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Son’s boots were made for sleeping

One of the rules in the Hillyer house is “No shoes on the bed.”

It has become a very important rule of late because my 22-month-old son loves wearing shoes and he loves being on his bed.

His enthusiasm for his bed started when we took down his crib a few weeks ago. Before then, he couldn’t wait to get out. The day we dismantled one side of the crib, both Gibson and the cat immediately headed for the open bed to celebrate by testing out the springs. Needless to say, Mom and dad had to step up the enforcement of the “no shoes on the bed” rule.

Since then we have spent many times reinforcing this rule.

The moment those bars came down, Gibson must have sensed that independence and freedom were just around the corner.

In the last few weeks my wife and I have enjoyed watching the little tyke become a more self determined human being. His likes, dislikes and overall personality have slowly appeared like the colors of spring in the landscape.

One of the ways this is most apparent is with Gibson’s fascination with shoes. It is no secret from where his preoccupation for footwear comes. After all, putting on shoes gets him closer to the goal of his ever-waking moment — getting outside.

Not willing to wait on Mom and Dad, Gibson attempts to put on his shoes by himself. He still fumbles around with sneakers and dress shoes, but has mastered the pair of rain boots his grandmother Hillyer gave him.

The dark blue dinosaur face boots with zig-zag fins down the backs have become his favorite. Rain or shine, inside or out, Gibson would wear these boots 24 hours a day if given the chance — even if he already has a pair of shoes on.

Of course self-determination can look like stubbornness sometimes, especially when Gibson grabs onto the door jamb by his fingernails when it’s time to come inside or pleads “nooooooooo” when someone reaches to take off his boots.

Day by day, he tests his new found independence by directing Mom and Dad where to sit and scolding the cat when he puts his paws on the counter reaching for food. He has become quite proud of himself when the world follows his commands.

As much as he loves to be in bed, Gibson rarely stays tucked in the first time Mom and Dad turn out the lights and close the bedroom door.

It is not uncommon to hear sounds of wood blocks hitting the floor or his tractor moving across the floor.

But the sound most often heard these days is the sound of tiny knocks at his bedroom door.

That was then sound I heard from the hallway Wednesday night just minutes after Mom said good night.

Cracking open the door, I looked down to find Gibson with his spider pillow in one hand and blanket in the other. At that moment, I turned him around and guided him back to his bed. Without even a whimper Gibson returned. As I sat beside him, he climbed up into my arms and lay his head on my shoulder. As I reached down to give an assuring hug, I felt hard rubber at his feet.

Obviously, he had put the boots on before he started knocking at the door.

At this point my Dad decision was clear. Preferring peace to protest, I left Gibson sleeping with his boots on.

I guess it is true — some rules are meant to be broken.

Ben Hillyer is the design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or by e-mail at ben.hillyer@natchezdemocrat.com.

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