Maddie has never been a child who ever kept a pair of socks on for more than five minutes in her life. Now that she is walking, her parents face the impossible task of getting the baby to wear shoes. Hmmm, how did they not see that coming?
Let’s face it, we can’t have Jane of the Jungle running around parks, sidewalks and pools without protection for her feet. Somehow, Maddie missed the memo. The baby is determined to crush the institution of wearing shoes. Maddie is already studying the same infamous battle strategies she used during her previous campaigns against socks.
Socks couldn’t stand up to Maddie and she firmly believes that shoes will be no different.
Step 1: Always be prepared to strike without mercy. Maddie makes sure to start struggling with her shoes the second they are placed upon her feet.
Step 2: Complain vigorously. If the shoes don’t fall off, launch verbal assaults against the guilty parties who put the shoes on her in the first place.
Step 3: As soon as one shoe comes off, fire that bad boy off into space. The farther the parent has to chase the shoe, the more time you have to remove the other one.
Step 3-A: What works even better is to the drop the offending shoe or shoes into a perilous area. If the shoe winds up on a busy street or on the train tracks, that’s a big win. The shoe may be impossible to recover or possibly destroyed.
Step 4: Remove the shoe quietly and discard it while the parent is focused elsewhere. You never know when it might become a chew toy for a dog or large rat.
My soon to be 9-month-old daughter has been ripping off her socks pretty much since we started putting them on her. We strap them on and she goes right to work on her various sock removal strategies.
Maddie is most adept at teaching those socks who the boss in their relationship. If she were an NFL player, she would be flagged every single day for excessive celebration. Every time she tears or peels off one of her socks, she goes wild with delight.
It’s even worse when she is in a bad mood because she would be penalized for “taunting.” She gets a smug look of satisfaction on her grill and holds the sock out at you so that you may gape in awe at her handiwork.
There have documented instances where a sock actually flew out of the stroller and over the driver’s head. I have a long sordid history of snatching her sock off the ground and stuffing it into my pocket.
When we walk into the house, my wife often says it looks like Maddie lost a sock. I always dig into my pocket and pull out the offending item that made its unsuccessful bid for freedom.
Now Maddie has taken her sock abuse to the next level. No matter how many toys she decides to surround herself with, she can’t stop thinking about the socks that must be suffocating her poor innocent feet.
Maddie grabs the villainous foot and starts tugging on the sock – stretching it to the very limits of its construction. Once the sock pops off, she has two plans to choose from. One trick is to wrap it around her forehead like Mr. Miyagi did for Ralph Macchio. The other trick is to pull it taut and stuff it into her mouth.
Either demonstration is really quite the spectacle to behold. But there are few things more satisfying than watching your adorable baby daughter teach a combative sock a thing or two.
The morning started off with such promise. Maddie was smiling ear to ear after her late morning nap. But two days of rigorous travel finally caught up with my little girl.
The fussy bug started gradually, but quickly picked up speed during the early afternoon. Maddie was in the shadowlands arena, she could be entertained in short spurts, but then rolled right back into complaint mode.
This is a very rare occurrence for a girl that nabbed a two-hour nap earlier in the day, but so be it. After her afternoon feeding, we decided to make a coffee run. But even in the car, Maddie’s discontent was on the rise.
As soon as we pulled up to the coffee shop, I got Maddie into her stroller and decided to walk her around the shopping center instead. For the first time all afternoon, Maddie’s mood was beginning to look up. As I wheeled her around the complex, the fresh air was giving her a much-needed boost.
However, once we actually ducked into a nearby grocery store – she started groaning and sighing in fits and starts. The fussy girl was back, but this time she had a trick waiting up her sleeve for dear old dad. As soon as we went to check out, the cashier asked if I had a frequent shopper card. As soon as I reached over to hand it to him, a tiny sock began its lazy ascent right in front of my face. It continued to soar upward before reaching its apogee and tumbling back to earth. You could follow the heads of the people in the store watching the sock like a thunderous home run that was just crushed out of the park.
This was superb entertainment for the cashier, the other shoppers in line and myself. Maddie must have worked her sock to the very tip of her toes before kicking it off and launching it high in the sky for all to enjoy.
My fellow shopper handed the offending sock to me with a huge grin on his face. As I knelt down to put the sock back on Cinderella, she was beaming with sheer delight, obviously very pleased with her efforts. No one said a word, but everyone realized that they were in the presence of greatness.
Maddie and her parents have been going toe to toe (that’s right) for several months now in the never ending battle to keep socks on the baby’s feet. Maddie is barely 5-months-old, yet we have been struggling to keep socks on her for about four of those months.
My little girl has perfected her sock disposal techniques into a true art form. Just as Brad Pitt became the master fly fisherman in Robert Redford‘s classic, “A River Runs Through It,” Maddie has mastered the art of sock-punching!
There I said it – my daughter is a sock-puncher. If the baby is awake – no pair of socks is safe on those wild feet for any length of time. Back when she was an amateur, she would shake and kick until they would eventually fall off.
Those days are long gone. Now, Maddie uses one foot to aid and abet the other in an effort to shrug off the offending sock within 60 seconds. When we visited Maddie’s grandparents during the holidays, we were constantly on the lookout for discarded socks around the house.
Sure we tried to outsmart the baby – we went out and purchased longer socks to thwart the baby’s best attempts to knock the socks off. It turns out that the longer socks are easier to knock off than the short ones.
I suppose we could just let the baby hang out with no socks on, but her feet get cold, so that is obviously not a viable option. I like to tuck them into the baby’s pants, but my wife has repeatedly cautioned me about such a fashion faux pas.
Suffice it say that we have given ourselves up to fate. We will continue the exhaustive sock “search and rescue” efforts until some company develops a baby sock with just a kiss of elastic in them. Until then, Maddie will delight in her parent’s fruitless attempts to keep those perpetual feet under cover.