There’s just something about baby feet; the chubby little heels, the teeny tiny toes. How can you not love them? When I walked into the hospital just 6 weeks ago, I couldn’t help but be excited to hold my new little boy – and his tootsies, in my hand. After a brief labor and delivery – it was my third after all – and an hour of skin-to-skin, the nurse began cleaning and measuring him. She was ooh-ing and aah-ing over how adorable he was, and how much hair he had. And then she got to his feet.
“Well, look at that. He sure does have some interesting toes! I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
My “baby high” quickly faded as I craned my neck to see what she was talking about. His long toes were sort of curled on top of one another. I had never seen anything like that before either. They took his footprints, but only his first two toes on each foot touched the paper. The hospital’s pediatrician told us it was called Overlapping Toes Syndrome and was purely aesthetic, but I couldn’t help imagining my youngest son being made fun of because of them later in life.
My insecurities were on overload. Soon after we got home I ran to Target to buy a pack of booties. Any time we left the house I made sure his feet were covered and that they were never exposed. I even kept several back up pairs of tiny socks in the diaper bag in case he lost one while we were out. When posting pictures of him, I made sure to crop his little feet out of the photo. My hopes for that perfect newborn photo of my hands in a heart shape holding his little feet were gone. I didn’t think I could I ever hang a photo like that on my wall!
A few weeks later while I was frantically searching for a matching bootie, I came to the realization that what I was doing was a little crazy. I had become obsessed with covering my newborn son’s feet and not only was it hot outside, but I realized that I loved watching him rub his feet against me while nursing and I often rubbed his little toes back. Why was I so intent on hiding that joy from other people?
I knew I was concerned with loved ones and strangers judging my son’s feet, but each friend and family member who saw his feet unanimously agreed: “Who cares?” Overlapping toes or not, they loved my baby. Soon I began to embrace his quirky toes, knowing that it didn’t matter what others thought as long as my son was healthy and loved.
Now, rather than focusing on the appearance of my son’s toes, I find myself lovingly refering to them as monkey toes and showing them off every chance I get. The booties are still in the diaper bag, but I only use them if we’re somewhere where his feet may get cold.
Do any of your kids have a special characteristic that you love?