(Told from young Isaac Welsh’s point of view.)
For my first birthday, my parents gave me Pooh Bear sandals in hopes that I might enjoy wearing them. Mommy reasoned that perhaps I liked air on my toes and didn’t like tennis shoes and dress shoes because they were too confining, too stuffy. Well, she was wrong. I just don’t like them.
Mommy asked me to cooperate. She pleaded with me. She tried to make it a game. As far as I can see, shoes are good for hauling around in my truck, tasting, and throwing down the stairs. I kicked and I screamed merely at the sight of them. For a while, all I had to do was let my bottom lip tremble, and she’d put them back in the closet.
Then one day, Mommy had had enough. She told me so as she got a secure hold on me and strapped those sandals on my feet. Let me tell you, it was awful. I couldn’t move. I stood, knees bent, venting my frustrations loudly.
“I can’t move,” I wailed. “I’m weighted down.” I tried to lift my feet, and when I couldn’t, I crumpled in a heap where Mommy had stood me.
Mommy took my hands and showed me that I was a strong boy and could walk. I didn’t cooperate at first, but eventually I got a brilliant idea. I took a few steps, and Mommy was really pleased.
She left me to play with my blocks. Once she was out of sight, I inspected my shoes and found I could get them off. I hurried to the stairs where I threw them as far as I could. It was a good toss, I figured, since I couldn’t see them anymore.
Hurray! I clapped.
Suddenly, there was Mommy. There was an interrogation.
“Where’d you put your shoes?” She was laughing at me. I pretended not to hear her and went to toss my blocks around the living room. “You’ll have to throw them farther than the second step, honey.”
I saw the objects I dreaded dangling from her fingers. I clapped a pretty red block with a pretty blue one. She put the shoes away. I took off my socks and tasted them.
My tiny “piggies” are cute. They are free.
Free in the house, that is. When we play outside or go away, I have to wear my sandals.
Sometimes I get them off, but Mommy is persistent. “You will wear shoes,” she grumbles.
I said, “Maybe I’ll wear shoes, but I won’t wear that bicycle helmet.”
Oh, she thinks she’s so smug. “We’ll see,” she says as she plops it on my head.
“Oh my, I can’t move.” (Sob.)
Happy birthday, Isaac! I love remembering your baby days.
This is a reprinted Reflections column from when Isaac was a wee one.