My kid has ugly toes.  (They’re not long, shapely, and seductive like my toes.)  He’s got short, stubby little sausages glued to the end of his foot.  His toenails are something alien, too.  You know how chefs will thumb press a raisin or a cherry into the top of the cookie dough clumps before baking the cookies?  Well, it looks like before our bun came out of the proverbial oven, the “Chef” hastily pressed ten toenails into Gavin’s chubby digits…and pressed a bit too hard.

Worm’s toenails are buried under his skin, which means nail clipping is never easy.  Since no parent wants to inflict visible pain on their children, nail clipping time becomes more than a game of hide and seek.  It’s a medical procedure with sharp metal objects, no anesthesia, and high stakes.  One wrong move and I maim my baby, thus rendering him the laughing-stock at the schoolyard.

“Looky over there!  Gimpy Gavin goes.

He’s got 8 fingers and only 7 toes.

His dad cut them off, and put them in a stew.

If you can’t run fast, he will do the same to you!

Picture Worm flailing all 4 limbs, screaming, crying and arching his back…simultaneously.  Then picture me with a firm grasp on the toenail to be trimmed…and nothing else.  “Well, is it skin or is it part of the nail?  I don’t know.  It’s so small that I can’t really tell.  Why are his nails the same exact color as his toes?  Is that normal?  Should I wait until later for Steph’s help?”  A screaming baby can drain the patience from any man.  “What the hell.  He’s already crying.  If I draw blood, then at least he’ll have a real reason to cry.”  Snip.

With nails and toes like his, it was only a matter of time before a nail volunteered for onychocryptosis duty.  For Gavin, it happened last night.

Tis' Only a Flesh Wound!

Ingrown Toenail? No Problem! Mom to the Rescue!

We’re lucky we caught it early.  For those that are hoping to share in this wonderful experience (It’s great fun, especially after midnight!), here are a few tips that I found useful:

  1. To prevent ingrown toenails from happening, clip your baby’s nails often.  I usually know it’s time to clip Gavin’s nails when he can grabs at my neck and some skin comes off.  (Remember that sometimes clipping the nails too short can be a problem.)
  2. If this has already happened to you, then don’t tell your friends.  They will know that you are too busy Facebooking to pay much attention to your baby.  You may be ridiculed and scoffed at.  Some parents may even report you for neglect and child abuse.
  3. Squeeze the toe to see if baby cries.  This is a pretty good sign of ingrown toenail pain.  Usually the offending toe will be red and may possibly ooze pus.  If you are upset that your baby woke you up in the middle of the night, squeeze the toe multiple times.
  4. Onesies with footies and socks can irritate the offending toe and can contribute to infection.  Allow the toe to breathe.  (It’s a saying.  Toes don’t really breathe.)
  5. Clip the nail as close to the skin as possible.  If you clip some skin also, don’t worry.  Your baby shouldn’t remember the pain you caused them with your early parenting mistakes.
  6. Soak the baby’s foot in warm water for 5-10 minutes, a couple of times a day to loosen up the skin and encourage healing.
  7. Apply anti-bacterial ointment.  Just keep baby from eating it.
  8. If necessary, you can give your child acetaminophen for the pain.  It may help get both you and the baby some much needed sleep.

For my unpreparedness, Worm gets a point.  You keep testing my skills eh, son?

Gavin – 8; Dad – 4