By Betsy Rosso
As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. You know when she’s actually ill and when she’d just rather play than finish dinner.
At the same time, you don’t know everything about your child’s body. When a weird rash appears or her cough sounds like a barking seal, you head to the Internet or call your mom, and then you decide if it’s worth calling the doctor at 2 a.m.
So when you are pretty sure something with your kid is not quite right, but everyone says it’s normal, it’s a tough call.
The potty-training process started slowly for Zoe, as we’d expected. We were not the kind of people to let her run around naked all day or have her pee in the backyard. Our house backs up to a busy street and we don’t have a yard to speak of. Still, she seemed to get the hang of it.
But after a few months, Zoe’s accidents became more frequent instead of less so. We attributed it to upheaval: Zoe’s child-care routine had changed. We had gone on vacation. My Grandma had died.
We weren’t happy about the accidents, but we weren’t too worried. But later, we did worry.
We love our pediatrician, and she assured us that accidents were normal in potty-trained 3-½-year-olds. She also told us if the problem didn’t resolve eventually she could refer us to the urology clinic at Children’s National Medical Center.
We did copious Internet research. We learned the word enuresis and tried navigating the scholarly research. We made that appointment at Children’s, but there was a long wait time. So we hadn’t yet been to the hospital when the principal at Zoe’s new school suspended her because she’d had too many accidents. (You can read about it here.)
Though we requested an appointment with a pediatric urologist, we were sent to a nurse practitioner. She was nice. She felt Zoe’s stomach and said maybe she was a little constipated. She recommended fiber gummies and no caffeine. Who gives their three-year-old caffeine?
The NP said no further tests or procedures were necessary. She did say that many other parents had come to her because their children’s preschools also had concerns about too many accidents.
So Zoe’s accidents continued. Oddly, she had no idea they were happening. When I would notice her pants were wet, she would be genuinely surprised and confused. She would use the bathroom of her own accord and then have an accident 10 minutes later. She was mystified, and so was I.
We couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but we were pretty sure something was.
We didn’t know where to turn, so when we learned about Dr. Hodges’ work and read early chapters of It’s No Accident, it was a revelation. Dr. Hodges somehow knew exactly what Zoe’s problem was, and he said he could solve it.
You have to trust your kid, and you have to trust yourself, but it’s such sweet relief when someone else trusts you, too.