At least the kids have style

I am sorry I have not been around your places lately.  Our internet access went a day early, and J published yesterday’s post from work.  That, plus the move, means you may not get comments from me for a week or so.  I will still be posting, however, since I have a few already in the hopper.


            In her long-ago and perhaps reckless youth, J’s grandmother was known as “Bootsie.”  She has long since shed this nickname, living now by a much more proper and staid first name deep in the heart of Ft. Lauderdale.  She has never met our children, which is as much our fault as hers, but mostly the result of one circumstance or another.  Neither of our children looks like her, neither has her personality, and the connection is weak.

            Weak, but definitely there.

            Here in London, a staple of children’s apparel is the ubiquitous rain boot.  Tall and plastic, they provide complete protection once trouser cuffs are tucked into their protective sheath.  These boots are named after a Duke of Wellington, the same Duke of Wellington, I believe, who lent his name to a certain beef concoction, making him perhaps the most well known of all the dukes of that particular name.  These boots, for short, are known as “wellies.”

            When we moved here, Zachary was 20 months old, and we had a dickens of a time convincing him to wear wellies.  He found them difficult to navigate in, and it was six months before he was willing to wear them on a regular basis.  Benjamin, on the other hand, is totally obsessed.

            He is our British child, born here and knowing no other home.  There is no breakfast so fine as eggs and baked beans, in his humble opinion.  And there is no footwear that can hold a candle to welly boots.  “Bootsie,” he calls them, because he has a strange linguistic habit that causes him to diminutize everything.  We do not know where he picked up this tendency, as we are very strict about avoiding words such as “horsie” and “doggie.”  Nonetheless, Benjamin likes to add an enthusiastic “—eee” to all his favorite words.

            “Bootsie!” he cries upon getting out of bed in the morning, starting to whimper if he cannot find them.  Only once he is properly shod can we proceed to things like breakfast, which he eats wearing pajamas and wellie boots.  Immediately after dressing, he puts them on again.  Before his bath in the evening, when he is prancing about in just his diaper, he often dons them again until the last possible minute. 

            Like most people we know, we have a no-shoes-in-the-house policy.  Obedient Zachary sometimes even takes his shoes off at school if they are a little muddy after outside play.  Benjamin?  We’ve given up.  If he really needs to wear his rain boots in the house, we acquiesce.  Unfortunately, the parents of his friends are not so lenient, and we need to wrestle the boots off over his vociferous protests before he can have a go at the toys.

            Clearly, he cares every bit as much about fashion as his brother ever did, even if he does have rather a different notion of what is stylish. 

He tries to convince me the wellies are required.  “Raining,” he argues, pointing out a window that, uncharacteristically for London, is flooded with sunshine.  I am not sure if he is hoping for rain, liking the wellies because he can stamp in puddles, or if he is simply arguing the necessity of he preferred footwear.  I suspect the latter.

            And so, today we get on a plane, leaving behind the land of perpetual drizzle and occasional downpour.  We will spend eleven hours together on that plane, alighting finally in Los Angeles, a city built on a veritable desert, where for six months out of the year there is no rain at all.  Three of us will be wearing comfortable shoes.

            Little Bootsie Rosenbaum, however, will be ready for rain.  Somewhere in Florida, his great-grandmother is smiling.

22 responses to “At least the kids have style

  1. I understand young Benjamin. I would wear my wellies all the time, too, if I could.

    11 hours on a plane. I’m thinking of you with empathy right this minute! Could you tell? Are you sensing my good vibrations?

    Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  2. That is adorable.

    Good luck w/ your move. Can’t wait to hear all about it from the other end.

  3. Oh, so sweet.

    Incidentally, there is even less rain here than in Los Angeles, and our local Target sells bug and princess themed little wellies every single spring.

    Bootsie will be wellie-clad for years, no problem.

  4. Your son and my baby – boot lovers, both of ’em.
    Most of the little boys here just wear black rubber boots from April until June. We are a fashionable people.

  5. I love this post! You are, as you know, always a phenomenal writer. But once in a while, for reasons I can’t even describe, something in a post you write just makes me beam with happiness. It puts me in a great mood that sits around with me all day, and this is one of those posts. I’m noticing that these sorts of posts are usually about your children. You are one of those writers who can make the smallest thing explode with purpose. I hope you have a smooth flight…..

  6. little Bootsie Rosenbaum just sounds…adorable.

    and O gets him on the boots. they’re just starting to sell cute kids’ rubber boots here in Canada, finally, at least in our backwater, and i bought him a little blue pair about a month ago even though it’s still freezing outside. he stalks about the house in them, and insists on wearing them outside, too…so if we’re just hopping in the car, we indulge. nothing like a snowsuit and wellies.

  7. I never thought I’d say this to anybody, but here’s wishing you a preternaturally rainy stay in Los Angeles!

  8. it’s happening!

  9. At least, rain boots/wellies are easy to slip off during the security check. I am sure he got loads of compliments on his choice of footwear for your travels.

  10. So charming! Mine went through a rainboots phase – I have a picture of her asleep in her crib in some yellow boots.

    She too does the diminutive – it makes me crazy. The worst is when she asks to read a “booky”. I reply, every time, “a bookie makes bets”.

    Safe travels.

  11. Could it be the England influence re: the diminutive? I mean, hearing grown men talking about going to a “chippie” and eating a “butty” and … I could go on for days but won’t! It’s definitely something I find different in British (and Aussie) English compared with American.

  12. What a wonderful post. “smashing” I think the term is!!!! Thanks for sharing…swelled my heart.

    Good luck on the move…wow – cannot wait to hear all about it.

  13. You are SUCH a good story teller. Happy moving day….

  14. I hope you had safe travels and look forward to hearing about things now that you are on the other side of the pond.

  15. Yay for Wellies! I’d love a new pair…

    Congrats on the move and enjoy the sunshine.

  16. I wanted to get the Boy some boots for Easter, but they sell out fast in our neighbourhood. Know a good place to order them online?

  17. I hope you stocked up on authentic bootsies while you were still in England…probably not easy to find in LA.

  18. If you need new “wellies” go to the nearest Target – I actually just bought myself a pink plaid pair to wear while teaching riding lessons in the arena.
    Bootsie Rosenbaum – I love it! I’m going to think of him everytime I put mine on!

  19. That is too funny, I just love the thought of your little guy walking around LA, land of perpetual sunshine, in wellies. 🙂

  20. Ahhh yes! Either you love them or you hate them. My son hates them. He says he can’t walk properly in them. Maybe he should get lessons from Benjamin … 😉

  21. I think it is excellent that you have a ‘no-shoes in the house policy’. I wish more people would adopt one.

    I have a whole blog about shoes-off in homes:
    Shoes Off at the Door, Please
    You might want to take a look.