Kevin always wears socks. It's been a long time since he's required shoes 24 hours a day, and that's been nice, but we have been unable to break the sock barrier. In the summertime, he gets athlete's foot because his feet are always sweaty and always inside socks (or cozy winter slippers.) Even when we went to the beach last year, he wore socks and shoes.
Since the weather has been getting warmer this spring, we've been talking to him a lot about him trying to have bare feet. Today he proudly said to me, "Mama, I'm going to take off my socks!" I praised him profusely, telling him how proud I was that he was trying something new and I had him go tell Andy so that he could lavish on the praise as well. So he took off his sweaty socks (yes, I do change them multiple times a day but he's a sweaty guy) and then... put his slippers back on. Now, that wasn't what we were hoping for but we had to admit that it was an excellent step. It was brand new territory for the boy so we were proud. But not as proud as tonight, although I might be more proud of myself for this part of the story.
We were at REI and I saw some kids' sandals with lots of foot coverage. I thought they'd be great for Kevin to try because he'd be safe in them what with the toe guards (he scuffs the toes of his shoes the moment he steps out of the shoe store, every time) and lots of webbing. Plus I hoped they'd feel more like shoes and less like sandals to him. The cost was much higher than I ever thought I'd pay for a pair of sandals for anyone in our family, but I gave it a shot anyway.
The next obstacle was to get Kevin to try them on without socks. [If someone reading this is from the Maryland Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene, please know that no REI employee condoned the sockless try-on.] I knew that if Kevin tried them on with socks, he'd never wear them without socks. And I wasn't going to spend that much money on sandals to be worn with socks. I somehow convinced Kevin to even try on the shoes and then I talked his poor ear off while I snuck off a sock and stuffed his foot into the sandal. He kept talking while I did the same to his other foot and then I quickly said, "Hey, they look cool! Go find Papa to show him!" I was so proud of myself for getting his socks off his feet without a meltdown AND knowing how to get him to walk around in them WITHOUT SOCKS (did I mention that already?) to see how they felt and check whether he would trip over the front ends.
He walked around the store for awhile and hiked up and down the test rock a few times. He asked to take them home and it was then that I had to break it to him that he wasn't wearing any socks and that I knew it. I told him that he could have the new shoes if he promised to wear them at home without socks. He solemnly promised me that and promptly returned to the empty shoe box and placed his sneakers inside.
Yes, People, that means what you think it does. He wore the sandals WITH NO SOCKS out of the store! I can only hope that this wonder-child still exists in the morning when it's time to get dressed for church.