We put M into her high chair for the first meal the other day. Her boot laces were a touch looser than usual, and where the strap of her boots lie was a bright angry red as a result. It’s not the first time it had happened so we knew what to do (brace tight and brace on), but it was the first time in many many weeks and it threw me into a tailspin.
When she had trouble going to bed that night, I didn’t remind myself she had a weird nap schedule that day and we tried pushing her a little longer to skip a nap that would have landed dangerously close to bedtime. No, instead I kept watch on her feet to see if she was kicking because she was upset or whether kicking her feet made her upset.
And that’s typical for how the last two months of the BNB phase has gone. My browser search history is always a weird combination of “BNB + learning to rolling” or “Clubfoot and Athlete’s foot”. While I know idiopathic congenital tallipes equinovarus treatment, following the Ponsetti Method, should not contribute to developmental delays, I still regularly assess her abilities using the ASQ-3 criteria for her age, and find myself blaming the boots when she isn’t hitting the benchmarks when I think she should be.
I still hold my breath when I take off her socks, afraid to find pressure sores, blisters or even another round of athlete’s foot. I spend hours and an obscene amount of money searching for the “right” socks, and the safest crib bumper alternatives.
I get irrationally mad when someone looks at her feet (booted or not) and says “poor girl, it must be so rough on her” because, dammit, this kid is brave, strong and resilient. She doesn’t need your pity. And I get irrationally angry when someone looks at her feet and says “she is so brave/strong/resilient” because, dammit, why can’t she be cute, or beautiful or adorable like every other baby? And while those are amazing words to describe her, I just want her to grow into those traits rather than have to develop them even before she can crawl.
Not every day is hard. Sometimes, I get to deal with regular baby issues, like when she decides to scream in the car, drop her soother in the dirtiest places, or spit up all over my sweater as we’re walking out the door already behind schedule. But there is a constant monologue in my head worrying about the 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles and ligaments that need to all play nicely together for the next 4 and a half years. It’s no wonder I sometimes get a little neurotic and watch her feet through the now-padded bars of her crib to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible so we can get this over without having to repeat any of the steps.