Tuesday, May 18, 2010

There Will Be Blood

I don't remember if I've mentioned this here before, but Magnus likes to scratch himself. He is prone to rashes on his face and he will scratch himself until he tears his skin open if we let him. We try not to let him, but he is usually too fast for us. I cut his nails several times a week, and we put socks on his hands when he's sleeping and when he's in an especially itchy mood, but he can't live his whole life with socks on his hands...he needs to be able to play with his toys and develop his fine motor skills. As a result, our boy usually has an impressive collection of scratches and scabs on his face and head.

Adding to this drama is the fact that one of the medications Magnus takes is aspirin, which thins the blood. So when he scratches, this boy BLEEDS, sometimes quite impressively.

And then lately we have added teething to the mix. I have known other babies with a scratching problem, but Magnus is the first one I've heard of who scratches his gums and makes them bleed.

Anyway, yesterday, Magnus had his 6-month checkup with his pediatricians. Since I work right across the street from the pediatricians' office, and since Iggy stays home with Magnus on Mondays, we agreed that Iggy would bring Magnus in the car and I'd meet them in the waiting room. Their trip was uneventful until shortly after Iggy pulled into the parking garage and Magnus started screaming. When he went to retrieve him from his carseat, he found that Magnus had badly scratched his gums and that his face and hands were covered with blood! His actual wounds were minor, but it was quite a scene.

After we cleaned him up with paper towels and water, we had our appointment, which was mostly pretty uneventful. Weight gain continues to be a struggle, but I was pleased to see that he'd grown almost 2 inches in the last 2 months, so he's catching up linearly, at least! As I expected, the pediatricians recommended that he be evaluated for developmental delays so he can get physical or other therapy to help catch up if needed. There are definitely a few areas where I think he could use a little extra help, especially his gross motor skills and strength, so this is a good thing. I guess we'll be setting that up sometime soon.

Magnus was very charming with his doctors and demonstrated his smiling and laughing quite a bit for them, as well as his ability to use his legs to scoot around when he's lying on his back. I think he liked the fact that the table was covered with that paper stuff and that the paper made a noise when he moved around!

And then it was time for shots. Magnus got 3 injections and 1 oral vaccine, and he was none too happy about it. After he was done, I picked him up to console him, and after I'd held him for a few seconds, both Iggy and I noticed that one of his injection sites had bled so much that it saturated the band-aid and made it fall off. There was blood all over Magnus's leg, my hand and arm, my shirt, and a nice little puddle on the floor that made the bottom of my shoe all sticky. Luckily, I was wearing black so it wasn't too noticeable. The nurse put on a new band-aid, Magnus settled down, and we all went home.

Another funny element to all this is that Iggy and I have been joking for a couple of weeks that Magnus is a vampire baby because he hates it when the sun is in his eyes. I notice it when we are outside, but it is even more pronounced in our house: we have a skylight in our dining room, and whenever we pass through the beam of light while carrying him, he lets out a yelp of displeasure. So I guess the bloody mouth and hands just adds to the joke!

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