Posts Tagged ‘shoes’

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.

Stupid shoes.

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The other day, I found myself literally trapped at a DFO – which, for the uninitiated, stands for “Direct Factory Outlet” and not, as acronymfinder.com suggested, the “Dairy Farmers of Ontario”. 

Having fought the Boxing Day Sales-type bitch fight over parking, I had finally managed to find a spot in a far corner of the DFO Parking Suburb. But only once I’d pulled into it did I realise I was between two 4WDs that surely must have moonlighted as Monster Trucks when they weren’t ferrying young J’Aime and Tarquin to school during daylight hours. And since I was driving KT’s Mitsubishi station wagon, which seats you closer to the ground than any F1 racing car, I had no chance of seeing my way out until the Monster Trucks moved. 

So I went shopping, which is what I had come for, after all. I found myself walking around and around in circles in that crazy cavernous place, chock full ‘o’ bargains, hungry hungry shoppers and spruikers galore, competing against each other and the piped music. (For the record: I don’t ever go into a shop where someone’s heckling the crowd with a microphone).

After a while, all that walking around began to create one of those “whirlpools” I used to make with my friends in above-ground pools in the 70s. Eventually the pull of the whirlpool got so strong that I got swept away into a frenzy of consumerism. I started getting that overwhelming feeling of “I need linen pillow cases!” “I have to buy pastel-coloured ramekins” and “Must. Have. Onion. Keeper. In the shape of an onion!!!!”.

At one point, I even got the “My life is incomplete without a watermelon-coloured bra with black lace trimming” feeling (we all get it from time to time).  I was perusing the intimate apparel when I came face to face with one of the teachers from Mr Justice’s school. We both laughed small embarrassed laughs  – me mostly because just moments beforehand I’d been looking in shocked awe at Size 8 G-strings and had also farted (one didn’t cause the other, I hasten to add). Luckily this embarrassing encounter broke my shopping reverie and, clutching my bags, I hastily headed straight for the nearest exit before I got dragged in again. 

And so it should be told that I had come to the DFO merely to buy shoes. After two long hours, I finally emerged into natural daylight bearing shoes, trousers, sparkly pink socks and a milk pan. Which wasn’t too bad, considering the pull of that whirlpool.

However, I could see – all the way from across the carpark – that one of the Monster Trucks was still parked next to me, so I had to stop a while at “Villa and Hut” to have one of the Chai Lattes that they were “famed for” (What they neglected to say was that those Lattes were “famed for being milky cinnamon sock water”). And before you go hanging shit on me drinking chai lattes, let me just say, in my defence, that I had just bought a pair of Birkenstock Clogs. If you’re really going to do these things, you have to do them properly. 

When, after another half an hour had passed, I could see that the remaining Monster Truck had gone, I was able to drive home and show my husband my new purchases. He laughed when he saw the Birkenstocks and said he’d have to leave his City Job as a show of support for my new Lifestyle Choice. And I got all huffy and said he’d have to keep that City Job so I could bloody-well afford Birkenstocks, even those allegedly “on sale” at the DFO. 

And then, for the rest of the afternoon, I found myself stopping to admire my new smurf feet and wonder how from such a Celebration of Consumerism could come such Chiropodiatric Comfort. At long last, I had the type of shoes that complemented my unshaven legs, that were very unlikely to press hard down upon the accelerator of a Monster Truck in city traffic or even ever tread the concrete floors of that DFO again. Unless of course, it’s the Dairy Farmers of Ontario and they’re into, you know, organic milk. 

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The other day Mr Justice filed a formal complaint about his school sandals. The evidence he presented to the court were two tiny holes, one on the sole of each shoe, which I summarily dismissed, thinking those shoes would do him Just Fine until the weekend, when I could go out and buy him a proper pair. 

But then I found him one morning, on the verge of tears, poking one of the shoes with the end of a paintbrush. At first I thought he was freeing a random rock that had filled one of those tiny holes. But then I discovered, in one of those Boinggggggg! moments the writers of “Lost” seem to favour, that the whole sole was filled with bits of gravel and that walking in those things definitely created a Princess and the Pea situation. And, as someone who starts swearing like a crazy bitch whenever even the smallest bit of tanbark gets into my Crocs, I felt his pain. 

So I decided to take the late pass on the chin like the Man I’m Not and went to buy him some school shoes at the local Discount Shoe Emporium on the way to school. But before we could go, we had to find some shoes for The Pixie to wear, which presented me with yet another FMI (Footwear Management Issue). 

Just the day before, one of the Pixie’s sandals had broken irreparably and both shoes had to be binned, even though she had bravely said they could be her “hopping shoes”. Another pair was MIA, there was one single Pink Croc on the shelves and then there was one last pair that had been deemed “TOO BIG!!!”, as the Pixie helpfully screamed at me whilst shaking her leg violently to show how the oversized shoe fell off when she violently shook her leg, which apparently she does all the time otherwise those shoes wouldn’t be the Big Issue they quite clearly were. And so I promised to buy her a new pair of shoes, if she could stop violently shaking her leg long enough to walk in the Too Big Shoes between the car and the shoe shop. 

But could we find a single pair of pink shoes that fitted the Pixie in that giant Shoe Emporium? No, officer, we could not. At one point, I discovered The Pixie in aisle 4 trying to squeeze her Size 9 foot into a Size 6 sequinned ballet slipper, sobbing her little heart out. It was a little like one of the Ugly Stepsisters trying to shoe horn her hoof into the glass slipper – or, even more tragically, like me trying to squeeze back into my pre-baby clothing. Again, I felt my child’s pain. 

Having found and paid for Mr Justice’s shoes already, I decided to abort the rest of the mission and go directly to the school. But The Pixie quickly escalated her sobbing to a full-blown tantrum, screaming “I’M NOT GIVING UP!! I’LL FIND MY SPARKLY SHOES!!!” and making me realise that the “It’s too big” moment earlier that morning had been a moment of quiet reflection in comparison. 

The shop assistants all started running around to find a suitable pair of shoes for her Royal Highness but alas, there wasn’t even a seasonally-inappropriate pair of pink faux Uggs to be found in the entire store in her size. I glanced over at Mr Justice, who had his hand to his throat in an anxiety-attack-because-we’re-so-late-for-school gesture, and was about to call it a Mental Health Day for one and all when all at once I realised that 

A) it was raining; and

B) I had – as recently as two days beforehand – spotted The Pixie’s gumboots wedged under the stroller in the back of the car.

Now all parents will know that Gumboots + Rain = Puddle-Jumping Fun. And so with the promise of puddle-jumping (and glossing over the fact that Tiddles McGee was wearing canvas sneakers and his inevitable participation in that activity would lead to yet another Footwear Management Issue with his melodramatic cries of “Wet!! WET!!!”) , I managed to coerce The Pixie back to the car and deliver Mr Justice to the school only 29 minutes after the bell. 

And the late slip? “Shoe Crisis” was the only thing I could think to write as our excuse. It  was the closest thing other than this almost 700 word blog post that could describe it.

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