So I've noticed that Sam's updates have been "happy" updates - his progress, accomplishments, etc. But that gives a bit of a distorted view of our life. So I'm here to set the record straight and give you a glimpse of our past week... from a different angle. Now if you like the comfortable little world of horsies, first words and smiling toddlers then READ NO FURTHER because the tale I'm about to tell takes you to a slightly less fluffy world.
I know that none of you are naive. You all realize that life with a child who can't walk, crawl, talk or feed himself comes with challenges and pain, so I won't bore you with how hard it can be to heave a hypotonic (aka: floppy) two-year old up and down the stairs. You figured as much and, quite frankly, it's not that hard once you get used to it. Instead I'd like to share the "surprise" challenges that we face on a semi-regular basis.
It started with the teething. Sam's getting his molars and they seem to be taking an incredibly long time to be poking through. My theory is that since he doesn't chew hard food there's nothing to wear down the gums - the teeth are doing all the work themselves. He also has sensory issues with his mouth. He doesn't like unfamiliar items in there like teethers. But he loves to chew on fingers, even his own. Since his motor skills are still not... um, fine tuned he typically misses his mouth on the first attempt to insert his fingers. So they end up somewhere around his nose, eyes or forehead which produces some scratches on the skin. I do keep his nails short and even file the rough edges but he really digs those nails in. When those fingers do reach his mouth he digs in so hard he makes his gums bleed - another example of how his whole calibration system is off. So scratched face and bleeding gums "no biggie" you think. Yeah, me too. But then Sam shoved his thumb up his nose (on the misguided journey to his mouth) and gave himself a nose bleed. Okay, lots of blood and I was less okay with this. Then came the eye. This next part is not for the squeamish. Sam poked his thumb up under his top eyelid, like way up there. It looked a little swollen and red but did not get really horrifying until he started crying a little while later and begin bleeding from the eye.
Okay, you can relax now. That was the worst of it. David and I decided to wrap the little offenders (Sam's thumbs) in gauze and paper tape to make them softer and more friendly. Sam hated this but it seemed to solve the problem.
So the next day at Costco I'm pulling Jackson in one of their super-sized baskets, meanwhile pushing Sam, whose face is all scratched up, thumbs are bandaged and right eye is all bloody, in his stroller. We're reaching the end of the shopping trip (and thank goodness because the jumbo pack of toilet paper is about to topple over and bury Jackson) when I look down and see a big, red blood spot on the blanket behind Sam's head. Did I mention the bald spot that Sam has rubbed on the back of head? He rubbed so much that day at Costco that he developed a sore. So now I've got this scratched, bandaged and bleeding child with an eye wound. And I've promised Jackson we could stop at Blockbuster on the way home.
I don't even remember how many people offered to help me that day at Costco but it was quite a few. And I really thought I had everything very well under control. There was one woman in particular that had been paying attention to us over the course of several aisles. Finally she approached me and said, "I just don't know how you do it." I should have told her that I owe it all to the crack cocaine I smoked in the parking lot, but I just smiled and shrugged.
Think it can't get any worse? Ooooohh.... wait. Sometimes when Sam's teeth bug him he'll forego the hand in the mouth and choose, instead to bang or rub his face on the floor. He did this the other night and now sports a pair of rugburns. Two of them... on his forehead. I tried putting some liquid bandage on it but he rubbed it right off and rubbed off the scabs. I had no choice but to apply a couple of huge bandaids over the sores. And today we took a trip to Target. Fortunately, his eye and scratches have healed quite nicely. But he still has the thumb things, the sore bald spot and, now the bandages. Seeing him in his stroller, rocking his head back and forth, I could just imagine the whispered conversation amongst our fellow shoppers, "Um, Phyllis, something's definitely not right with that boy."
I never mentioned the yelling. Sam has a tendency to yell, or vocalize quite loudly when we're in stores. Something I've learned to drown out, but which only draws more attention to our poor, battered child.
Oh, I forgot about the bruises. From banging his head Sam has a big bruise under his chin. He has another bruise across his left wrist from wedging his arm through his crib bars. I really don't know why he does this, but when I put a stop to it the other night by weaving blankets through the bars, he cried. When Sam's occupational therapist showed up this morning and asked about the new wounds (she'd seen the eye and scratches already) I asked her if she'd like to call Child Protective Services now or wait to hear the stories. Fortunately, she's known Sam and our family for a long time and could laugh at the absurdity.
This afternoon Sam began soothing his teething pain by biting his lip. He's done this before and it gets pretty gruesome so I was not happy to see it making a comeback. In the past we've fashioned a strap for a pacifier to hold the pacifier in Sam's mouth, thus preventing him from biting. We only use this in extreme cases, though, since the contraption makes it look like we've ball-gagged our child.
So there it is. Sorry there were no warm, squishy feelings here. You can go back and read some of the archives if you need to :-)