Yesterday was Father’s Day. All power to his elbow, Mr ND is a great dad. He has had to step up his game massively this year, taking on things that essentially, I have always done. It’s my fault. Once I became a fully paid up member of the ‘hood’ (I’m talking about motherhood here.) I became some strange supernatural being endowed with the inclination to do all sorts of weird stuff, make my own play doh, craft a functioning coffee cup out of pipe cleaners, change a nappy whilst operating a blender. I learned how to juggle the after school/sports/dance/ and social calendars of my children in a manner that would give Siri a migraine.
I have fed, clothed them, and dealt with the trials and tribulations, mostly alone. I think like a lot of mums, It’s just easier to deal with the crap yourself, than to have explain the nuances of WHY things must be done in a certain way to another human being. Let’s face it, the time it takes to bring the other parent up to speed, could be spent contemplating a glass of wine, enjoying another latte, or just not having to move your mouth. This feels like a good thing, until the day you have to hand over responsibility to someone else, because say, you’re sick. So, when middle child’s shoe decided to disintegrate into its component parts, of a piece of Velcro, a plastic sock and a flappy strip of cardboard, Mr ND decided he would “run him down to the shops and pick up a new pair of shoes, What size was he? It would only take 30 mins” oh.. how I laughed. Until I realized he was serious and like Moses parting the red sea, I was struck by the gaping chasm between our parenting knowledge, followed by the realization that Mr ND has clearly NEVER bought shoes for/or with his offspring.
Perhaps Mr ND is under the impression that buying shoes is easy. Our kids happily skipping home with a box under one arm. No, Shoes are hell. Shoe buying has rules. Disregard them at your peril.
Rule 1. Preparation is everything.
All children will, without vigilance, arrive at the shop on shoe fitting day with the most disgusting looking socks they could drag from the laundry basket. One child will inexplicably be sporting toenails longer than something Daenerys would ride upon and another will have such a severe case of black sock toe jam, it will necessitate you to retreat to the public toilet to wash its feet in a hand basin. Whilst doing this you may discover a verruca, athletes foot and/or a fungal nail infection, In this instance, abort mission, repeat abort mission.
Rule 2. All or Nothing
Never take a single child out to buy shoes, without siblings in tow. Why? Because if one child is given shoes, the outcry of injustice of the remaining shoeless brood will reverberate in your head for days, nay weeks. Think of buying shoes with kids like a Brazilian wax on your nether regions, don’t drag it out, don’t do it multiple times. It’s going to be agony, get it all over in one quick hit. All shoe shopping is done ‘en masse’. We are all gulping down the Kool Aid together, or not at all.
Rule 3. It will take hours, many hours
Buying shoes is not going to take 30 minutes. It will take hours, yes HOURS. You will need the endurance of the French foreign legion, and that’s if you’re lucky, because trust me your shoe buying mission can go on for weeks.
Rule 4. There are no sizes
A size 3 can change a lot between shoe shops, in fact, a size 3 can change a great deal in one shop. Middle child might be a 4, but that’s unimportant because he will want the same pair of black trainers he has worn for the past eight years. These must not only LOOK the same, but FEEL the same, and have the same SMELL. Think that’s hard? He is going to seem like a walk in the park in comparison to smallest child.
Smallest child is convinced that she is size is an 8, because she is 8 years old. You cannot divert her from this belief, all attempts to do so are futile. Please for the love of God, when you walk past the toddler section, stand with your back against the Disney princess sandals so she does not see them. If she sees them, she will want them. They do not go up to her size, but she will try to squeeze that foot into a size 8 toddler shoe, and she will throw all hell and brimstone upon you. when she discovers she is not Cinderella. The same will be true when she is denied the size 8 patent leather stiletto thigh length ‘hooker’ boots she spots in the adult section. Your only hope…find suitable sized shoes, switch labels over, so she thinks they are a size 8. Do this, otherwise you are in for a world of pain. Oh, and one of your children has one foot half a size bigger than the other one. Good luck with that.
Rule 5 Limit Options
Please bear in mind the following. Firstborn will want ‘cruelty free’ shoes, tell her everything is plastic, DO NOT mention anything about how glue is made.
Buy smallest child’s shoes first. A word of warning, they’d better be prettier than her sisters, or you will be bringing them back the next day.
Finally, you better know that although your ten year old will insist they can tie shoe laces. It will take them longer to do so, than filling in your annual tax return. Buy the Velcro, ain’t nobody got time for that when you’re late for football.
Oh, if you do manage all that in 30 minutes, please feel free to stop off and get the girls Jazz/Ballet/Tap shoes and did middle child mention he needs new footy boots?