One day last week I woke up and decided the time had come for baby D to have real shoes. Unfortunately, and I only learned this post-baby (like, en route to buying her shoes), Manolos (or the specially commissioned Louboutins Victoria Beckham's babe reportedly has) are not an acceptable first-shoe option for an infant. And apparently neither are the cheapo, super-cute multicoloured trainers on sale at H&M.
As it turns out, it really matters for your baby's developing tootsies what shoes they start walking in. They need to have a supportive yet flexible sole, a breathable upper (yes, even baby D's feet can stink from sweat) and probably not laces (think about how many times you'll have to tie and untie those bad boys). And they need to have their feet measured to ensure a good fit.
So, determined, I went to Clarks - the sensible-makes-me-feel-like-a-responsible-parent-because-it's-a-little-boring option. The store I went to on Regent Street didn't have kids shoes and told me to go to John Lewis, which I couldn't face. Dejected, I decided to perk myself up with a Snog frozen yogurt and stumbled into Geox, the Italian brand known for having rubber-soled shoes with a breathable upper (at least, that's what the adverts inside said. Plus, Malia Obama is a fan. I was sold).
The kids shoes were adorable, with lots of pink and flowers and glitter and rhinestones (but not in a tacky way). I instantly fell for a pair of Doc Martens-style pink suede and floral shoes, but of course they were a bit too mature for D. Which didn't stop me from trying them on her, but she remained unimpressed.
The only pair of age-appropriate footwear was for boys - blue Velcro trainers with grey and red rubber soles. I tried them on D just to see what they would be like, even though my heart was still set on sparkles, when the magic happened. D's face lit up and she started bouncing around and playing with the shoes, and she had a huge, beaming smile on her face. How could I resist?
(I've also read that babies' feet grow so quickly that you need to buy them new shoes every few months. So she will get the sparkly pink ones soon enough. Unless I go bankrupt first).
Every time I put D's new shoes on her, she smiles. She loves them - unclear if this is because she has destructive Carrie Bradshaw/Imelda Marcos tendencies, or because she loves walking. Yes - baby D (or should I say big girl D?) has taken her first step(s).
I can't say officially when it happened, because the nursery claims she walked on her own three weeks ago, and even though I stared at my baby with even more intensity than usual every minute, hour and day after hearing that, nothing happened.
Then, at a close friend's wedding this past weekend, she took a step on her own on the grass which was exciting and amazing, but I didn't want to get too carried away about it and kept my mouth shut because I did feel that D was possibly trying to upstage the bride and I'm not sure that type of behaviour should be rewarded. (Plus I was in the bridal party and felt like I should be attention-seeking on the bride's behalf and not my child's, at least for that one day).
But now the walking is unmistakeably happening. Frequently. A step here, two steps there. I was chatting to my brother-in-law the other day and D suddenly managed to get halfway from one side of the room to the other and took about four or five steps on her own. Unfortunately, despite being two inches away from her, I wasn't looking and missed all the action until she plopped on the floor next to me.
It's not that I'm becoming blasé. In fact, I think I'm more overwhelmed than ever. I still can't stop myself from eating chocolate for breakfast, yet somehow I'm raising a little person. Who babbles and eats real people food and takes steps on her own and admires herself in her first pair of shoes. And who doesn't care if they make her look like a boy or not.