My joy for today is my children’s shoes on the wrong feet.
Some of you have probably realized that I use this blog, at times, to spin something that is sad, annoying, or generally negative, into something positive. I may as well be honest right now. This is one of those blogs.
As most of you know, I have four children. I know lots of people that have quite a few more kids than I do, so I am not under any false pretenses that I am superwoman or that my life is as hectic as they come. I know it could be much, much more so. However, as we all know, sacrifices must be made to preserve our sanity, no matter our life circumstances. One of the sacrifices I made when I had just one child was caring whether or not my child’s shoes were on the wrong feet. I have chosen, many years ago, to not concern myself if the right shoe is on the left foot or vice versa.
The world is not okay with this.
Since I now have three children walking and wearing shoes, the probability that one of them will have their shoes on the wrong feet is quite high. One of the qualities I prize and cultivate in my kids is independence. The ability to dress oneself falls into that category. For that reason, I guide and oversee them while they are getting dressed, because I also believe in them looking presentable and put together, but I do not micromanage the minute details. I make sure their clothes match, that they are weather appropriate, that their hair is decently brushed, and that they are wearing shoes. I consider other things to be not worth assaulting their self esteem over, such as hair accessories for my daughter, sock choices, and which foot a shoe is put on. Apparently, to most people, having shoes on the wrong feet is not a small thing.
I have had more people than I can count tell me about this “problem” over the past four years. The phenomenon reaches the height of absurdity when people who do not speak English must find a way to tell me in other languages, and with the use of hand motions. I have had performers in a show we just watched go out of their way to inform us about the shoes. Doctors, gas station attendants, homeless people, high powered businessmen, and in general, complete strangers of all variations in any situation feel the duty to share this information with me. It is fascinating to me how this is something that universally bothers others to their core. It seems to be the one thing that people will go out of their way to tell a complete stranger, no matter that person’s level of shyness or social ineptitude. My reaction seems to confuse them even more. I usually just say, “I know. Thanks.”
My whole theory on the shoe thing is that if it bothers the child enough, they will switch them. Many times I tell them myself before we leave the house that their shoes are on the wrong feet. But I do not demand that they change them. Sometimes after I tell them, they change them on their own accord. But sometimes they do not. If it doesn’t bother their little feet, why should it bother me? And why should it bother you, random stranger in the grocery store?
I have a feeling that the “shoes on the wrong feet” phenomenon is short-lived in the life of a child. My oldest is almost 7 and he rarely puts his shoes on the wrong feet anymore. This is probably both because he is better at recognizing which foot is correct and also because he understands that it is indeed more comfortable when the shoe is on the correct foot. This phenomenon seems to reach it’s height around four, at the age that a child is very proud of their independence and more adamant about asserting it. This will not last forever; rest easy world.
I do actually believe that almost every person that feels the need to approach me about this issue is trying to be helpful. Sometimes I believe people are just finding a reason to interact with me and my children, and this is a good conversation starter. At times, it’s just the sheer number of people saying it in the course of the day that makes it trying. Of course, you, dear reader, may be saying to yourself, “If it bothers you, just switch their shoes!” True, that would be a simple solution. But if I had started doing that four years ago, I would not have this blog to write today, and would not have this joy for which to be thankful. It’s kind of like our thing now, shoes on the wrong feet. I have the opportunity to have my kid’s back in the face of strangers, and adult strangers nonetheless. They know now that other people do not like their shoes being on the wrong feet, that they do like it that way (or at the least, do not want to switch them), and they know that their mother does not care. I think that is a good place to be. My kids and me, we are on the same page, in the face of the world.
Enjoy your joys for today.