Monday, December 13, 2010

Barefoot Tales

Nothing says 'freedom' to me more than going barefoot does. I love ditching my shoes. I love being able to wiggle my toes. If there was a word for feet suffering from claustrophobia when covered up, then that would describe my feet. During spring, summer, and a good part of autumn, I'm rarely seen in any other footwear than thongs (note the plural - I am not referring to underwear). Okay, so the fact that I have very long feet - necessary to balance my six-foot-plus Amazonian frame, I might add - and therefore, limited options when shoe-shopping, may be a factor at play. Cute shoes in general are a hard thing for me to come by... so cute thongs it is. Besides, I have pretty feet. They may be big, but they're pretty and they're mine. Why hide them?

Our pretty feet from the Faery's perspective, last year.

I'm learning, though, that not everyone shares my views on what's appropriate seasonal footwear. Back in October, one overcast morning, I dared to wear thongs while taking the Faery to her preschool. The school's office manager (a lovely British lady) could barely contain her snorts, "Oh, look at you wearing flip-flops in this weather. You're such an Aussie! Aren't you cold?" It had been drizzling, but it was still a mild morning and would have been at least 20ºC and warming up to more. Apparently, if the calendar says October, then summer footwear is a no-no. It doesn't matter what the weather is actually doing, just make sure you heed the calendar (and for what it's worth, I very much dislike having cold feet and am rather sensible when it starts to get cool - out come the socks and claustrophobic footwear).

It turns out that it's not just my feet that are a subject of concern for people I barely know. Ever since Miss Pie worked out how to pull her socks off, it's been a struggle to keep them on her. Like mother, like daughter, I guess. Unlike me, though, she doesn't give a rat's how cold it is. Putting baby shoes over the socks only delays what is inevitable. Every time I wheel her stroller into the local, heavily air-conditioned supermarket, I receive a dozen tut-tuts from various old biddies, and the same workers who see me every day, yet still feel the need to tell me how cold her feet must be. One even went so far, once, as to tell me I should be - wait for it - tying her socks on with string. Circulation be damned! When I remembered we had an unused stroller boot cover in a closet somewhere (it was never needed for the Faery in Australia), I pulled it out and attached it. The comments stopped overnight. Instant relief.

Miss Pie's chubby eleven-month-old foot, today

This is my first Californian winter, so I don't know what's normal or not, but the last few days have been the warmest for a month or so. Today was a balmy 30ºC, so it was with a sense of glee that I not only whipped off the stroller boot cover, but didn't even bother putting socks on Miss Pie for our daily outing to the local shops - take that, you old biddies! We went for a walk first, and let our feet bathe in some warm sunlight. Looking down and seeing Miss Pie's toes wriggling in the warmth, I felt a glowing satisfaction. There's nothing like the freedom of wriggling your toes, and I wouldn't trade that feeling for all the Manolo Blahniks in the world.


  1. You DO have pretty feet! First thing I noticed.

    Sock aversion in this house, too. Crazy babies and their crazy sock aversions!

    Meanwhile, yesterday I realised I should keep 'emergency shoes' in the car at all times. I cannot tell you how many times I've left the house with neither child in footwear. No defiance to old biddies intended.

  2. Why, thank you!

    I always have spare socks in the nappy bag, but fat lot of good they do. Getting F to wear socks or shoes isn't an issue, thankfully, but how she actually wears them is another thing altogether. She looks at me like I'm a big fat liar when I suggest that pulling up her socks over her leggings isn't really fashion gold...

  3. Yes, you tie those on with string, dear. That's SUCH a good idea. I'll have to remember to squeeze that in, after the birch bark floggings and the cod liver oil.

    God, I hope people realise I'm kidding when I write this stuff.