AJ hates having his toe nails clipped. HATES it. Screaming, crying, kicking, and generally freaking out is pretty much the norm. He's been like that with his toe nails since he's been born. We got away with it for a long time as I think the crawling around on carpet in bare feet would file the nails down for us!! His finger nails? No problem whatsoever. None. Heck, he'll even cut them himself.
So the nails on his one foot in particular have gotten pretty ridiculous. On Sunday night, I decided to do something about it. When I went up to bed, around 10:30 or so, I brought with me not a flashlight, but a head lamp. Yes, a head lamp like a miner would use. I got it as a White Elephant gift this past Christmas and I figured this would be the most logical way to break it in.
I crept into his room and went to the foot (no pun intended) of his bed. Nail clippers in hand, I went under the comforter and crawled, commando style, to my target. Socks. The kid won't sleep without socks on. Slowly, I removed one of his socks. Great Scott! I had not seen his toe nails, up close anyway, in quite sometime. Ever see the picture of that lady with finger nails like 3 feet long and they are all curled under? Yeah? Well, it didn't look like that, but still. He was sleeping on his belly, so his nails were facing down. This was going to be tricky.
At this point, Meg had come upstairs. She knew the plan and was there to draw fire, should AJ wake up. I was trying to think of what would go through his mind if he woke up, looked under his covers, and saw me with a head lamp on, one of his socks off, and clipper in hand. That it would have been ugly is all I can say for sure.
And so I started clipping. I opted for the unorthodox little-toe-to-big-toe strategy. I figured I needed to get out of there with as few clips as possible. I wasn't trying to get points for neatness and so I was unsure about going for the honking big toe first and having to make multiple clips. I need to start with a clip-to-toe ratio that was in my favor.
Clip - little toe done.
Clip - next toe (ring toe?) done.
Clip - middle toe done.
Clip - index toe(?) done.
I had my little stack of nail clippings piled up for removal upon completion of the mission (I had decided that this would be a one foot job). I was home free -- which, oddly enough, is always right where you are when disaster strikes. He was moving, stirring, whimpering. My wingman, err, Megan pushed my head down to the floor so I'd be out of his sight. I covered my head lamp with my hand for good measure. Meg said, "Hey, AJ" as if she had casually bumped into him at the grocery store and as if there was not a covert toe nail clipping mission going on right under his nose.
He settled down, and I moved back into position. CLIP. The big toe. I knew it would take more than one, and sure enough there it was. The last nail. Hanging there. Taunting me. He moved again. Tossed and turned. I went for it, trying to pull it the rest of the way off. It was there, between my fingers, and just like that I missed my opportunity. I was getting hot under there. It was getting hard to breathe. Suddently, he turned over one last time. This was it. It would be all or nothing. I grabbed his foot to hold it still and I took the shot. Got it. But now I needed to get out of there. I had no time to find the button to turn off the head lamp. So in one motion, I covered the light with my hand, ducked out from beneath the covers, pivoted around to face the door, and as I passed Meg on my way out, I somehow tripped over the 3/8" pile in his carpet and just about took a header into the wall outside of his room.
We made it into our bedroom and nearly collapsed with laughter. After we settled down, Meg said that we should write this down so that we'd always remember it. Somehow, I don't think I'll forget this. The next morning, when he came out of his room, he had his other sock back on. He mentioned that when he woke up, it was lying next to him, so he had just put it back on. I asked him if he had ever heard of the toe nail fairy and he said he hadn't. I dropped the subject.