Ah, the classic Converse sneaker! I never had any as a kid, but now that they are a staple at Target, of course I couldn’t resist getting some for Sarah Kate. (Now for any Converse purists out there, I am aware that these are the lesser One-Stars instead of the All-Stars, but hello…she’s seven! She doesn’t know who Chuck Taylor is or that these shoes have been around for decades.) The challenge we always have with shoes is finding some that will easily fit over the SMOs (supramalleolar orthosis, or for the layman, “short braces”). About three years ago, Sarah Kate was becoming more independent and she didn’t want mom putting her shoes on anymore, so we switched to Crocs. They worked great, were easy for her to manage, and when she started kindergarten, the school even granted us a uniform variance so she could wear them.
Now she’s in second grade and a lot has changed. She no longer wants to be “special” and wear Crocs that her classmates aren’t allowed to wear. In addition, her therapist has declared No More Crocs, so we needed to find something else. I was dreading the shoe shopping, as it’s just not easy to find something that not only fits over the braces, but also doesn’t look like a clown shoe, isn’t likely to cause her to trip, will hold up to the beating that braces will inflict, and (most importantly) that she could put on herself. When she was two, three, and four, it didn’t matter if mom helped put your shoes on. At age seven, it matters.
One day last week, we (Sarah Kate and I with Baby Nate in tow) went to pick up the new braces and headed to Academy Sports to try on shoes. I knew it would be frustrating to try on shoes at a do-it-yourself place, but I figured if we went to a place that actually does fittings we would frustrate whichever poor soul was so unlucky as to have us as a customer, which would then stress me out, negating most of the benefits of having someone else do the work. Nope, better to just handle it myself than inflict us upon someone else. Plus, DIY shoes would probably be cheaper.
I’ll skip over the particulars (because, really – who wants to hear me explain in excruciating detail how much I managed to swear under my breath to keep little ears from hearing) and say that we finally ended up with a pair of navy and green plaid canvas sneaks with velcro straps. I figured we were pushing the limits of the “no color restrictions on tennis shoes” clause in the school uniform policy, but the shoes worked in every other category. AND…they were only $9.99. Score! As I looked at the shoes, I started thinking – they look an awful lot like the Converse sneaks they carry at Target.
The next day while she was at school, I took her SMOs (and Baby Nate) to Target and started trying to cram them into various sizes, styles, and colors of Converse One-Stars. I finally found a pink pair in stock that seemed to work. I figured they could be weekend shoes, as we were definitely pushing the limits of that tennis shoe policy now. A thought suddenly dawned on me, though: Sarah Kate doesn’t know how to tie shoes. Dang. How did that happen?
The truth is that she just never had to learn before. Kids really only tie their shoes at this age, not other things, and since she’d been wearing Crocs for the past few years we just never got around to teaching her. I bought the shoes and told Mr. Andi that night that he was in charge of Shoe Tying Lessons. Yes, we did both feel kind of bad that she learned to tie them so late. However, the good news is that it took her all of five minutes to learn. Bonus! So I guess that’s just one of those “Bizarro World” things that makes our world a little bit different from other people’s.
And she’s worn the pink shoes to school twice (out of four days) this week.