A second mortgage

It is time to buy The Baby some shoes, as her new-found love of walking outdoors is ruining all the socks.

“What a special milestone!” remarks Mummy as they head to the shoe-shop. Despite the fact there are no other customers in the shop, Mummy dutifully takes a number, because that is what the sign tells her to do. She does not have to wait long for her number to be called.

A trainee shoe-fitter, adorned with a large badge proclaiming her ineptitude and accompanied by a somewhat controlling assistant manager, greets The Baby with a big smile and produces a foot-measuring device. The foot-measuring device is very interesting to Rebel Baby. She does not want to put her foot into it, she wants to get it and have a good look at it. She especially wants to pull on the tapes and tabs coming out of it… but that is not allowed.

As much as Rebel Baby wants to get hold of the shoe-measuring device, the trainee shoe-fitter wants to get hold of Rebel Baby’s feet. Rebel Baby likes playing with her feet and is very delighted someone is so interested in them. She is an excellent foot-waggler, foot-licker, foot-flapper and foot-grabber. What she does not like to do is put her feet into an untrusted device she has not yet had the opportunity to fully investigate.

A great song and dance ensues, with much grabbing, swiping and foot-waggling, which causes the trainee shoe-fitter to be kicked in the face at least three times before an accurate measurement can be taken.

“A 4F!” exclaims the trainee triumphantly, with the air of a wrestler having pinned down an opponent and counted to three. Rebel Baby toddles off in search of shoes to lick.

“Is she walking or cruising?” asks the assistant manager, importantly. Mummy was not prepared for this. The Baby has just walked off in the direction of a precariously balanced high heels display, muses Mummy, she is not reclining on a yacht bound for The Bahamas, cocktail in hand.

“Walking,” declares Mummy decisively.

“Then you need walkers, for walking,” he informs the trainee, who nods solemnly. Mummy is slightly concerned what other purpose a shoe would serve.

“These are our walkers, Madam. They come in sizes blah to blah…. widths blah, blah and blah. Boys’, girls’, unisex, transgender… blah blah… styles…. ankle support, arch support, moral support…. blah blah… cushioned insoles, rubberised blah blah blah…. blah, blah…. start at thirty five to forty pounds.”

Mummy blinks hard. “Come again?” she says.

“Starting at thirty five to forty pounds for our own-brand,” repeats the assistant manager.

Mummy does not spend this on her own shoes!

“What about the cruisers?” asks Mummy, astounded. If the standard fare is so extortionate, she dreads to think what a luxury cruise might be.

“They start at around twenty six,” says the trainee helpfully. “But if she’s a confident walker, she will want something more supportive.”

“Oh no! No, no, not confident at all! She’s a terrible walker! Very nervous… everso wobbly! Definitely cruise-material!” insists Mummy as The Baby proficiently strides around wielding a red patent stiletto she’s swiped from the sale rack.

“Shall we try both?” suggests the manager.

“Absolutely not,” declares Mummy. “Show me the cruisers!”

Several little boxes are brought out and Mummy gushes over the adorable littleness of the perfectly formed shoes. She strokes each one and thinks what a special and important decision this will be, and how she will select the very most perfect first shoes for her precious angel. After much deliberation, Mummy settles on a pair of tasteful navy blue shoes, with a little delicate embroidery and silver buckles.

“Look darling!” exclaims Mummy. “Aren’t these just perfect! Won’t you try them on?”

But Rebel Baby is clutching a pair of shoes to her chest. They are bright purple with silver stars and glittery backs. Mummy does not like them at all.

“Put those down,” says Mummy, “we are trying on the blue shoes.”  But Rebel Baby will not put them down. She is stroking them and kissing them, and trying to put them on her feet.

“Ok,” says Mummy, “you can hold them while you try on these blue shoes.” Mummy slips the blue shoes on and stands The Baby up. The Baby looks at her feet. And looks at her purple shoes. And looks again at her feet. And again at the shoes in her hand.

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” cries Rebel Baby, and everyone turns to look.

“Try walking darling,” coaxes Mummy, “maybe just a little bit. They look very comfy!” But her feet are firmly rooted to the spot.

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” screams Rebel Baby, and holds out the purple shoes to Mummy.

“Why don’t we try on the purple ones?” suggests the unhelpful shop assistant. Mummy holds The Baby while she takes off the beautiful tastefully embroidered blue shoes, and slips on the bright purple glittery ones.

Rebel Baby smiles.

Mummy puts her down and she walks around proudly, pointing at her toes and squealing in delight.

“Looks like it’s the purple ones!” beams the trainee, who has much to learn.

Now, Mummy is twenty-six sodding quid poorer, and the owner of a pair of bright purple, glittery-backed shoes with a naff silver star, in which The Baby can apparently only ‘cruise.’  Rebel Baby is pleased as punch.

“Welcome to parenthood,” says Grandma.

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