My son is almost 23 months old. A few weeks ago he had what I can only describe as a hangnail, although for a few days there we were wondering if it was a nailbed infection. His big toenail was kind of splitting off and we just left it alone but he did complain of "owie" there, although nothing dramatic. Then the nail was just hanging there so we decided to try and cut that part off. Well, that was a very intensely dramatic event involving much screaming and trying to hold him still. DH was able to cut part of it off and it was very slightly bleeding. I think DS got very freaked out because in his mind his toe was falling off. I don't even think he saw the blood (it was the equivalent of like one drop) but he did see the hangnail and it just sent him over the edge. We in fact gave up before getting the whole thing off and just put a bandaid on it. Then a week or so later I did manage to cut the hangnail off while he slept and by then it seemed absolutely fine. This whole "injury" was the kind of thing that for an adult would be absolutely nothing but for a toddler it was really intense.
Anyway while this all was going on he always insisted on having socks on, I think so that he didn't have to see or be reminded of the whole thing. That was understandable but it has been more than a week since it was "all better" and he still freaks out every time we change his socks, or even if one falls off in the middle of the night he will literally wake up crying "sock back on!!!". When he sees his foot or when we change his socks, it's just like when he saw his hangnail. It's as if every time he sees his foot now he pictures his toe falling off; like he can't realize that it's over and healed and better now. He screams and cries just like when we were trying to cut the nail off. It's really intense. I totally get this: the experience was traumatic for him and made an imprint and it's still there. I don't even mind so much as far as: if he needs to have socks on his feet for the rest of his life that's fine. But it's sad because he gets so upset and it's as if he's getting retraumatized every time we change his socks.
Has anyone else been through something similar? DS is pretty sensitive so I can see how this could happen, and I can only assume (or hope) that eventually he will forget about this or get past it. Is there anything we can do to help him?? Whenever he freaks out we always comfort him and reassure him it's all better now and that all "owies" get better. Is this something I need to worry about or should I just be patient and eventually it'll go away...???
Many thanks and sorry this was kinda long...