Home > Communication, Parenting, Silly > Lessons from shoes

Lessons from shoes

“Just follow the curve!” I exclaimed to my young son, Li’l D. “See, your foot curves this way. You need to put on the shoe that has the same curve.”

“Uh-huh,” he told me cheerfully before putting his shoes on the wrong foot.

After a few weeks of repeating this exchange, I started to say the same old thing when I realized he needed something different. Something appropriate for a four-year-old.

“See how when you put the shoes like this, it’s like they’re trying to smooch?” My son giggled as I pressed the shoes up against each other and made smoochy-face noises.

shoes love


“That’s the right way. But see how they are definitely not trying to kiss right now?”

shoes no love

“Oooh, they don’t like each other!”

“That’s right. They really don’t want to be together. If they’re trying to run away from each other, that means they’re on the wrong foot. They’re supposed to be buddies.”

Unlike my useless follow-the-curve instruction, this made perfect sense to Li’l D.

When he puts on his shoes these days, I can hear him mumbling about how much they like or don’t like each other. His mumbling might perplex a passerby, but for this mama, it’s a sign of successful communication … and plenty reason to smile.

  1. July 6, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    That is the cutest explanation ever!

    • July 6, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      😀 I try coming back to it every time I’m trying to explain something to D and he’s not getting it. I remind myself I’m not talking for the sake of hearing myself, but to help him. If he’s not getting what I’m saying,it’s not much help. Usually I fumble around a lot more, so it’s good to have this one quick and easy reminder to teach to the audience where practical skills are concerned.

      Whoooooa there, I just realized my reply to your comment is way longer than it needs to be! Oh, well. With the mental energy I’ve got now, best to let it stand. :p

      • July 8, 2014 at 1:01 pm

        Oh, no problem, I know what it’s like to be a mom of 2 little ones. Anyway, I like your creative problem solving.

  2. July 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm


  3. nicciattfield
    July 6, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    So sweet!

    • July 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      There are so many conversations I have where I wonder, “Did he take anything from this?” I believe he does, most the time, but it’s still exciting to have clear confirmation! 😀

  4. July 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Nice one! That is a much more memorable explanation– now when I look at my shoes I’ll think of them in love 🙂

  5. PaytonE
    July 6, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    that moment as a parent is awesome!

  6. July 6, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    That’s a super cute way of explaining things! Isn’t it great to come up with the perfect solution? 🙂 ❤

    • July 13, 2014 at 5:30 am

      It really is! Now it’s on to dreaming up the next dozen perfect solutions. Why can’t I find the one that solves ’em all?!

      • July 13, 2014 at 6:08 am

        The one thing I found as I raised mine was that the solution came as the situation appeared. You’re pretty smart, you might just be the one to solve the mothering code and find the master solution! 🙂

  7. July 6, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    That is a great way to explain it! My 4 year old is 50/50 on the shoe thing. I am trying this tomorrow. Thanks. : )

    • July 13, 2014 at 5:31 am

      Any success with it? It took several days of reminders until it had fully sunk in!

      • July 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm

        Yes! She is doing much better. We’re at about 90/10 and improving…. Thanks for the great idea.

  8. July 6, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    I wish someone had told me this one years ago, with some of my shoes I still don’t get it. ❤

    • July 13, 2014 at 5:32 am

      😀 His cowboy boots are still difficult for him … and me. The left and right are much, much closer in appearance than any other pair of shoes in the house.

  9. July 7, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Perfect way to modify your communication to suit him and not you! Love that! I’ve been working on that, not just with little ones, but big ones, too!

    • July 13, 2014 at 5:33 am

      Sometimes negotiating contracts can be stressful, but it’s taught me so, so much about speaking to be understood, not just for the sake of speaking! I often still have to remind myself of this objective, but the reminders don’t need to come quite so frequently anymore. 🙂

  10. July 7, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Love it! So clever. 🙂

  11. July 7, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    This is adorable, and its so nice that you make the effort to communicate with Lil D so hr understands, rather than just doing it your way and giving up..

  12. July 7, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    He’ll remember that forever!

    • July 13, 2014 at 5:35 am

      I hope so! I hope he’ll find these pictures someday and share them with his own kids, if he decides to have them.

  13. July 7, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Love this!

  14. July 8, 2014 at 10:31 am

    I’m going to have to try that one.

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