I’m the man of the house. Don’t believe me; just ask the six females in my household. There are a great many tasks that only the man can do around the home. For example, no one seems to be able to do the laundry quite as well as I do. Go figure. If a toy is broken, it ends up on my desk for repairs. It might take weeks, but I fix it (or throw it away once it has been forgotten). Not surprisingly, I’m also the only one who leans out to clean outside windows. That’s right; these are tough, arduous tasks that have long been the domain of manly men.
Now, I’m adding one more task to the man-pile: baby nail cutting. For reasons wholly unknown to me, no one is willing to cut the nails of our twin boys (now 9 months).
When our daughter was a tiny tot, we had a neighbor who could cut all ten of her fingernails in the time it took me to retrieve the nail clippers. It was so staggeringly quick that we took our daughter to her simply to marvel at her speed and accuracy. Alas, we moved and that solution is long gone.
These days, the task falls to me, and I have taken up the mantle of responsibility with the same urgency that I apply to broken toys. Of course I will cut their nails … eventually.
The only problem is that I’m sometimes so busy doing other manly things about the house that I neglect to cut the tiny nails on my boys’ fingers and toes. This can result in babies and adults being lacerated by their tiny, razor sharp claws. The reason this is my responsibilities at all is that the ladies of the house are a bit faint of heart when it comes to the prospect of accidentally nipping baby fingers or toes.
Frankly speaking, this is one responsibility that few talk about before the birth of a baby. I’ve seen couples being brought to tears fighting over who should cut a baby’s nails. The problem is that it takes a steady hand and keen eyesight. My hands are steady like a photographer’s, but I give thanks every day to the people who invented autofocus.
Consequently, every week (or two), you will find me pinning down an arm or a leg and trying to distract two squirmy babies while maintaining Zen-like calm as I attempt to pare down all 40 nails. It’s dangerous work, but when it’s over, the boys immediately show their appreciation and reach out for mama.
Photo by Christopher Lay