Have I failed as a mother? Will others look at my child and think urgh, disgusting! How do you stop bad habits? Is it a comfort or a confidence thing or is it just a childhood phase? Yes I admit it, nail-biting and nose picking is happening in this household. Yes, Monkey is that child. The one with a finger constantly in his mouth or up his nose. His quite a professional in fact.
The finger biting has been going on for what seems like forever. It has been years since I cut all ten of his finger nails, years. Often, there are no nails that need cutting at all. It’s a habit I too had as a child and even now, all these years later I rue my bad habit from childhood. My nails have no strength at all. Whilst I appreciate that lovely long nails might not be the look Monkey will want in years to come, I’d still like his fingers to look less gnarled and more loved. He’s a quiet child, an often anxious child, is the nail-biting a reaction or result of that? I’m sure it was some sort of comfort thing for me. Perhaps it’s the same for him. Please God that he doesn’t follow his mothers habits and swap finger nails for pen lids! Time will tell.
Anyway, I’ve digressed from the point of this post. Recently I’ve seen an improvement on the nail-biting front. As an incentive I’d promised Monkey that for every nail I could cut I would give him 10p for his piggy bank. He’s not very financially driven really, but he does want a new train for his railway so I thought it might give him some incentive to try. Well I think we have some success to report. A few weeks ago he managed to take 20p from me, trust me, two finger nails to be cut was big news here. But this Monday Monkey was going for broke. Oh yes! 80p landed in his money-box. 8 finger nails cut, 8 finger nails that hadn’t even been slightly nibbled. He was proud of himself and I was somewhat surprised, given the amount of time fingers can be found in his mouth. But progress, a glimmer of hope. Let’s hope it continues.
But in this house there is more than one habit to contend with, nail-biting and nose picking, in equal measures. Nose picking, yes I have a monster nose picker here and I have no idea how to persuade Monkey to stop. It’s continual, the ferreting around in his nose, harvesting the dreaded bogies, I can’t deny it, he’s quite the professional nose picker. I’ve been living in denial that this habit was being witnessed outside of my presence though. Somehow nail-biting seems more socially acceptable than nose picking doesn’t it. But no, Monkey likes to share his talents with a wider audience than just his nearest and dearest. I was in school earlier this week as I’m helping with guided reading sessions in his class. The children were on the carpet, supposedly reading before the register was called and lunch options were picked. There was Monkey, not engrossed in his book of choice, but happily digging around in his nose. It wasn’t a covert mission, it was a blatant statement of fact – I am a nose picker and I’m quite proud of my profession. I sank further into the tiny chair, oh dear, my son is the class nose picker. It can no longer be denied and kept behind closed doors.
So help me, how do I persuade Monkey to employ his fingers in far more productive work? How do I shut down the bogie goldmine and stop the harvesting within? My son has so many wonderful talents, I don’t want him to be remembered for one, rather unpleasant habit.
We have made a big step forward with the nail-biting, can we crack the nose picking? Fingers crossed, quite literally!