The amount of mental energy I have put into analyzing and discussing shoes at length with my tribe as of late is staggering and embarrassing and stupid. Kind of. My big girl will only wear Vans. When not wearing slip on Vans, her life falls into disarray. What is this need about? We have discussed sensory issues and we have discussed preferences vs. needs and we have discussed that needing the right shoe is a first world problem. Or is it? We have discussed how immediately replacing her falling apart Vans rather than waiting for the replacement to come via the warranty department is encouraging and supporting this ridiculous demand for the right shoe. Or is it really looking at her and acknowledging that for some reason she is overstimulated by the wrong shoe and it is fucking with her? Our shoes should not fuck with us. They should provide a comfortable and protective layer for our feet that keeps shit from poking our tender little tootsies.
Here it is: I bought the new Vans. We did not wait for the replacement pair from the warranty department. She puts her shoes on and takes them off 4 or 5 times a day. Every time it's difficult. Every time there was frustration and sometimes there were tears. And then one morning, I lost my cool and I had tears and I threw the wrong shoes on the floor and yelled a little bit. Then she cried. Then I apologized and we gave up with the wrong shoes and she wore sandals to school on a decidedly non-sandal weather day.
Does this happen in third world countries? Do kids lose their minds because they don't have the right shoe? At first blush, I would say probably not. However, now that I have spent many a late night thinking about this, I'm not so sure. I think probably there are kids everywhere with extra sensitivities to things. Tags, the wrong shoes, loud noises, smells. Some places we have the luxury of replacing the shoes, some places that luxury does not exist, but I suspect that the behavior due to these extra (over?) sensitivities manifests in different ways all over the world. Disclaimer: I have no anthropological data to support this suspicion. This is only the hypothesis phase.
I feel lucky that I have the $24.95 to buy the new Vans. I feel lucky that A can express that it's the shoes driving her crazy rather than just exploding in tears and rage. We're lucky in so many ways. I said, "I think, for you, right now, the right shoes is a need and not a preference." She was so grateful. We talked about how sometimes she's picky about how her pants feel and picky about which sweatshirt she wears and we talked about how these are wants and that she can and does manage these wants. Then we talked about how she wasn't managing the the "Shoe Problem" (as it is now referred to in our house). We talked about how the wrong shoes were torpedoing her day and how it's worth it to me to help her with that problem. I apologized for not getting it sooner. That for her, right now, the right shoes is a need.
This may seem like giving in or condoning "bratty, spoiled" behavior. I get that. I see that perspective. I was on that side for a long time. My first plan was to tell her she could wait for the right shoes (via the Vans warranty department) or she could use her own money, which she didn't have, so she'd have to work it off. My next plan was to have her wear one of the other perfectly good pairs of shoes.
I'm Molly. I'm all in for parenting. I'm all in for good food. All in for big and small outdoor adventures. And really only partly in for homemaking. I want a Martha Stewart home and meal, but the truth is, we mamas just can't do it all. Not really. This shit is tricky!
This is a collection of musings and missives about parenting like you mean it. I mean really mean it. About how you can pull off a really mostly decent meal, keep your house kinda clean, do some of your laundry, and also even remember to usually feed your pets. But mostly about how being a mama is hard and we can totally rock it, but maybe that dream of perfection has got to give a little.