Nail Biter

15 Jul

Letterbalm Long Red FingernailsDear LetterBalm: My sister-in-law is very proud of her nails. She spends time and money caring for them professionally, and as long as I’ve known her, she’s always worn ultra-long nail extensions and bright red polish. This never bothered me until now. I have a two-month-old baby, and my sister-in-law loves to pick her up and play with her. Her nails are very long and sharp, and she’s already accidentally stuck a nail into the baby’s eye and scratched her cheek. What can I say to her to stop her touching our baby? My sister-in-law is quite demanding, and she takes criticism personally.

–Worried for My Child

Well, Ms. L.B. supposes we all should be grateful your sister-in-law isn’t a cat, so the kid doesn’t have cat scratch fever. Let’s be blunt: The issue isn’t her hurt feelings, it’s all about protecting a vulnerable child. Your sister-in-law should never have been allowed to handle your daughter in the first place. (Not only are her nails sharp, but they can also harbor dangerous bacteria.) If your husband won’t say anything to his sister, you must – delicately, but leaving no room for interpretation. Brace yourself for her dramatic pushback. You’re a new mom and your daughter’s champion now:

Sharisse, I need your understanding about something that is troubling Robert and me. I know you were upset when your nails hurt Rayana – of course, we know it was an accident. You would never do anything to hurt your niece, which is why this is so difficult for me to say. You can spend as much time with Rayana as you want – you know you’re welcome here anytime. But until she’s older, I’m going to ask you not to pick her up. You can caress her in her crib or when she’s being held by Robert or me. This will be difficult for you to accept, but I think you can understand that we all have to look out for the safety of our newest and most vulnerable family member.

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