Twisted Feet and Tenacity

Going to talk about my son today, Twin A, the Omen.  While in utero, he was crossed legged (what we old timers called Indian style before that became un-PC and is now called crisscross applesauce according to my kids). Anyway, he was cross legged, head up, sitting on my cervix. Instant c-section.

I went into pre term labor at 29 weeks and the doctors managed to hold it off for one more week. During that week, I had several Ultra-sounds. The doctors were very concerned because they could not see his feet.

Well, he had them earlier so they didn’t fall off. I wasn’t worried. They warned me they could not rule out clubbed feet or cleft palate(his forehead was always pressed to his brother’s *aww cute*).

I told my husband I was praying for clubbed feet. Cleft palates scared me. There are so many issues attached to the mouth that I was frightened. I got my prayer answered. Omen was born with bilateral clubbed feet. His tiny little feet(he only weighed 3 pounds) looked like backwards seal flippers.

Prematurity was a blessing for him. His bones were not very solid and he had no body fat. The orthopaedic specialist taped his legs into proper position at age 5 hours. Here he is at 6 weeks old.


5 HOURS OLD AND TAPED! He was taped for the entire two and half months he was in NICU. He and his twin came home and he began physical therapy the very next day. Every single diaper change, rotation and stretching exercise. He got fitted for tiny little AFOs.

AFOs?  This is an AFO.


Only his weren’t that soft. He needs rigid support. So this is one of his from infancy. He wore them on both legs.


He wears them still, every day, 16 hours a day, except for Sunday. A day of rest for him. He gets to wear regular tennis shoes then, Spiderman or Batman. He loves that.

Every specialist warned me as a toddler, he would get frustrated when his twin learned to walk and then he would be motivated to try and do those same things.

Yeah right. This kid walked first. He was climbing in those plastic boots long before his twin decided to become bipedal. Omen didn’t know what it was to not have therapy daily. I taught him, per instruction, to walk UP the sliding board I put in their room to stretch those tendons. We had play therapy where we walked like ducks and penguins daily. He thinks to this day that standing with his toes on a broom stick and touching his heels to the floor earns him M&Ms. We brought a set of steps into our living room for two years to do daily therapy with him.

boots2boots3He got to pick cool colors and patterns. He has had camo ones and football ones and once he had butterflies (hey, he picked it, I don’t care). Right now, he has Police cars and helicopters on them.

I worried, he worked and laughed all the way through it.

They do hurt. He has less feeling in them than normal. But he is very picky about how his socks fit. He cries often because his feet hurt, usually when he has over done it. But guess what, he is walking.  One day he will walk across a stage and get a diploma. He will dance at his wedding. He will teach his child to take his first steps.  Every daily effort is worth that to me.

Yesterday, I had to take him back for a re-adjustment. He looks forward to this. He looks at it like an adventure. He got to pick strap colors and picked blue this time. He can take them off and put them on faster than I can tie my shoes. He was so very proud the day he learned to stand on one foot. He amazes me.

People are cruel though. This summer, he wore shorts like any other little kid. Adults would stop and ask him what was wrong with his feet. He tells them nothing, the boots just help his feet grow. *sniff*  Only once did he get mad and act out. He sat and cried and begged me to fix his feet to work like his brother’s. Heartbreak does not describe it.

How much this child has taught me. In the true sense of the word, he has a deformity. But he doesn’t know that. He knows he can climb and jump and run and make Mama mad by stomping through mud puddles. He worked every single day of his young life to do something you and I do without thought. Stand. Walk.

Don’t tell him he can’t do something because of his legs. He gets angry. At nearly 5, he is very very vocal and will tell you “My mama says I can do anything.” And boy does he. He kicks a ball, he pedals a bike, and you should see this kid climb a ladder. He is working on skipping and he will get it, I have no doubt.

With braces.

When they are off, he toe walks and limps. His legs get tired easily then. But those are problems growth and gravity will fix. I gave him tools and he mastered them. And then expanded on them more than anyone thought he could. The braces are part of him but they are temporary. He will leave them behind just like he has baby food and bottles and diapers. He will reap the reward for his daily work, work he doesn’t even think about now.

