on your feet

We get to day care. I sit her down on the nursery floor. She yanks off a sock.

“She doesn’t like her socks, does she?”

Nope. She does not like her socks.

And at the grocery store. Halfway through the shopping list. A tap on the shoulder. “Ma’am? Did you drop this? Is this your sock?”

Well, not mine. But yes. Thank you so much.

I shove it in my pocket.

At the bottom of all my pockets are tiny socks.

We have the whole routine polished up pretty well. An act, I would call it:

 I find her barefoot. “Al-iiiiiice?”

She squeals.

I fake-scold. “Where are your socks? Get those calcetines back on your feet!”

She snatches one off the floor and puts it in her mouth. (“That’s weird,” I think. Until I lived with this one, I did not know how weird babies sometimes are.)

“Nooooo. You’re not a puppy. On your feet!”

At this point it becomes very giggly.

Anyway, I wonder here and there about whether we should be playing at defiance. And about whether (and when) I am supposed to put my foot down (ha!).

 Eh. Not over the socks.

Sometimes I tell her, “No,” and mean it. When I say, “No,” and mean it – when there is the slightest edge in my voice – she freezes and cries. Sometimes a hurt cry, sometimes an impatient cry. And it startles me to laughter that she absolutely understands, that already there is a germ of tension between her way and my way.

It fascinates me – it has since before she was born – that people, when they arrive, are so dependent and so independent.

So we play at defiance because she has that to learn too, the whether and the when.


One thought on “on your feet

  1. I, like Alice, prefer no socks at designated times. I like them during the day, but they must be pulled off during naps and bedtime. I have a suspicion that Nana took my socks off when napping as a child. At 58 years old, I continue the tradition!
    Alice will fare well with or without socks. And if she doesn’t like the seams in her socks, we know a place where they sell seamless socks…each to her own!
    Tackle “Defiance” next year during the “terrible twos”, and bottle up your energy in the meantime. You’ll definitely need lots of it as Alice is a strong female who already knows what she wants! What a great quality!
    You’re such a fun mom who is enjoying and embracing your daughter with
    all of her charming uniqueness!
    Sorry we missed seeing all of you this weekend. I’m quite envious of Alice’s hostess skills and truly enjoy our visits to the Siders!
    Love you guys.

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