Don’t call us, we’ll call you

November 19, 2012

Big-kid beds and bowel movements! Oh my!

Despite the fact that Addison refuses to talk to Neal on the phone, she is really missing her daddy. I know this because she has been a whiny, tantrumy, repeatedly stripping down nude [Why did you take your diaper off? “Because I wasn’t ‘pose to.”] mess of a girl since the day he left. Although Neal has been loathe to give up on her pack-n-play and transition her to a new sleeping arrangement, despite the fact that she is climbing out routinely these days, she finally forced my hand last night when she climbed out at bedtime and refused to get back in. What could I do? There’s no way for me to physically keep her in there. So about an hour and a half after her bedtime, we set up a makeshift “big kid” bed.

If it hadn’t been 9:30 at night and I wasn’t exhausted from a long day of defiance, it actually would have been really entertaining. When she saw me breaking down the pack-n-play, she asked what I was doing. When I replied, “We’re going to get another bed,” she ecstatically yelled, “I LOVE a other bed!” And when my mom brought in the old crib mattress that my brother and I used to sleep on, some 35 years old, she exclaimed, “Wow! It’s SO NEW!” (It seems like our plan to keep Addison’s material expectations in life low is working out well so far.) She kept repeating the refrain, “It’s so beautiful. My very own bed is so beautiful.”

But now a question for you more experienced parents: since birth Addison has always liked to sleep crammed into corners and up against walls. She’s quite a mover, day and night, which is one reason we have been reluctant to transition her out of something with walls. But now that we have to, I’m wondering, do kids that move a lot eventually train themselves to stay more still while they sleep? Or will we need to put up barriers of some kind to keep her on the bed? At this point, I’m not so concerned about safety since she is only a few inches off the ground, it’s more about the fact that when she rolls off the bed, she wakes herself up. And since she’s not a stellar sleeper to begin with, this has me worried. But at the same time, if we do put some sort of barrier up, maybe it is only postponing the inevitable — that she needs to learn to sleep in a more stationary position, something that her same age cousins are already adept at. Any thoughts?


Remember that one time you gave us great potty training advice. Well, we need to hear from you again, especially if you’ve ever potty-trained a kid with chronic constipation! Addison has struggled with bowel movements basically since she started solid foods — even when she was eating solely pureed foods. (How a baby can get constipated from puree I will never understand!) We’ve tried most of the usual things to alleviate her difficulties (flax oil; flax seed; limiting breads, dairy, bananas; obsessing about fiber intake). Thus far daily prune juice has been most successful at keeping her semi-regular.

But the problem this poses with potty training is when to actually put her on the potty for pooping. Quite often she will tell us she needs to poop, complete with grunting, watery eyes, and muscle contractions, but nothing comes. Repeat again two hours later. And again. When this happened this week, she finally pooped about 26 hours after she first started telling me she was working on it. And it’s not just a false alarm — she was obviously working on it periodically for two days. She would hide for a few minutes (“I need privacy”), exhaust herself, and then, with flushed face, come tell me it was “hard work” and “I couldn’t do it.”

So when we go for the more aggressive potty training (as opposed to the very slow-paced potty learning we’ve done thus far), do we put her on the potty every time she is working on a poop, even if realistically we know we’re probably at least 8 hours away from the actual bowel movement? How long have you actually made your child stay on the potty when they were working on a poop? Also, if you had a kid like this in terms of bowel movement difficulty, has it resolved itself with age?

Cute, but unrelated picture.



  1. Oh man, I have nothing. Except stifled laughter that I shared with Peter over that mental image of her trying so hard.

    Comment by kei02003 — November 19, 2012 @ 1:56 am

    • No need to stifle the laughter. When she’s not crying out in pain, we laugh too. Especially at the fact that she thinks pooping is the absolute hardest work there is in life. Maybe for her it will be…

      Comment by llcall — November 19, 2012 @ 5:05 am

      • That is a good thing to hope for

        Comment by kei02003 — November 19, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  2. Linds, I have so much to say, I don’t know if I have time to it all. First thing about the things you were using to help her with her constipation. I’m sure you already knew these things, but I still tell people because things i thought were common knowledge really aren’t

    Flax oil & seed- If you are buying the flax oil it isn’t going to work because it goes rancid in 24 hours so you aren’t getting any of the health benefits. The seed cannot be digested by our body in it’s natural form it has to be ground in order to get the benefits. Once you ground it you have to use it within 24 hours (keep it refrigerated) to get the benefits.

    Bananas- if you aren’t using super ripe bananas (pretty much brown) they have the opposite effect and cause constipation.

    Ok, that’s all I can write for now. Maybe we could chat sometime.

