A note for current and future parents: everything counts.
As I have documented in detail, Madison has taken on many of my personality traits seemingly through osmosis. I never specifically tried to raise my daughter as a clown, but here we are. My tendency to emotionally torture her has manifested itself in her own personality. She constantly tries to scare Lynnette and I by hiding around corners, then leaping out and screaming at us. There are other things too, but the following is the most recent.
To my recollection, this whole thing started in November when we found Madison these slippers in Las Vegas. They are pinkish, but I have learned that the colorway is not the most important thing to Madison. It’s the comfort.
Before she was anything else, Madison was a princess. As such, she had her own ideas about what kind of footwear she should rock. They were generally fashionable, sometimes shiny, but always, always, always pretty. In her quest for footwear becoming of a princess, she has already learned an important female lesson: women’s footwear can be uncomfortable as hell. During our date on Saturday night she was excited to wear a pair of ballet flats we recently bought her. They look cute as hell, but the elastic around the ankle digs into her skin. At the end of our meal she asked me if we could sit. She took off her shoes to reveal the impressions of the elastic on her skin. “What do you want to do?” I asked. “I don’t know, but it hurts, dad,” she said. I immediately knew the solution, but didn’t want to accept it. I looked around, the gears in my mind turning rapidly. There were only two solutions that didn’t involve me spending money on new footwear. I could carry her. Sorry. “Mad,” I said with a tone of resigned self-loathing. “You could wear it like the boys at my school,” I said. “What do you mean?” she asked. “Take them off. Now slip your foot inside of it, but don’t put the back part on. Stand on it,” I said. She did. She looked down at her feet, then back up at me. “Well?” I asked. She smiled. My heart broke a little.
She’s obsessed with memory foam insoles. This likely traces back to our purchase of Skechers shoes for her at the start of the new school year. I use no hyperbole in describing my daughter’s love of cushy footwear. We were at Sports Authority on Wednesday night and she found the slipper section. One by one, she felt each pair. “Memory Foam!” she shouted whenever the comfort met an acceptable level.
On Sunday at Macy’s she did the same thing with a bunch of Nike sandals. She was on her knees when she found a pair to her liking. No joke – she leaned back, tilted her head back, and rolled her eyes back into her skull before shouting “MEMORY FOAM!” Lynnette and I scoffed. It was like she was possessed by a memory foam demon. I was half-surprised she wasn’t memory foaming at the mouth.
Later, we found these Nike slides at Kids Footlocker. There is velcro at the top of the foot and behind the ankle. Though Lynnette and I have tried our best to tell her that she only needs to remove the velcro from the back strap, Mad insists on undoing both every time she puts them on. Maybe she thinks it’s like a robotic prosthetic molding itself to her foot. Or maybe that’s just me.
I fear, however, that this is just the beginning. The proverbial other shoe will drop, literally and figuratively. She recognized an Air Max pair for the first time about a month ago. “What’s that, dad?” she said, poking at the bubble. “That’s an Air Max. The cushioning for your foot is the air bubble,” I said. Sorry, Tinker Hatfield. Anyway, she immediately informed Lynnette and I that she should like a pair. We looked, but Nike doesn’t make Air Maxes in her size yet. “But you can’t even tie laces yet, Mad!” I said. “I can learn dad!” she shouted back.
I did not do this. Sure, I still have a decent number of shoes piled up in the garage, but my own obsession with shoes died long before Madison ever understood what a shoe was. Still, I know the day will come when she slides her socked foot into a pair of Air Maxes (1s, if I have my way). She will tie them. She will look down at her feet as she stands in them. “Well?” I will ask. She will look up at me and smile. I don’t even get to buy Air Maxes anymore I will say as I walk to the register. And my heart will break a little. But it will swell even more.