Babies of Mass Destruction
Trick question. Babies don’t have fingernails. They have talons. And yes, they grow inside the womb. So when these precious, innocent creatures greet the world, they are ready to fight. These seemingly angelic beings begin to assemble their weapons as early as 11 weeks in utero. By week 12, the fingernail buds start growing into skin-slashing blades. It’s possible that towards the end of pregnancy these mini MacGyvers use their sharpened tools to slit the amniotic sac and initiate their escape plan. Scientists are still doing research on that.
When Marie was born, her fingernails had grown into spikes extending beyond the tips of her fingers. They were so long, my aunt’s first response upon seeing her was, “That girl needs a mani/pedi.” Nah, I thought with naivete. She’s just a sweet, innocent baby.
My naive spirit wised up when skin-to-skin bonding time turned into a blood bath. And, in moments of intense newborn panic, Marie even managed to slash her own face a few times. Yet, the only thing more terrifying than these tiny razor blades is trying to removing them:
Somehow this photo makes cutting infant fingernails look like something doable. In real life, newborns don’t sit back, relax, and allow you to do your job. Your task is to isolate every finger of a flailing baby and pinch the nail with precision, taking care not to snip their delicate skin or the quick of the nail. It’s as though someone released the plug of a tiny balloon and asked you to pluck it from the air using a pair of fingernail clippers. Oh, and if you pop the balloon, it will bleed, cry, and scream.
Also, for a reason known only to God himself, baby fingernails grow faster than anything else on their tiny bodies. So, as a parent, you have to pluck that bloody balloon from the air several times each week.
For all these reasons (and the fact my husband designated me as the fingernail fairy), I did what any normal person would do: I abandoned my duty as fingernail fairy. Well, I abandoned it long enough to let my daughter become Baby Wolverine. And I secretly stash her arsenal of weapons inside little mittens until my room for error grows far beyond the tip of her fingers. So if you see my daughter wearing boxing gloves, don’t be fooled by her sweet demeanor. She may float like a butterfly, but she stings like an entire hive of bees.