Always precocious, Granddaughter Amalía, almost 15 months old, announced her early entrance into the Terrible Twos with a complete melt-down screaming tantrum while riding in rush-hour traffic through downtown Miami several nights ago. The reason for the tantrum: she hated the shoes her Mommy had put on her (black Mary Janes.) The only solution was to hide the offending shoes and let her go barefoot for the rest of the night, since alternate shoes were not available.
After three children and one grandchild, I realize that a baby’s personality is the result of nature, not nurture. Just as my daughter Eleni got blue eyes from her mother and the won’t-eat-cream-sauces-but-loves-spicy-foods gene from her father, Amalía was born with the expert-at-accessorizing, crazy-about-shoes gene from her Mommy.
As soon as she started walking, around ten months old, she insisted on having a purse slung over her arm every time she went out. If there was no purse handy that coordinated with her outfit, anything that resembled a purse—say a spare shopping bag with handles—would be drafted into use.
Another essential accessory, one that didn’t even exist when my kids were young, was the cell phone. Toy cell phones didn’t entertain Amalía for long—she quickly learned how to snatch Mommy’s phone when she wasn’t looking to call Yiayia and Papou. If they didn’t answer, she’d leave a voice mail (“Hola! Hola!”)
But THE accessory, the one that fascinates Amalía wherever she goes, is shoes (which she calls “patos” for “zapatos” since she’s speaking more Spanish than English at the moment.) Even at eleven months old, as we sat in the airport to fly to Greece for summer vacation, Amalia walked around to fellow passengers checking out everyone’s footwear. This man on the left below offered to trade shoes with her, but she realized her shoes wouldn’t fit him. The silver pair in the middle photo served well throughout Greece and the pink ones with flowers are the ones she wanted to wear in Florida instead of the solemn black ones that brought on the fearful tantrum,
Below you see her in the late, lamented “Hello Kitty” sparkly silver shoes that were such a hit in Nicaragua, but one of the pair went AWOL in the new H&M store in South Beach Miami. The lone survivor will be decking my “shoe tree” come Christmas.
Halloween, when she wore a ladybug costume, posed a perplexing accessorizing challenge. You can see that she’s not sure the black cat purse was the right thing for a ladybug ensemble, but the ladybug shoes (sent by her honorary Yiayia Eleni) were perfect. The distressed look on Amalía’s face is because she HATED the antennae on the ladybug costume, (Why do my parents want to dress me like a bug?), but her cooperation was won when baby-sitter Maria José bribed her with a cookie.
One day in Miami Beach, when one of her Mommy’s strappy green flowered espadrilles broke, there was an emergency stop at a Parade of Shoes store and Amalía thought she’d died and gone to heaven. Aisles of shoes, and most of them within reach! She raced up and down, dragging shoes to show Mommy, sure she would buy them all, but in the end, everything was returned to its spot in the display.
At Thanksgiving at Yiayia and Papou’s house in Grafton, MA, Amalia got her first taste of frosty days and Mommy-and-me knitted dresses and tights from Hanna Andersson. She made up for the lack of a matching bag with a little yoyo that came out of her holiday cracker, and she even seemed happy with the afore-mentioned black Mary Jane shoes, because they looked like Mommy’s.
Next accessorizing challenge: Christmas. I have a feeling she’s not going to agree to the reindeer horns. But she did see some gold, fur-lined boots at Target...