There is a strange connection in our house to a curious pair of red wellies.
They have to be worn at all times for our not-so-small Boss Baby.
Actually, I’m not sure she should even be using that title anymore.
Well, Boss Baby reached a merry milestone of two years old last week which means theoretically I shouldn’t be calling her a baby anymore.
So without a replacement nickname to give her I’ll have to stick with Boss.
And Boss has an unhealthy obsession with her red wellies.
They are worn at every opportunity except at bath or bedtime.
She wakes up in her sleepy grow and as she guzzles down her milk or sucks her thumb she searches to find her favourite footwear.
If she can’t find them then she gets so worked up and anyone or anything is a potential target.
It has to be the red wellies.
She trawls through boxes of shoes, emptying the contents into a gigantic heap, screaming uncontrollably if she can’t find them.
There is no possible way of distracting her from this impulse.
If they are not there, then the crying sends her to the point of no return and trying to give her anything else is refused simultaneously.
This usually results in items being launched or her teeth ready to clench down on peachy skin.
In the hot weather, I have tried desperately to put her in sandals to keep cool but she gets in such a state then rips them off.
“She’s only two, you have to be the ‘boss’ of her,” I get told.
The cogs are turning and I know this script only too well.
“She’s just strong willed, you’re too soft!” again I can feel the heat rise inside me.
But I know my child and I know there is more – I see what others just can’t see yet.
These boots always feel the same.
They are safe.
And they are what she expects to wear.
These boots are not just a functional item, they have become her comfort blanket.
She even searches for them when she is upset and they make her feel regulated once again.
But just like anything children wear they eventually get outgrown and we are reaching that stage.
I can allow some battles to be dropped, but there comes a point when if it is something that could affect her development like squashing her toes up, I’m left no choice but to stop her doing the thing she wants or needs to do.
A similar situation happened this summer with my eldest PDA’er regarding her school shoes.
I replaced her shoes with exactly the same pair, but she still wanted to wear the ones with holes in as she didn’t like the feel of the new ones.
Inside, I felt desperately worried that we looked poor and scruffy or that l would be judged once again as an ineffective parent.
Then I think of the overall goal – does it matter if her shoes have a hole in if she actually makes it to school?
She takes them off at school anyway as she likes to be in socks once inside!
To make her feel comfortable in what must feel a very overwhelming and highly anxious world surely is the bigger objective.
So back to Boss now and I bought a new pink pair of wellies that light up with Peppa Pig on. She loves Peppa and watches it all day long – these surely have to take top trumps!?
She shakes her head to sign ‘no’ and pushes them away screaming.
Just like the rejection when I sang her happy birthday and she tried to bite me.
Its reactions like this that make me know there is something else.
Like if she has an accident or gets sick, she tries to shut herself away under a bed or in a wardrobe.
It hurts when she shuns my ‘maternal’ love away when my desire is to smother her with it.
My parenting experience has changed the way I look on things and now I take a different approach.
So what if Boss likes to wear her red wellies at all times?
Is it really a battle worth having?
Or maybe, just maybe, it is something safe in an ever-changing, unpredictable world.
It is curious why the attachment has happened to an unusual item but why do we feel the need to rationalise everything with a reason?
However, I am aware that they are at the end of their functioning shelf life.
So instead, I’m trying to leave the new wellies next to the old pair and hoping the challenge of trying them on for the first time won’t be so traumatising.
Forcing shoes onto her while she kicks and screams won’t make anyone happy.
So for now, here is my very own homage to the Curious Pair of the Red Wellies.