Welcome to the rollercoaster of getting my child to wear a pair of shoes. Buckle in; it's going to be a wild ride.
My daughter had been crawling for about a month and wasn't overly enthusiastic about having anything on her feet (read: massive meltdown), so I knew that getting her to wear shoes was going to be a battle. What I didn't anticipate was how much she would grow to love them, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Allow me to walk you through the highs and lows of getting our daughter into her first pair of shoes.
Firstly, let me start by saying that Bobux is onto something great. My child is not gentle or delicate; she goes at everything with her full might and has no regard for the consequences. Her Bobux Go's have been through the walls – sure, they're scuffed, dirty and well-worn, but they have held up to some serious abuse, and they're still going strong. Well done and good work, Bobux!
Alright, so rewind to 27 September 2021. My daughter is 9 months old when a small, unassuming package arrives on my doorstep. Inside is the smallest, most adorable pair of dusty pink, sneaker-like baby shoes.
They are made of super-soft leather to prevent chafing. They have a protective, dimpled leather cap over the toes, elasticated tongue for easy slip-on, an adjustable Velcro strap over the top of the foot and an elasticated bit around the back of the ankle.
The sole is incredibly soft, and I can bend the whole shoe in half without forcing it – great for a first shoe! I also place my finger gently inside the shoe and can feel it through the sole, so I know she will still be able to feel the ground and move her feet naturally while wearing them.
She was sleeping the first time I tried to put them on her. I thought I might be able to do it gently enough that she wouldn't wake up. Boy, was I wrong (and all the parents that have been through this before are laughing at my naivety right about now). Anyway, I got them on her feet, and she refused to go anywhere in them. She just sat on the floor and stared at me, eventually bursting into hysterical sobs while pulling on her feet.
She rolled around on the couch a bit in them, touched them a little, but other than that, her first shoe experience was pretty uneventful.
The next time we tried them, she was awake when I put them on her, but she screamed at me the whole time and refused to go anywhere in them, so we called it a failed attempt and moved on. We did this two or three more times to the same reaction, so I knew we had to change our approach.
For reference, babies don’t push their feet down into the shoe, so sometimes it’s like trying to force a floppy fish into the shoe by the tail. Not a fun time for anyone involved.
The next time we tried, I made her a part of the experience. We explored the shoes first – they spent A LOT of time in her mouth. She played with the Velcro, poked them, threw them, smacked them around. I demonstrated putting on my own shoes, then put her in my lap and let her play with one shoe while I put the other on her foot. She didn’t mind at all. If anything, all she wanted to do was help.
I was surprised. I thought we would have to spend a lot more time exploring the shoes before she allowed me to get them anywhere near her feet.
She spent about an hour in her shoes. At first, she behaved a bit like a cat wearing socks, quite unsteady, rolling her ankles and flicking her feet a lot.
After the first ten minutes, though, she was off. Crawling all over the house, giggling every time she saw them on her feet, pulling herself to stand. It was a huge success. The shoes were absolutely filthy by the end of the hour, so we used a damp cloth to wipe them down, and they cleaned up really easily.
We started making shoe-wearing a weekly thing, and she very quickly got her confidence in them while crawling. For one day of the week, she wore them everywhere she went, and they paid the price. The tops of the leather toe caps got scratched and scuffed, and they were constantly getting filthy, but she loved them.
When she started walking confidently, we made sure she was wearing shoes as often as she would tolerate them. It got to the point where she wouldn't leave the house without them. Along with her comforter and water bottle, they came with us wherever we went.
On her first day at childcare, she walked halfway to the centre in them. Every time we went to play in the park, they were on her feet. Anywhere she was at risk of a stubbed toe, those shoes were on her feet, providing protection without impacting her learning experiences.
She was so proud the first time she realised that her shoes had a spot on the shoe rack at the front door. She spent ages pulling them down, playing with the Velcro and putting them back in their place. Honestly, the amount of joy these shoes have brought her makes the struggles and push back so worth it.
Watching her learn to walk in shoes and gain her confidence (almost to the point of running) has been such a delight. Sadly for all of us, she has now outgrown these wonderful shoes, which is not unusual. Young children grow out of their shoes about every three months until they're 2, so I was expecting it, but I'm a little sad too.
It might sound strange, but her first pair of shoes have been a part of so many ‘firsts’ that they have a solid spot in our memory bank and a special place in our hearts.
Until we get her a new pair of Bobux shoes to fall head over heels in love with, we're going to have to continue to take her Bobux Go's with us wherever we go, even if she can't wear them. They're like her security blanket; she likes to know that they're there. I do, too; they're a constant reminder of how fast she's growing up and how much she's learned in such a short amount of time.
I can’t wait to watch her learn and grow in her next pair of Bobux :)