Thursday, 14 July 2011


I'm not a hoarder. As soon as an outfit no longer fits either of the Lattes, it's out of the house. You won't find me with a loft full of babygros.

But the shoes. The tiny shoes.

For years I've been stumbling over my children's first shoes, which kicked around the house idly waiting for something to happen.

Anyone who has what is known in the trade as a 'neurologically typical' child may be looking at the above shoes and thinking, "What cute shoes! Like miniature Doc Martens!" And it's true - in retrospect, they are pretty cool. But if you have a special needs child you may well be sighing. Another pair of Piedro boots. Pair after pair, all the same design.

(At least when Eldest was small and the NHS provided Piedros, I didn't have to tramp around the High Street trying vainly to wedge her unyielding, bulky plastic splints into shoe after shoe. Since her initial diagnosis, I have never really shed a tear in a doctor's surgery. I do, however, weep quite openly in a number of shoe shops.)

Below are Littlest's first shoes. Clarks. My mother jumped on her chance to go into town and buy these one day when I was feeling unwell. I could tell that she felt was Littlest was cruelly ignored, running round like an urchin in her socks. Perhaps she thought we were too traumatised by shoe shops to enter if we didn't absolutely have to.

Anyway. Somewhere we have a polaroid of a confused child in leggings and a massive nappy standing in a shoe shop, surrounded by a cutesy cardboard frame entitled "MY FIRST SHOES'.

You know what you do when something has been kicking around the house for too long? You glue it to a board and stick it on the wall. This is a genius idea. On the floor right now I can see a denim jacket, a sock and an empty packet of chocolate buttons. I can see our walls becoming a LOT more interesting.


  1. Deep dark confession time - I put Tall Small's first shoes into a shoe cupboard with other discarded footwear until I got around to doing something with them. What I didn't realise was that there was something damp in the cupboard with them, and, gulp, they went mouldy. Amazing how rapidly mould motivates you to discard stuff!

  2. So sorry for the frustration that you were feeling in those shoe shops, has it eased at all? I do like the idea of hanging the shoes on the wall, quite a talking point.

  3. Ive just been into the attic room to check on our childrens' first shoes. Startrite red 3.5F and navy 4Fs and they are gorgeous. I kept a first pair of bright pink kickers too because I can't bear to get rid. I am a hoarder unfortunately, of the nicer things anyway, but I still have too much and not the space to keep them.

    I always dread shoe shopping too, and always try my hardest to go with only one child at a time. They always choose that moment to behave as if they are having a judo match and never sit patiently like all the other kids do!

    By the way, being a fairly new reader I wasn't aware that you had a child with special needs. I read your post on a call for bad behaviour and thought it beautiful and thought provoking. So then I revisited the post about the shoes on the wire which perked me up no end!!

  4. Toffeeapple - we just go straight to the 'funky trainers'section now. We studiously ignore the Other Shoes.

  5. Never mind the babygros, I am shockingly unsentimental about my children's first anything. No tiny shoes in this house. Anything unused and unwanted gets chucked/donated.

    I can vaguely remember buying my eldest his first shoes but have no memory of buying the other two theirs.

  6. framing the empty chocolate packet would be too much of a torment.

  7. Really?
    On the wall?

    I kept everything.
    It's a sickness.

  8. We've got one of those weird polaroids too - only eldest is slightly blurred, because shoes were clearly made for running....

    I may have kept them, but if they went into the black hole that is our loft, they are likely to never emerge again.

  9. I did say earlier that this is a brilliant idea - I think my kids shoes are somewhere in a cardboard box in a wardrobe. Much better to have them somewhere you can see them yet not trip over them.
    My earlier comment disappeared into the ether, and I wasn't going to re-comment, but the word verification is kophy, so I had to.

  10. My friends mum has her childrens first shoes in display boxes and they are all staked together, it looks lovely. I like your idea too - need to keep my Boys so I can do something with them.

  11. Lovely! None of our 'first' shoes are in any fit condition to display. They were passed down, and down and down again until they fell apart. Tears in shoeshops? You never know what will be the thing that tips you over the edge, do you?

  12. Just last week I moved a far-as-the-eye-can-see row of tiny wellies from one side of the basement to the other (give away or throw away) side. We'll see if they actually make it out the door...

  13. Those tears, they always appear where you're least prepared for them.
    Impressed that those firsts are still around! Grown-out-of shoes have the same thing going on as socks in our house: they only survive as singletons. It's a mystery to me.
    Must confess I have loads of old clothes still. They're under the bed (which is about to start loosing its footing), waiting to be made into something. Which *does* happen. Occaaaaasionally. (Proof? One blanket. Another one on the go. Really.)

  14. Hello

    Just visiting for the first time via Mumsnet. And I love your blog. Will now follow.

    Re. keeping littl'uns shoes - I think you've done a brave and very creative thing by fixing them up on the wall; it's a great idea! I still have my children's first pairs - tucked away in a drawer. I wrote about them on my li'l blog here. Not sure if the link will work but I'll try it.

  15. I'm a useless hoarder, not least because I still am hoping for another so can justify not throwing out any of the baby stuff

    The only thing I've consciously done is frame their first pairs of soft shoes - slightly easier to frame given them fold flat

  16. My aunt kept the babyshoes of all 3 kids and recently popped them into a frame/box thing. It looks so gorgeous. I'm thinking of doing it with the boys' first tap shoes, although because the firstborn was such a bigfoot, his first tap shoes are unsentimentally large.

  17. Dear Coffee Lady, my son has cerebral palsy although he's only mildy affected. I supplement the shoes we get from the NHS with ones I buy from here:

    They always have sales on, and I usually manage to find what I want half price. You do need to dig around the various sections as it's not all presented together. The sandals and the house shoes (slippers) are particularly different from anything you get as standard from the NHS.



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