Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mysteries of Little Feet

If you asked me what surprises me the most about parenthood it would have to be how often I order my children, "Get your feet out of your mouth!"

And I really wish I meant this metaphorically.

Feet have always been a huge curiousity to children. Corresponding recently with an old friend who blogs at A Year in the Life of an Army Family she observed that her daughter insisted on on being able to see her feet while she ate.

I told her I made my mom buy me footie pajamas when I was little, then I made her cut the feet off because I thought they made my feet disappear.

Kids are like that.

Feet are our body’s hinterland, far removed from the capital and liable to get into trouble. Good to keep an eye on them. (That’s the political scientist in me; if I were a Marxist I might note that they support the rest of the body for very little gain.)

They are also a source of fascination – is this thing really part of me? If I poke it, will I feel it? What can it do?

I get all of this. What I don’t get is my own kids attitudes toward their feet.

I'll come downstairs on a Sunday morning (when they are allowed to get up early and watch TV) to find both of them sitting like bookends in the exact same position (the Goofs are twins separated by three years) with their feet in their mouth just chowing down. There is of course a kitchen full of snacks (healthy and junk) in the next room.

For GoofGirl this has become a bit of an art form. She shoves both big toes in her mouth and calls it the chipmunk. Both little toes and she calls baby chipmunk. One whole foot, for reasons I don't understand is "Octopus." She had several other "moves" but I had hit my limit.

What I wonder is what nutrient are they missing that can only be obtained by chewing on their toenails (and really, wouldn’t they be better off without it?)