Baby Your Scratch Left Me Itching for Answers

Baby Quinn and Tanya H FranklinImagine purchasing a brand new car: a beautiful, shiny, sweet ride.  How upset would you be if you saw a scratch on your prized possession shortly after purchasing it?  Now imagine that this was not a car but your beautiful, brand new baby with her first major scratch on that sweet face of hers. This is what I endured last week with my eight month old.  She’s had tiny scratches before as a result of her fingernails growing so quickly and has even given her father and me some good scratches. But this was the first time she had a scratch about an inch and a half long, on her face no less, and I can’t figure out where it came from.

I noticed a faint mark above her eyebrow that did not quite look like a fingernail scratch when she woke up from her nap, and it worsened as the day progressed.  As it worsened, so did my guilt. I felt like a negligent mom and then thought about how daycare workers must feel when a scratch or mark seems to have “appeared from out of the blue” on a child, especially a child who is unable to explain what happened. Was I not keeping a close enough eye on Quinn?  My husband tried to reassure me that I am doing a good job, but my anxiety got so bad that I was ashamed and nervous to visit my mother fearing that she would be upset and admonish me for not knowing what happened to Quinn. When my mom saw Quinn, my heart began to race; what was she going to say?  “Oh, I see Quinn got a little scratch. It’ll heal before you know it. This is the first of many more little bumps and bruises. Just keep an eye out for her. She’s a real mover!” That’s all she said. She didn’t pick Quinn up and hold her tightly saying, “What did you let happen to my grand baby?” She didn’t question my abilities as a parent.  Though I certainly will be even more attentive with Quinn now that she’s crawling and pulling up to a standing position every chance she gets, my mom’s words made me feel much better about not solving the mystery of Quinn’s scratch. Now, less than one week later, it is barely noticeable.

I’m sure I am not the only parent who has experienced this and will not be the last, but I felt the need to share my experience with others and say, “Please don’t be too hard on yourself if…no when your little one gets that first major scratch.”

All the best,

Tanya

2 thoughts on “Baby Your Scratch Left Me Itching for Answers

  1. Oh, Tanya! I’m so sorry you beat yourself up over the scratch. If it makes you feel better, I cut Jude’s finger while trimming his nails, and it bled for HOURS. The guilt was overwhelming, and the hysterical crying didn’t help. I had to leave for work and hadn’t showered, so I wrapped his thumb in some tissue, and he stood outside the shower doors weeping, his hand held in the air. UGH!!! But you know what? He was okay, and so was I. I will never forget the experience, but at least I can laugh at it now. And your mom is right. She is going to bumps and bruises all the time, some self inflicted, and some inflicted by others. Please don’t feel guilty. You’re an awesome mom!!!

    One more story to put you at ease? On the way to visit Mike’s mom, I noticed a huge, red scratch on Jude’s hand. I knew it was one of the cats, but since they are not at all aggressive (especially with my baby), I figured something happened. It was more than a superficial scratch, which I didn’t like one bit, but I knew he had been instigating. I asked Jude which cat scratched him, and he told me, but when I asked him multiple times why she scratched him, he wouldn’t say. Days later (after it started healing), I was changing his diaper, and he said:

    “Mommy, Aggie scratched me.”

    “Why,” I said.

    “Because I pulled her tail.”

    Ah-HA! Finally! The truth! He healed, and it was a good cause and effect lesson!

    • Thank you so much for sharing the experiences you’ve had with Jude. Hearing from another fairly new mother is quite refreshing. You are absolutely right about the lessons our children can learn from these experiences. I definitely have learned a lot about “me” as well.

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