What I am about to reveal may shock many of you. This past Saturday was the first time Clare, at 7.5, painted her nails.
I justified this primarily because of her finger habit. Truly, though, this was a convenient excuse to avoid one of my (totally irrational) pet-peeves: chipped nail polish, especially on little girls. I can't abide it. Even as a kid I hated seeing it on other kids. I think it makes their hands look dirty. And tacky. Blech. (I'm honestly not that fond of not-chipped nail polish on kids, either, but I know it's a harmless pleasure.)
However, I had been scouring my brain to think of some way to show Clare how proud I am for her kicking her habit not only immediately, but entirely without complaint. For one, Annie Bear has been returned to her, but I felt the occasion deserved more. So when Elise's mom asked out of the blue if we'd be interested in going to get our nails done together, I realized that was the great idea I sought.
Little did I know just how perfect a suggestion it would be. Clare, who has never once asked to paint her nails after being informed years ago that we wouldn't do it until she stopped sucking her finger, completely lit up when I asked if she'd like to get her nails done. For the days leading up to the event she would sporadically mention how much she was looking forward to it. I believe it even made her "morning news" announcement to her class at school one day.
I'm pretty sure just painting her nails at home would have been enough for Clare, yet I will admit it was really fun to go to the salon with her for this. She and Elise sat together and were just darling as they picked out their colors, waited patiently for their turns, and chit-chatted as we ladies all do. They were proud as peacocks of the results, too!
Clare couldn't wait to get home to show her nails to Danny and Daddy. We found them in the backyard playing baseball. Hilariously, moments after she went outside to show off her mani/pedi, Clare suddenly decided she wanted to play baseball and then kickball. Yes, the girl who has zero interest in organized sports. There's a lot to be said for being well-rounded, right?
This entire episode of kicking the habit and indulging in painting her nails has been enlightening to me regarding Clare's character. How often has she looked at her cousins', friends', and even my nails longingly yet never uttered a word? Baby Girl-To-Be has a lot to live up to.
Oh, and as for the inevitable chipped nail polish? Thanks to the CKS dress code, we had to remove it Sunday night :-) Hey, Clare's terrific and all, but Mommy's peace of mind, rational or not, is valuable, too.