So Clarks well and truly did a number on us today – in a really good way, that is. Since Zee took his first eight wobbly steps in a row last week, his confidence has grown as he totters around like a little drunkard, wobbling and tumbling over and even occasionally hiccuping. It is an adorable sight to behold and yes I had a little cry when he first properly walked towards me. Today seemed like the right time to go and get his first proper shoes, and it turns out Clarks make this into a real experience for besotted parents like us. Because for us, it is a big moment, a milestone; he can walk. Thinking back to this time last year, when he was 15 days old and I can’t remember precisely, but I guess he’d spent the day feeding, sleeping, whizzpopping and sleeping, to today, when he not only got his first pair of shoes but tried garlic dough balls for the first time too; it feels like the difference a year makes is actually quite astonishing.
I have several very good friends who are due to have their babies within the next few months, and I know how they are feeling around about now. Everything is unknown. If you stop to ponder it for too long; labour, all the stuff you need, how will the baby sleep, how will I cope with no sleep, what will the baby be like, how do I change a nappy or sterilise a bottle or pretty much how will I KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS TINY DEFENCELESS CREATURE etc, it becomes overwhelming. But gradually, as the fog lifts and you get to know your baby and vice versa, things do start to fall into place, and the idea of simply getting dressed no longer leaves you a wailing mess.
So in fact today was about more than just a pair of shoes. It was about feeling proud, of Zee as his little foot was measured for the first time, and he beamed away as we chose his shoes and he had his Polaroid taken for his souvenir card (nice work Clarks marketing team, very nice). And of ourselves, for having come through our very best, but also our most difficult year so far. And then later on Zee and I had a special moment at High Chair in the Kitchen. A live version of Pompeii by Bastille came on the radio, and I turned it up really loud (sorry neighbours) and sang and jumped around and danced and positively shouted each and every word as Zee looked on bemusedly. Because for me, that song will always be the song I sang loud and proud on my first drive to the beach with Zee when he was about three weeks old. I was so proud of myself for getting us out of the house and into the car and all the way to the beach in the early afternoon sunshine. The following day was a total disaster because I’d completely exhausted myself with the beach expedition, Zee wouldn’t feed and cried all day and so did I, pretty much. But I learnt from that, and kept learning, and now we are at a place where Zee is wearing shoes and every day with him Just Gets Better and Better. So thank you, Clarks, for making today’s milestone something we (I say we, I’ll always remember this date, H shall forget it by next week) will forever treasure.