Let's be clear that this pressing debate--robeez? pedipeds?--is kind of amazing. I don't know really where to begin. This conversation really makes me want to say: YAY INDUSTRIALIZATION! Yay modernity! Yay for the western world!
Because how fantastic is this? That we can have these well-made things for our baby's feet, and that not only will they protect him, but they will also be a little bit beautiful. We can afford these little bits of beauty, the kinds of thing that would have seemed unbelievably luxurious at basically any other point in human history, and in most parts of the world, still.
Talking about the incredible comparative wealth of our lives often leads to guilt, and anxiety. Who are we to waste our energy trying to decide which kinds of shoes to buy for the baby? Most babies don't have shoes at all. And it's true: when I think about infant shoes, I usally also think about Frederick Douglass's autobiography, in which he writes about sleeping outside when he was young. "My feet have been so cracked with the frost," he writes, "that the pen with which I am writing might be laid in the gashes." And here we are, so spoiled by our wealth, that we might actually choose for our baby to go shoeless, because it's better for balance, and because we can control his environment so carefully that shoelessness itself comes with essentially no risks.
I can think a lot of ways to develop this point--there are a lot of things to say. But right now, just really quickly, and without being greedy or taking it for granted or denying the global costs: I'm so glad Elliot has a life that affords him some beauty. I'm glad that he lives in a time and place where loveliness is possible, and walks with him whereever he goes.