Wednesday, 27 February 2008

In your Clarks, get set, go!

I took Betty into town last Thursday to buy her first shoes. We breezed into Clarks and I proudly announced to the sales assistant (who looked about 12) that my very clever daughter was now walking, half expecting some kind of applause. The 12 year old (who was only slightly bigger than Betty) didn’t applaud, but kindly asked me to put Betty on my lap so that she could measure her feet. ‘Ha ha,’ I thought, ‘You say it like this measuring lark is going to be a doddle’. Sure enough, Betty curled her little foot up into a very impressive ball, making it impossible to do anything with it.

This charade went on for about five minutes, and in this time Betty managed to ruffle up the 12 year old’s hair, chew on a nearby flashing trainer, and fling the measuring machine over her head. Eventually, and just before I was about to give up and go home, my darling daughter gave in and let us get the measurements.

With feet measured, we then went on to discuss whether proper shoes would be appropriate or whether Betty should start with cruising shoes. I insisted that she was ready for proper shoes and so we put them on her to see how she fared. Betty refused to stand up in them and just went crawling off around the shop, leaving a whole array of display shoes in her wake.

The assistant then looked at me as though I was deluded and had made the whole ‘walking’ thing up, and said: ‘I think perhaps your daughter should start with cruising shoes.’ I reluctantly gave in, feeling a bit irritated. No sooner had this exchange taken place, Betty took matters into her own hands, and being there for her mum when it counts, she jumped to her feet, shoes still on, and literally started running confidently round and round the shop, with me excitedly running behind her, trying to avoid the flying footwear, and saying: ‘You’re such a good girl!’ while she dismantled the shop.

I bought the shoes, then I strapped on her reigns an let her walk out into the big wide world – the high street – for the very first time. This was a truly memorable moment, watching my baby’s face light up as this whole new world opened up before her. She tottered along, looking all around her, and her main focus wasn’t all the shops with their brightly coloured window displays and their inviting open doors, but all the MacDonald’s burger wrappers, cigarette butts, and bird shit that littered the pavement.

When I had grown weary of grabbing these unsavoury items out of Betty’s little mitts before she could shovel them into her mouth, and when Betty’s little legs were obviously getting tired and becoming wobbly (making her closely resemble a puppet on a string), I swooped her up and tried to put her into her pushchair. Full-blown screaming and kicking ensued, until I gave in, when I realised Betty was stronger than me both in mind and in bodily strength, and I let her walk again, all the way back to the car, with me trying to control a litter-eating, drunken Betty and steer an awkward pushchair at the same time.

25 comments:

Iota said...

Ah, what a lovely outing. Something tells me that pushchair will never be popular again.

Jonny's Mommy said...

I so, so love when Jonathan walks. He is such a cutie! And his little legs just a going are soooo adorable! he also demands to walk everywhere, which can be a problem because he moves pretty fast now. Stroller? Oh, no, won't happen. He hates it now. wants to walk instead. Luckily this seriously tires him out and he falls asleep for a great nap later on.

Beccers said...

Love the title of the thread!

What a great story, I love how Betty triumphed over the smug shop assistant in the end!

You didn't mention what the shoes are like? I love tiny shoes!

Louise said...

It sounds so exciting! I have all this to come. After reading your post, I'm thinking that Anna may not be 'allowed' walking shoes and have to settle for cruising shoes instead. She is walking on her own and can bend to pick things up and squat etc but she just doesn't sound as steady on her feet as Betty (either that or I just can't imagine what it is going to be like to see Anna walking through the high street'.) Anna does tend to wobble when she walks. I can't wait to get to the shoe shop... it is like waiting for Christmas!

Ashley Ladd said...

How adorable. My granddaughter is about the age of your Betty.

Jen said...

"When I realised Betty was stronger than me both in mind and physical strength" - so true! How the heck does that happen? This was a really fun post, and I'm so glad she is loving her new shoes! I really need to have Dylan's feet measured. I just guess.

Lijy said...

i had they same experience, when we tried the shoes on Jason. He hates it, he would rather chew on them than wearing them.
All the best Betty.
Happy walking, running and jumping around...

Rosie said...

Hooray! First shoes are great, and such a big step (haha)!Betty is a star. I still behave in the same manner with new shoes!

Did Clarks take a photo? They used to when you for your first pair of shoes.

jenny said...

Awww, what a nice tale!! I never bothered about shoes for my little ones.

