Sunday, March 16, 2008

Striding right

Sometimes God grants small favors to mothers of four small children. Favors that no one but mothers of four small children would need or notice. Maybe it's just his little way of saying, "Thanks for hanging in there and listening to your three-year-old's incessant and constant talking now in its fifth hour without ripping your ears off the side of your head."

Alysse and Trace have had shoes on their feet one time in their 13 months. That single shoe wearing episode lasted about 20 or 25 minutes ... long enough to have Christmas photos taken.

What purpose do shoes really serve on a six month old anyway? Perhaps to keep the feet warm, but socks, proper clothing and blankets can serve the same role. And none of the three confine little toes. Let them wiggle, I say.

The only problem with this philosophy is that when said little one reaches the walking phase and decides walking needs to be done anywhere other than the floors in your home, shoes are a must. This is where the struggle begins.

Little feet that haven't been shoved into shoes for longer than 20 minutes of the 564,000 minutes they've been kicking don't always take kindly to the idea of pushing the curled little piggies into anything other than a sock (even that's not ideal some days). There's an "adjustment" period involved.

An adjustment period of a couple weeks when you slowly introduce shoe wearing and allow them time to learn to walk wearing something other than a sock. Usually it starts with them dragging one foot against the other trying to get the things off. After they realize those babies are staying on, they then try to take some steps sporting the new look.

Those first few steps appear as if there are cement blocks on each foot. Exaggerated in every aspect of the motion. The first foot slowly pulls up, the foot awkwardly goes down. The other foot goes up and clumsily gets placed down. It takes a bit to get used to this new feel, this new way.

Several weeks ago I attempted to put shoes on Alysse's feet. Expecting the above scenario to play out and to have a little walker ready for the world in a week or two. Not so.

Screaming. From the time the laces were tied until the time I pulled the shoes off she screamed at the top of her lungs. "Okay, it's nap time, we'll try again later when you're in better spirits," I reasoned with myself.

Skip ahead to that evening when dad's at home and decides to take a crack. Shoes go on, screaming starts. Shoes come off, screaming stops. We get it, you don't like the shoes. This kid's graduating and getting married barefoot.

Expecting the same result, we tried again the other night. We've only got two more years to get her sold on this idea if she's going to preschool, after all.

Put one shoe on, quiet. Put the other shoe on, quiet. Stand her up and she walks. Right across the living room, on out into the kitchen, she walked. A change of heart? Perhaps. Or maybe it's one of those small favors God grants to mothers of four small children.

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