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April 21, 2010

Mom, the Enforcer Of All That is Boring and Sensible

Flip flops Every school my daughter has ever attended has an informal ban on flip-flops. Though it is not stated in the school rules, letters appear at least twice a year imploring parents not to shod their precious ones' feet with flimsy plastic soles held fast by even less durable straps.

And every year, my nearly eight year old pitches a long, predictable campaign in favor of some of the cheapest, non-protective footwear ever made in China.

Springs warming weather erupts in our northern neck of Canada with a frenzy of skin-baring, and it starts with the toes. Long before all the snow has melted away, teens begin parading about town in sandals and flip-flops. It marks one as non-native, wearing sensible shoes - with socks no less - after April Fool's Day.

Kat's bad influencing begins at the bus stop. The older girls began wearing flip-flops early this year as our winter was shorter and warmer than usual. I could see in her eyes as they slowly surveyed the brightly painted toenails and jeweled straps of the flops that she was formulating her best arguments to defeat me in our annual argument about what constitutes proper footwear for school.

I haven't many years left to save Kat's feet. She's inherited my non-existent arch and pigeon-toed pronation - which while making her a great runner - are setting her up for an adulthood of plantar fasciitis and ankle issues.

In most things, my warnings of future damage and insistence that it's better to be sensible prevail, but not where shoes are concerned. Inexplicably I have birthed a shoe girl. Let the heated disagreements begin.

"Kennie and Meg wear flip-flops to school," she tells me.

"They aren't supposed to," I reply. "Remember the note the teacher sent home? You are supposed to wear runners because they prevent tripping and because sometimes you have your gym class outside and need to be wearing the proper shoes."

"I guess their mom doesn't read those notes," she says.

"Indeed," I say.

Never has Kat not fallen and sustained howl raising knee and elbow scraps during the first weeks of flip-flop weather. Never. And no matter how often her dad and I remind her, she plugs on like a Spartan in her quest to wear footwear that is just barely a step up from going barefoot - with bare feet actually being the better of the two in terms of what is good for feet.

Last summer, I forced her to wear sports sandals and knock-off crocs because they protected her toes, were securely attached and had arch support. I don't think she has forgiven me yet. 

But this year, I let her purchase two pair of flip-flops for personal use only. No school. That was the bargain sealed.

Today at the bus stop, we had the following conversation:

"Those big girls are wearing flip flops, Mom" she needlessly pointed out, "but that's not sensible. I would never want to do that."

Whenever she tells me she would never do something, my mommy spider sense goes all a tingle. I have won a handful of battles on the shoe front, but I can see that this is a war of attrition that I am not likely to win in the long run.

This is an original 50 Something Moms post by Ann Bibby of anniegirl1138.comand Care2.


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