When your child bites their nails.

All of a sudden, towards the end of last year, Soph became a nail biter. Oli’s nails grow like weeds, every Sunday I have to cut them before I get nail envy. At first I didn’t even realise. Sunday would roll around and I’d fetch the nail clippers, cut Oli’s then ask to see Soph’s hands, no cutting needed, okay. After about three weeks I had a closer look, albeit neatly, I could see why I didn’t need to cut her nails – she was biting them, and for no apparent reason. She isn’t an anxious child at all, which so many Google searches assured me she was, so why was she biting them?

Now, who I am to judge (pot, meet kettle) – I bit my nails as a kid for years! Nothing could stop me, I think it was just something I had to outgrow, like a phase or a bad haircut (more on that later this week). I’d lick that funny ‘stop nail biting’ paint off my fingers – that certainly didn’t deter me, nor the scolding from a grandmother. While I realise it’s something totally uncommon, her little fingers would have peeling skin and sometimes look sore, so I had to intervene.

Every time we’d see her fingers edging towards her mouth we’d gently remind her ‘we don’t bite our nails’. In one ear, out the next. “Princesses don’t bite their nails”. “We get germs from our fingers, don’t put them in your mouth unless you want to get sick’. “Don’t bite your nails or they’ll never grow back”. Gosh, we tried them all. Eventually, the promise of being hosted by our favourite local Mommy Wellness spa seemed to stick. With promises of choosing whatever colours she wanted, she began assuring me she wouldn’t bite them because she wanted to go to ‘the salon with Mommy’.

Andreia, Phumla and Enele welcomed us with open arms, as always, and Soph’s eyes began to pop as she was shown to our treatment room. Excitement was at an all-time high as she spotted her name written to welcome us and couldn’t wait to recline on her treatment bed like she was born for this. And then the colours came out. She wanted far more than her ten fingers and toes could handle, but finally settled on four with a little gentle encouragement for ‘less is more’. Little madam even had her first face mask while her nails were prepped! The wonderful thing about this spa is that it’s so unpretentious and welcoming to children. I didn’t feel myself apologising for her verbal diarrhoea, the million questions and her scooting around on Phumla’s chair. The therapists are so welcoming and encouraging, catering to our every need, except for Soph’s sudden request for macaroni cheese (at 9 o’clock in the morning!) – how ridiculous that there was none available! Andreia even had Sophie believe she needed to sit still like a princess for her nails to dry, because a very special princess (Elsa) had recently visited, and that’s how princesses behaved – cue statue-like behaviour at the thought of her girl-crush having sat on the same treatment bed!

What an absolute spoil, and so special to share our very first Mommy and Me spa session together! She’s assured me multiple times that her fingers won’t be going near her mouth again (I think it’s in hopes of returning to Mommy Wellness) – so let’s see, but in the meantime, please send me tips of how you stopped your child from biting their nails, did you bribe them too?

*We were gifted this Mommy and Me experience at Mommy Wellness, with no strings attached, these are our own views of our time there.

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