Bigger Threat: Maddie’s Nails or Wolverine’s Claws?

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Wolverine only has six claws

Believe it or not, cutting the baby’s finger and toenails is a very risky business.

Before Maddie was born, I remember worrying about a list of very silly things. I was worried about my reaction to poop, spit up and other various bodily fluids. In retrospect, these fears were largely unfounded. Without going into detail, getting hit with one fluid or another or even a nice combo just isn’t a big deal.

However, fingernails and toenails are a big deal. It’s one of those things that never even crossed my mind until I was faced with the challenge of it all. These things grow like wildfire and can be a hazard to both you and your baby. One day we have a neatly trimmed set of nails and a couple days later they are longer and sharper than a set of Samurai swords.

Maddie has gashed herself more times than I care to recall with both her fingernails and toenails. Nasty slashes show up on her face, legs and stomach like she went toe-to-toe with Freddie Cruger. If you are not a parent, you are now saying to yourself, “Why don’t you just cut them?”


Let me help with that one. First of all, let’s do a quick metric lesson. One millimeter is about the width of a dime. A baby’s sharpened talon is often less than two millimeters long. Houston, we have a problem!

I’ve been cutting those microscopic nails for seven months now and it’s not really much easier now than it was then. Size is one problem, the other problem is that Maddie Scissorhands never stops moving. She’s always zigging and zaggin like a honey badger trying to bite a snake in the head.

Once the baby clippers come out (regular clippers with pink plastic) Maddie starts somersaulting around her bedroom while throwing a series of roundhouse kicks that would make Mr. Miyagi green with envy.

Somehow, through this storm of kicks, swats, pivots and squirms you are supposed to clip these nails that can only be seen under the brightest of lights.

As if that’s not enough, throw in the fact that with each clip, the baby jerks her hand or foot back as if you have severed the entire appendage. This means that with every clip, you have to deal with a surge of adrenaline that leaves you breathless.

So far, I have only clipped her finger once and it was a HORRIBLE feeling that left me riddled with guilt. Instead of cutting nails, give me a big old stinky stack of poopy diapers any day.

4 thoughts on “Bigger Threat: Maddie’s Nails or Wolverine’s Claws?

    tinystepsbigjourney said:
    March 7, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Oh my gosh, not an hour ago I was cursing the baby razor blades myself. It is my least favorite task. Every time I go to make a cut she makes this noise, and pulls her hand back. No I’m not going to cut your finger off. But if you keep moving it might happen.

    stayhomepapa1 said:
    March 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    That little jerk back reaction happens with every snip. I can’t wait to teach her how to bite her nails!

    Larry Burton (@ljb4956) said:
    March 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Think of it as more along the lines of sharpening the sharp edge on a knife or razor blade. One of my twin 2yr olds has the most beautiful fingernails you ever saw. So much so my wife is envious because she has to go have her nails professionally done to get her’s in that great a shape.

      stayhomepapa1 said:
      March 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      I like that, a baby nail sharpening kit!

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