Janet Christie: False starts in the great nail stand-off

Youngest Child and I don't often fall out, but this week it came to a stand-off. Over nails. I never had this trouble with the boys.

Janet Christie. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Janet Christie. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Sunday – she applies false nails. I assume they’re the usual stick-ons, that can be whipped off for school. I praise them, beige pointy talons, lovely, lovely, blah, blah.

Monday – at teatime I notice they’re still on. “Go and take them off,” I say. She disappears. I forget to check.

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Tuesday morning – she calls goodbye and I race to the front door to inspect her nails. Missed her, the wee besom. I’m not chasing her up the street in my PJs (again).

Tuesday night – she’s at her dad’s so I drop round on my way home from work. She’s making the tea (huh, she never does this at home). She potters around his kitchen – yes, she’s had a good day, no she didn’t eat rubbish for lunch – all the while keeping her back to me. But talons aren’t good with cellophane pasta packets. She’s forced to turn and ask for help. Ha! Gotcha.

“See? Completely impractical,” I say. “Ridiculous. When I see you tomorrow they will be gone.”

“OK,” she says, muttering as I leave.

Wednesday. A text from Youngest. “Staying with Other Parent tonight again as have important homework to do.”

I text back: “OK, but nails need to come off.”

“No glue remover.”

“No pocket money.”

Thursday night – I buy nail glue remover on my way home. Youngest removes nails, with surprisingly good grace. Only the remover gets knocked over and most of it spills. Hmmm.

Friday – she phones me at work. “I’m at the shops. Can you transfer my pocket money please?”

“Well, you did remove the nails, finally, so OK.”

“Yes, and my nails are minging and still covered in bits of glue. And it’s all your fault,” she says.

Victory is mine. I transfer the cash. This parenting, I’ve got it nailed.

Unless..., she wouldn’t be out there buying more nails? Would she?