Every two to three days, Jem stops talking. His body stiffens. His face pales. Then, eyes wide with alarm, he announces, "There's a poo coming!"
And we spend the next hour huddled in the bathroom, anxiously awaiting its arrival.
Hard to believe then, that during all those hours, I've never really watched what happens. I didn't think I needed to; I knew what was wrong. Constipation. But this week, armed with my new research regarding stool retention, the usual causative suspect in chronic childhood constipation, I decided to take a closer look.
And with crippling self-flagellation, I now realize my mistake. Letting go of a poo should not involve raising your elbows to shoulder height, cork-screwing your torso and attempting to levitate from the lavatory seat. Experts: one; too-close-to-see-her-own-nose mum: zero. And poor old Jem, stuck in the middle with his poo.
I'll tell you how we're getting on next time...