So we took a trip to Clarks and Nathaniel spent a good 15 minutes removing all the shoes from their display and playing with the foot measuring device. Then out came the shoes and he crumpled! It seems that playing shoes and wearing them are completely different situations!
After much gentle coaxing, we found a pair that fitted, and Nathaniel demonstrated that the velcro fastenings were ideal as he could take them off himself. The patient sales lady disappeared off to get the box and returned with a certificate to say he had his first shoes and a special card with his size written on it (and a reminder to come back so that they could sell me more shoes on a 6-weekly basis!). You even get a photograph taken, but the little boy was all blotchy and refused to put the shoes near his feet, so they wrote on the receipt that I could come back another time to immortalise the occasion.
For a day, Nathaniel would only carry his shoes around on his walker. He was very particular that they should come for the ride and picked them up everytime they fell off, but that was as close to him as they were getting.
The bike helmet was his request!
The next day, he became more curious about them and would watch with interest as you put them on his feet, but once installed, he wouldn't move his feet at all - he just leant in the direction he wanted to go until he fell over!
On day four he suddenly realised that actually, they were quite comfy, and it made walking around outside a much more pleasant experience. And off he went! Now he walks everywhere with them, and if he wants to go outside, he'll bring you a pair of socks and then his shoes! He tries to put them on himself, with limited success, and given half the chance will help you put on your shoes or try them on himself!
Nathaniel helps Ian put on his shoe
Our travel options have been greatly widened by the shoes, and the other day we spent a happy 20 minutes walking to the butchers.