Jack started climbing the apple tree in our yard the first day he visited our family child care. He was three. By the time he was four, he scurried up and down that tree like a hyperactive spider monkey–hand, arm, foot, leg and core muscles working in unison with his eyes and vestibular system. He was at home in its branches.
He was so at home that he’d scamper up the tree in flip-flips. I’m no fan of flip-flips, and suggested over and over again that he just go bare foot. But he loved his flips.
I trusted his preference and stepped back, amazed at his process and skill. Each time he lifted a foot, he pointed his toes upwards and preformed a quick shimmyandshake with his ankle. This superquick action nestled the flip-flip securely between his Went To Market toe and his Stayed Home toe. After this, he’d scrunch his toes on the raised foot to hold the flop in place as he moved his foot to the next branch. As soon as that foot was in place, the other one would launch into a shimmyandshake in preparation for the next step.