I am of two minds on children’s feet. On the one hand, it infuriates me when the persistent — almost pathological — carelessness of my children’s eight feet make a mess of our house and possessions. The damage comes in many different forms: there is the mud, the water, the snow, and occasionally even the poop, that gets tracked across our carpet and linoleum. There is the marking up of coats and jackets and hats and gloves with dirty footprints, as everything becomes a jumbled heap in our extremely small entryway. Worst of all to me, though, is the random and explosive scattering of papers, books, toys, and blocks that takes mere seconds when those feet come charging through. Not one of those eight feet will make any effort to preserve the integrity of any pile, because none of the foot owners ever look down at all. Anything on the floor will get the same treatment as dirt or grass or pavement outside.

However, the fact that those busy heads never look down is really a sign that the children’s lives are too full and busy for such details. I love that those careless feet never walk anywhere — I hear the stampede of hundreds of elephants, it would seem, as one or more runs up to get a critical item from the bedroom that is needed outdoors in the latest clubhouse. Another is willing to devote no more than thirty seconds to a call of nature, and so runs at breakneck pace both to and from the bathroom. I love how alive those little bodies are, and how excited they are by almost anything that happens on any given day, such that asking them to mind their feet is as pointless and as undesirable as asking them not to feel. The energy that lights up my children’s lives from sun-up to sundown is always beautiful to me, even when it can be careless and frenetic. I wouldn’t give that up. If those feet slow down, so does the pace and heartbeat of childhood itself, and I am not anxious ever to see the end of that era. So I will keep the eight crazy little feet and learn to keep my grown-up worries in places where they don’t care to tread yet.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. glangmead
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 22:07:49

    Why is it “sun-up” but “sundown”?

    More responsive: I hear you saying that there are aspects of the kids’ behavior that you like, and aspects that are problematic. Yeah, man.


  2. mamamissy
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 22:25:44

    I made a judgment call on “sunup” and “sundown,” and went old school. This is my defense. 🙂

    It’s that the very aspects that are problematic have a flip side to them, I would just add.


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