So it’s been a few years since I read Dante’s Inferno, but it is not hard to remember the basic concept of various levels of hell (connected to various levels of sin, but so not where this post is going, so let’s skip that part, OK?). Today I discovered that certain tasks of raising Littles must come straight from a Parenting Purgatory, in which it too has levels, and one level is definitely dedicated to sleep, another to laundry, and still another, teaching – that is, teaching life skills, such as wiping one’s own ass (also not where this post is going, thank goodness) and tying one’s own shoes.
Shoe Hell is where we found ourselves on this, the last day of summer break before school starts tomorrow.
Do I feel in part like a (not so proud) Bad Mom that my now 7yo/first grader still doesn’t know how to tie his shoes? Yes. But do I also have confirmation from friends who also have first graders who cannot tie their own shoes? Yes. Whew.
This life skill was a total summer goal of ours and we totally didn’t even try it until today. Not the best planning on my part, eh? But you guys, I totally believed the Pinterest lies, I mean links, that told me this could be accomplished not only in just one day but in five short minutes! I even watched the video last night and thought, OK, that should work.
Here was what we will now call Attempt No. 1: Magic Fingers
It very much did not work. I am sorry, but Magic Fingers, My ASS.
Problem No. 1: my children cannot even do the “simple, like normal” tie that is the foundation of the whole damn process. Automatic red flag, my friends.
Problem No. 2: the video goes way fast and does not keep repeating instructions so it is either get it or get super frustrated.
Problem No.3: I can’t freaking do it. I sat on the floor with my two oldest and my very own shoe, watching and listening and trying for 5 minutes times at least 5 or 6 and NO DAMN DICE. Not once did I – the 34yo – actually tie my shoes using this method.
Which led us to what we will now call Attempt No. 2: Magic Molly (seriously, folks – what’s with the magic?? You are making a Muggle out of me because I just ain’t buying it!)
It also very much did not work.
Problem No. 1: Because this was just what came up next on YouTube, I had no idea what she was going to say or what prep work (knots and marker colored strings) was involved, so we immediately got lost and the children started blaming me for not helping them/their stuff not being right (I was mad dash scrambling to tie knots on one side of their laces and use masking tape – the closest thing nearby – instead of markers on the other).
Problem No.2: See above — yelling, whining, finger pointing children. No way. Not having it.
Problem No.3: I said “No way. Not having it.” and took a step back rather than trying to continue down this purgatory spiral (as continuing would have easily resulted in my flipping the eff out) which totally backfired because then the children also wanted to quit (face palm) and the whole thing was just clearly not happening.
We needed snacks and hydration at this point, so I don’t know if this method is actually flawed or if our timing was just bad, but as it was, it still was not the answer for us.
And then, because FB and the universe are little bit crazy, we landed on Video No.3 (look for vid on shoe tying, of course), which a friend happened to just share on the FB this afternoon, as she was also trying to teach a Little to tie shoes today. No mama alone, right? Right.
So this one looked good. No mention of MAGIC in the title, for one thing, and her voice sounds just like that of one of my dear friends, however, the same fundamental flaw also found in the first video — assuming my children understand the basic first loop/tie move — exists here, which is tricky. I’m not sure you can call something the EASIEST if in fact the first step is actually not yet easy for the attemptee. Anyway. It’s not like anything could go much worse than the first two rounds, so I decided why not? and gave it a whirl.
After a little work with just me and the two of them on the assumed step, we watched the FB video to see the remaining steps and lo and behold – HD did it! Only once (he tried again for good measure and was not happy when it didn’t pan out a second time), mind you, but it was totally there for a moment, so I am taking it and running with it as a victory, damnit.
RL was still in frustrated whiny tears over the assumed step, but you know, considering she’s not even 5 yet, I figure we have a couple years, not a matter of days, to figure out this crap.
Also, there is this – a three-minute TED video my uncle shared with me about the science of shoe tying that explains that pretty much all of us are doing it wrong anyway. WHO KNEW THIS WAS SUCH A COMPLEX SUBJECT?! Guess I will cut myself some slack in the mom department on not knocking this out of the park today.