    Comment by Ish Clayton — November 19, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    • Yeah, we should chat. I didn’t realize that flax oil is basically useless — not sure why it is doctor recommended then… We have used ground flax seed, but grinding every 24 hours? What am I a pioneer woman? 🙂

      Comment by llcall — November 20, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

      • One important thing you should have known before marrying Neal CALL:

        1 – The Call family has a genetic disposition to blow up toilets. Will’s grandmother Call blew up my parents’ toilet when she was in town for Emma’s baby blessing. Aryl has a knack for doing so. And don’t even get me started on Will – we have a whole bathroom that we have dedicated for his use only.

        Comment by Ish Clayton — November 21, 2012 @ 3:02 am

  3. Benjamin is/was definitely a mover at bedtime. Sometimes he truly wiggled himself to sleep. (And he never liked to be swaddled — couldn’t sleep if he couldn’t move.) We put him in a toddler bed when he was just shy of 2, I think? And he wiggled and wiggled and figured it out. His bed is a crib mattress (also used!) inside of a thick plastic bedframe. So, I guess he has a hand-span of hard plastic to signal to him that he’s about to wiggle out. If you want, you could try putting something around the edge of the bed as a signal, “If you feel/hear this, you know you’re close to the edge” I don’t know what that border would be…

    Zero constipation advice, sorry! Though my boys love eating my FiberOne for breakfast along with me.

    Pinterest. You mentioned a loathing in a previous post (have so enjoyed catching up on your blog today!) My feelings were lukewarm until I introduced Benjamin (now age 4) to it. He has his own board on my account, called “preschool crafts” and will ask to look at it and pick an activity. SO much better than a conversation that goes, “What should we do mommy?” “well, we could [fill in the blank]” “Hmm, noooo.”

    Comment by Alysa — November 19, 2012 @ 11:03 pm

    • Thanks for the suggestions, Alysa! Hmmm, that’s a Pinterest use I have never heard of. Sounds like a good idea, maybe it will help moderate my hatred of that phenomenon…

      Comment by llcall — November 20, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

  4. My mom said she used cayenne pepper capsules, not sure how you give those to a toddler, or if they even exist anymore, but I’m going to look into it for T. As for the bed situation, toddler beds are very low to the ground and fairly inexpensive, especially if you find a used one. Both my kids were movers, Teresa calmed down a little after the bed was introduced, Nathan was in a full size futon up until 2 weeks ago,when we moved him to a loft bed, and he is fine too. Good luck! Let us know how it all works out(no pun intended 😉 Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    Comment by enelo — November 20, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

  5. For constipation we have found that dried apricots work fairly well, too. Lillie was a serious wiggler until we put her in the big kid bed. Just make sure there are barriers and eventually she will figure it out. We found she did the most wiggling in the first few hours of sleep, so we would go in and check on her before we went to bed and adjust as needed. One time we went in and her head was hanging off the bed. We were glad that we checked on her that night.

    Comment by missy — November 23, 2012 @ 2:55 am

    • We were hoping that Addison would go for dried apricots too, but she won’t touch them!

      Comment by llcall — November 25, 2012 @ 1:27 am

  6. I buy pre-ground flaxseed (called flaxseed meal) and keep it in the fridge and as far as I can tell, it is not rancid when we eat it. I’ve heard the 24 hour thing, but we eat it and it seems to do it’s job. Fiber isn’t really something that can go rancid, is it? But it sounds like Addison’s needs are a little special. Poor kid! Have you talked to her doctor? I have another friend with a girl with similar troubles and I think it got to the point they were considering some intervention. Sounds like it could be warranted at some point. 😦

    Comment by Victoria — November 24, 2012 @ 2:29 am

    • We did talk to her doctor about it. He was the one who told us to go with the daily prune juice regimen. Of course, that was before we were thinking about potty training and how this irregularity is impacting that…

      Comment by llcall — November 25, 2012 @ 1:28 am

  7. Eliza doesn’t have constipation when she takes probiotic! It helps a lot. It helps me too. I had constipation for like 2 years after Eliza was born. I increased my probiotic and drank immense amounts of water. That was the only thing that really helped…

    ps Eliza is used to sleeping on a toddler bed in the closet… and last night she was supposed to sleep on a big bed with a guard rail… she was not happy… so we put her in a crib. She thought it was awesome!

    Comment by Rachel Bricker — December 9, 2012 @ 3:09 am

    • Someone else mentioned probiotics to me recently. Is there a specific one? I guess I’m not that familiar with it…

      Comment by llcall — December 11, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

  8. @ Ish Clayton: in my limited (5 Call’s + me) experience of some 35 years, I’ve never observed the phenomenon you face. So sorry.
    My men folk (4) and one daughter have very tidy toilet habits from what I’ve observed (or they may clean up after themselves whenever there is a need, so I am none the wiser).
    Nope, Addison cannot blame the near-Call ancestry.

    Comment by Nena — January 28, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

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