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tooth and nail

July 3, 2009

When it comes to the stuff of daily a.m. and p.m. routines, we think: wake up; coffee; dinner; bed. And even in those cases, the schedule varies – the only requirement being that each actually happens at some point.

I think this may be why neither D, Jack nor I  turned out to be much of a baby hygienius – things like bath-taking, clothes-changing and nail-clipping get squeezed in wherever they fit (or whenever we remember). Jack’s bath time, for instance, is not the soothing, sleep-inducing routine that manuals of the What to Expect… variety recommend. If it’s light outside, he’s in a good mood and we’ve all been fed, then it’s long, splashy and toy-filled. If it’s 9 p.m. and an afterthought, he’s going to be sitting in the kitchen sink with water up to his belly button, getting a top-down rinse from the spray nozzle.

A few weeks ago, Jack started putting himself to bed each night, whine-free and for the duration. He’s even started brushing his hair (anything with bristles will do). Between this do-it-himself scheduling and his new need for regular teeth-brushing, we’ve been trying to make a lot of things more routine and less battle.

This morning, a real coup: I managed to clip Jack’s fingernails, which were just shy of being visible from the Hubble Space Telescope, without consulting a medical professional. When he was tiny and new, all I needed was a magnifying glass; recently, I’ve needed a team of experts. Or maybe the pair of nurses who hold him down for immunizations – they know how to get in, get out and still get the job done. Lately, I know how to give up: our compromises have involved an average of one nail clipped per three or so days.

I’ve been impressed for many months now at his defensive instincts. He honed his wiggling, kicking, flailing, screaming and blocking skills protecting himself from nose wipings and a winter week of eye drops.  Now he can push, pull and maneuver with the best of them.

But I’m still stronger, and occasionally more determined (I think Jack would tell you that a session with me and the nail clippers is akin to being stuck in a bench vice that eventually lets go). And today, he decided to give up before I let it go. It may be a cheap victory for me, but I’ll take it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 13, 2009 5:09 pm

    I have been lucky so far that my two do really well with the nail clipping, but I can totally image the wrestling match. I have that just trying to dress the two of them in the morning. I swear I break a sweat and should receive some type of victory belt when I am done. If it was sociably acceptable to go to school in their PJ’s there are days I would send them.

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