I'm at it again... risking my daughter's health by letting Elise go barefoot.
My first encounter with the bare feet issue came a couple months after I arrived in Turkey. Serap came to my house to help me practice Turkish. I greeted her at the door wearing big pregnancy overalls, a sweatshirt, and (here's the important part) bare feet. After giving me a kiss on both cheeks (Turkish greeting), she pointed to my feet and with a very concerned look started telling me something. I couldn't speak Turkish yet. I didn't understand a single word, but something about my feet bothered her, so I decided to put on some slippers, and that ended it. Maybe my feet stank?
A couple weeks later my other language helper, Sumru, came over and I was barefoot. Sumru knew a little English and with a frightened look on her face told me that what I was doing was very dangerous for the baby. VERY DANGEROUS. Of course I didn't want to hurt the baby growing in my belly so I asked her what this horrible thing I was doing was. She told me I wasn't wearing socks. She couldn't explain exactly how my bare feet would harm my baby, but since I could tell she was seriously frightened, I went and put on slippers. Slippers weren't safe enough for the baby, I needed socks too. I put them on and we went on with our lesson. From then on I tried to keep my water retaining pregnant feet covered when any Turk was around and that was that.
A couple months later Elise was born. She was a cute little peanut, but colicky. She cried in the morning. She cried in mid-morning too. She cried at noon and afternoon and late afternoon and evening and night. Especially night. Especially right after my eyes finally closed and I tried to sleep for the 345th time that night. Hmmm....now that I think of it, I wonder if the colick had to do with the lack of sock usage during my pregnancy.
I had language lessons while James tried to take care of her and sooth her in another room of the house. As if I knew the answer and was just choosing not to do anything about it, my language helpers always asked what was wrong with the baby. Every time they'd go check on her and find the source of the problem. Socks. I thought I understood that they were concerned that she was crying because her feet were too cold, but once again Sumru helped me understand things a bit more clearly. One day before my lesson with Sumru because I didn't want to hear cold feet again, I put Elise into jammies with the feet in them. Of course at some point during my language lesson Elise started crying. Sumru stopped the lesson, and we brought out the baby for inspection.
Sumru: Is she wearing socks under those pajamas?
Me: Yes. Okay, so she wasn't really and I totally lied, but I was soooooo tired of hearing that I wasn't keeping her feet warm enough and chose to lie rather than hear it for the 17 thousandth time that week. But hey, at least I'm being honest for you!
Sumru: What about booties?
Me: Um, booties under the jammies?
Sumru: Of course!
Me: No. My guilt from the first lie was already getting to me and I just couldn't do it again.
Sumru: Aha! That's why she's crying. She has gas.
Me: I don't understand. I understood maybe she had gas, but what that had to do with her feet was beyond me.
Sumru: She needs to be wearing 3 layers on her feet at all time.
Me: I don't understand.
Sumru: Her feet got cold which gave her gas, which made her cry.
Me: Cold feet gave her gas?
Sumru: Of course!
Me: I didn't know that about babies. . . Do little molicules of air somehow get absorbed by the feet when they get too cold and go into the digestive system??? Have you seriously thought this through? Okay so I didn't say that bit about the air... but I really wanted to.
Sumru: Well, she also could have gas because you had bare feet which gave you gas, which got into your breastmilk, and that gave her gas.
Me: Wow, I'll have to be more careful. And I'll have to remember that my feet are like big sponges for air, which then must go into the bloodstream and wreak havoc throughout my body. Okay, so I didn't say that part about my feet being sponges either, but I still wonder how she would have responded if I had.
From that day forward I tried to keep Elise's feet covered, I really did, but she was always pulling off socks and I got tired of trying to keep up. I like going barefoot in my house and so I usually don't wear socks either, but ever since those conversations I've tried to keep some slippers by the door so that whenever I answer it my feet are covered. I also try to run and put socks on Elise and Marie before guests come in.
Here is a small smattering of the horrible things that happen to people who don't wear socks. I've heard all of these, usually as warnings for what will happen to me or my children when people see us sockless (and I'm talking inside the house here people, not outside... we've never even risked that one).
1. You'll get sick (this is the most common, kind of a catch all)
2. You'll get a kidney infection.
3. Your stomach will start to hurt.
4. You will lose the ability to have children (your uterus freezes from what I've heard)
5. Your back will hurt
6. You may miscarry your baby
Any idea what reason number two is???