tray. You’ll bring me stray hairs and fluff you find on the floor. “[Throw] away!” you say expectantly.



Once you dropped a woodbug into my palm. It was alive. That was not a good morning for me.

Nor for you, because you streaked into the hallway ahead of me and burned your hand on the nightlight daddy forgot to remove from its socket when he left for work. “Hot!” you wailed tearfully. Poor thing, but you know not to touch it now.

“Want one?” you’ll ask with excruciating sweetness, offering your cup of grapes or pomegranate or goldfish crackers. Feeding us is more fun than feeding yourself, apparently. The generosity dissipates, however, when it’s an exciting new treat … like pocky. (Thanks, mom, for plying her with junk food behind our backs.) In fact, you may offer up a taste as usual, only to snatch it away at the last minute, popping it smugly into your own mouth. I probably find this deviousness more hilarious than I should.



So I’ve managed to keep you in your highchair for meals, but it’s a lost cause to keep you from concocting exotic stews with your food. First you eat, then you ask for a cup of water or soup or milk, and inevitably the liquid ends up in your bowl. Next you start pouring the transmogrified contents back and forth between bowl and cup. The best part is, you still mostly finish everything on your tray. Umm, ew? But who am I to dampen your culinary enthusiasm?

You fall asleep fairly readily for naps, but tend to wake up cranky. You fight fight fight sleep at bedtime, but wake up in the mornings cheerful and chipper as can be.

“I love moving!” said nobody ever.

Ashelyn’s eighteen month-day was also our moving day. A blur, if you ask me, mostly because having a toddler underfoot disrupts the packing process something serious. I was still hurriedly boxing up odds and ends while the (wonderful!) guys were loading the U-Haul. On occasions like this organization is my bedrock; this time I felt unmoored.

Anyhow, we survived! Even though Kevin leans toward hoarding and I toward purging.

His brain: Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it, right?

My brain: Argh too much stuff BURN IT ALL!

Of all things, I’d been worried about sorting out the chaos afterward. I’m one of those people who can’t relax until a proper place is found for everything, who unpacks luggage immediately after a trip. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to tackle the job properly with the aforementioned toddler underfoot. The one who insists on “helping.” But grace smiled upon us and somehow we were unpacked and settled in by the end of the week.

Can you spot the busy toddler?

I thought it’d be months before I could breathe easy, so. Phew!


Hello, new neighbourhood!


Dear Ashelyn,

Almost two weeks ago you turned eighteen months, but I suspect you believe you’re at least three. If you had your way, you’d sit at table with us on a regular chair, sans bib because bibs are for babies, and drink from a mug the size of your head because the bigger, the better.

Old enough to handle grocery shopping.

Old enough to handle grocery shopping.

If you had your way, music – either live or recorded – would be playing all the time. Every moment. Sometimes it’s the first word you blearily utter upon waking from a nap: “Woo-sik?” When we sneakily turn the sound off, thinking you’re distracted with another activity, you notice.

If you had your way, it wouldn’t be my iPod touch, it’d be yours. And locked doesn’t satisfy anymore; you want it, as you say, “on,” so you can thumb through the apps and control which songs play. This has been the case ever since you accidentally found Angry Birds, which now trumps “butterball” as your cutest phrase. (“ANGRYBUHD!”) You also managed to clear the first level of Cut the Rope with a perfect three stars …

And then she's like, Mama! My fingers are dirty, wipe them!

And then she’s like, Mama! My fingers are dirty, wipe them!

You’re particular about details and compulsively disassemble things into their smallest units. Perhaps the best illustration of this is the way you eat blackberries: drupelet by drupelet, picking each one off individually.

In the last month or so you’ve doubled your vocabulary. After we crossed the hundred-word mark I gave up keeping track, so it’s back to boring, mundane things like grocery lists and to-dos for the whiteboard in our kitchen.

So why, if you can say thank you and quinoa, does most frequent usage go to – wait for it – no?

I suppose it’s understandable, considering the versatility of the word. You began with “no-no,” as in that is not allowed, but there’s also “no?!” for no more and “nooo” for oh no! Now, enter the inevitable clash-of-wills “niuu!” You’re lucky you’re cute.


Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Clearly those synapses are forming and firing, and the wonder of it takes my breath away. Like the time you pointed to the fire hydrant on the corner and declared, “Water!” And I was mystified, because how on earth do you know water comes out of a fire hydrant? Until I remembered: two weeks before, we’d taken you to a water park in Richmond, and aha! Spraying hydrants!

You’re a marvellous balance of bold curiosity and common-sense caution, eager but never reckless. You climb and jump and run, but readily sidestep obstacles and reach for a helping hand. You sidle up to dogs but are slow to touch them, preferring instead to crouch in front and peer into their faces. We’ve never babyproofed anything, yet rarely do you acquire more than the most minor of injuries.

It was what I wondered about most while you were baking – your personality. What a joy to witness it unfold.


This is what Ashelyn thinks of the sand at the beach:


Note the smirk. She isn’t afraid, and we aren’t torturing her for fun. (That is what she does to me on the regular.) No, Ashelyn is just finicky about strange things, like sand on her bare feet or having her legs covered by a blanket.

Interestingly, her oldest cousin – now five – had the exact same aversion to sand as a tot. Guess this particular quirk can’t be pinned on me!



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