Cutting Raspberry’s nails is a challenge. The very first time, Lucas was the one who cut her nails. Except he cut a little too deep and drew blood from a finger that bled for what felt like forever. We panicked and called the clinic. One trip to the doctor later (a very nice, understanding lady who was probably slightly amused by us, neurotic first-time parents), I’ve been the one cutting her nails ever since, and at the doctor’s wonderful suggestion, I’ve been doing it while she’s asleep.

It was relatively easy when she was younger — she slept more, and seemingly deeper too. These days, on a bad night, it might take me two hours to cut ten nails. Yes, two frigging hours. I might cut one or two nails before she wakes, at which point, I duck so as to not be seen and I might even crawl out of the room on my hands and knees (classy, I know). And then I wait it out before returning. Lather, rinse, repeat.

While I’m cutting her nails, I have an ongoing mental countdown. For instance: “Yay, three nails done. 70% more to go!” The countdown is what keeps me going on the bad nights (oh, by the way, a “good” night constitutes cutting all ten fingernails in ten minutes or less — those nights are few and far between). Some nights, when she wakes up every time I put the nail clipper to her nails, I just give up and try again another night. I can kinda tell what sort of night it’s going to be. If she curls her fingers around mine when I reach for her hand, or if her fingers are tightly clenched and it takes some immeasurable degree of strength to uncurl them, then cutting her nails will probably be a long, drawn-out process.

Every two weeks or so, I have to do this — unclench, clip, duck, unclench, clip, duck. She sometimes walks around with nails longer than any kid should have because I dread having to cut her nails, but obviously have to do so before the nails become talons.

And don’t even get me started on toenails. For some reason, she’s even more sensitive to those being cut than her fingernails. It took me five months before I first cut her toenails. These days, I try to draw it out over a month or two. It’s long enough that her toenails have formed to the curvature of her toe.

Tonight, it’s taken me about an hour and a half. I’m 90% done and I’ve given up trying to clip her toenails tonight, even though they desperately need to be. Okay, time to do that last nail so I can turn the light off and not have teeny nails in my mind for the rest of the night.


10 responses

  1. Ha. I clip while asleep too. Dax wakes up more with the feet as well. So, I don’t know Raspberry, and maybe this is a ludicrous suggestion, but maybe now is the time to switch to clipping while awake so you don’t have to spend so many hours on it! I mean, don’t mind me, I’m totally naive about this stuff…

    November 2, 2011 at 1:30 am

  2. Maybe the feet are more ticklish, so kids wake more with the feet?

    I love your idea, except that Raspberry doesn’t. We’ve asked her on a number of occasions if we can please cut her nails during the day, but she’s all, “nope, only when I’m sleeping.” Stubborn kid.

    November 2, 2011 at 1:50 am

  3. have you tried filing them instead? or would that be even worse?

    November 2, 2011 at 1:59 am

  4. Sophie doesn’t seem to mind it as much. She tends to be more memorized by it than rebellious when we cut her nails. Did Raspberry start rejecting it after that first experience? Maybe just a suggestion…would it be too soon to let try doing it herself, under your supervision?

    November 2, 2011 at 11:47 am

  5. maybe she would respond better if you worked it into a written chart… like “things to do at bathtime.”

    November 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm

  6. That might be an idea. Although, I’d imagine it might take longer than just cutting her nails? I bit my nails for 24 years; I know nothing about filing nails :)

    November 3, 2011 at 3:37 am

  7. Oh wow, that’s amazing that you can cut Sophie’s nails when she’s awake. And that she mesmerized by it… wow!

    Raspberry was only a few weeks old when we first cut her nails and thereafter, we were afraid of drawing blood again, so we started doing it when she was asleep. Her conscious rejection of nail-cutting is more recent. Like, in the past few months, I think?

    Hmm, that’s an idea, to teach her how to cut her own nails. After all, she does use scissors. Although, I’m not sure what kind of job she’d be able to do cutting her own nails. Haha.

    November 3, 2011 at 3:40 am

  8. Oh, that’s a good idea. I might try that, since she’s quite responsive to written materials.

    November 3, 2011 at 3:41 am

  9. well, filing definitely takes longer, but i was thinking that maybe you might be able to do it while she was awake and it would take less time because you wouldn’t have to sneak around when she was sleeping. i filed my nails for a short period of time in my life but i just clip them because i am lazy and because i don’t know how to file them properly. :)

    maybe you and raspberry could go in for a manicure. unless you think that would be a complete waste of time or money. just trying to think of something that might take away her aversion to nail grooming.

    November 3, 2011 at 4:05 am

  10. I don’t even do manicures for myself, so I don’t think it’d be the best idea for Raspberry to get them. Thanks for the suggestions though :) I think I’ll wait a little bit before trying to get her to warm up to the idea of nail-cutting. I don’t mind doing it while she’s asleep, but she’s been sleeping terribly lately, which of course, doesn’t help with getting her nails cut.

    November 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm

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