I don't know what is going on with Sam and his feet lately but whatever it is has made it necessary for me to by him lace up high top sneakers. A couple of weeks ago Sam began to obsess about wearing socks in the house. That was no big deal. He also began to compulsively remove his socks and shoes when was was outside. The problem? half of our backyard is mulch and he began to get splinters in his feet (which he refused to let be removed - and he can FIGHT). I tried a behavioral approach. He had to go and pick up his shoes and socks and go inside each time he took them off and he couldn't go back out until both socks and shoes (or sandals) were back on his feet. Literally a minute later they would be off again. Now you should know that we spend A LOT of time outside when the weather is nice. It is the only way I can stay sane. Sam is a disaster in the house. I found myself making Sam put shoes bakc on upwards of fifty times a day. Sometimes I would be busy with Maya and not catch it right away. He continued to get splinters. The frustrating (sad? puzzling?) thing was that he didn't like walking in bare feet. He would make a face and look like it was uncomfortable but the compulsion was too strong to resist. It is the same thing with his need to drop straws through the deck boards - he is happy to do it most of the time but every so often he gets upset and seems angry that he can't pull himself away from this self - stimulatory activity.
So today I changed strategy. I bought high top lace up sneakers (Target's Converse One Star Sneakers) and Sam can't get them off. If somehow he develops the attention span and the fine motor skills to untie double knotted high top sneakers then I will have to come up with a new plan. But I think we are safe for a while.