Tuesday, February 17th, 2009
Chop extra baby fingers, toes, tails?
This instance is unusual because the baby has fully developed, fully functioning appendages. Read or watch the story or view the slideshow at KTVU. The hand shown above looks almost like it has two middle fingers.
Everyone is cool about it. The father and mother seem pleased at receiving media exposure, as opposed to hiding their unusual infant. The pediatrician appears to be tickled pink. He’s quoted as saying, “It’s merely an interesting and beautiful variation rather than a worrisome thing,” and he pondered what extra abilities six fingers would give a guitarist or typist.
On the flip side, the use of certain tools and instruments will be complicated by an extra digit (gloves and shoes being the obvious issues, but there are surely others). The world isn’t oriented toward six-fingered folks, let alone left-handers. You guys survive somehow.
Prior to my first child being born, I debated with my wife whether we’d keep a vestigial tail if our child was born with one. Not that it runs in our family gene pool, but it’s the sort of thing I think about. She’d chop a tail. I’d keep it. Sure, human “tails” are damned ugly, but I’m all for harmless things that make people unique.
It’s perhaps why, when we adopted our cats, I chose two with kinked tails, one who also has two extra toes on each of her front paws. The toes are flawed, with claws that don’t retract. My wife learned early on the fine art of feline nail clipping because the extra claws kept getting caught in our carpet. Today, on our hard floors, you can hear the cat’s silent approach as her extra toes click and clack on the floor.
Curiously, my wife was for keeping our cat’s unique feature, but when it comes to a human baby, she’d chop the extra fingers and toes. I’d keep them. Yes, there will be schoolyard teasing, but hopefully teasing makes you a stronger person… and once you graduate high school you become instantly intriguing among your college cohorts.
I’d hate to limit a person because of a fear of school teasing. School is a bizarre little micro-world that is so, so temporary.
One other downside of six fingers… if your kid grows up to be a villain, he has a distinguishing physical trait that sticks in one’s memory.
What say you? Chop those fingers and toes? What about a tail?