I am running into a huge problem and I can’t quite figure out how to handle it. I keep trying and trying to “handle it” the best way I know how and I am failing miserably. Let me start from the beginning…
I didn’t put shoes on Noah until he was close to walking. And even then, he only wore the soft leather soled shoes so that he could still feel the ground underneath his feet. I always felt like he would be much more sure-footed without shoes.
Once he started walking (and by walking, I mean running at a fast pace because he has never really had a slow speed— only fast), we switched over to sneakers or sturdy sandals (he always liked Keens). He never hesitated to put on whatever shoe I presented to him. He was always excited to have new shoes, and he got them a lot because he outgrew each pair so quickly.
So, about 2 months ago, he was complaining about his shoes not feeling right. It was close to Christmas and I was very low on time and money so we swung into Walmart and I picked out the cheapest and least-ugly pair I could find, hoping that these would last long enough just to get me through the next couple of weeks until I had time and money to take him to get more supportive and more attractive sneakers.
And thus, my problem begins.
The “bought in a hurry” shoes are now falling apart. The fronts of the shoes are torn and about to develop holes right through to his toes (apparently he spends most of his day crawling around dragging his feet). The Velcro no longer sticks and when you put his foot in, the tongue goes all the way down into the shoe and you have to dig it out multiple times a day.
So, the practical and logical solution would be to buy him another pair of shoes. I am certain that he will put a new pair of shoes on just fine, no arguments, no tantrums. In fact, I can probably just throw these shoes away and he won’t even notice.
(In typing this, I feel even more stupid now knowing that these thoughts actually went through my mind. Nothing is ever this easy with a 2 ½ year old. And, I am beginning to think that nothing will ever be that easy again.)
To date, I have purchased (or been given- totally out of pity) 7 pairs of shoes to try on Noah’s chubby foot. None of these shoes have lasted more than 6 seconds. About half of the shoes were thrown back at my face and the other half were kicked off and may or may not have broken items in my home.
So, the deductive thinker that I am, I have tried to break down the situation and figure out what I am doing wrong.
- He has a fat foot. His size-8 feet are as wide as they are tall. I somehow managed to marry into a family that has the most horrible feet known to mankind (I love you Matt, but its true). Genetically, he is at a disadvantage. Maybe, new shoes are just too narrow.
- He really likes these particular shoes. Maybe I could just go back to Walmart and buy the same shoes again.
- He is 2 ½ and all 2 ½ year olds just like to piss their parents off and make them feel like failures.
Given the above information, I decided to take Noah out on a shoe-shopping adventure. We talked about it ahead of time. We discussed at length the purpose of the trip, proper behavior in a shoe store, why we need to get new shoes, etc. He honestly made me believe that he was ready and (dare I say) excited about this shoe-shopping adventure.
We go to the shoe store (where I have had success in the past at finding him quality sneakers) and I knew almost immediately that the adventure would be short-lived. He runs to the kids shoes, begins taking the sample sizes off the shelves and throwing them about the store. Once we finally managed to wrangle him into a chair, he refused to try on any shoes. Between his resistance and my inability to find appropriate shoes in his size (I couldn’t find size 8 wide anywhere and the only size 8s I could find had laces. Seriously! Who makes a shoe for a 2 year old with laces?? Get it together New Balance!)
I apologized to the employees and decided to try buying the same pair of shoes at Walmart. I stick him back in the car (after a slight tantrum in the parking lot) and off we go. At least Walmart has a cart he can ride in so that is one potential issue I don’t have to worry about (right?). We go to the shoes, I find the same shoes he is wearing, and in my most excited voice say, “Look Noah!! They are just like the ones you have on!” No sooner than I could finish my sentence, the shoes are flying out into the isle.
My patience is running thin. In a moment I am willing to admit I am not too proud of, I say (while clenching my teeth very tight), “Fine dammit. You pick out a pair.”
Realizing that I may be close to losing my temper and having my own tantrum, I take a deep breath and go with an even more inappropriate technique, bribing.
“Okay Noah. If you pick out a pair of shoes that you like and that you will wear, we can go find a Mickey Mouse toy for you to take home.”
I have never seen a kid pick out a pair of shoes so fast. He let me take off his old ratty shoes and put the new pair on him right in the store. He required that I go ahead and pull the tags off so that he could swing his legs while sitting in the cart. Fine, whatever works. We go to the toy section and (after saying a few short prayers that we would be able to find a Mickey Mouse toy) I discover a small stuffed Mickey in the $5 bin. Yay! Noah is happy. Mommy is happy. Let’s get out of here!
Well, I made 1 crucial error. Because I was afraid that if I took him out of the cart, I would never be able to get him back in, Noah did not have a chance to walk around in his new shoes. When we got back to the house, I took him out of his car seat and set him on the ground to walk inside. You would have thought I set him down in a huge bucket of poo. He started whining and taking high steps to let me know he was not happy.
Needless to say, he is still wearing his old busted up shoes. I did convince him to wear snow boots to play outside in the snow today but they came off instantly when we came back inside. I shoved the boots in his backpack and told his teachers he was not allowed to go outside today without his boots on. They had been wondering about his shoes full of holes that a homeless, barefoot child would probably turn down.
We are going to Stride Rite this weekend. Wish me luck.