Baby Maintenance

In just two and a half months, we’ve had to learn a number of different techniques regarding baby maintenance, many more than I would have expected. I figured I’d be changing diapers and occasionally changing my shirt after some spit up, but otherwise I assumed Leanne would pretty much run on auto-pilot. I’ve already outlined our fun with bath time, so I won’t cover that again.

I had no idea how freaking hard clipping fingernails could be. First off, it’s no less than a two person job. We don’t even bother trying while she’s awake anymore, and if she’s actually asleep at night there’s no way I’m going to risk a chance at a good night’s sleep. So to begin with, there’s only a small window in which we can actually attempt it. On top of that, her nails grow at a downright supernatural rate, so we have to take advantage of those windows when they do present themselves.

Our attempts go something like the following. One of us has the baby asleep on our lap. For any of a number of reasons, we recognize that she needs her nails cut. Those reasons can stem from Leanne randomly having scratches on her face to me having scratches on my face after foolishly muttering the words “Meg, look how cute she is, she’s reaching out grab to daddy’s face.”

The parent who has the baby assumes the responsibility of controlling Leanne’s arm. I’ve mentioned this before, but it warrants mentioning again. I can manipulate the arms of guys larger than me into positions that would break their arms, with them fully knowing what I’m going for. Yet Leanne’s stumpy little arms, complete with fat on her forearms (I have never seen fat accumulate on forearms before) — while asleep I might add — put up one hell of a fight.

The other parent swoops in with the clippers. He or she secures Leanne’s (also fat) little hand. Here’s where the fun starts. Her fingers immediately curl into a iron fist. It’s like a turtle retreating into its shell. I’ve resorted to everything short of flat out biting her to get her to unclench her death grip. If that’s successful, you still have to get the clippers around a 1/32 inch hang nail without catching skin. A nail that, somehow, is razor sharp when applied to a face.

You’d think we won the lottery when we actually managed to clip a single fingernail.

In the past eleven weeks we’ve also had the trials of having to administer medication to a number of different orifices in her body. Let me just clear the air now: one of those orifices is not her little bum. Thus far we’ve only used the pacifier thermometer. I’ve been spit up on. I’ve been sprayed with projectile shit. I’ve bare handedly wiped nose boogies. But I’m still very skeptical about having to take my daughter’s temperature as if she was a Thanksgiving turkey.

Why do I have this website? To let Leanne know later on in life just how much she freaking owes me.

The first medication we had to administer was orally for her reflux. The dose is 1 milliliter. One. To put it in perspective, there are 44 milliliters in a shot of vodka (yes, I looked it up). That’s all we have to give her. That’s it.

Our tool to this end? A syringe. Obviously with no needle, but the idea is that we jam the syringe into her mouth and squirt the medicine down her throat before she realizes what’s going on.

It’s harder than it sounds. I swear the kid knows it’s coming. The syringe has now become a threat when she’s crying. No amount of tantrum cannot be alleviated by simply holding the syringe at close range. She’ll immediately clamp her mouth shut in a death grip (see a trend here? it should be no wonder why I don’t want to have to give her a butt thermometer).

Not only does she know it’s coming, but she’s getting sneaky. She used to just spit it out. Now she waits until Meg says how good a job Leanne did taking her medicine. Once Meg turns away, the kid spits out the medicine like a psychiatric patient would fake taking his meds. Lucky for us, Leanne hasn’t realized that there are two of us, so I usually catch her in the act. Oh ya, I forgot to mention before in my list of gross baby things that I’m not above using my finger as a spoon to scoop up spit out medicine and jam it back into her mouth.

A few nights ago, Leanne woke up screaming. I think she was screaming in an attempt to get air, since she was congested something fierce. After a panicked call to the on call pediatrician, we were told to break out our baby first-aid kit and administer the saline nose drops.

I figured this one would be easy. I’ve used nose sprays before, you simply stick it up your nose, spray, and inhale. There’s just one problem. The baby ones don’t spray, they drop.

“How the hell am I supposed to drip water into my kid’s nose?”
“What’s the problem?”
“Oh, I don’t know, gravity?”
“Have her mom lean her backwards.”
“And what, drown her?”

This sucked more ass than you’re thinking it did. Meg had to hold Leanne’s head still while I tried to muster a small amount of squeezing strength so as to only get one drop (on my first try, I drained like half the bottle, the stupid thing is brutally touch sensitive). It was pretty horrifying to have to hold Leanne down like that. Thankfully, the ends justified the means and, a few over-saturated, dripping nose boogies later, Leanne was breathing clearly.

That was all three days ago. Yesterday, she woke up with her eye crusted over. All day it was tearing up, sometimes with a yellowish liquid. One trip to the pediatrician (again) later, we had a new assignment: eye drops. I’m too lazy to take a picture of the bottle, but I can’t help but feel ripped off at paying $100 for one milliliter of eye drops. At least they could have put it in a bigger bottle. It’s about the size of a quarter. I can hear the bottle laughing at me.

I’ve already chronicled my issues with eye drops, so I wasn’t looking forward to seeing Leanne’s reaction. I held her and leaned her back while Meg did the hard part. Leanne’s eye immediately closed whenever the dropper came near her. We finally resolved to just put the drop on the inside of Leanne’s closed eye.

I was pretty happy; this was actually a very elegant solution. Leanne laid there for a bit with the drop sitting on her eye. Joke’s on her, she lacks the muscle to sit up and wipe the drop away, so at that point it was a sheer test of wills. We won. She eventually opened her eye and blinked the medicine into place.

This has all been in the first eleven weeks. Should be interesting to see what the next eleven weeks will bring.


  1. See that you guys figured out the eye drop thing all by yourselves :) You’d think the pediatrician would’ve given you a heads-up on that one. The nails are quite the adventure, I’m particularly proficient with the baby nail scissors so that’s my weapon of choice. I used to wait till the kids fell asleep to cut their nails. The trick to opening her hand is by grabbing her pinky and prying it up first. Slip your finger underneath so four of her fingers are now curled around yours, gives you working room. Not to mention it becoming a one-person operation. I’m surprised you being “Mr. Karate” that you didn’t know you could break anybody’s grip (adults included) by pulling their pinky up first. Ok, punching someone in the throat would work too, but these are kids we’re talkin about! You can always try those baby nail files, but honestly you’ll be there for days…it’s so much easier to clip them and then if there’s a sharp corner or two you can use them for that, but not much else.

    As for eyesnots, if there’s no crust there’s no point in agitating her with the washcloth. Just fold a tissue so it’s got a little bit of a point to it, let the eyesnot stick to the tissue and just drag it out of the corner of her eye. You can make a neat game out of it to see who can drag the whole thing out without breaking it :)

  2. *ahem* It’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, not karate. And technically speaking, it’s illegal in the sport to directly pull on someone’s fingers.

    That being said, I’m going to try the pinky thing. That sounds like good advice.

    And for your making a game out of the eye boogies, you’d fit in well in this house 😀

  3. LOL ka-ra-te` is much more fun to say than Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ::yawn:: I just thought it would be something that they would cover in martial arts along the way. I do know that certain forms of martial arts concentrate on what I think might be called pressure points, I can recall a particularly vivid image of my Dad coming home from work and saying to my brother and I “hey, wanna see what I learned at work today?” of course we said yes, he proceeded to press his thumb into the back of my brother’s jaw bone, it immediately incapacitated him and his head went down on the table where as an added bonus he dribbled on his homework :) My father was not a student of martial arts, but he was a policeman for 30+ years so there were certain techniques he was privy to, one of them being the pinky thing 😉

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