The amazingly fast rate that babies' nails grow is in direct proportion to how difficult it is to clip them. Yet you have to clip them, or the little bugger will claw his face off in the night, and you'll wake to find what looks like a crime scene in his crib. And the next time you bundle him up and take him to Babies R Us for a diaper run, people will take one look at his pitiful, mangled face and report you to Child Protective Services, and perhaps beat you with their purses as well.
Yet it's next to impossible to manage this task. Imagine trying to clip the nails of a raccoon found in the wild. The baby's arms pinwheel like he's trying to take flight, while you duck and weave with your microscopic baby fingernail clippers, hoping to accidentally connect with a fingernail. And baby nail clippers are incredibly dull, probably because the manufacturers of them understand that you will inevitably clip more finger than nail, and they want to minimize the potential for crippling handicaps. However, the result is that if you do beat the odds and grab a fingernail between those tiny, tiny nailclipper "blades," you will now basically have to use the "blades" to merely clamp onto that nail while you tear it off. In other words, you're really not clipping at all, but wrenching the nail off. Try doing that 10 times in a row, once for each finger. You will burn more calories at this task than in a step aerobic class. Once you manage to clip all ten nails, you will feel a sense of exhausted accomplishment akin to what an Olympic swimmer must feel after a successful match. And yet, 2 days later, your jaw will drop open when you discover that all 10 of those nails have magically returned to the exact length they were before you had your face-off with them--perhaps even a tad longer. You will only notice because your baby has a fresh, bloody groove in his cheek that wasn't there yesterday.
The first time I clipped Jake's toenails, I sliced off a bit of skin. That's a testament to how delicate a baby's skin is, because I managed to cut him with what I've already pointed out is the dullest instrument possible. I gasped, felt horrible, and braced myself for the indignant cry that was surely to come. Interestingly, Jake didn't notice he'd been cut, and didn't even flinch. More interestingly, though, is how comically long it took for the bleeding to stop. The kid bled so long I thought I was in a Saturday Night Live skit. He continued to snooze throughout the gore-fest, while I kept applying pressure and filling up Kleenexes. No one told me that babies' blood apparently doesn't clot. I'll have to keep this in mind next time I'm juggling knives near his playmat.