Though you may not realize it, opposable thumbs make life functional and easy for us every day. But some children are born with a condition that leaves them thumb-less.

Born with thumb aplasia, Connor Woodle had to learn how to use his hands with only four fingers. But recently, he was able to use his full hands — complete with thumbs — for the first time after surgeons completed a successful transplant. The toddler, who is from Charlottesville, Va., had to use only four fingers on each hand as sort of crab-like clawd to pick up items. Thumb aplasia affects only one in 100,000 infants.

Though he appeared to be adapting to his condition, his parents wondered if it was sustainable. “My first thoughts were, ‘How is he going to be able to function in the world?’” Connor’s father, Jason Woodle, told TODAY Health. “Everything from five-fingered gloves to being able to reel in a fishing rod to being able to play a video game. Even something as simple as hitting a space bar on a keyboard — we take our thumbs for granted.”

As a result, Connor’s parents turned to the University of Virginia Hand Center, where they consulted with doctors who would perform digit pollicization, a surgery technique where a thumb is created from an already existing finger such as the index finger. The surgery, which took several hours, involved removing the index finger, shortening it, then re-attaching it to where the thumb should be. Instead of having five fingers, however, Connor will live with four. But instead of index fingers, he’ll now have thumbs — digits tha are a little bit more useful in the long run. “I was in tears,” his father said. “It was a big, big thing for me to be able to see that.”