Shoes. Holy shiznit, the kid needs shoes. Again. This is enough to send me into a complete and utter meltdown, running to my ER like some of the drug-seeking patients we get, begging for Xanex. (Incidentally, you know they are “seeking” when they call them “Zannies”. Just sayin’.)
Lemme tell you about the last time I physically took Ev to a shoe store. He was in what I called a phase where he liked Hannah Montana. No joke. Even though Miley’s voice made me want to scratch at my ears until they bled, I still know all of the words to “The Best of Both Worlds”. And I was right: it was just a phase. But he wanted these pink, sparkly Hannah shoes. I guess this is what happens when you raise your kid in an environment where there really are no gender roles. He will not be bashful at all when it comes to telling you what he wants and likes, even if that is a glittery pink tutu. Or sparkly pink shoes. And I have even gone so far as to buy the kid pink slippers because they were branded with Miley’s face.
But you wear slippers in the house.
Where you live with people who are legally obligated to love you and not make fun of you, lest they spend the rest of their lives paying for your therapy.
Where there are no mean children who will make fun of you for wearing sparkly pink shoes when you have a penis on your person.
So while the quasi-feminist side of me wanted to give in and buy the damned shoes, because, hey, there really is no such thing as “boy” or “girl” anything in my eyes, I do have to present this child to the rest of the world. And so I said no. And then tried to make up for it by telling Evan he could pick out any shoe from the boys’ section. But this is Evan. And Evan gets what Evan wants. And so he drew even more attention to us by throwing a fit and wailing, forcing his father to literally drag him out of the store. And I got all upset that he turned down a section full of designer shoes and decided that was just fine, that the kid would get El Cheapos. Just to prove my point. And so I took him to Payless.
Holy Crap. Bad, bad idea, Andrea! Because there is not a piece of children’s apparel I hate any more than a pleather pair of shoes with a big, fugly, plastic character applique on the side. Gah! And there they all were: Batman, Pokemon, Bakugan, Lightening McQueen…Horrible. (Incidentally,if you choose to buy these for your kids, I mean to say that they are fabulous, really. Just not my taste!) He couldn’t get the white leather gym shoes. He wanted a big plastic face. Noooooooo! And so we left there and went to the mall. Where there are all sorts of sporting goods stores. No Hannah Montana. No plastic heads. Just gym shoes.
And Evan, because he is my kid, picks out the most expensive pair he can find. And I was not about to pay $200 for shoes he would have looking like garbage within one month. And so when I tell him “$100 or less”, which I think is pretty fricken generous for shoes for a then-8-year-old, he has another meltdown, and we go to the car with the intention of leaving.
And then I remember why we came in the first place. That his shoes have a hole in the sole and he needs new ones or a social worker will take him away.
And so I bribe him with $10 if he will just get sensible shoes. Please. For me.
And so we head into Stride Rite, where he discovers these shoes that have “super balls” in the soles. Okay. By this point, they could have steel spikes in the soles and I would buy them. We had been at it for 4 hours. So I bought the shoes. I didn’t even look at the price. I didn’t care. I knew they were good quality because they were Stride Rite, but they looked like cheapies. He insisted, though.
They were $90. And the first day he wore them to school, he came home crying because one of his classmates incessantly teased him that his shoes looked like they came from the dollar store. And he begged me to go back to the first shoe store and please just buy a regular pair of Nikes like I had originally wanted. And because if I could stand him getting picked on, I would have just bought the friggin’ sparkly pink ones in the first place. There should have been some major lesson in it for him. I know, I know. I ran in and saved his day once again. I reinforced that he can throw tantrums and I will still eventually give in.
But childhood can be rough. Especially for the highly intelligent kid with the mind of a wise adult, trapped in the body and classroom of a 9-year-old. The love I have for the kid means that I will make anything that I can just a bit easier for him. We’ll learn the lessons later.
And so here we are. 5 months from that experience. And he has worn through another pair of shoes. I could put my foot down and insist he wear the super ball shoes, but they are a tad too small. He actually asked for a pair of Nikes. Air Max. In his current size, they’re $65. Score! I can do that. But wait! They only go up to size 3???? Where are the 3 1/2’s???? Oh! 3’s are “preschool sized” and 3 1/2’s are “grade school sized”. And so Nike has doubled the price. For about 1 inch more of shoe. Fabulous.
And so this is a tale for all of you crazies out there who insist girls are easier to raise than boys. (Well, this and the time I paid a fortune for a “real” NFL jersey for him, only to have the little girl behind him in class peel off all of the letters—Josie, your mom still owes me 80 bucks!)
And why I am seriously needing anxiety meds to buy shoes that are about 6 inches long. And why I am jealous that in third-world countries, they don’t have to wear shoes…