Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Dear Eli,

Rose has finally developed an attention span for reading books (if I read really quickly and pick books without too many words). One of the few books that she'll sit through is Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury's Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes which Mimi and Granddad brought her when they visited last summer. The illustrations are adorable, and it shows babies from all over the world, including Asian babies, which are noticeably absent from most of the books we'd had until last year.

About a month after we got the book, we saw your face for the first time. And the next time I read it to Rose, my voice caught a little bit on the refrain, repeated at least half a dozen times in the book: "And this little baby, as everyone knows, has ten little fingers, and ten little toes."

"The baby's got all ten fingers and toes," is almost a stereotype in prenatal ultrasound. I remember hearing the techs say it when I was pregnant and thinking, "Duh, now move on to the real stuff, like the chambers of the heart and whether or not it's a boy or a girl." The possibility that one of my kids might not have all their fingers and toes didn't even register with me. 

You have most of ten toes. But honestly, we're not sure how many fingers you have. I know it's not ten, though. It appears more in the order of seven or eight. And from the moment I saw you, it didn't matter to me-- not even one little bit. I've seen pictures of you holding toys in your hands, clutching a bottle, even turning pages in a book. Other people might be surprised when they see your hands, but I am confident that they will soon realize that you are much more than your fingers.

There might be times when people think you can't do something because of your hands. Kids might make fun of you. Adults might say stupid things. I might say stupid things. But I'll always be there for you-- to protect you, to fight for you, and eventually, to equip you so you don't need me to do those things for you. Most of all, I will love you. It won't be much longer now.




FoxyJ said...

I read that book a while back and wondered how it would feel to those kids who don't have all 10 fingers and all 10 toes. Just curiously, have you been reading Miggy's blog?


Shelah said...

Thanks for the blog recommendation. I'd never seen it before!