Friday, November 14, 2008

Bruises must not remain mysterious

The media feeds us an endless diet of reports about children who have been abused by parents or other care-givers. In many cases, the youngsters being too young to tell on their tormentors, the truth only emerging after some sharp-eyed adult spotted some telling bruise and began to poke and pry.

It was with a jolt of foreboding, therefore, that Mum yesterday discerned what seemed to be faint bruising on Sonny's shoulders. A careless glance might have put it down to a birthmark, as Sonny has more than his share of these, but something made Mum look more carefully. Our almost seven-month-old wasn't behaving abnormally, yet there definitely appeared to be faint outlines around his shoulder blades.

For now, the most plausible guess is that someone has gripped the little fella so firmly that he was left black and blue. After Mum alerted Pa and we spent a while searching our memories, we could not recall any incident that would supply the explanation. That left us with the distinctly unpleasant possibility that someone at Sonny's infant care centre is being a little too free with her hands. Mum's suspicions immediately fell on one staff member in particular, whom she has always found sullen and ill-disposed towards Sonny.

If we roam the more remote reaches of possibility, other theories could be constructed. Perhaps there is a medical cause, and the bruising is a symptom of some malady requiring investigation. Or, when Sonny fell from the bed the other day, he might have somehow bruised his shoulders (though it's hard to see how he might have, given that the impact was primarily on his head).
Finally, perhaps it really is just a birthmark.

It will not do for us to let the matter soak in the realm of speculation. But we are uncertain as to how we should proceed. Subtle inquiries must probably be made at the infant care centre: Staff there have several times commented on Sonny's inveterate crawling, so it is possible that someone's self-control snapped (there being several persons there, all of whom would automatically become suspects). Perhaps, though, the first port of call should be a doctor, who can verify with his expert eye that these marks are indeed bruises, and dismiss the medical angle from all consideration.

Still, if anyone has a suggestion, it would be very gratefully received.


Anonymous said...

Apply gentle pressure on the various spots of the 'bruised' area and watch for any facial reaction or a wince or small cry of protest?

That's what I do to myself when I'm not sure of I have an unexplainable smudge of dirt or bruise on my arms or legs.

-just guessing-

Cloudsters said...

The little fella isn't quite yelling in pain in response... looks at us quizically, rather. The mystery deepens.