I only remember when I had Oldest and I never put shoes on her, only socks and even then she'd pull them off. When she was 6 months old, I went to a Holiday party and brought her with me as I was nursing her. I couldn't believe how many of the women there commented on her lack of shoes, admonishing me for letting her out of the house without them!! I figured she wasn't walking, why put shoes on her??

Elsie Button said...

Hi Iota, yes it was lovely, if a little stressful towards the end (with the new found loathing of the pushchair)

Hi JM, they do look so gorgeous and funny waddling along taking it all in!

Hi Beccers, thanks - i was rather pleased the title myself! to be honest, the shoes were the best of a bad bunch. I don't really rate Clarks shoes - they are all too fussy and have nothing simple (not in our branch anyway)

Elsie Button said...

Hi Louise, it is very exciting - am already planning her next pair! (Tom swears i don't have enough to do with my time!) Let us know how you get on!

Hi Ashley, thanks for coming by, will come over and visit you...

Hi Jen, thanks! they are scarily tough aren't they - and if they are like this at 15 months.... just imagine...

Hi Lijy, yes they do seem to enjoy chewing on them - not good for a germ-neurotic person such as myself!

Hi Rosie, no Clarks didn't take a photo, but apparently they should - i think it was perhaps all too much for the 12 year old - she was looking pretty upset about the carnage we left behind us!

Hi Jenny, we were the same with Betty - she was only ever in socks until now, and people always asked where her shoes were - absolutely no point if they are not walking!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Oh I love it when they get their first shoes! They walk around clumping looking very strange. And I remembered with horror how hard it is to get them in a pushchair after you've allowed them to walk. May I share a tried and trusted technique with you? As you put her in the puschair I imagine she assumes the 'rigid plank' pose (baby yoga), don't be deterred, apply firm but gentle pressure to her midriff until she is forced to bend. Press your advantage by lovingly placing a knee in her solar plexus, and quickly do the straps up. Be prepared for her to beat you about the head, or on bad occasions - bite you - who says the twos aren't terrible? Ah, just remembered, she's not yet two.

Finally (i'm going soon, honest) can I draw your attention to a freudian spelling error in your post? 'I bought the shoes...put her REIGNS on...' yes, it really is Betty that reigns isn't it??!! tee hee, she's fab.
Pigx

Elsie Button said...

Hi Pig, thanks for the tips, much appreciated - your experience shines through! And thanks for drawing my attention to the spelling error - that really made me laugh!

Elsie Button said...

Off on our hols tomorrow morning - very excited. However, the Button household is frantic this evening. Have just sent Tom out for a takeaway and wine, and when he returns I am going to eat, get pissed and forget about the bloody packing til morning.

See you all soon!

Manic Mother Of Five said...

Oh that is a lovely milestone. Mind you, when the daughter needed shoes, we had a real tough job finding some small enough - that really took me aback after the 4 hulking great boys!

Photo of shoes please!

MMoF x

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Lovely blog post! Brought back so many memories. Amy is now 8 and still picks things up off the pavement - and puts them in her mouth! Don't worry though, I think that's just the autism working!

Have fun, Crystal xx

DJ Kirkby said...

Oh my this brought back memories! Measuring of toddler feet, what a nightmare. N3S hated it too. Mind you he has turned into a 5 year old ging on 15 over night and the shoe measuring lark seems a walk in the park comapred to getting him out of bed for school in the mornings. Anyone seen my shoehorn?

She's like the wind said...

I hate when the sales assistants don't show the same clapping excitement, it's such a disappointment. I love Pig in the kitchens description of getting children back into their pram, I have done that once or twice! x

DJ Kirkby said...

Award ceremony over at mine, dress code stipulates PJ's and slippers.

Anna K. said...

Awwwww! Yay, Betty! You're not only walking and discovering a new world, you're putting snotty salesgirls in their place with every tiny step....and developing a passion for footwear! You're a busy little girl!

Elsie- Loved your description of Betty's first time walking on high street. I felt like I was there!

Frog in the Field said...

Dear Elsie Button,
I think this is your best post, very funny and I know the feeling. I cause havoc when I with my three girls and feel wobbly legged myself when I have topay for three pairs of shoe, three pairs of trainers and three pairs of wellies.

darth sardonic said...

the first pair of shoes are the best! i tagged you for this 6-word memoirs thing, all the rules n such at my blog.

Stay at home dad said...

Very familiar! Hope you're all well...

Pig in the Kitchen said...

so, you neglected to mention that you had gone on a world wide cruise...when are you coming back? Don't they have internet access on your boat in the Bahamas?!
Pigx

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