Red Shoes

Let me tell you about Gabriel.

Let me tell you what it is to have a baby toddler somewhere in between.

I have a nightstand and it is covered in nightstand things. It has my sleep mask and a rotating book, two chapsticks, my phone charger, sometimes the iPad, a funny card I love from Kamel, hair ties, two nails for a project we haven’t gotten to, bobby pins, and my retainer.

We try to keep Gabe out of our bedroom and the bathrooms. He wants to run to the toilets and stick his hands in there. Which – first of all ew, and second of all they have bleach in them so that would be very bad. Our room is the place where we keep stuff we don’t want him to break or mess with. It’s where we can leave things on the floor that we would normally have to put way way up high out of reach in the living room. It is our no baby zone sanctuary.

Except for early morning cuddles.

Or when I’m blow drying my hair and keeping an eye on him and Kamel is in the shower. Or when we forget to shut the door and he runs, battle cry and all, towards our room and we chase after him but hot damn, his little legs can MOVE.

So sometimes he is in there, the little Godzilla, the little destroyer.

Some time last week he was fascinated with my nightstand. It is his favorite place to explore. All of the little treasure, can you imagine? A strewn bracelet, two rings, a chapstick the size of a crayon. To tiny fingers those things are magically the perfect size. He slips my hair ties around his wrists and shows me. “See?” he intones. “I see,” I say back, “Those are mama’s, let’s leave those be.”

And then one morning I was getting ready for work in our bathroom that is inside our bedroom and he was in the bedroom with me. He delighted himself by taking every single object off my nightstand and throwing it in the garbage. “Meh,” I thought, “at least I’ll know where to find it all. He’d clap after each item was deposited. So self-congratulatory, that one.

The problem is, somehow not everything made it in the garbage. I know, because I fished everything out, I got on my hands and knees and looked around, I got Kamel’s phone with the flashlight app and searched under the bed. I couldn’t find everything that had been there before. Where oh where has he squirreled away my things? So for the better part of a week I have been functioning on a nightstand that is only half stocked with my usual knick knacks. Stumbling upon a chapstick over here, eventually finding my retainer under there, collecting things as if little fairy creatures have stolen them away in the night.

He must be sneaking in there when I’m not looking because as much as I try to put things back, my nightstand is still pretty bare.

Except when I wandered in to plug my phone in the other night. Sitting on top of my knitstand, in liue of all the things I usually anticipate being there, were a pair of tiny Gabe-sized red shoes. Just hangin’ out. Being shoes.

There is no place that the babies don’t go. No place in your house that they don’t wiggle into. No place inside you they don’t take up room, set up camp.

Let me tell you about Gabe. His laugh is THE greatest laugh on earth. It just is. And his tantrums are really just an expression of his complete and total shit-headedness. It’s true. You want that spoon? Well you can’t have that spoon. Cue cries of indignation and baby kicks of rage. He is afraid of loud trucks and he blows kisses with gusto. He wants to push all the buttons in the elevator and is obsessed with bananas (NANA! NANA!!). His cry in the morning is the reluctant start of my day and my lap when he is in it is the only place that matters in the world.

The other day I walked to my nightstand to do an absolutely mundane, thoughtless task, and among the ruin of my things, scattered about the floor will nilly, were his shoes. Perfectly perched upside down on the nightstand where all that other stuff used to be.

8 thoughts on “Red Shoes”

  1. Lurker here. My guy is 20 months, so I know that you really nailed the content. But I’m commenting because you also really nailed the writing.

  2. I like to think of Gabe as a little baby fairy, leaving little presents for you all over the house… an earring here, a shoe there, some drool right in a big puddle just for you.

    Also, you guys are the sweetest and I miss the entire duprez family a lot.

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