Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON
The youngest Authorbloglet - God bless her - is kind of keen on shoes. This is indisputable. It is established in family folklore. But the manner in which this came to light was less obvious to one member of the clan than it was to others.
That member of the family was, er, me.
Some years ago, we were in a foreign land, and Mrs Authorblog and the two older Authorbloglets went off in search of a particular store. Realising that the youngest of our brood would have no interest in that pursuit, Mrs Authorblog told me to stand outside and wait with our little girl.
No worries at all. I revel in the company of my children and they revel (they’ll admit it under duress) in my company. So after about five minutes of fun while we stood outside, I was alarmed when Juniormost Authorbloglet asked to be carried. Did I say "asked"? Sorry, I meant to say "implored".
Something just didn’t add up. This was a child whose idea of freedom was to run as soon as her feet touched the floor each morning. An independent soul, she never asked to be carried.
So with the tenderness and concern that any father would show, I asked what the problem was.
"My feet are really hurting," she replied.
So I sat down and put her on my lap and immediately adjusted the straps on her left sandal and then her right sandal.
"Is that better?" I asked.
She shook her head. She told me her feet were still hurting. So - naturally - I loosened her straps until the sandals were ready to fall off her little feet.
But she told me she was still in a lot of pain. All sorts of thoughts went running through my mind. Was this some sort of mysterious ailment that had suddenly struck without warning?
At this point, Mrs Authorblog emerged with the other two children. Dutifully, I gave her a situation report.
Mrs Authorblog, as most of you would know by now, is a wise woman, a quick-thinking woman and a resourceful woman. She just grinned.
"Do you realise where you’re standing?" she asked, shaking her head at my stupidity.
I was standing in a square in a shopping mall, for crying out loud.
Then, Mrs Authorblog pointed to a shop that was right in front of me. It was a shoe store. "She doesn’t have anything wrong with her feet. She just wants new shoes."
So we trooped into the shop, Youngest Authorbloglet selected a pair, happily put them on and walked - o miracle, o joy, with no pain or discomfort - for the rest of our nine-week holliday.
Clearly, her brain was a lot more nimble than mine. And she was not yet three.
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