So it’s ok for people to love baby feet, right? Little chubby feet on these squishy ankles, and those delicious toes. We’re allowed to kiss them and bite them and we all talk about how much we just want to eat them up. When does that stop? Like, what age? I know by 25 it does, because I’d kick someone square in the face if they said they wanted to eat my feet up.

 Back off you canibal. 

But where does that end? My daughter is 4, 4 and a half to be more accurate. We were riding in the car yesterday when she literally kicked herself in the face. She thought she was so talented (and so did I watching from the front seat) that she could put her shoe on the tip of her toes and kick it up backwards into her lap. She had done it dozens of times, and each time we giggled and clapped. Well, this time she kicked her shoe off right into her nose. Oops. 

Despite knowing how unsafe it is, anytime she cries I climb from the front seat to the back to calm her down. It’s no different than when she was a baby crying out for me. She’s still my baby, I will always crawl into the back for her. She wasn’t really hurt so she perked up quickly, which is when I noticed the smell.

This girl had the stink. That smell of sweaty feet, that smell of no socks in shoes, that smell of a summer kid. 

Hold up, she’s never smelled like this before. Not the body odor smell before. Sure she’s smelled like poop, or day old spaghetti-o’s that I didn’t quite scrub off all the way; but this was her own smell. 
What??? Babies don’t smell like this. Babies have a magical scent they expel from their pores and from atop their heads that enchant us. Since when did my baby sweat enough to create odor? 

God damn girl, it’s like you’ve been eating salt and vinegar chips outta your shoes. 

Why can’t I move my face away?
Why can’t I put your foot somewhere far away from my face? 

Why do I still want to kiss your little toes?

As a kid growing up I always liked babies and toddlers, but never understood the obsession people had with them. Even my sister just a year older than me would fawn over these little people, tickling, kissing, loving all over them.
Later as a teenager, and early in college I grew less fond of the idea that one day I’d be a mother. I had a lot of plans for myself, and being a mother wasn’t high on the list. Then I got pregnant, and had my first little person.

My daughter was beautiful in every way possible, in every moment. I was obsessed. I finally got what the “big deal” was. I finally loved my first pair of little feet, and 10 chubby little toes. When my little ones fall asleep I kiss their cheeks, their little arms, fingers, and those gorgeous little feet. I take pictures of their feet as if I’ve never seen a more beautiful work of art. My body made those toes… 

I’ve enjoyed her feet for almost five years now, and I’m not ready to let them go. I don’t want them to walk anywhere without me. I’ve watched as those toes have grown, and the person with whom they ground has grown too. My baby is a little girl now, and she has stinky feet. I don’t know when it’s supposed to stop, I guess that’s up to her. I’m sure she will soon develop a strong voice that has no problem telling me to stop.

“Mom, that’s gross, stop kissing my feet,”

And I’ll respect her wishes and cry into a sleeve of Oreos later that night. I’ll look at all of my photos of her feet, and remember all the stages of her growth as her feet get bigger and bigger in each picture. It seems like every time I blink those feet have grown, and she’s one step closer to life on her own. Sure, I’m still in the thick of it and have to wipe for her when she poops; but it’s practically tomorrow that she will be gone, wipeing her own butt and everything.  Tomorrow she might care that she has stinky feet and a weirdo mom with a questionable foot obsession. Tomorrow stinky feet could be embarrassing, and cause her to worry. 

Until then, we will laugh at the smell, and I’ll kiss those little feet anyway.  I’ll deal with the smell; she’s still my baby today.

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