Sunday, 2 September 2012

Week 52- first steps, Beetlejuice and Mary Jane shoes

Nancy's taken her first step. Two, if you're counting. And more like a lurch and a panicky, arms flapping fall into my arms, if we're getting into specifics. But nevertheless, this seemed like the moment to crank things up a gear, and get her her first pair of shoes.

Now, maybe I'm a traditionalist, or just completely out of the loop as to where you buy stuff for children over the age of 11 months, but Clarks seemed to be the only place I could think of to go to.

And mid-week on a sunny day seemed like a sensible time to go, when half of Brighton was at work, and the other half seem to be lying on the beach.

Clarks looked like a vision of calm. With three shop assistants idly lurking around. So I went up to one of them and proudly announced that we were here to buy Nancy's first pair of proper shoes.

She gave me an unexplained sympathetic smile and pointed me towards the lift to the first floor.

As the doors opened, I understood the smile.

I was looking at what could only be described as a riot.

There was well over 60 kids of varying ages screaming and running around. Every one of the tens of massive poufs were occupied by zozzled looking parents.

And in the middle of it, a woman in her 50s was frantically shouting out numbers. She gave me a deli style ticket with 105 written on it. The number on the electronic board read 70.

It felt like sitting in the waiting room at end of Beetlejuice, sans the guy with the shrunken head.

I'd totally forgotten it was the week before school started, and parents throughout East Sussex had come in their hundreds to kit out their kids.

And to make matters worse, everyone had at least two children.

The woman stood next to me held ticket number 112. She had three children, aged between about 4 and 7, who kept running off and returning with shoes that sparkled and flashed. She was totally at her wits end, as they were there to buy androgynous black school shoes.

She looked at me, then Nancy, and said, 'don't buy them shoes until they really need them, seriously, don't. This trip is going to cost me over a hundred quid.'

But after forty minutes, Nancy eventually had her feet measured, and we had a look at pink, purple and brown cruising shoes. (Cruising shoes? How wrong does that sound?) We went for the purple ones.

And then got stung for the first time. Twenty five quid. Whaaaat?

And just as I'm recovering from that blow, the shop assistant took a picture of Nancy wearing her new shoes, which was nice, gave it to me, then, POW. Blow number two. She suggested that we should come back in six weeks to see if she needs a new pair if her toes touched the end. SIX WEEKS?

Twenty five quid for a pair of shoes that are only going to last six weeks. Are you shitting me? I could get three pairs of vintage Mary Jane's from eBay for that price.

But I guess this is just the start. The first six months of her life, all Nancy needed was breastmilk, a clean nappy and a babygro that wasn't covered in sick.

Now shes a little girl, one who helps me take her clothes off at bed time by putting her hands in the air. Who wears proper shoes to cruise in. That's never going to sound right, however many times say it.

But for the moment, I can comfort myself in the knowledge that it's me that chooses what she's wearing everyday. In fact more often than not, we leave the house Danny De Vito and Arnie style, both clad in Breton stripes.

And at least we've got Nancy's first birthday present sorted then. Eight new pairs of shoes over the next 12 months.


  1. Ah yes I remember that first shoe trip! It is a shock to the system isn't it? After that first time I used to just get DS1's feet measured "because Gran wants to buy him some shoes", then go on ebay/search boot sales to get some in the right size!! Since kids only wear them for 6 weeks, they're normally in really good condition! DS2 has so far conveniently had the same size and width feet as DS1 so that's working out well in hand me downs! Love the Beetlejuice reference by the way - that takes me back! :)

    1. Thats a great idea, I'm definitely using the gran line next time! x

  2. Argh! Sounds like a nightmare! Shoes eh? We just got our first pair of shoes for the little guy from a charity shop - Clarks and never been worn and £1! I was pretty excited about them...whether they'll fit him is another matter altogether... Loads of ace charity shops out this way with kids' stuff, plus we're going to an NCT sale in a few weeks...bracing ourselves already! xxx

  3. OH MY GOD! When did all this happen? Congratulations! We need a well overdue catch up! Xxxxx