Tiny Feet

O went up three shoe sizes in less than one year. Last year's shiny purple Saltwaters were size 8 and this year's red ones are size 11. Nothing puts the progress of time in a clearer perspective than those tiny feet: the ones that jabbed at me from the inside, the ones I held in my palm while she nursed, the ones I pretended to gobble after bath time, the ones I used to put tiny shoes on. She can manage those size 11s all on her own these days.


It's too fast and it's too soon, and yet it is right on time. Early this morning I was woken up by a smaller pair of feet. P found her way to our bed, wedged herself upside down between us, and was trying to pick my nose with her tiny toes. Tonight, as I type, an even smaller pair of feet are distracting me. Our son, due in November, has the tiniest feet of them all. For now. 

One Step at a Time

At the beginning of the summer, we bought O a pair of purple Saltwaters. She loved them on sight. She wore them out of the store. Every day that she has worn shoes this summer, she has worn these shiny purple leather sandals. For those of you unfamiliar with Saltwater Sandals, and you shouldn't be because they are the best, they have an old-fashioned buckle around the ankle, the kind with the little metal frame and the little metal post, like the world's tiniest belt buckle. O very quickly realized she could slip the ankle strap of her new favorite purple shoes over her heel, thus removing them independently. About two weeks ago, after a frustrated ten minutes, she managed to undo the buckles independently, once the shoes were already off of her foot. Her current battle is the refastening of that tricky buckle with the strap around her ankle.

O, our neighbor Belle, and those ubiquitous purple Saltwaters

O, our neighbor Belle, and those ubiquitous purple Saltwaters

As I stand there, breathing deeply, trying to remember that the important thing is not how fast we can get to the grocery store, but rather her sense of accomplishment at completing this task, coaching her through the buckle's trickery, I hear myself saying, "That's it. One step at a time. Thread the strap through, before you put the post in the hole," on a loop, as calm as I can manage. My inside-self is cursing whoever created this buckle and placed it on the outside of  this tiny shoe, in a place nearly impossible for preschool-level fine-motor skills to manage. My inside-self is leaping and jumping and my fingers are itching to take the shoe from her hand and cram the sandal on her foot myself, but somehow, hearing myself say, "one step at a time," has begun to resonate. Sometimes she buckles them, and sometimes she doesn't. 

I'm trying to slow down, for them and for me. I am trying not to rush them through their steps, to give them the space and the grace to take them one at a time, on their own terms, at their own pace.

I am learning the value of focus and patience in my own work. I am trying to tackle the thing that is in front of me with as much focus and determination as O has for that tiny purple shoe, one step at a time. 


P: Shooooooooooze!

K: Do you want them off or on?

P: YEAH! Shoooooooooooze!

P has a thing for shoes. Shooooze is among her first words.  In the morning, when Jim is getting ready for work, P will follow him around carrying his size 13 dress shoes.  She brings my flip flops to me, when I am sitting barefoot at the computer and tries to put them on my feet. As for her own shoes, well...

Got to admire a girl who knows what she likes. 

Little Sister

O: Mom, when is she going to be able to do stuff?

K: Someday.

Somehow, over the past few weeks, that someday is upon us.  Tiny P isn't so tiny anymore.  She sings, tells jokes, and dances.  She has a real thing for shoes, hers and everyone else's.  She would eat a hand of bananas a day if you let her.  She wants to walk everywhere, except when she doesn't, and then she wants to be carried like a monkey, snuggled high on my hip with an arm hooked around my neck.  She exerts her will, loudly, with a noise canceling pitch that Jim and I both find remarkable.  She runs after O everywhere she goes, flapping her arms and tweeting like a baby bird. Look out O, P can do stuff.