The Baby Manicure Tragedy

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Re-posted from October 16, 2009. The family is en route to Los Angeles after Skye’s successful 2010 East Coast Birthday Tour.

The manicure victim blows bubbles to cope with her trauma

With motherhood comes many new and important responsibilities, such as picking baby boogers, wincing when your husband picks out the wrong pair of baby socks and Tweeting about the State of Your Breast Milk.  Another such responsibility is giving your baby regular manicures so that she doesn’t wake up looking like she’d spent the night wrestling a raccoon, as my child did this morning.  Feeling horribly guilty about the tiny scratches near Miss Skye’s right eye, I did what any concerned mother would — and put out several raccoon traps around the house.

Once I owned up to the situation and maturely admitted that she had scratches because MR. CANDY had failed to trim her nails (men, I tell ya), I decided to clip them myself before she, you know, lost an eye or something.  Have you ever given a baby a manicure?  The thing about babies is — and you non-parents out there may not know this — is that they’re small!  As are their nails!  And their nail CLIPPERS!  Cutting their tiny little nails with their tiny little nail clippers feels as natural as putting fake eyelashes on the cats.  Which they are not happy about, by the way.

Another thing about babies?  Is that, at eleven weeks old, they like to move around.  A LOT.  Fascinated by these things called arms and legs attached to her body, Skylar is constantly testing them and flailing about as though she’s auditioning for Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.  Given this, any mother with common sense would, of course, try to cut her nails while she was asleep and immobile.

So I, naturally, cut them while she was awake and flailing on my lap.

You know what’s coming, don’t you?  Oh yes.  SNIP goes the skin, making her tiny little finger bleed.  Baby Girl looked at me like, “Why would you DO that to me?!”, pouted, then cried for a solid ten seconds.  Yes, only ten seconds.  I, on the other hand, cried about it all afternoon.  Omigod, people — inflicting pain on your child, however unintentional…?  THE.  WORST.  FEELING.  IN.  THE.  WORLD.  I honestly felt faint, like I could pass out from the horrible, overwhelming guilt.  Is this what Catholics often feel like?  If so, I’m glad my dad stopped practicing Catholicism before I was born.  ‘Cause that depth of guilt is practically paralyzing, I tell ya.

Needless to say, I did not cut the remainder of Miss Skye’s nails today.  Instead I held her closely and offered my boobs as a peace offering.   Now I’m faced with the age-old parental dilemma:  Let my daughter scratch her eyes out or sever her hand with the clippers?  Ugh.  It’s SO much more fun picking baby boogers.

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Candy Kirby is the founder of The Laughing Stork and a professional fun-maker who will never stop chasing her lifelong dream: to find the Pomeranian or porn star after whom her parents must have named her. She also used to be a staff writer for the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, where she penned many scripts featuring prolonged heated stares and countless “Who’s the Daddy?” story lines. Candy lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young kids and three rescue Persian cats who enjoy blanketing every inch of the house in kitty fur. For more of Candy's nonsense, check out her personal Twitter, The Laughing Stork's Twitter and The Laughing Stork's Facebook page.

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15 Comments

  1. Alex

    Oct 16, 2009 at 5:08 am

    Geez, we need to stop meeting like this. My daughter has had little bloody fingers for a week, but it looks less bad than if Freddy Krueger had met her in her dreams.

  2. Dali

    Oct 16, 2009 at 7:16 am

    I do not have a baby yet. But, my Aunt used to gently file my cousins nails that way she didn’t over clip. Seemed to work for her. Hope Skylar feels better. ;)

  3. helloandie

    Oct 16, 2009 at 7:37 am

    aww.. i did that the first time i cut my kid’s nails. maybe you could get some of those baby mittens to keep her scratch free until you get your nerve back?

  4. Cowgirl in the Sand

    Oct 16, 2009 at 8:42 am

    I agree with the filing (using one of those gentle glass nail files). Several of my friends actually bite their babies’ nails off too — apparently it’s easier to control.

    As far as inflicting pain on your baby goes, you should have seen me when we got my son circumcised at 7 weeks old. We had to wait b/c he was too small when he was born (he was a preemie), and by the time he’d gained enough weight, he was old enough that we had to go to a specialist. Why? “Because babies at his age are more aware and can feel pain more acutely.” I was breaking down in the waiting room, and I bawled throughout the entire procedure. The doctor kept looking at my husband and asking, “Is she going to be OK?” My son, of course, was just fine — happily sucking on a piece of gauze soaked in sugar water. I’m just glad we have a daughter now and didn’t have to go through that again!

  5. Candy

    Oct 16, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I usually do file her nails — MUCH more gentle — but there were a couple that appeared too long to file, so I thought I’d try the clipper for once. Never again. I’ll file away for six hours if that’s what it takes.

    Cowgirl — canNOT even imagine.

  6. Momma Puppet

    Oct 16, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I have always gently torn off the nails. They are so delicate and I’ve never had a problem. Eventually, we’ll need to clip them, but, until then…

  7. Jen

    Oct 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Candy, I did it to H, too! What you need is baby nail files…look at BRU. they make them and you are guaranteed not to hurt anyone! It may take a little longer, but I filed H’s nails until she was 1!!! Never happened again!

  8. Eize

    Oct 17, 2009 at 5:24 am

    I personally don’t know how my sisters did it when their kids were Skylar’s age. Lovely mani-pedis they have, too. Of course, my sisters did it when they were sleeping, so…

  9. Sheryl

    Oct 17, 2009 at 6:07 am

    “Victim blows bubbles to cope with her trauma”

    I got a big kick out of that, Candy. Love the way your mind works.

  10. Melanie

    Oct 18, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    hello, I cut my son’s finger with clippers too. I’d like to say that it gets easier as they get older but it doesn’t .. unless they’re asleep obviously :)

  11. elyse

    Oct 22, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Aw I’m glad to know I’m not the only one that’s done this!! Am now terrified to do it again!!

  12. Sarah

    Oct 22, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    And this is why I’m trying to find out if I can hire a bunch of nurses to come and help petrified baby nail clipping momma’s like us once a month and cut our little ones nails (think dog groomers). I make my poor daughter bleed EVERY TIME I cut her nails. I think from now on I’ll try filing them *crossing fingers*

  13. Debo

    Nov 5, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Bite them off while you’re nursing. Never had an injury.

  14. Kitty

    Nov 24, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I never even attempted to cut of my sons nails using clippers until he was nearly 2. When he was younger I used to bite them off carefully. I was probably so concerned because I remember my mother going at my little brothers fingers with the clippers when he was an infant.

  15. Amanda

    Sep 8, 2011 at 1:06 am

    I don’t think I’ve cut my son’s nails more than a couple of times. He seems to keep them worn down all on his own… which probably explains the odd holes in my upholstery. Do they make child scratching posts?

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