my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

February 15, 2011

baby shoes and my parenting skills

fishie is starting to walk. like more than just a step or two here or there, she really tries to take off. still, all she just manages is a step or two here or there, but she also gets up right away to try again, which is a step in the right direction. (forgive the bad pun, there will probably be more, i just can't help myself)

being that she is really doing the whole walking thing, it was decided that she needed good shoes to walk in. and so, my mother bought her shoes as an early birthday present. the very first time she had them on, when we tried them in the store, she just looked at her feet. i'm sure it felt weird to her, to have these huge things on the bottom of her feet. now, she has worn shoes before, little sneakers and these cute little black dress shoes for christmas, but these new shoes, these are the traditional baby shoes, the white lace up kind, with a flat bottom and good ankle support. these are walking shoes, they're what help babies learn to walk and move. they help stabilize baby legs and give support to chunky ankles and point the chubby little toes in the right direction.

and yet, i've never been a fan of baby shoes. i never bought these walking shoes for my boys, because i never thought they needed them. i have always been of the opinion that a baby will learn to move and walk naturally. give them a safe space to explore, and they'll figure out the best and fastest way to move around their environment. both of my boys learned to walk on their own, without shoes on their feet. they figured out how their little feet worked, how they needed to swing their legs around, how to bend their knees and ankles, how to point their toes in the direction they wanted to go. if it got cold, i put on extra socks, so i really felt there was no need for shoes. and that was the attitude i had going into helping fishie learn to walk.

but she wasn't really walking as fast as i wanted her to. not that she didn't know how, but she would stand and look around, and maybe take a step or two, but still, crawling was faster for her, so she didn't really try the whole walking process as much as i was hoping she would. she could get around just fine on her hands and knees, and that was all she needed. and like any paranoid parent, i started to get worried about her walking. why wasn't she walking yet? why wasn't she trying more often to walk? was there something wrong that made that kind of movement uncomfortable for her, and crawling was felt better? was she just lazy? was she going to regress and stop moving all together? yeah, my crazy and paranoid wonderings know no bounds when it comes to my children.

so because i thought maybe something was wrong, i turned to conventional wisdom, which was that to help babies walk, you need to get them the right kind of shoes. and so i did. or i let my mother did. or do. grammar is not a strength for me. anyway, so i caved in to popular opinion and fishie got shoes.

but now i worry that is a prelude to the kind of mother i will be. instead of going with what i think is right, or doing what i think i should be doing, i won't stand by my convictions and i'll go along with what everyone else is doing. i've heard that doubt is all part of being a parent, because kids just don't come with instruction manuals. and there are certain things that will happen during this adventure to adulthood where there will be no right or wrong answer, there will just be a right for you and your kids. and even though taking a poll and going along with what other people are doing, raising your kids how other raise their own, isn't always a bad thing (especially if you're feeling truly lost), if there is something you feel strongly about, if there is something that you really believe in, you should stand up for yourself and your belief and do what you think is right. and i know i shouldn't second guess myself, that i really do have a pretty good idea of what i'm doing at this point. but still, i worry that if i don't do something right i'll ruin my baby forever. and then she'll hate me. and move out at 14. and start supporting herself by starring in "movies."

i know that's probably not what will happen. in fact i'm pretty sure that'll never happen. fishie's brothers are pretty decent boys, they've survived and thrived well so far, so i should feel more confident that i know what i'm doing during this whole baby raising stage. still, that doubt and worry is there, and probably always will be there. and because i am not the strong and confident person i wish i was, fish got shoes. which really isn't that big of a deal to anyone else but me. and it's only a big deal to me personally because of how i think it shows my lack of faith in myself and my abilities as a mother. to everyone else, these shoes are just a step on the road to my baby walking better. and just because i caved in this time doesn't mean i always will. i need to let it go and realize that there are other battles actually worth fighting. like how i think piercing a baby's ears is just silly and i won't be getting fishie's ears pierced any time soon. but that is a rant for another day.

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