02 October 2009
Do Not Conform
Wilder doesn't really utilize his closet space right now.
So I do.
In it I store all sorts of non-Wilder things. A suitcase. My wedding dress. Outgrown baby clothing I am saving to give to Mandy (and Emma, if she decides to have just one more cute kid). A random can of paint. A silly amount of empty baby wipes containers - because they might just come in handy one day. And a load of items waiting to be sold at next weekend's yard sale. (Next Saturday. Our front yard. Lots of treasures. Be there.)
Apparently the smaller people living in our home recently discovered the yard sale stash. And the shoes featured above.
And everyone fell in love.
I think the true affection emerged when they realized that these shoes held money. Real money! I could almost see their brains expanding with the concept.
These two pennies and the leather-like material which encases them have been the source of much tension and strife at our home lately.
Everyone wants in on the action.
Mosely tried to fix the fact that they are about two sizes too large for her by putting on more than five pairs of socks at once. She found it completely unreasonable that I would not let her wear the shoes-plus-five-socks combo with her camo capris to the grocery store.
London grabs them first and early, secretly putting them in places where she will remember to wear them before anyone else thinks about.
But the loafers' biggest fan? Bergen Hawkeye. He adores these beauties. And for a solid week wore them every day. Everywhere. With every outfit. Which might have been alright if Bergen was the GQ type of four-year-old. He isn't. He doesn't care for shirts with buttons. He would wear the same plaid shorts or orange athletic shorts every day if I let him. And he firmly believes that shoes holding money match everything.
For some reason, this decision of Bergen's really bothers Riley.
A royal battle ensued one day when Riley decided that she could not allow her younger brother to be seen in public wearing blue athletic shorts, a t-shirt AND plastic-y scuffed penny loafers with no socks. She could not bear it. She tried to tell him no. She tried to bribe him. She was mid-way through her last option - shaming him - when I decided to run interference.
Don't get me wrong - I don't really like the shoes either.
I think the hip Merrill hiking boots I bought on sale at Mast General Store look way cooler. I think those shoes let people know that his mother picked out his footwear and that I have good taste. (Because that's what dressing our kids is about - right?)
But even though I strongly dislike his footwear choice, I really like Bergen.
I like his young brain and his kind heart. I like his exuberance and his cuddly nature.
I love that when he looks at those shoes, all he sees is something fun. Something that turns an ordinary occurrence, like wearing shoes, into a fun opportunity, like walking around with pennies near your toes.
Bergen does not get to stay four years old forever. All too soon he will be ashamed to wear hand-me-down hiking boots from his sisters or free loafers he found in his brother's closet. He will begin asking me to pay top dollar for the Sperry shoes or the Vans or the British Knights. (Okay, he will probably never ask for British Knights.) But he will want whatever everybody else he likes is wearing. And I am pretty sure everyone else will not be wearing second hand penny loafers.
The point is - my boy will conform.
It may not be exactly inevitable and I can honestly say I am working hard to raise independent thinkers with the hopes that they might become independent dressers as well. But I know better than to expect all of my children to eschew fashion entirely.
Bergen will one day choose his shoes to fit in. He will.
But until that day smacks us all in the face, I am not spending my time encouraging conformity.
In fact, my plan is to do just the opposite.
So wear those penny loafers with pride, my boy.
I won't stop you.