My 3 year old is a chronic rule-enforcer.
When he sees people on bikes, scooters or motorcycles without helmets on, he screams bloody murder while pointing at them as if they were a witch amidst the Salem witch trials. This has made for some very awkward moments when the rider (or, even more awkwardly, the underage rider’s parent) is within earshot. Owen will not rest until he knows WHY that person is not wearing a helmet, and he gets to me to say, “That’s not a safe choice”. Once in a while he even likes to shout, “THAT’S NOT A SAFE CHOICE!” at them, just for good measure.
While I’m glad he knows the rules, and generally follows them himself, we’re having a bit of trouble learning the parameters for EXCEPTIONS to the rule. Or, perhaps more importantly, the fact that we are not in charge of what other people do. And that it’s not polite to talk about other people, especially when they can hear you.
Similarly, we have a rule that we always take off our shoes right when we walk in the house. If JUST FOR A MINUTE I need to run into the house with shoes on (bringing in groceries, say, or carrying Emmett in the carseat), he will point and remind me, “You have to take your shoes off. You might get dirt inside.” Lord help any guests that enter our house without taking off their shoes first, as they will get an earful from my little dictator.
You might think this stems from me being a stickler about these rules. But honestly, the things that Owen seems to hone in on are not even things I harp on regularly. I think he just likes bossing people around and being “right”. Hmm. NO IDEA where he gets that from.
The shoe discussion, though, extends beyond our house and has become Owen’s favorite topic of conversation. When kids at the playground have no shoes on, Owen cannot help but ask a million questions (always to me, and always within their earshot). Why do they have no shoes and socks on? Where are their shoes? Did their Mommies say it was ok to wear no shoes? Do the woodchips hurt their feet? Inevitably, the conversation turns to, “Can I take MY shoes and socks off?”. Probably at some point I said no to this question, and Owen is still trying to rationalize why I said no when their parents said yes. Nowadays I just say, “Yes. Knock yourself out. Take your shoes off. Run around.”
In the beginning I thought this was about the rules. But now I’m thinking it’s more about the feet.
Owen has a thing for feet.
- He notices when I change the shade of my toenail polish even slightly.
- He notices everyone’s toes. He encourages everyone them to take their shoes off (no matter where we are) so he can see if their toenails are painted.
- He loves to have his own toenails painted and he shows EVERYONE, even if it requires taking off his shoes in the most inconvenient of places.
- He jokes about stinky feet whenever shoes are taken off.
- He can identify whose shoes are whose from a whole class of people. He must watch them come in and notice their shoes.
- He begs Benjamin and I to tell him which shoes we are going to wear on a given day (flip flops or sneakers or “the red ones” or whatever) and whines and moans when we’re not all wearing the same type of shoe.
- He notices the shoes that characters on tv and in books wear. He ALWAYS asks why barefoot characters are not wearing shoes.
- If he sees bare feet pointed like a dancer, he’ll often mention, “Ooh! I love her feet!”.
- He is OBSESSED with Emmett’s tiny feet. I mean, who isn’t?
Recently we were at a park where there were three huge statues of goddesses. Like most goddesses, they were not wearing shoes.
Guess who noticed?
Not only did he notice, but he sat down and started caressing the feet. Couldn’t stop talking about them.
I think someone has a foot fetish.