Nail Clipping

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.

Tale of Survival: Taming the Talons of a Pterodactyl

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The purple is a really nice touch!

I have to admit that we have been remiss in cutting the baby’s fingernails. As a result, her tiny fingers have transformed into pterodactyl talons of death. One swipe of those razor sharp claws and you find yourself picking pieces of your small intestine up off the floor.

Needless to say, it was time for a trim! I had been waiting for Maddie to be in an exceptionally good mood before undertaking such a risky venture – and today was the day.

Our first attempt at nail cutting about a week ago ended in complete failure. Tending to the nails of your child with a spouse watching is not the way to go. This is a solo venture where coaching can have devastating results.

Just like Will Ferrell in the movie Stepbrothers, I decided to use Ninja breathing techniques and nail clipper camouflage to lull the baby into a false sense of security. The time to strike would be after the first feeding when my little girl was feeling the intoxicating effects of mother’s milk. I put a couch cushion on my lap and then gently laid Maddie down on top. Sure enough, the little girl was starting to fade.

As her eyes got heavy, I employed the old “I want to hold your hand” approach and luckily, she fell for it! Clippers appeared in a flash and suddenly her middle talon fell harmlessly to the couch. Seize the initiative – we knocked the pinkie and the ring finger nail next when Maddie realized that I was up to no good.

I had already dropped the clippers as she eyed me suspiciously. Nothing to see here little one – just the innocent eyes of your PaPa shining with love! Phewww – that was a close one!

Maddie slipped back into dreamland as I eyed the ultimate prize of the set – the thumbnail of death, actually judged to be sharper than concertina wire! I went in for a better grip, but the nail refused to give. It was a life and death struggle – man versus claw – it slashed at me, tearing my clothes, but I refused to yield. Suddenly with a snip, it was over. Sayonara you sick twisted nail!

The fingernails on the other hand went just like the first one, but I will leave that up to your imagination!