How I wish I could be like my son with that kind of drive. As a writer, my tools are words and phrases and sightless pictures. Every day I strive to get better at using them. I still have my crutches, my braces, that I need at this point in my career. I will grow as a writer. I will leave those braces, those training wheels behind. And hopefully, if I am half as successful as my son has been, I will walk, head held high, into a book store and see my creation on a shelf one day.The pain and work will have been worth it.

Perseverance, embracing learning with joy and struggling through the pain. That is what my son taught me. Like he says, I CAN DO ANYTHING!




Filed under bizarre analogies, Inez, writing

22 responses to “Twisted Feet and Tenacity

  1. samq

    So true about the training wheels we all have. It’s usually fear which holds us back.

  2. Kids are great that way. They just seem to take it in stride becase that’s the way it is. And when he walks across that stage to get that diploma, who do you think he’s going to be silently thanking in his head for giving him the ability to walk like all his other classmates? His mom.


  3. Just wiping my eyes as I leave a comment.
    Wow. What a kid. I bet his confidence is in no small part due to his mom.

  4. Kids are amazing. But he wouldn’t be where he is today without amazing parents.

    Nothing will hold this kid back in his life.

  5. Hey, I’ve had an AFO brace! I didn’t know they made them that small. Pooh…I wish they would have given me the choice of decor…helicopters sound cool.

    Having grown up as a handicapped child, I have a little insight into his day-to-day frustrations, and his determination to be as normal as possible. Thank you for the additional inside look into how it must have been for my parents watching me navigate the growing-up process.

    He’s a remarkable kid…and you ain’t so shabby yourself, Mama! [[hugs]]

  6. talesfromthecrit

    Carolan, actually the tiny one posted was his second pair.The first were so little, they only had one strap! He weighed just under 7 pounds when he got fitted for that one. I just didn’t feel like digging it out of the cedar chest for a picture. *lazy mama*

    Thanks for the nice thoughts. I hope he looks back and knows we did everything we could for him.

  7. What an inspiring little boy. Kudo’s to him, and his Mom.

  8. What an AMAZING kid! 🙂 He is such a blessing and an inspiration. Give him some hugs from me.

  9. talesfromthecrit

    Coming from the perspective of a mother who has struggled with the day to day life with a child who needs more, I admire parents who maintain a positive attitude that there’s no viable option but success. You made me cry at the end. 😉


  10. Jen

    You just made me cry, Inez.
    I love you!

  11. He is a blessing all the way around. Thanks for sharing. Sort of puts the whole overflowing laundry basket in perspective. *searching for tissues*

  12. mamadivine

    Great post, Inez. Your children are blessed to have you for their mom.

  13. Great post. Would it be too trite to say “Yes he can”? Your Omen has demonstrated he can, and I suspect his brother, like you, was right there with him all the way.
    Hugs to the whole family,
    Jean Marie

  14. What an amazing little boy, Inez. I’m sure he gets some of his drive and determination from you. I had to laugh at the stomping through puddles. It’s such a little boy thing. 🙂

  15. What an inspiring story! Your son is nothing short of amazing, but you already knew that, right? You should submit this somewhere. 😉

  16. Linda

    omg, that was the best blog I’ve ever read. He is a precious and adorable little boy. Thanks so much for sharing, Inez.

  17. Great story. Amazing little boy!

  18. Kelly Jamieson

    I love stories like that! My son was also born premature (28 weeks). He also weighed 3 lbs, dropped a little after that. He had every health problem a premie can have -intestinal, lungs, heart valve, a broken wrist from the delivery, and the scariest – bleeding in the brain. I totally understand you praying for club feet, because I was praying for any other problems but brain damage. We made it through everything and he is now an extremely determined 15 year old!! Thank you for telling that story Inez.

  19. Kelly Jamieson

    I love that Inez! My son was also premature (28 weeks) and also weighed 3 lbs. He had every problem a premie can have – heart valve, lungs, intestines, a broken wrist from the delivery, and the scariest – bleeding in the brain. I totally understand you praying for club feet, because I was praying for anything but brain damage. We made it through everything and now he is a very determined 15 year old. Thanks for sharing that story Inez.

  20. Kelly Jamieson

    I dont know why I posted that twice…oops!

  21. UY

    What a great little boy and a great Mama

  22. It’s amazing what we can learn from the minds of children. And their mothers. Kudos to you both, you are such an inspiration. Thank you for letting us in a bit.

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