Tuesday, August 7, 2012

ten fingers and [kinda] ten toes

I got to hold Simon on my chest a few minutes after he was born. At first, I had to hold him at a distance all awkward-like because his cord was too short (leave it to me). They had to do a little snip-snip and clampy-clamp before I really got to look him over and kiss him and hold him close. 

I looked at his little mouth and his coney-bruised head and then I thought,

Let's have a looksy at these feet that have spent the past three months in my ribcage.

I snagged one of his little feet and saw that his second and third toes were fused together. 

I picked up the other foot. Same thing. 

I immediately grabbed his little hands to see if any of his fingers were fused. Nope--all separate. 

I was so tired and in love that I don't remember thinking much of it. I wasn't upset or even surprised. I just thought, 

Huh. That's interesting. 

And then I think I asked the nurse for some saltines. 

Syndactyly.  That's what it's called. I started to wonder if it was my fault because I had been somewhat half-hearted about the things they tell you to avoid. I'd eaten sushi and lunch meat and unpasteurized cheese and hot dogs and had the occasional beer or glass of wine.  Nope--it's purely genetic. Both N. and I carry the gene, although neither of us outwardly show the trait. Interesting, huh? It's so rare, but BOTH of us had it. I almost feel like it was meant to be. It never showed up on his ultrasound.

I think about it a lot. Part of me thinks that--when he's older--he'll think it's cool. It will be his party trick or something. The other part of me pictures an insecure teenage boy who is afraid to wear sandals or go barefoot, and that makes me cry. 

We could have it corrected. I don't know how much it would be or what the procedure is like. But I find myself wondering if that's the right thing do to--or am I trying to "fix" something that makes him unique and special?

I personally love his toes. I think they're adorable and quirky and that he will be the future's Michael Phelps. If I were only taking my feelings into account, I'd leave them just the way they are. 

Alas, the eternal, internal struggle of being a mama: the deep aching longing to protect them from everything that hurts, and the realization that you simply can't. 

We're still praying and thinking and talking. In the meantime, you can find me kissing those little toes. All ten [kinda] of them. 




  1. his little toes are so weird and so precious at the same time, i love it.

  2. Precious! Kiss those toes and tiny feet!

  3. i NEED to see those [kinda] ten toes, stat! the cuteness is almost too much. way to only post a picture of his feet so i don't die of seeing his cuteness while at work. i appreciate the thought ;)

  4. What you do is all up to you. I have three beasties all with their own uniqueness. Amies toes cross, for some reason they don't lay flat. It doesn't affect her. Her balance is fine and shae walks like any other 5 year old. Matty is tongue tied and missing 6 teeth all in the front yet he speaks more clearly than any other 2 year old I've met. Why should we change the things that do not hinder them. In fact, I'd say these problems give them a decided advantage. We spend so much time focused on the "problem" they learn to live with it better than we do with out the "problem."

    Keep doing what you do best, loving that cutie!

  5. I am a 54 year old woman who has webbed toes (2nd and 3rd) - both feet (although not all the way up to the ends). My grandmother had the same, I have a cousin with the same, and one of my sons has them.
    As a high schooler in the 70s, I remember being a bit embarrassed to wear sandals. I could not wear toe-socks. I answered the question "Can you swim better?" a number of times. (No)
    In nursing school (in my 40s), I had a classmate who also had the same webbed toes!
    As a nurse to newborns for a few years, I've only seen one baby with webbed toes. We are a rare species, it seems!
    So - I'd leave them be. It's always something that can be "fixed" but it's kind of a neat difference. :-)
    I'm sort of hoping there will be a grandchild to carry on the webbed toes, just like my only grandson carries on his grandfather's and father's dimples.

  6. Brett... omg. My son's toes look the EXACT same way. Just separated at the tip. I had no idea it had a name. We just thought it was extreme twin toe-ism. I remember how heartbroken I was the day some kid told him (around age 5) that his toes looked funny. So far it hasn't traumatized him in any way, and he's almost 9 now. But I understand the back and forth and worrying about the flip flop thing. I'm glad I'm not alone in this!

  7. My son is 11 and has fused toes. Since the time he was able to talk, he tells people God made his toes extra special. He loves that his toes are different. He never tries to hide his toes. In fact, he goes out of his way to show them off.

  8. My son (almost 17) has the same toes. In fact, one of his toenails is kinda like 2 toenails. Split right down the middle. We used to tell him that he would jump higher and run faster with those toes. He figured that out. I don't think anyone has ever made fun of them.

  9. I am so blessed by all of these comments! Thank you, ladies, for sharing these stories with me. I feel a lot more confident about the choice we're making. :) You're the best!

  10. I have the same toes and I love it! Keep him the way he is bc he is perfect! I am so happy for all of you!


    Brinn :)