One of Anna’s most irritating characteristics began when she was a toddler. She was a child that some might call “tag-challenged.” All of the tags in her clothes needed to be cut off before she could wear them. But not only tags; we needed to sit with tiny shears and carefully cut away all remnants of the tag, the threads holding the tag, and any hem remaining from where the tag was. It was like trying to dress the princess from The Princess and the Pea. She could find the tiniest irregularity in her clothes and then order them off and repaired.
This aversion to tags extended to her footwear. Before she would wear socks, the hem on the inside of the toe had to be cut off and the sock carefully arranged around her toes so that no bunches of cloth remained. Her socked foot then had to be placed inside her shoe without any displacement of the sock. It became quite a project.
Sometimes the project became too much and we allowed her to go barefoot. I suppose that might be seen as good preparation for going to Indonesia, but it made for some difficult yet comical scenes before we left. At our six-week orientation before leaving the US for Indonesia, Anna as usual refused to wear shoes and socks. The problem was that we were in Richmond, VA in one of the coldest winters on record. The daytime temperatures were usually freezing and frequently dropped to single digits. There were many mornings we had to carry Anna to breakfast. She wore a winter coat, long pants, and two little blue feet sticking out the bottom.