Zen and the Art of Fingernail Clipping

I must admit that one of the things that terrified me the most about having a newborn was the thought of wielding sharp objects around those impossibly tiny fingers –the ritual also known as “clipping baby’s fingernails.” If there was one thing that sounded positively atrocious, slightly medieval and downright lumpable with, say, driving at a high rate of speed down the highway the WRONG WAY, was to divest my precious lump of joy of his keratinous overgrowths.

But now as I see my baby sleeping placidly on my lap, fingernails trimmed and smooth, I feel at peace.

Trimming Meowie’s little nails gently while he sleeps is almost like trimming the most beautiful bonsai tree — peacefully snipping small bits with care, not letting the blade interfere with his delicate skin, and being ever alert for those short bursts of semi-alertness that might send the whole operation into chaos. It is probably the only time in his life that my boy will ever let me give him a manicure, so it’s a time twice as cherished– let’s face it: no boy will ever want to play Beauty Shop with mama once they are old enough to know that mud gives far better facials and elicits better responses (read: shrieking and screaming and dipping headfirst into bubbly bath) any day.

I look at those little hands and wonder how they will grow. I try to find bits of resemblance with my fingers, or his daddy’s fingers or my mother’s or anyone’s in the family. They are these tiny works of art –one day they will be used to fish for boogers. And one day they might hold another’s and get a little sweaty from the excitement.

I am no longer afraid of clipping nails. It’s like my own living zen garden of possibilities.

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This entry was published on December 10, 2005 at 3:21 pm and is filed under Herr Meow!. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Zen and the Art of Fingernail Clipping

  1. My my my how poignant you can be! That was amazing….make finger clippings poetry. Really. Luvs, SarsiMom

  2. Lisa Samaroo on said:

    I came upon your site by chance. But it is great. I breastfed my baby for 6 months. and i thought i was being selfish for not liking it. My boobs were always hurting and i started feeling guilty because i didn’t like doing it. All the magazines and books said you’d love it and it’s such a bonding experience. I realize now its not me alone. Thank you.

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