Posted by: raisingmustardseeds | February 28, 2007

The Truth about Purple Urple

My 5 year-old has developed a bad habit of chewing her nails.  It’s all ragged and much too short, and well, just looking terrible. 

I remember a childhood friend whose fingers and nails looked permanently disfigured because she had the same habit.  So I wanted to nip it in the bud before it was too late, and find a way to discourage this habit.

My first idea failed miserably.  I wrapped each finger with bandaids.  That’s 10 bandaids at one time.  They kept falling off.  It was getting expensive.  So I started to cut the bandaids into small pieces so that we only used the sticky parts on the nail.  That was an even sillier idea. 

Then I had a brilliant idea.  Use Gentian Violet!  What is Gentian Violet, you ask?  Well, it’s an anti-fungal solution with many uses.  It is also brilliantly purple!  When I was kid, my parents used it on us when we had cuts and scrapes.  (I had purple knees for many years)

So after having a serious talk about the need to eradicate this habit of hers, I proceeded to swab a little GV on the tops of each nail.  It was a sad sight.  10 little purple fingers. 

Now the whole idea is that if she chews on her fingers, we’d know right away – because GV stains everything it comes in contact with.  After the first night with GV on her fingers, she awoke with no purple mouth.  Yay!  I continued to do this every night, with success.

After a few days, it seemed like we’d conquered this beast; and her nails started to grow back.  I got lax and forgot to put the purple stuff on her nails.  Alas, one morning, I realized that she’d been chewing her nails again. 

So once again, I applied the purple stuff.  In the morning, while fixing breakfast I had the following conversation with her.

 Me: Did you bite your nails?

(silent pause)

Her: No?

Me: Hmm, are you sure?

(pause again)

Her: uh, yes?

Me: Then why is your mouth all purple?

Her: oh…..(pause)…..maybe just a little.

Sigh, when will they realize that mummies know everything?! 🙂


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