Every so often, something unexpected will really take my breath away as it reminds me how much DorkySon is growing up.
It’s not usually something big or significant that startles me into that realisation. We have dispensed with naps and nappies, with a minimum of fuss. Sippy cups and sleep suits are a thing of the past, and I haven’t shed a tear over either. But this weekend I had one of those moments where I stopped and looked at my boy, shaking my head in disbelief. Wow.
DorkySon needed new shoes.
I remember buying his very first shoes; dinky, cute little things that I could cup in the palm of my hand. First shoes come in a box that has pastel coloured polka dots all over it. First shoes themselves come in bright, cheerful colours; everything about them is unthreatening.
Clarks have a ritual where they take a souvenir photo of your baby in his first pair of shoes, which you can then take home with you. I still have it somewhere. DorkySon, who must have been about eighteen months old, looks both proud and wobbly as he adjusts to the strange new sensation of wearing something on his feet.
But we have long moved on from first shoes.
We now head towards the corner of the shop that shelves proper shoes; school shoes, serious shoes. It is all black and brown leather in this corner. The pastel polka-dots have gone, and DorkySon’s shoes come in the same plain green boxes that the adult ones do. There is no feeling of excitement in this corner, as there is in the first shoes section, just a weary sense of resignation from parents who are forking out yet another thirty or forty quid for something they know will only last a few months.
This weekend was the first time that DorkySon has ever really expressed an opinion about which shoes he wanted.
“Those,” he said, pointing.
“Let’s check if they have them in your size.”
“Don’t care if they don’t. I want those ones.”
Of course, they didn’t have them in his size. They don’t even make them in his size. So it took a good ten minutes of cajoling and persuading before he would try on a similar pair, but he did eventually, grudgingly agree.
They were fine.
And so it was that we came home, not with a pair of dinky, cute little shoes that I could cup in my palm, but with a pair of Stompos in Size 8E.
In size 8.
They have a picture of a roaring orange dinosaur – a Stomposaurus – on the bottom, and they look absolutely bloody enormous.
On DorkySon’s feet, they don’t look enormous; they look entirely in proportion with the rest of him. But he kicked them off as we came in the door, and as I was tidying up the hallway last night I picked them up. They are huge. They are chunky, and heavy, and they are very definitely proper boy shoes.
Which means that DorkySon is now a proper boy. Not a baby, or a toddler, or even a pre-schooler, but a proper boy.
How did that happen?