Honest Motherhood: Nailing It

Leo is three months old now and I am slowly getting used to thinking of myself as the mother of two children.
Maia turned seven last month, and has begun sticking Little Mix posters up on her bedroom wall. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this yet, as I still think of her as my baby girl, not someone who sticks posters of their favourite bands on walls. That seems far too grown up. 
Every day is a balancing act of taking care of the tiny human (he’s actually in the 91st percentile in both weight and height, so he really isn’t that tiny), whilst making sure the slightly bigger but still tiny human gets enough of my love and attention. I rarely get it completely right, but most of time she seems quite happy playing and watching me take care of her brother. 

I made the mistake of attempting to cut his nails the other night. This is every parent’s nightmare, and can make even the most well accomplished, high-achieving individual feel inadequate. There’s nothing quite as delicate, and with such small margin for error. The wise parent waits until their child is asleep, you’ve really got no chance otherwise. Though even then there’s no guarantee they’ll keep entirely still. And even when they do, you can still royally mess the whole thing up, as I discovered one disastrous night. 
It was around 1:20am. I hadn’t yet gone to sleep so, in hindsight, was not in the best state to be embarking on something so painstaking. I ploughed ahead anyway, determined to cut back the nails I had begun describing as “lethal”. They were a threat to not only his own beautiful face, but to others too. I was getting tired of being razor clawed.
The first few fingers were a piece of cake. I was quite proud of myself, I’d taken just the right amount of nail and shaped them quite nicely. 
Then I moved on to his other hand and found the angle wasn’t quite as good. A woman in her right mind would have called it a day, or perhaps tried to move her baby into a better position. I did neither. 
I could barely see what I was doing, but thinking I had his teeny weeny index finger nail in the teeny weeny clippers, I pressed down to discover it was not nail, but most definitely skin. Nail makes a certain sound when cut and so does skin. I had just clipped down on my sleeping baby’s skin. I gasped. In a split second he stopped making those cute little breathing sounds babies make. Then came the face, contorted in distress. It felt like an eternity passed before he finally let out the heartbreaking cry I’d been waiting for. “I’M SORRY!! OH MY GOD I’M SO SORRY!!”.
I got up and cradled the injured baby in my arms, gently rocking him, kissing him and repeating “I’m sorry” over and over like a mad woman. I felt truly incompetent. He didn’t take long to calm but the bleeding stuck around for a while. Tiny little red specks quickly appeared on the front of his onesie, still there the following morning to remind me of the ordeal and bring back the guilt. I checked the clippers to see how much damage I’d done. The actual skin I’d cut off was barely visible to the naked eye. But the sounds of his cries will haunt me forever. I rang my Mum to ask if she’d ever done the same thing. “Oh yeh!” she said, completely unfazed. It turns out it’s a common occurrence. 


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