Ruby-red slippers: a lesson on giving in

honest thoughts-parenting

I will always remember the day I first gave in.

I was sitting on the floor between rows of shoes in a department store, trying to steer my determined two-year-old towards some cute black patent shoes. She wanted the red sparkly ones.

In my head, I was thinking about how the black shoes would go with so many more outfits than the red ones.

I gave in. The red ones it was. They did look adorable with what she was wearing, and we were about to get a photo with Santa.

G wanted to wear them out of the store. She was so happy with herself she practically floated down the hallway in the shoes.

Each person we met commented on her ruby-red slippers. “Just like Dorothy,” they all said.  She had no idea what they were talking about, but you could tell she loved the attention.

It didn’t take long for G to prove me wrong. It seemed the sparkly red shoes went with every outfit.

  • Purple princess dress? Red sparkly shoes.
  • Jeans and a t-shirt? Red sparkly shoes.
  • Practical sweats and long-sleeve shirt for a hike? Red sparkly shoes.
  • Orange shorts and a blue tank top? Red sparkly shoes.

She wore them every day. I tried to convince her to put on something more practical – especially for that hike – but it was pointless.  This kid wasn’t going to budge.

At some point, it hit me. What’s the point of being practical? I mean, I wasn’t going to let her wear them in the snow (they became her indoor shoes at daycare when boots became mandatory outside), and she still had to wear boots in the rain, but as long as she wasn’t complaining halfway into our outings, what was the harm?

What’s the point of being practical? We had many years ahead for her to be practical

I knew we had many years ahead for her to be practical. This phase – of carefree devotion to things – was going to end far too quickly. So, I went with it.

For a kid who had yet to wear out any article of clothing, she used up those shoes; they’re the only footwear you can find on her in any photo spanning a good five or six months from that year.

And the whole experience changed my outlook on a few things.  Want to wear that poufy purple Easter dress to daycare on a Tuesday? OK! A tutu every day of the week? Absolutely! Sparkles on everything?!? Why not?

She has worn the most outrageous outfits and I love how happy they have made her.

Still… come springtime I took her to the store to find some new running shoes.  Knowing her love of sparkles, I grabbed a pair of sandals with silver sparkles and Disney characters. They had a good rubber sole and covered her toes. I thought they’d be great for summer.

Just as I managed to get G to put them on her feet, she saw something out of the corner of her eye and gasped.

“Look what I found Mommy,” she cried, running from me to whatever had caught her eye on the shelf. “New red sparkly shoes!”

You can guess what we walked out with.

After all, we’ve got plenty of time ahead to be practical.


The honest talk