We reached a landmark for Emily a couple of days ago, her first shoes. She’s been standing for ages, cruising round furniture for weeks and trying to push her walker frames for about a fortnight, and her little pram shoes just weren’t giving her the support she needs. So, off we trotted to Clarks.
Now, I remember this was incredibly exciting for us when we got Daniel’s first shoes. We did the whole posing for a Polaroid (which, by the way, have gone very downhill since Daniel was done three years ago. A small sticker with very poor resolution. Anyhoo…), deliberating over choice and choosing the cutest and best fitting pair. Being a boy, the colours were mostly dark blues, browns, etc and all shoes pretty much went with all his outfits.
Oh, how different for a little girl! I had already looked ahead and seen some very pretty shoes in the “Cruising” range; although the ones we really wanted were “Crawlers” and not supportive enough. I wanted them to go with everything she had, to be pretty, not too bubblegum-my, and did I mention pretty? Sadly, because she’s a very young walker, her feet are still quite small and the only two styles that fit in the “Cruising” range were either a plastic-y, trainer-y sort of thing (no thank you, we’re not quite ready to do the Great North Run yet) or the ones we got. They’re in the photo. They’re also in black and white because they are a little bit TOO pink. Candy floss pink, not a nice raspberry or pale rose. Not really what I was after, but they fit. They also have helped her, she’s gained confidence in walking in just a couple of days. So I was silly to be upset, which I was. Just a little.
The thing is, which possibly men (most men; I hesitate to generalise) don’t understand, is that shoes finish a girl off. The right shoes make you feel confident, help you walk taller, complete an outfit, complement your personality. Heck, they can even make you look slimmer (by helping your posture). A girl’s first shoes should be the magical start of a lifelong love affair.
Sadly, my shoes were never any of those things. I have the most awful feet – long, thin and shallow. I was condemned throughout childhood and adolescence to have sensible shoes, black or navy with laces when I longed for pretty slip-ons or lovely buckles. The closest I came, I have no idea how old I was (9?10?) was a pair from Clarks. They were advertised on tv, with a little girl going through a secret doorway with a magic key, and the shoes had the key in the soles. I adored these, I think I walked on air when I managed to get a pair that fit. Then in no time I outgrew them.
Adulthood has brought the freedom to ruin my feet with shoddily fitting shoes but alas, not the money to buy them with. So I still have to be sensible in my shoeshopping. Luckily, I thought, I now have a daughter. I can live out my shoe-love-life vicariously through her.
So it was a horrible flashback when, in the middle of Clarks, I had to choose between what sensible and pretty shoes again. I’m quite sure a therapist could have a field-day with my overreaction to the whole event, but there you go. On the positive side, Emmy is only 9 months old. We have time, my precioussss…