The Incredible Floating Toes

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Back up - I'm coming over!!
Back up – I’m coming over!!

How is the climbing stage going?

I guess it depends on who you ask.

As far as Maddie’s parents are concerned, the climbing stage isn’t too cool.

Ask Maddie and I’m sure she thinks it going GREAT!

“No crib can hold me,” exclaimed the 18-month-old girl as she prepared to vault into the great abyss.

This is to be expected when you have a toddler that can throw her legs as high as her head and has toes capable of gripping any smooth surface like a gecko lizard.

Maddie vaults on top of tables and chairs with reckless abandon now.  This high-risk behavior is on the verge of becoming a serious problem.

Watching my baby, it’s easy to understand the pure folly of human nature.

Like scientists and politicians, Maddie often decides plunges ahead with a course of action rather than pondering the aftermath of what she does. Of course she is only 18-months-old and has time to resolve this risky behavior issue.

Bigger Threat: Maddie’s Nails or Wolverine’s Claws?

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Wolverine only has six claws

Believe it or not, cutting the baby’s finger and toenails is a very risky business.

Before Maddie was born, I remember worrying about a list of very silly things. I was worried about my reaction to poop, spit up and other various bodily fluids. In retrospect, these fears were largely unfounded. Without going into detail, getting hit with one fluid or another or even a nice combo just isn’t a big deal.

However, fingernails and toenails are a big deal. It’s one of those things that never even crossed my mind until I was faced with the challenge of it all. These things grow like wildfire and can be a hazard to both you and your baby. One day we have a neatly trimmed set of nails and a couple days later they are longer and sharper than a set of Samurai swords.

Maddie has gashed herself more times than I care to recall with both her fingernails and toenails. Nasty slashes show up on her face, legs and stomach like she went toe-to-toe with Freddie Cruger. If you are not a parent, you are now saying to yourself, “Why don’t you just cut them?”


Let me help with that one. First of all, let’s do a quick metric lesson. One millimeter is about the width of a dime. A baby’s sharpened talon is often less than two millimeters long. Houston, we have a problem!

I’ve been cutting those microscopic nails for seven months now and it’s not really much easier now than it was then. Size is one problem, the other problem is that Maddie Scissorhands never stops moving. She’s always zigging and zaggin like a honey badger trying to bite a snake in the head.

Once the baby clippers come out (regular clippers with pink plastic) Maddie starts somersaulting around her bedroom while throwing a series of roundhouse kicks that would make Mr. Miyagi green with envy.

Somehow, through this storm of kicks, swats, pivots and squirms you are supposed to clip these nails that can only be seen under the brightest of lights.

As if that’s not enough, throw in the fact that with each clip, the baby jerks her hand or foot back as if you have severed the entire appendage. This means that with every clip, you have to deal with a surge of adrenaline that leaves you breathless.

So far, I have only clipped her finger once and it was a HORRIBLE feeling that left me riddled with guilt. Instead of cutting nails, give me a big old stinky stack of poopy diapers any day.

The Crazy Life of Maddie’s Feet

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These feet yearn to be free!

I never thought of feet as very expressive, but Maddie has been instrumental in showing me the error of my ways. Her feet do an amazing job of conveying every emotion whether it’s absolute outrage, complete satisfaction or pending trepidation.

Every toe seemingly has a mind of its own – attached to legs that only stop churning when it’s time to eat. When mealtime arrives – the feet freeze into an intense rigor along with her legs. All the toes curl up and lock down until her hunger has been abated.

The big toes often take off on their own missions leaving the rest of the toes to fend for themselves.


Big toes curl up – curl in – and can pivot off in any direction without warning. They are not webbed feet, like Michael Phelps – but they strong and full of purpose.


You would think that sleep might put those feet to rest – but it barely slows them down at all. No matter how tight the swaddle or deep the blanket – those feet and toes always find a way to punch through and gain access to the outside world.


But the greatest threat posed by these thundering hooves is during the diaper change. Failing to secure them properly can have unfortunate consequences including a foot into the magic diaper or a forced fumble of changing materials. 


I can only assume that if Maddie chooses to become an athlete – her footwork will be nothing short of impeccable. She might even be tempted to try a sport like tennis – Wouldn’t that be something?