Jam Toe

freeimage-8146280-highWhen you’ve been married to a person for a long time, you think you know everything there is to know about them. However, there is a side of them that only reveals itself when you have children. It is then that your
spouse’s childhood quirks resurface, and it is then, I might add, that some of their unusual behavior patterns that you have always wondered about begin to make sense. Take for example toe jam. My husband has always paid particular attention to his feet, fussing over them and taking time to ensure that each little toenail is nicely trimmed.
One evening, I overheard him conversing with his three year old sons Eddie and Stanley. The three of them were huddled over Stanley’s toes, deep in a serious conversation.
“This” explained their dad, as he carefully spread Stanley’s toes wide, “Is toe jam”.
Puzzled, I peered over to find out what they were talking about.
My husband was pointing to the bit of fluff and dirt that was parked between two little pink toes. Below me, two small heads bent forward to
have a good look at the offending material.
“You need to make sure that you get all that stuff out from between
your toes each time you have a bath.” added my husband.
Because I’d safely navigated my life without checking between my toes each time I had a shower, I didn’t give much credence to their father’s advice. Turns out I should have.
Young Stanley took his father’s suggestion to heart – or rather, foot.
Any time he could catch his siblings when they were stationary for more
than a minute, Stanley would pull off their shoes, and examine their toes. His older siblings thought this was great fun, and would lie back on the couch as they were watching cartoons, and just let Stanley poke away between their toes. If he missed anyone, they would call him over.
“Hey Stan, check out this one. I haven’t had a bath in a week.”
Whenever we went anywhere in the van, he and his brother pulled off their shoes and socks to check for toe jam. I’d tear off to an appointment, only to arrive and find two sets of pink toes wiggling at me – or three
if they could get their hands on their baby sister. As I muttered away on
my hands and knees, searching for lost socks and shoes, they would gaze at me, baffled by my frustration and just say
“Jam toe!”
No amount of coaxing or threatening could quell their enthusiasm. I tried putting elastics around their ankles, and when that didn’t slow them down, I tied great granny knots in their laces. The kids had Houdini feet – they could slip out of anything.
When he heard about the situation in the back seat, my husband
thought that it was quite funny, until it happened to him one day when he
was in a hurry. He wheeled up to his destination, ripped open the side door of the van, and discovered that all six of our kids had whipped off their shoes. Searching, and then sorting to figure out whose foot each shoe belonged to took about five minutes, which was four minutes longer than his patience lasted. He returned home, exasperated, and finished recounting the day’s adventure by saying “They’re all nuts!”
I had little sympathy for this evildoer who created the foot fetish in
the first place.
“Wrong food group” I said darkly. “Not nuts, fruit. Jam to be exact.”

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