(This was first published on Training Wheels, my blog for Central Penn Parent.)
A couple days ago Kostyn stepped on a Lego or something. It could have been anything, really, because my boys’ favorite pastime lately is Dump Everything Out of A Basket/Bin/Drawer/Hamper/Box Onto the Floor, and Then Get In The Empty Container and Coax Your Brother To Sit In It, Too. This little game is leading to several broken baskets and tons of crap all over my house.
But that’s not the point of this anecdote.
“OW OW OW MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY!!!” he yelped all the way over to me, that pained expression on his face that 3-year-olds get when they are interrupted from their playing by the slightest little boo-boo.
“Ow, ow, ow, my toe my toe!!!” he squirmed and hopped in front of me as I knelt down and carefully inspected his foot.
“This one?” I said, rubbing his pinky toe, which looked a little red.
“No, my big toe!” he whined, “Ow!”
I rubbed his big toe. “Ohhh, this one? Did you hurt your big toe?”
“No my big toe! My big toe!” he said, the whining now coupled with a twinge of annoyance at his ignorant mother.
“I’m holding your big toe. This one?” I said, wiggling the little piggy that went to market between my thumb and forefinger.
“No, my biggest toe,” he said, and I was perplexed for a moment until I noticed he was rubbing his heel.
My child thinks his heel is his biggest toe? I thought, now unsure whether I should offer a soft kiss of comfort or a hard dose of reality.
“Ohhhh-kay,” I said, rubbing his heel and giving it a little peck. “This is your heel, honey. You stepped on something with your heel?”
“Yeah, my heel. It’s like a toe.”
Well, sure, because they’re both found on your foot. But other than that, my dear boy, the heel is not a toe, or like a toe, or even next to a toe. It’s on the other side of the foot!
I didn’t say any of that out loud, of course. I just nodded and watched him scamper off to go jump into a laundry basket.
Sometime later I interrupted his play to tickle his toes and ask “What are these?”
“My toes!” he exclaimed, squirming and giggling.
“And what’s this?” I said, grabbing his heel.
“My heel!” he said, laughing.
“Very good!” I said, relieved.
“It’s my biggest toe,” he added. Uhhhh….
“It’s your biggest toe?”
“Yep. It’s HUMONGOUS,” he said, his eyes getting wide and his grin even wider. I opted to smile and not correct him — partly because he technically already proved he knows it’s his heel. And partly because his cuteness factor is just too darn HUMONGOUS.