A few years ago, I bought a red wooden magazine rack with an US flag on each end that I thought would be good to stack vinyl records inside. At some point, I abandoned those plans and put it in my little home office–a dark cavern-like room–and started throwing mine and B’s shoes in it and calling it the shoe bucket. It never really caught on though because it was in the corner of this dark room, and just too out-of-the-way.
Then a month ago a rare thing happened. I actually cleaned my little space and while doing so decided to put the shoe bucket out in the living room. It was a totally random idea but turned out to be a good one because my four-year-old and I suddenly had a place to throw our flip-flops and Crocs (as opposed to their usual spot in the middle of the floor). As an afterthought I threw in 15-month-old G’s two pairs of shoes.
Within a week or so a funny thing happened. Whether it was because of watching me and B grab our shoes out of the bucket or put them back in, little G started fishing his tiny shoes out of the bucket repeatedly and wanting them on his feet and for the last couple weeks has become obsessed with footwear. He always has to have two of the four shoes he owns on. To his credit he has stuck to his shoes, except for once when he put his shoes inside his brother’s Crocs and walked around like that, but that shows his obsession. He was wearing two pairs at once! At other times he is nude with only shoes, just stumbling around with no idea how silly he looks.
Watching this unfold has been interesting. Will G end up with a life-long shoe fetish and will it be the result of the random placement of this bucket out in the living room at exactly the right point in his life? When you’re this little–and perhaps when you spend so much of your time with little kids–it’s this type of tiny element that can seem really important. We deal in really small things (whether they will turn out to be big only time can tell). We are the Minutiaemen.
As a stay-at-home dad, there are a number of things that make my life easier, and in some ways I could not exist without them. Individually, they might seem trivial but taken as a collective they help me survive. I plan to make a comprehensive list as I go along but wanted to highlight one at a time. My first are my Crocs.
Before I got a pair I thought they were the stupidest thing I’d ever seen, rubber shoes that looked like clogs, but then I saw someone wearing a camouflage pair that looked kind of cool and decided to get them, almost as a lark. Now I’m on my second pair, black camouflage ones now, and they are indispensable–light, indestructible, and amphibious. I can run and play in them, they’re easy to slip on when I’m holding a baby, and I can walk in water with them. Brilliant!
This morning, as I was getting everything ready to throw in the crock pot, B ran into the kitchen and said he had to pee. I suggested the potty but he wanted to go outside and off the back deck (which is a favorite spot for the both of us). It was raining a little but whatever.
So I opened the back door for him and went back to cutting vegetables when I heard him tinkling into a pool of liquid–not the normal pee-off-the-deck sound–so I stuck my head out back to see him urinating in one of my rubber Crocs sandals that I left by the back door. It was filled to the brim (I assume some of it was rainwater).
“What are you doing,” I said. “Why did you pee in my Crocs?” “I didn’t,” he said. “I only peed in one.” He was technically correct, I did mistakenly use the plural. I didn’t really know what to do except to say not to do it again and then dumped the shoe out and set it further out in the rain.
Later that afternoon, I told his mama about the incident and she laughed of course, but then asked B why he peed in my Croc. “There was a lot of water in there,” he said. “I thought it was a toilet.”