Monday, May 8, 2006

It's a velcro world

I love velcro. It's a great little fastener. It keeps my mp3 on my arm, keeps the wind from blowing up my jacket sleeves, it keeps my kids' shoes on their feet and it makes for a good laugh. Remember Letterman's velcro suit? Even the sound of it being opened can be soothing. It has tons of uses.

But let's focus on the shoes today, shall we? I started buying velcro shoes for the kids as soon as they could wear them. It was convenient for me because curious little hands would untie their shoes as soon as they saw them dangling. Great for mums. Then when school started, the teachers wisely asked parents to provide velcro shoes because otherwise they'd end up spending 47% their day tying kids' undone laces instead of teaching them about photosynthesis or whatever they teach kids in Kindergarten these days. Great for teachers.

Fast forward to this weekend when inexplicably Elliott's shoes explode. I guess that's what happens when a 9 year old boy has only one pair of cheap Zellers sneakers that he's worn every day since September. Anyway, we get to the mall and see some really cool shoes. I hold them out for his inspection and he turns each one down. Here's how the conversation goes:

Me: What about this pair? Converse. I even have a pair. They're "in" now, right?
Elliott: I dunno, I guess so.
Me: What do you mean "you guess so"? Do you like them or not?
E: A little bit but they have laces. Don't they have any without laces?
Me: Why would you want shoes without laces? Cool shoes don't come in velcro in your size anymore, hon. I just want us to pick a pair and... (the realization dawns)...

My 9 year old son (10 on Saturday), star of his hockey team, fluently bilingual, great at math, computer simulation game king, bubble gum bubble blower extraordinaire, lots of friends, funny, amazing, cool... never learned to tie his shoes. Ack.

It's my fault, of course. I just let it go on way too long. The opportunity just never arose to sit down and teach him. He never asked and I never thought to teach him. I'd just go to the store and grab the cheapest shoes on the rack which were always velcro. I never thought of it. When it came time for hockey, Scott would tie Elliott's skates since that's what all the dads did to make sure their boys got a really tight fit. He just didn't notice there were probably lace-up sneakers under the benches for when those kids went home.

How humiliating for my guy. I'll take some of the blame but I partly blame society for making it so easy to go a decade without learning the most basic of kid skills. But like I said before, it's a velcro world and we're stuck with it. See what I did there? Velcro? Stuck? Hee.

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