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Sometimes She Does

February 21, 2010

“You pinched me!” my son said to me three times tonight as I was cutting his nails.

But each time, he looked at me and I said, “I’m sorry,” and he gave me his little hand right back again.

The same thing happens almost every Sunday night as I cut 25 fingernails and 30 toenails in the Moncada household: one overweight cat, one three-legged cat, and one small boy.

This task has always fallen to me somehow in the family doling out of “and other duties as assigned.” I’m ususally more careful (or more awake or better able to see) and only get one sad and disbelieving, “You pinched me,” from my two-and-a-half-year-old child.

Over the 33 months or so he’s been alive, his responses to my carelessness or his displeasure have gotten significantly more understanding. He used to sound less like a rational adult and more like our three-legged cat who howls like a hyena despite having the fewest nails of all.

“It’s okay, Dozie,” he said to her tonight, petting her shoulder as I held her down and squeezed the tiny pads of her feet until her claws popped out one by one.

“Sometimes she doesn’t like to cut her nails,” he looked up at me and said. His eyes and nose were scrunched up in what must be his idea of sympathy. His head was cocked to the side, and his voice was a sweet little sigh.

“MMMRREEOOOOW,” she responded, vainly wriggling, in perfect replication of his earlier imitation of her at dinner, which had us, his parents, both doing some howling of our own.

“And sometimes she does,” he said.

“Yeah,” I said, concentrating really hard on not letting her dig all ten of her back claws into my right leg, which was holding all seven pounds of her down as I wrestled through our weekly kitty pedicure.

I was thinking about how there are small responsibilities like these that all of us have – like me cutting the nails of all the non-clipper-wielding members of our family – that may be neither interesting nor fun but are nonetheless important and constant. With the right tools and the right attitude they can be efficient and concrete enough to hold our attention fully as we get them done.

“Yeah,” he repeated, as he sometimes does when he thinks I haven’t heard him or he’s just trying to convince himself that what he’s said is true. “Sometimes she does.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 22, 2010 10:42 am

    It’s what separates good employees and team members from great ones. Not how you do just on the big things, but how mindful are you of all the details. Even watering the plant says something about how much you care about your environment and your companions within it. Not so different from User Experience Design when working on a site. Care for all the little details makes the entire experience of the site – or of interacting with someone in any other setting – more thoughtful, engaging and complete.



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