Since moving to Somerset and having more space for Pumpkin to move about and explore, he has quickly reached the milestone of walking/stumbling around like an extra on the Walking Dead.
This only meant one thing…Shoe shopping! The fleeting thought of taking Pumpkin to the nearest town and letting him choose a pair of Converse, was abruptly pushed aside at the reality of the task ahead. After all, Pumpkin is still learning how to use his feet, they are still developing and growing and we need to give them the best start they can have. So all, thoughts of a lovely bright pair of Converse were pushed aside (incidentally, when Pumpkin was shown pictures of them on the iPad, he chose a pink pair…that’s my boy!).
The next day, off we went as a family, phones in hand to document this milestone, to one of the nearest shoe shop that offered a specialist fitting service for a child’s first shoes. Unfortunately, they didn’t advertise that their staff had a distinct allergy to small children/mini beasts. Pumpkin, picked up on this allergy immediately, the mischievous sparkle in his eyes was on high beam, as he yelled “shoeeeeeys” at the top of his lungs and promptly lunged for the nearest shelf to sample the shoes on sale. The shop assistant put on her best fake smile, whilst looking like she was sucking on a “Sourz” sweet, and came at Pumpkin with the foot measuring device. At this point, I should have called it a day, but the foot measuring device had caught Pumpkin’s eye and miraculously he had calmed down and was taking a keen interest in what was about to happen.
Please, picture the scene: Pumpkin is now sat angelically on my lap, beaming his best smile at the shop assistant and there is an eerie silence in the shop…I am putting on my best Mummy voice telling Pumpkin what we are about to do and that he will get a pair of shoes of his own etc etc. When suddenly, he makes a grab for the measuring device, no one is quick enough for this, he is delighted at this moment of glory as he swings it around, narrowly missing the shop assistants fake smiley face. Somehow, in this mayhem she has worked out his foot size, to this day I still do not know how she has done this, for the measuring device did not once go near his foot. Off, skuttles the shop assistant (probably to seek cover in the stock room) and I mouth to my partner to quickly gather our things and go.
However, in this moment, this one moment that we could have done a runner…this one precious moment where we could have avoided the horror of what was to come next…Pumpkin had caught sight of the toy box (let me just edit that, toy box is a very loose term, it was a plastic box, with tired, broken toys, that no child in their right sense of mind would want to play with, apart from our darling child of course!) and he had emptied it’s contents across the floor, grabbed the nearby shoes off the shelves and was sat in the middle of the mayhem looking thoroughly delighted with himself. I didn’t know whether to laugh or still walk out the door leaving the mess behind us. However, before I could make a decision the shop assistant was back (face now looking like it was about to explode) with the most hideous pair of shoes, I have ever seen (cue, horrible flashback childhood memories from me). I sit here writing with my hand on my heart, I can honestly say, they were the most hideous things I had seen, this includes the horrors that I tried on as a kid and had no choice but to wear as I had such wide feet. I did not want Pumpkin to wear those horrible things, to some that may seem petty, but I remember the feeling of wearing horrible shoes as a child, when all my friends had gorgeous dainty shoes and I had big clumpy ugly ones. So, I put my foot down at this point. I declared that Pumpkin was getting grumpy and I felt this should be attempted again another day. We tidied up the toys and the shoes and left as quick as we could, retreating to the nearest coffee shop for a caffeine and sugar fix to recover from what had just happened.
The next day, with Pumpkin in a better mood, we set off to a more well known high street shop, a little bit further away. We were helped to find the perfect pair of first shoes by a brilliant assistant called Megan. Megan became Pumpkins new best friend, she let him wreck her immaculate shoe displays, in fact she helped him do it and they had fun with the shoe measuring device, he wanted her to hold his hand as he walked around the shop to get used to his first pair of shoes. We were able to take photographs to make memories of this precious milestone in Pumpkins life. In the not so distant future, shoe shopping will become a mundane task, but for that moment, it was precious and fun for a little boy who is making his first little steps into a big world.