Ah, Back-to-School shoe shopping time. The annual ritual of my children choosing footwear for me to trip over in the living room for the next six months.
It’s only the best for the Foxes. Payless– Where this time of year the aisles look like, well, like somebody blew up a Payless. Do they have any employees but that one cashier? It’s the cafeteria of shoe stores. You serve yourself then go over to the counter to pay. (Once on the way into the store, I held the door for a lady on the sidewalk. She said: “Thanks but I’m not waiting to go in. I’m in line to pay.”)
As you might know I have three children… Triplets in fact. So you would think out of the three, in every situation, even when we go back-to-school shoe shopping, at least one would be normal. And one is.
Back-to-School Shoe Shopping with Child #1: Miss Efficient
She finds her size, tries on a pair, dutifully moves her right foot towards crouching me with my outstretched thumb and lifts her big toe for the toe test. Then she dutifully turns around so I can see if I can get two fingers in the heel for the heel test. She’ll go through this with precisely two pairs of shoes and then make her decision. That’s it. For the duration of our Payless shopping extravaganza her self-designated task is to walk around the store with the shoe box under her arm whining: “Come on! Why are you people taking so long?!”
And by people, she means her sister. To her in a moment. I’ll have to ease you into that tale.
Back-to-School Shoe Shopping with Child #2: The Super Hero
When it comes to shoes, my son, similar to the first daughter, is easy to please. Maybe a little too easy. This is his shoe-shopping method: He stands in front of the section of the boys’ aisle with his size. He finds blue sneakers with Velcro. Done. Does he want only blue because it’s his favorite color? Check. Does he want Velcro because he’s too lazy to tie his own shoes? Double check. We humored him when he was six or seven. But now he’s ten and, we feel, well within mocking range. My husband and I have tried to prepare him for the cold, hard, reality of life: He may be fine until he’s an upper tween and then fine again when he’s a senior citizen. But there’s that grey area between fifteen and sixty when not many shoe styles come in Velcro. We advised him to master his shoe-tying technique now or be prepared over that forty-five year period to enlist various college roommates, girlfriends, neighbors, or paid servants to tie his shoes… To which he responded, much to our dismay: “I’m okay with that.”
Back-to-School Shoe Shopping with Child #3: The Lost Kardashian
Then there’s the other daughter. She’s got issues. Shoe-shopping issues included.
First she has to spend twenty minutes lamenting her shoe size. For the past three shoe shopping jaunts, she’s continued to wear a virtually non-existent size: 13 1/2. That phantom size between child sizes and youth sizes. Personally, I think she’s subconsciously willed her feet not to grow so she’ll have something to complain about.
She wants something sparkly. She wants something functional. She wants something that lights up. Her compromise: If we can’t find all three criteria in one pair of shoes, three pairs of shoes will be fine. And she wants blue. But not any blue like her super hero brother, Velcro Boy. No. We’re talking shades of turquoise only.
(At least she finally got off her pink kick. Every time I was in her closet, it was like a horror movie. I forever feared a giant rogue Barbie lunging out from behind the crowd of hanging pink dresses and stabbing me in the neck.)
She doesn’t intentionally look for pricey shoes. She just naturally gravitates toward them. If there’s one pair of kid’s shoes in the entire Payless for $89.99, it will suck her right to it. I try to break up the magnetic field with subliminal messages: “Clearance wall. Clearance Wall.” And aloud: “The ones with the pink sticker on the box are nice.” Although, if the damn clearance sticker dots were turquoise, I’d probably have a much better shot.
(Thanks for stopping by! If you’d like more laughs at your child’s expense at this time of year, please take a look at my little eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: From End of School to Back-to-School by clicking at the book cover icon above or returning to the home page. http://laughingisconceivable.com)