Lately, as I've been carrying my son the distance of half a football field from my front door to my car or (God help me) the dumpsters in the scary part of the parking lot, I've been silently berating Zac for not walking on his own. I said before (and I mean it - dammit - kind of) that he's going to develop in his own time and that every kid is different blah, blah, blah.
Here is the honest truth - I want him to start walking. I'm tired of carrying him. He's 23 pounds of squirming, lump o' toddler in my arms. My arms are weary. It's time.
Last week, for the much anticipated school picture day, I put Zac in a pair of shoes. Shoes I tell you! Before that, Zac wore shoes about as much as President Bush says, "Oops, my bad. I guess there really weren't any weapons of mass destruction". I had read all of the pediactric reports that kids under the age of 1 (or until they start walking) shouldn't wear shoes because it inhibits their motor skill development. "No shoes, then! Just socks!!" and sometimes when his Momma can't find any socks, "No socks! Just bare feet!!" because I can't lose those.
Then the Shoe Nazis got involved. The Shoe Nazis are the kind, competent (if somewhat absent-minded) staff members at the chain daycare center that Zac spends 9-10 hours a day at. From the beginning, they wanted my little man in shoes. I protested, "Look at the research! It all says that kids shouldn't wear shoes, besides, he cries when he has them on. Personally, I too think it's kind of funny to watch him crawl, sit back, and wedge his shoe up his diaper, but it seems to make him mad. No shoes!" They relented, only slightly.
When I brought him in with shoes last week, they started salivating. "This child owns shoes," I could hear them thinking, "his Mother just chooses NOT to put them on him. We must change this situation." For the next three days, I was persuaded and urged by the Shoe Nazis to give in and put my son in leather uppers with rubber soles. Then, I got a call at 4:45pm that went something like this:
Shoe Nazis (SN): "Um, NSP, this Misty from the big chain daycare center......"
Me: "Is Zac ok? Why are you calling me? I haven't forgotten him. I'm getting off of work soon"
SN: "No, no, Zac is fine. I just wanted to let you know that he fell *long pause*"
Me: "Is he bleeding? Have you called the doctor?"
SN: "Oh, no, it's nothing that serious. He fell trying to get out of his chair and slipped on the lineoleum. He was wearing only his socks..... (Apparently, it's easier for underpaid, overworked SNs to clean vomit and poop off lineoleum than it is carpet. While I understand, it's certainly not surprising to me that these kind of accidents occur). He bit through his bottom lip and he's crying. We put some ice on it and filled out an accident report."
Me: "Is he crying now? How bad is his lip? Did he really bite all the way through it?"
SN: "No, it's nothing major, we just wanted you to know. You know, he really liked wearing shoes the other day. He never fell and he was walking everywhere along the furniture. He seemed so happy. Just wanted to let you know. OK, we'll see you soon then when you come to pick him up"
I imagine this is the occupational equivalent of a prank call. They probably had all the staff members huddled around the phone, trying to muffle their giggles in their cupped hands at my rising panic. If I had listened closely, I might have heard one of them urge Misty to, "Tell her that all the other kids are wearing shoes. Ha! That one always gets them." How could I refuse to put my child in shoes after that phone call?? He's 14 months old and refuses to walk without holding onto the wall or a piece of furniture, what could some shoes hurt at this point? I'm still bitter, though.
Shoe Nazis: 1, Not-so-Pregnant-in-Texas: 0