Friday, 17 September 2010

Self mutilation, mummy mutilation - which is worse?

Lumpy likes to claw himself. Well, whether he actually likes it is a moot point -- he may not actually realize that the flailing hands that take chunks out of his head, face, eyeballs, and anything within flailing distance, actually belong to him. But like it or not, he certainly engages in this self mutilation with great enthusiasm, and it is a rare morning that he wakes up without a new injury for us to admire and coo over. He currently has so many little streaks of scab on his head that it looks as if we are engaging in tribal scarring. Which is, of course, another excellent visual display of our parenting brilliance. Ha! Envy us and our scabby headed child, you inferior baby raisers!

Charming though these bloody wounds look, I thought that maybe I should try to do something to stop them, in case he removed so many bits of flesh that his head dropped out of the 98th percentile. I considered scratch mitts, but he likes sucking on his fists and fingers (when he isn't using them to mutilate himself), so this seemed rather cruel. So then I thought I should try to cut his nails, maybe. What a concept!

I have tried to shorten his nails in the past. It's just that I've attempted to do this either by peeling them off, or by nibbling them with my teeth. Neither of which are terribly effective, or highly recommended by health professionals. I'd even attempted to file them down with an emery board, which was a nice idea in theory, but in practice all we ended up with was filed down fingertips, and no discernible effect on the nail.

So I decided to try the revolutionary concept of baby nail clippers. I attacked him on the changing table, clipping away with wild abandon, and even having a go at his big toe, where I had never ventured before. I was quite pleased with my handiwork, until I picked him up about half an hour later, and saw that there were spots of blood all over his t-shirt. I searched desperately for the site of his injury, before I discovered that the blood was coming from -- you guessed it -- his newly trimmed nails. Which I had cut too short. So short that they were bleeding. And the feet? I had entirely missed the nail, and clipped the end of his toe instead. In an attempt to prevent my baby from mutilating himself, I had mutilated him. Pure parenting brilliance.

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