It was the mark on DS’s pyjama shorts that alerted me to the problem.
Actually, they were DD3’s second-hand ‘Moxie Girl’ shorts but DS was wearing them. *Someone* must have mixed them while folding the washing. DS didn’t care, he put them on anyway but our youngest DD spent at least 10 minutes wailing about how she would never wear them again because they now were contaminated with ‘boy germs’.
No matter whose shorts they were, last night they had gone on the boy clean. But this morning, there was a 50p sized dark stain around his hip area. My brain noted the mark and assumed I had missed it last night. I sent him to brush his teeth instead of checking it out; in my defence, I was distracted by a screaming 7 year old.
Teeth brushed, he stripped down to his pants, ready to put his school uniform on.
I glance over at him and was horrified by what I saw. His thighs were criss crossed by a series of fine scratches and there was a stain on his underpants corresponding with the one on his pyjama shorts. I peeled back his clothing and found a nasty graze on his hip. I also noticed some marks on his back.
My god, what had happened to my boy last night?
‘Did you hurt yourself last night?’, I asked. The kids have got to the stage where they bath themselves now, but I had dried him off last night and I would have sworn that none of these wounds were there last night.
DS reminded me he’d fallen out of the hammock before bedtime last night. I remembered this happening but I thought he’d bumped his head and knee at the time. This accident didn’t tie in with the sort of injuries I was looking at now. Had he knocked or scrapd himself in the night, perhaps?
The light in our bedroom isn’t the best, so I pulled the curtain open so I could get a good look at the marks on his back. There were 5 spots, fairly evenly spaced over the small of his back.I thought they might be mosquito bites, but they weren’t raised or red. They looked more like bruises.
I fired off a round of ‘How do you feel?’ questions at DS. He had a bit of a sore throat he said. I took his temperature, which was normal and sent DD1 downstairs for a glass. I rolled it over the marks on his back. They didn’t blanch.
At this stage the panic really kicked in. I started planning routes to our local hospital and working out who could have the girls after school. Then I realised DH hadn’t left for work yet, and yelled for him.
He appeared from the bathroom, having recognised the panic in my voice and I showed him the bruises on DS’s back, the scratches on his legs and the grazes on his hip. A closer inspection of the grazes failed to find any breaks in the skin. Now they looked like bruises too but where did the blood that had been on his pants and shorts come from?
It was too early in the week for this sort of mystery.
At this point DH disappeared for a bit and came back with two things; a wet flannel and a brown felt tipped pen.
He’d found the pen in DS’s bed; he’d been doing some drawing before bed time, then slept with it uncapped in his bed. The damp flannel took care of the rest of the marks.
My heart rate returned to normal, thoughts of a day in the local A &E evaporated and I concentrated on being thankful that I hadn’t yet rung for an ambulance.
But I swear that 5 minutes this morning took years off my life.