Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Operation

There are a lot of things Kate is unwilling to do, like use the potty at home or let us rinse the shampoo out of her hair, but she refuses nothing so violently, so successfully, as having her toenails clipped. Even with both Jeremiah and I holding her down, she often thwarts our attempts. Now that it's sandal-wearing season it's apparent that this is a battle we had to win.

Her big toes had nails of treacherous proportions, while the nails on her pinkie toes (the ones that go wee wee wee wee wee all the way home on a regular basis) were these weird, thick, creepy triangles. Now, usually if I'm noticing toenails it's because they're especially pretty. Like Rachell's, which, I noticed yesterday while we were having lunch together, are not only airbrushed but also had a tiny, sparkly jewel inserted in their design. It's cool-looking and, in my opinion, about the amount of space airbrushing should occupy at any given time. So for me to declare that the third toe on Kate's right foot, with the nail that had literally grown around the tip of the digit and turned black (what is that? Dirt? The uneasy shade of death?) was the most disgusting toenail I'd ever seen isn't really saying all that much. Well, except that once, when I was in college, I developed an ingrown toenail that became so horribly infected, despite my best efforts to nurse it back to health, that it had to be surgically removed or I might die (guess who told me that). THAT was disgusting...possibly more disgusting than this toenail of Kate's but time and experience have distanced me from it so much that I'm sticking with my assessment of this black, hard ,animal-looking thing on my kid.

Last night I put the kids to bed after reading several stories and providing multiple kisses and hugs. Then...I waited. Jeremiah and I ate dinner and watched a couple episodes of Good Eats, to which we are addicted. Then, I sneaked upstairs and peered in at my unsuspecting victim. She lay spread-eagle on her bed, pacifier suspended by a tiny bond of warm plastic to lip-skin, breathing through her mouth. She was out. I crept over to the closet where we store our camping gear and dug out my why-am-I-always-setting-up-camp-after-dark headlamp. I grabbed the baby nail clippers. I eased down onto Kate's bed. I set to work. Even in her sleep, Kate wiggles a lot when having her toenails clipped. I got the huge big toenails. I managed the weird triangles on the little toes. I got everything to my satisfaction, in fact, except that awful black thing. The baby toenail clipper wasn't cutting it. I kept having to reposition myself to get a good angle, but it was a no-go. And the battery in my headlamp was dying and causing my surgical light to wane. For this, I was going to have to get serious, and fast.

I tip-toed downstairs, headlamp still blazing, look of intent fixed on my face. As I opened the hall closet in search of the cuticle trimmers, Jeremiah stood in the bathroom with the door open, brushing his teeth. He looked at me, still brushing. I looked at him, still intent. He blinked, said nothing. I dashed back up the stairs. Then I quietly lowered myself to horrifically disgusting toe-level. I waited a moment while the subject repositioned herself, holding my breath. And then, in the split second that presented itself, I swooped in! haHA! Success! I turned the headlamp off. Brushed tiny little toenails into the cup of my hand for disposal and crept silently out of the room. See you next week, sleeping beauty!


The Plaid Sheep said...

Have you added this to the "Had someone, years ago, told me I'd be doing this I would have laughed" list? And also to the "bring this up at Kate's first date" list?

Boomin' Granny said...

You are a very sneaky mother!
AND--I did NOT tell you you would DIE, just maybe that the infection could creep up your leg and it would have to be amputated!

sister k said...

what? we get no picture for this one?! this should be published Parents mag.!

Farrago_NW said...

Have you considered going the whole "let's have a pedicure" route? Turban up a towel around her head (I don't know why), give her a People mag, put some cotton between her toes ... then just get her complaining about something and start snipping.

Epiphany Alone said...

I've been bribing Lauren with polish since she was about 3 - sparkly pink polish from Bath and Body Works that smells a little like strawberries and dries quickly. The rule is that you can't have polish unless you sit still for your nails to be cut.