My little lady is obsessed with shoes! She knows when she puts her shoes on that it is going to lead to a new adventure: a trip in the car, a walk outside, or running around in the yard. She loves to play outside and when she looks out the window she will say, “Shoes,” signaling that she is ready to go out and play. So for her, shoes are associated with fun and excitement and being on the go.
But her infatuation with shoes isn’t a simple association. She loves my shoes and enjoys trying to put my shoes or her daddy’s shoes on her feet only to end in a total meltdown when she can’t walk in them. And she is beginning to notice that shoes not only come in different sizes but in different styles too. I wore flip flops the other day and when she saw them her face lit up with fascination. Why are Mommy’s toes sticking out? She enjoys watching Mommy walk around the house in the fancy shoes she is going to wear to the Listen To Your Mother show next week. After I practice walking around the house in them she wants to try them on.
Last weekend I had some Gymbucks to spend so we made a visit to the Gymboree clothing store. The store is small but they do sell a tiny selection of shoes. When she spied a rack of shoes she became excited. We left the store with a cute pair of hot pink flowered flip flops. Not exactly the most practical pair of shoes for a novice walker. We have yet to visit the shoe section of the department store or better yet a shoe store. She will be amazed when she discovers there is a store entirely devoted to nothing but shoes and shoe accessories!
Everyone and everything in our household needs to wear shoes. It all started when she discovered a pink poodle I made at Build A Bear years ago. The poodle came dressed in a poodle skirt with a matching scarf tied around her neck. Her outfit was complete with bobby socks and black and white saddle shoes. When my little one saw the shoes she immediately took them off and had me help her put them on a giant Build A Bear red bird my mom bought her to commemorate her first trip to Busch Stadium to see a Cardinal baseball game. This led her to finding the need for other stuffed animals to wear shoes. She has two beloved stuffed lovies: a pup named Homer that my in-laws were sent when they donated money to Habitat For Humanity and a grey and white striped cat who is simply called, cat. When I hear her call out to the cat it conjures up images of Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Since I couldn’t find a pair of shoes small enough to fit on their tiny stuffed paws I placed an old pair of infant socks on each animal and all is right with the world!Yes, my 18 month old is going through a Carrie Bradshaw phase. The shoe stage isn’t something I recall reading about in any of my parenting books but it is an exciting stage in her development. She is beginning to categorize, make associations, and to role play by putting shoes on her stuffed animals. She is even taking an interest in putting her shoes on by herself. My baby is growing up and it won’t be long before she is on to the next obsession and the next stage in her development. Toddlers may fixate on one thing because it brings comfort and gives them a sense of control in their ever-changing world. Another reason is that young kids can’t help wrapping themselves around things more intently because they’re hardwired to focus on only a few things, says Stan Spinner, M.D., the chief medical officer at Texas Children’s Pediatrics in Houston. But as they get older and their brains evolve more, they’ll be able to appreciate more interests. While other toddlers may be obsessed with cartoon characters, trains, turtles or trucks, my daughter loves shoes. Her shoe obsession isn’t out of control, she has only been walking for a few months and owns four pair of shoes and a pair of flip flops. Although I don’t think I will be introducing my little shoe lover to expensive designer shoes (notably Manolo Blahniks, Christian Louboutins and Jimmy Choos) anytime soon. While my little miss is in her “shoe phase” I think I’ll sit back and sip a cosmopolitan and quietly enjoy the fact that at this point in her life I don’t have to struggle with her when I ask her to put her shoes on.