mis-matched toes 

I’ve run out of shoes; I should probably get a new pair. For the summer all I have is a pair of white sandals, some blue wedges, and sneakers. Three is really all I need - except when I’m wearing mismatched nail polish that my toddler gives me. 

Let me explain. 

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Usually, I’m a pretty relaxed person - nail polish is not on my to-do list, nor is a manicure something I particularly enjoy. In the past five years, I can count on one hand how often I’ve attempted to put that stuff on - and usually the result has me taking it off the next day, anyway. However, my daughter somehow, somewhere discovered nail polish and its bold, glittery texture. Every chance she can get, she’s painting her nails and mine, too. For every hand and foot there’s a different color, a celebration of possibility. She relishes in the sight of colorful fingers and toes, and for days afterwords will point it out to anyone who will listen. 

Just a couple of days ago, we let her paint her nails. She’s gotten quite decent at doing it herself, despite two parents who definitely do it poorly. After her glimmering pink and blue and red and silver nails were done, she simply had to do mine as well. Not only would she paint my toes, but she would pick the colors too. “Red and blue, mommy,” she insisted. “Red and blue!” 

I stammer some sort of argument out, but she continues. And then the trigger point - “like I have, mommy… so we matching.” How can you argue after something so adorable? I consented, figuring I could always cover my feet if needed. 

This is where the shoes come in. I really should find some close-toes sandals, just to wear for these exact occasions - because the next day we were out and about, at a church no less. The first thing I think of, in my jaded, adult nonsense, were my gloppy pink and blue toes and how everyone would notice. I assume the worst of people often - or at least, that people assume the worst about me. Really a terribly selfish way of looking at things, don’t you think? Usually, I find some excuse to point out my own mess (ie these colorful toes) and use it as the butt of a joke somehow… “Oh, my toddler is super into nail polish now, {insert a funny pun here}.” haha, so silly - and slowly, with every comment I make just like that, oh so slowly engraving in my child’s mind that mismatched toes (her prized creation) are… laughable? Bad, even? Confirming the doubts in her mind that mommy just tolerates, simply goes along with ideas instead of fully, truly encouraging and embracing. 

Am I reading too much into this? I don’t know, maybe I am. Maybe I’m tired of parading around, pretending my adult expectations and ‘norms’ are somehow superior to my three-year old’s creative ideas. Sure, I parent, for those of you wondering - we discipline, we (attempt) structure, we talk and discuss and share constantly. But these little battles? These little things like mis-match nail polish, wild tossled hair, polka-dots with stripes kind of issues? I’m learning that they aren’t a concern, pieces of little-girl her that one day she’ll outgrow. 

Until she decides that she likes the same color nail polish for all her fingers (assuming she does), I’m learning that it’s okay to take a fall for her, even as petty of a fall as to waltz around with gloppy, glittery, mismatched toes and not care one bit what I look like or what other people think. 

I think I could get used to rocking a couple of mismatched toes.