31 July 2009

Foot Fetish

"I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles."

This is one of my favorite lines, in one of my favorite movies, Knocked Up. Sidenote: I have a friend that's convinced this movie is the reason I now have a child. That this movie made it okay for me to want a baby. He's convinced of this because he believes movies inform most decisions in my life. And while it's true that I grew a beard the first time because I thought Jason Lee looked cool with one in Chasing Amy and that I started collecting vinyl after one too many halfway-inebriated, late-night viewings of High Fidelity, and yes, I do fantasize about being pseudo-hipster college prof Grady Tripp from Wonder Boys when I am middle-aged (though perhaps without the adultery and maybe a bit less pot), I must disagree. Knocked Up had nothing to do with my wife and I having a baby. The fact that the film was released in June and she was pregnant by November is irrelevant.

Wow. Longest. Sidenote. Ever. Maybe I do need to Twitter, it might teach me not to pontificate.

But I digress. Back to the story at hand and the title of this post. My son is fascinated by his feet. Fascinated. I cannot fathom devoting the amount of time he does to inspecting and examining them. How can feet be so interesting? Babies truly are very strange little creatures. The things that catch--and hold--their attention are impossible to predict and often downright baffling.

For example, my son has a multitude of toys that move, make noise, play music, light up, etc., and yet, he will often bypass all of these in favor of something seemingly mundane, such as an empty plastic water bottle, a shoe, or a department store catalogue. These items will hold him in rapture for untold amounts of time.

And those feet. And the toes. His utter fascination with them often leads to him trying to eat them. They cannot taste good, nor offer true nutritional value for a rapidly growing baby, but this does not deter him from constantly putting them in his mouth and trying to eat them. Sure, he puts pretty much everything in his mouth, but he appears to have a special penchant for those feet. And the toes.

As he nears a year in age, my wife and I have started putting shoes on him more and more when we take him out in public. Yes, he's a baby, so technically footwear is optional, as his feet don't actually touch the ground, but we've made the collective decision that going barefoot in public, at any age, is sorta hillbilly and we are raising a baby sophisticate, not a baby hillbilly. But just like the feet unadorned, those shoe-covered feet go straight into the mouth. Watching him go to town, mawing on a sandal, inadvertently recreating Charlie Chaplin's Gold Rush routine (http://tiny.cc/hKCIG), I wonder is he making a meal of that shoe leather, or is he really trying to chew through it, because he knows those wonderful, delicious toes are hidden inside? And how the hell does this occupy so much of his time?

Seriously, my shoes and feet are in no way interesting or edible. Or appetizing. Apparently, in the decades since I was one, things have gone terribly awry.

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