Put your shoes in your room.
Put your jacket where it goes.
These are two rules in my house. It has been the rules for several years. Despite this being a long-standing rule, it often goes forgotten or ignored. I often remind the boys when we get home, “If you take off your jacket or shoes be sure to put them where they go.” Yet inevitably one or both will take off their shoes in the living room and toss their jacket on the couch or, worse, the floor. “Finn, take your shoes to room.” “Caden, come get your shoes out of the living room.” These are near daily occurrences.
These rules are rules for a reason, the primary reason being so that when it is time to leave our house we can easily find shoes and coats to expedite leaving. Since we are often either right on time or running late it’s essential that shoes and jackets be easy and quick to locate and throw on.
These are rules so that mornings like the one that occurred today don’t happen.
So — at the appointed time to leave this morning, Caden couldn’t find his shoes. He looked for them to no avail. I exhausted the list of places where shoes usually are when they’re not in his room — in the living room next to the couch, under the kitchen table, in the back play room, in his brother’s room, in the bathroom, under the train table, in the car — and resorted to “You’ll just have to wear your old shoes.” I spent 15 minutes searching for them, and at some point the search had to stop and we had to go on with our day.
Note: Now I woke up early today — 5:45 — so I could exercise before work (which I did) and get Finn up early (which I did) so he would not be rushed for the bus (which he wasn’t) and so he could play a little on the computer before school (which he did) and have myself and Caden ready to leave as soon as the bus came (which we did) so I could make it to work by 8 and get off work at 4. This morning was going extremely well until now. The MIA shoes were throwing a serious cramp in my day. Oh, just wait. It gets better.
So, I place on Caden’s feet, while he is sitting in the car enjoying a warm Toaster Strudel and sipping on CapriSun, “old shoes” with the promise to resume the search for his shoes when we return home this evening.
I drive the 30 minutes to his preschool where we get out to go in and he starts crying and he kicks off a shoe. “It hurts my foot,” he whines. Sigh. “Well, Caden, I’m not sure what to tell you baby. We couldn’t find your shoes, these are the only shoes we have, you’re going to have to wear them.” He’s not buying it and I can tell this isn’t going to work. He’s not going to be able to wear these shoes today without complaining about them hurting and then taking them off constantly, and I realized that if I sent him to school in these shoes I WAS setting up some innocent preschool teacher and Caden for a horribly bad day.
So after getting mad and giving Caden an earful about how frustrating it is that he doesn’t keep his shoes in his room like I ask, I took a few deep breaths. I told myself he’s 5, he didn’t do it on purpose, yes he knows the rule and doesn’t follow it but we’ll just have to find a better way to get it through to him, etc.
And then I took him to Target and bought new shoes.
So now I want to know — what would you do if this happened to you? Would you buy new shoes? Would you make him wear the ones that hurt? Would you have made him go the day in socks only, leaving the preschool teacher to deal with all sorts of complaints but hoping that would make an impression and teach him not to lose his shoes again? Would you not have left the house in the first place until the shoes were found? How do all you moms out there keep up with your kids shoes??