Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wherein we discover that hindsight is NOT 20/20.

Old is the tale that mothers sport eyes in the backs of their heads.

And long have I prided myself in the success of threatening my own progeny with being able to see every criminal activity that they attempt behind my back.


Over the past thirteen years, my rear-vision has become well-honed... I could even swear that a sixth sense kicks in sometimes, and I can FEEL one of my children about to commit wrong-doing, even if we're not in the same geographical location at the time.

It's uncanny.

And most of the time, frighteningly accurate.

SO accurate, that one afternoon a few years ago, my second child came weeping towards me complaining of a headache. When, after a hefty dose of Children's Advil, my sweet daughter was still shaking and sobbing inconsolably, I realized that there must be another reason for her distress.

I asked her if there was anything else bothering her besides the headache. At first, she shook her head no... but after some more gentle questioning, she burst out:


Poor little kid.

Once I stopped giggling, I assured her that "back-eyes" were things that developed after having children... they just kind of appeared. Like stretch-marks and cellulite, only WAY more useful.

Well, today we were roaring around town in the loser cruiser, trying to run errands in the precious few hours granted to me when the older kids are in school. Wee Three was strapped firmly into her car seat, one row behind me, on the passenger side of the car.

We were listening to some good music, and I quickly took my eyes off of traffic to glance into my rear-view mirror, to see if the Wee one was enjoying the tune as much as I was.

Instead of performing a "chair dance", as she usually does when The Groove strikes her, my littlest girlie was clearly concentrating on other things. She had her hands up around her face, and a quick glance at her furrowed brow led me to believe she was hard at work on her latest nasty little habit...

Me: (sharply) HEY. Tell me that you are NOT biting your fingernails!! They're right down to the quick, for goodness sake!!

Yep, she's a nail-biter all right. Her hands look as though they've been ravaged by a pack of wolves... and nauseatingly, I was told by my husband the other night that he caught her in a corner taking her socks off, so that she could bite her TOENAILS as well.


We've tried it all. Taping them up with bandaids. Old Wives' Tales. Threats of bodily harm. Threats of POLICE ACTION.

Even a vile nail polish product called "Stop'n'Grow", which is supposed to make the nails taste so completely revolting, the Savage Biter quits willingly, immediately, and cold-turkey.

Wee Three, of course, proclaimed the taste, "DELICIOUS".

Her two older sisters have tried talking to her, as well. My first two children have beautiful nails, and have to remind me to file and shape them for them once a week, they grow so rapidly.

After one such earnest conversation, Wee Three questioned Child Number Two:

Wee Three: YOU ever bited your fingernails?

Child Number Two: (beaming with pride) NOPE! I never have! And just see how nice this pink nail polish looks!

Wee Three: (pausing for a moment to admire, but then reconsidering) You should try the biting. They taste REALLY GOOD.

Little twerp.

NOTHING IS WORKING. Not even bold-faced, cold-blooded bribery.

As a result, I have to keep a constant watchful eye on her, and am constantly reminding her to GET HER HANDS AWAY FROM HER FACE.

Mother: (gently menacing) I SEE YOU WITH MY BACK-EYES, KIDDO. Put your hands down!! Don't you bite nails ANY MORE, or I'll pull this car over, and I MEAN IT!

My littlest girl immediately whipped her hands onto her lap, but shouted back at me:

Wee Three: (adamant) I NOT BITING MY NAILS!!

Mother: Oh, yes you WERE. I SAW you with my back-eyes!! You can't fool The Mother!!

Wee Three: Oh, yes I can!! I NOT biting my nails!

Mother: Oh, really??? And just what, pray tell, WERE you doing with your hands just now?

Wee Three: (shrieking with glee) I PICKING MY NOSE!!! HA-HA!!!

I think I feel a headache coming on...

Final Score:

Child- 1,000,001
Mother- (still) 0


painted maypole said...

he he he

(love the story of your sick hubby, too. at least it made for a good blog post)

Nan said...

*Sigh* Yup, I bit my nails. I finally stopped, under duress, and started pulling my hair instead. Till I had bald patches. How about just letting her bite her nails? Hard, but if she's less stressed out about it, she won't need to as much. Really! Sam used to bite his nails pretty badly but it seems to be letting up a bit. I buff them and moisturise, to keep those jagged edges from tempting him. Seems to be gradually making a difference. Is she stressed out? I know Sam was, and I was. You wouldn't believe the weird things that stress kids out.

merinz said...

Oh boy does this post take me back a year or two!

Our oldest was a nail biter. I used bribery, offered him a dollar a nail if he could grow them, unblemished, to a respectable length. He immediately stopped biting them, they grew healthy and unravaged, he claimed his $10 (which was quite a lot of money at the time) then within a few weeks had begun biting them again.

But - he hated the "Stop It" paint that has a horrible taste, so I would paint it on his nails when he was asleep. That worked - for a while.

Now, at age 34 he occasionally still bites his nails. I hope his patients (he is a doctor) don't notice!

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