Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Going Toe-to-Toe

Life is good when you wake up to this.

And you can't help but be in good spirits on a day like this.

Having another opportunity to kiss these faces makes me happy.

But it all goes out the window at the sight of these.

My kids hate-- HATE-- having their nails trimmed.  What would ordinarily be a quick task to keep them from clawing at their corneas becomes all-out warfare, and our battle cries can be heard all throughout the neighborhood.

"Nooooo!  Please, Mommy!  No!"

"Cael!  If you settle down and hold still, I promise that it will not hurt.  But if you yell and thrash around, I can't make that promise!"

Cael doesn't mind when I trim his fingernails, because I, through trial and error, discovered a fool-proof plan to simultaneously groom him and appeal to his inner "little boy".  As I clip one week's worth of growth on his nails, cursing fate for wasting such great nails on someone that crams them into his nose and rear end on a daily basis, I trim them and comment with gusto on the horrific amount of dirt that was lurking at the end of his fingers.

"Cael!  Yuck!  Look at all of the dirt under your fingernails!  You could plant a garden!"

His favorite part isn't the attention or the silliness of the game, rather he enjoys speculating about the composition of that gunk.  And as always, when the ball is in his court, he displays a breadth of knowledge I never knew he possessed.

"Mommy it's not dirt, it's compost!  Compost is food that makes plants grow bigger and stronger!"

....Right.  This is the point at which I consider asking him to handle our tax preparations or tile the bathroom, but I stop short because I don't think the IRS will appreciate our listing "poop" as a deduction.  Even though it should be.  I would know.

Once his fingernails have been addressed, it's time to trim his toenails.  While I feel that my son has inherited an ideal combination of his parents' genes, Joel is to blame for our weekly toe debacle.  Not only does Cael have his father's gnarly toes, but he has also developed a fear for all things feet.  For Joel, that fear is selective; it comes on strong when I ask for a foot rub but wanes when his feet are tired after a long work day.  For my son, however, the aversion is all-encompassing and I hold my breath as he stares at the scissors as though I'm about to swing blindly with a hacksaw.

I have to run a play-by-play in my mind.  How will I get him to sit still?  Is trimming his nails worth sacrificing the last bite of ice cream?  "You let me trim your toenails and I will give you four animal crackers.  Or ten minutes of Thomas the Train.  No?  A few moments in a room with the cat to pull his tail to your satisfaction?  Half a can of beer?  An hour alone in our closet with one of Daddy's neckties?"

Somehow we get through it, and Cael can relax with the knowledge that his feet are safe for a week or so.  And then I turn to Graham...

...And start all over again.


  1. It's good to know we're not the only ones. I DREAD this time as it's an all-out battle EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

  2. Sarah- I think we have some battle tactics to share with the military. Out with waterboarding, in with nail clipping!

  3. My kids have gone to great lengths to avoid the nail scissors -- I caught Violet gnawing on her toenail the other day...

  4. Courtenay- It sounds like there's quite a group of us, although my kids haven't resorted to gnawing yet! But there's still time... :)

  5. I don't hate the nail clipping, but my 4 sons sure do! It is a wrestling match with the oldest (8) and the youngest (1) . My oldest has figured out that if he bites them they are too short to cut, ugh!

  6. Heidi- I've seen Cael do that a couple of times. I hope I can intercept that before he starts biting his toenails!!


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.