So here’s a fun little piece of trivia about our little Sydneybird…she has what we call “special toes” on her left foot. To be honest, I didn’t even notice it on the day she was born…even after I held her feet in my hands for Mike to take a picture. I don’t think he noticed it either! Trent told me a few hours later. If you look closely, you can see what we initially assumed was just her 4th & 5th toes fused together. They have 2 separate toenails, and you can feel that the 4th toe is a separate bone. But that fifth toe is pretty big. Our pediatrician and a couple other pediatricians that were on call that week told us it was no big deal and that we could probably get the toes separated very easily around her first birthday. Well, at her 6 month check up, I asked the doc if he could recommend the next step for the toe sitch. He sent me to a very experienced pediatric bone and joint specialist up in Portland.
When we got to the specialist, he looked at Syd’s foot, and the first thing he says, totally non-chalant and matter-of-factly: “OK, no problem. Looks like we’ve got a pretty obvious sixth-toe mutation.” Me: “Huh?”
He went on to explain that separating toes 4 & 5 would not be wise. His reasons were about skin grafts, skin cells, toe muscles, aesthetics, etc. He totally convinced me. However, he said he’s quite sure she has a sixth toe, or at least part of a sixth toe bone in with that big 5th toe! He said it will probably start to rub on her shoes when she’s walking, so THAT he would gladly fix. According to him, it will be an easy and safe procedure. We’re supposed to come back next year with an x-ray after she’s steadily walking. I think making that last toe smaller will make her “special toes” almost unnoticeable.
Isn’t that strange? He said it’s genetic, so if neither Trent nor I have a sixth toe (we don’t) then she is the first and her children will have a 50/50% chance of having one.
Now, we’ve had many conversations in our family and amongst our friends about whether or not to even bother doing any procedures. I mean, it’s her littlest toe. On ONE foot. Talk about the least obvious birth defect. And don’t get me wrong–I am BEYOND grateful to have a healthy, happy, gorgeous (I think) baby girl! I thank God every day for her health.
But, she’s my baby girl! I want to give her every advantage in the world. I would GIVE her the world, if I could. Also, my baby girl will grow up to be a self-conscious middle-school girl someday. And I’ve BEEN a self-conscious middle-school girl. There will surely be something else about her body that will cause her to feel inadequate…if this is one thing I can fix early on,
If, for some reason, the doc changes his mind and says we can’t do anything (or it turns out to be outrageously expensive), then I won’t fret about it one bit. Either way, we’re already planning to pour our energy into consciously building up this little Bird’s self-esteem and self-confidence as she grows. We are learning and reading about how to plant those seeds in her even as an infant. I am going to fight every outside influence that tries to tell my daughter that she is not _______ enough, by constantly telling her that SHE. IS. ENOUGH. Exactly the way she is.
So although it may sound contradictory to tell her that after I went ahead and changed something about her, I think she’ll understand. I guess I just can’t turn off that Mommy instinct that wants to make things as smooth as possible for my babes.