Thursday, May 3, 2012

Connor Lathan-- Code Name: Chomper McGee

    I've never understood the compulsion to bite your nails.  Sure, I've torn off the odd nail when it starts splintering and there aren't any nail clips handy, but I don't gnaw at them like an Eager Beaver.  I can't stand Emory boards, that grinding, sand-papery noise is just...well I'm having trouble breathing just thinking about it.  I've watched my brother chew his nails but, I think it's more of a nervous habit for him (like curling his bangs around his fingers when he's concentrating and thinks that no one is watching.  This too is another habit that Connor inherited from him).  The foster daughter my mother took in also has a nasty habit of biting her fingers AND toe nails.  That just sounds like the fast track to harvesting Athlete Mouth. Can you guess where I'm going with this?

    Connor bites his nails A LOT.  When he's watching television or otherwise preoccupied, his little fingers go straight to his mouth.  His nails are all chewed down to the quick, and it looks a little uncomfortable.  It's nerve wracking because I don't want him to suffer needlessly, so I've talked to him about it and he says, "But I can't help it."  I don't think he's trying hard enough. 

     Connor also bites his toe nails.  I've never actually witnessed this, but I've taken several long, disappointed looks at his chewed-off piggies and I honestly don't know how to break the cycle.  He's like a nail junkie!  And just like any other junkie, he's inevitably hit rock bottom with his nasty little habit.  Some of you may have already heard my rendition of the following account, but I'll repeat it for those of you who haven't.  Keep in mind, it's WAY more entertaining with hand motions and all that.  It's almost as funny as it is horrifying or visa versa. 

     About a month ago, I was dozing off in bed.  Connor and I share a bed a lot because he keeps some odd hours and I don't want him to get up, unknowing to me, and stumble outside and be eaten by some wild coyote.  Like I said in an earlier post, I have high hopes for my first-born which include, but is not limited to him taking care of me in my twilight years. Anyways, I was sound asleep and assumed he was, too because he hadn't made any noise for several minutes.  After a little while I was pretty much asleep, but I could feel him moving around beside me.  It wasn't a big deal because he usually ends up stretched across the foot of the bed by sun-up anyway.  After a bit longer, I felt something brush up against my feet.  I moved them out of his way so he could get comfy and I could go back to sleep.  Then I felt it again, followed by something wet on my big toe! 

     Now, if you know me, you know I have the complete opposite of a foot fetish.  I hate people touching, or otherwise acknowledging my feet.  I've been known to boot a puppy across the room for nipping at my toes, and I love dogs better than most humans.  I mean, Connor's lucky that I had enough Motherly Restraint to not beam him in the face with my foot.  I jerked back the covers, feeling as provoked as a rampaging bear,  and asked him what he was doing.  I had a sneaking suspicion, but I was unwilling to accept that he'd been about to nibble on my toenail.

     "But Mommy, I don't have any more!"  Oh no!  Also, Ewww!  My worst fears realized.  Now he wanted MY nails to chew on!  He could have kept at it for a week with little to no progress, my toe nails are like concrete anyway, but that's not the point!  What part of Parenting 101 did I so obviously fail?

      It gets better (well worse).  Tempereance has already started teething, and nothing seems to give her ease.  I've given her frozen teethers, teething beads, wash cloths, Popsicles,  you name it.  One day, I remembered that Connor had pretty much cut all of his teeth on my fingers and knuckles (I still have scars because that was also something of a bad habit to break.) so, I started letting Tempe chew on them and that has helped her some.  Bad idea for Connor to see that!  Now, whenever we're watching something or otherwise hanging out, he'll reach over like he wants to hold my hand.  I think it's so sweet and I fall for his evil scheme every damn time.  Before I realize what he's about, he has my thumb in his mouth in a last-ditch effort to feed his addiction.  Next, I'm going to catch him in an alley chewing on the Homeless! 

:.Me & Connor (age 3 months).:
     I've thought about that Old Wife's Tale of putting chicken poop on fingertips to break people from biting them, but that's just too gross to consider.  I bet it would work, but what if my whole plan backfired and that just birthed a newer, and much more disturbing addiction to chicken turds?  I mean, I may have failed some exams in Mothering 101, but I totally passed Hygiene class.  So, I'm going to have to figure out some better, less extreme (and icky) alternatives to fix him.  Maybe Betty Ford or Passages-Malibu could extend some outreach programs to my son?


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