Thursday, June 11, 2009

If the Shoe Fits

Rachael has a shoe fetish. She changes her shoes several times a day and usually wants a pair that is slightly too big for her. I think she likes to be able to put them on and take them off by herself. I also think she is having fun wearing the shoes of her older siblings. She ends up looking like a clown most days, flopping around the house and getting frustrated when the shoes occasionally come off. Despite this, she has to have shoes on at all times. She even insists on wearing them to bed.

I recently got a new pair of tennis shoes. She had to try them on. As she tried to get up and walk in them, she was unable to take a single step without falling down. In true toddler fashion, she immediately began to cry and throw a fit. “Those are mommy’s shoes and these are Rachael’s shoes,” I tried to explain. She would not be comforted.

As I was trying to encourage her to wear shoes she could walk in, I thought about how all of my children are always trying to fit shoes that are too big for them. My five year old wants to have sleepovers, my eight year old wants to stay home alone, and my eleven year old wants a cell phone. Much like the toddler of the house, they “cry and throw a fit” when I point out they just aren’t ready to fill those shoes yet.

It’s hard to get children to stay young and enjoy their age, especially with older siblings to imitate. Kids want to grow up, despite their parents wishes to the contrary. I wish I could help them realize how great it is to be young and free, to relish the stage they are in. Kids think that somehow their life will be better when they are older and bigger. As adults, we understand a little too late just how great it is to be six years old. And six years old never comes back. I want my kids to get it when I say, “You will grow into that pair of shoes eventually, appreciate the shoes you’re in!”

The irony is not lost on me: we do the same thing as mothers. We mistakenly think that life will be easier or better once we’re ready for that next pair of shoes. “When I’m done nursing.” “After she’s potty trained.” “As soon as all my kids are in school.” “Once he gets his driver’s license.” “When they go to college.” We likewise “cry and throw fits” when things don’t always move along as quickly as we want or progress in the way we expected. We need to learn as much as our children to enjoy every stage and phase of life because we don’t get them back and each one has its own special joys as well as challenges.

I made the stupendously idiotic mistake of taking my toddler swimsuit shopping with me last week. Before I could even get into the dressing room she spotted a large wall about a half a block away covered in children’s crocs. She thrust her body forward, pointing as she crooned one of her first and favorite words, “shooooooes”. I knew I would never have a chance until I bee lined it over there. Her mind was set before I even got to the wall: bright yellow. The salesperson let her “borrow” them while I tried on a few swim suits. When I could tell she was at her limit, I put the suits on hold, tried to distract her with the escalator and snuck the crocs off her fat little feet. 15 minutes of howling later I did what any unprincipled and desperate mother would do: I bought the blasted crocs! She was as happy as a clam and has been wearing them every day (and night) since.

Despite the harrowing shopping experience (which I vowed never to repeat) I felt satisfied at the end of the day. Why? Because Rachael was no longer wanting to wear big floppy shoes that kept falling off her feet, causing her (and me!) grief. She was happy to wear her bright yellow shoes that fit. Imagine that.


  1. Great post, Allyson. :) I especially loved the part about mothers thinking things will get easier "as soon as..." So true!

    I love your blog!

  2. It's because her name is Rachael. I was just like that when I was little. My mom likes to tell the story about the night my dad got up with me in the middle of the night because I wanted a drink. She could hear my dad and I arguing about the color cup my drink was to be in. My dad tried to convince me that it didn't matter, but I insisted it did. My mom finally screamed from the bedroom for him to just give me the cup I wanted. It's a Rachael/Rachel thing.

  3. I'm love reading your posts. I'm looking forward to the next installment. Single Mom goes to IOWA and Naked at my HIGHSCHOOL REUNION!


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