Any parent knows that when it comes to the whole wardrobe management side of parenting, the most challenging aspect is by far the shoes.
With clothes, you have a certain license to push the boundaries of size by making your children sport “ankle-freezer” trousers or the crop-top “peek-a-boo-belly-button” look.
Unfortunately, attempting the equivalent with footwear is akin to the foot-binding practices of the Han Dynasty and frowned upon most severely by The Authorities.
And while you can always roll-up sleeves or trouser legs that are too long, the “too-big shoe” either makes your child look like Sparkles The Clown or gives them an excuse to turn said shoes into a lethal airborne projectile with just one violent shake of the leg, just to prove once and for all that the shoes are “TOO BIG, MUMMY”.
And then, when you do have a pair that fit, either the little foot will suddenly have a godzilla-style growth spurt or – far more likely – the shoe wears out. These days, most children’s shoes appear to made out of fortified cardboard and flour glue and the only way you can guarantee more than two months’ wear out of them is by wrapping them carefully in cotton wool and placing them in the vault of a Swiss bank. Just one day’s wear on my own children’s feet appears to be the equivalent of holding the shoes up against a bench grinder on high speed or feeding them to a pack of savage cardboard-eating wolves.
Shopping for new shoes can be an extremely stressful pasttime (as my blog post “Shoe Business” clearly illustrated) not least because the feet you are buying them for won’t stay still long enough to try anything on. Often this will result in a situation such as the Case of the Strangely-Fitting Sandals From Target which turned out, upon closer inspection, to be two of the same shoe but in completely different sizes. I would have returned them except The Pixie had already been wearing them for TWO WHOLE DAYS before I discovered the mistake and it was all far too embarrassing to take them back when they so obviously had been worn.
You also need to be in the right frame of mind for shoe shopping. A recent misadventure at McDonalds where there was the inexplicable purchase of a McChai Latte then led to a shoe-crime spree where I bought The Pixie a pair of Hannah Montana shoes because they were the only god-damn pair in the whole of Kmart that seemed to fit. Which might have been forgivable if she was actually into Ha-Mo, but since she was blissfully unaware of It until that point, it was like knowingly introducing cane toads to Northern Queensland.
Of course, even in that brief period where the shoe does fit and is indeed fit to be worn, there’s still the whole matter of finding both shoes when it’s time to leave the house. I have long suspected that when my children come home, they dutifully put one of the shoes on the shoe rack, take the other one and, blindfolded and spinning around like whirling dervishes, throw it randomly into the void. And don’t even get me started about the whole process of then getting the shoes (when finally found) on their feet, especially since I’ve already blogged about it (see “Herding Cats“).
Somewhat forebodingly, The Pixie’s first word was “shoes”.
Quite possibly, my own last word will be “shoes”. As in “Aarrghhhhghhhfhgggghhhhh! Freaking fuggin’ shitty shit shitting STUPID SHOES!”, which I will shout before I drive my own gloriously unshod foot through the floor Rumpelstiltskin-like and disappear, ne’er to be seen again.