The other day I was struggling to put on a pair of tights (which fit me perfect only a week ago, so WTF weight gain?) and I instantly had to recoil in pain because there was a brand new shiny purple mark taking up about 75% of the real estate on my left knee.
It took me 5 minutes to remember how I got it. And even longer to explain the next one I found on my elbow moments later.
Clearly I bruise easily.
Living in my household, ‘accidents happen’ on the regular. The aftermath is always difficult to explain because we rarely have any memory of how it happened. From my son’s flailing jazz hands to his random head butts – I am frequently on the receiving end of Ryder’s unexpected out bursts and I am no stranger to the injuries. From welts and bumps to bruises and scratches, they appear out of nowhere, disappear quickly, and reappear just as fast.
To be clear: Little man isn’t violent; he’s extremely gentle and loving, just careless and unaware. Ryder doesn’t realize he is hurting anyone, and most often than not, completely oblivious that he’s even hurt himself. We discourage the hitting every time to little avail but with autism, repetition is the only way he will eventually learn.
Even if I have to chant “gentle hands” 1,392 times today, I am going to break him of the head butting.
Last week I had three bruises along my right forearm. The week before, a purple toe nail and a long scratch down my thigh (my fault on that one, Ryder looks at nail clipping like corporal punishment). A month ago I had a bump on my forehead that hurt every time I brushed my hair. I still don’t remember how that one happened.
Ryder has some interesting quirks about him, most of which are spastic movements and awkward motions. He runs in circles, dive bombs couches and beds, and thinks stomachs are trampolines. His idea of a good time is screaming at the top of his lungs as he heads straight for your kneecap. He laughs, I cry and moan “gentle hands”, and we carry on as if nothing ever happened. Occasionally there’s blood, but that’s what the box of Kleenex and band-aids are for, right?
Besides my own injuries, Ryder is never without some kind of mark or gash on his own body. Some of them self-harm, but most from just being clutzy. A couple weeks ago he came home from daycare with road rash along his spine from diving off the jungle gym. And a month or so before that he had a black eye and a large red welt across his forehead. Did he cry? I doubt it (it happened again at daycare), and did he flinch when I tried to treat it? Nope. His pain tolerance is of super-human strength. In fact, Ryder rarely cries. And when he does, it’s because I won’t give him another banana cookie, not because he’s physically hurt.
Ryder loves those damn banana cookies.
I am sure next week I’ll have a couple more bruises to add to my collection. And perhaps another long scratch will appear somewhere on my body in a few days since his nails are starting to get long again. The truth is, I don’t care enough to recall how I got them. They remain unexplained bruises, because the warm hugs and soft kisses are really the only things important enough to remember any ways.