To Velcro or Not To Velcro, that is the question!

sneakersTeaching a child to tie his or her shoes has always been an area of procrastination and distaste for me. I don’t know why. I can’t explain it. Perhaps I was permanently scarred by my own parents when they taught me but I have no memory of the actual act. That in itself convinces me it was traumatic. The idea of the tedious steps to explain the process, the repeated practice runs, the patience and required motor skills (of which my mild arthritis objects!) is enough to send this woman running for the first pair of Velcro sneakers Target has to offer.
My oldest daughter is, in fact, the only child I taught to tie her own shoes and that was using the famed bunny ear method. Of course those of the more sophisticated loop method would sneer at the suggestion of bunny ears, however, to this very day Daughter One continues contently to form her laces into bunny ears and voila! Sneakers tied. She also taught her younger brother and sister. Ha!
Suffice it to say the day came recently, as I knew it would, when my grandson asked the dreaded question. “Nan? Will you teach me to tie my sneakers?” My breath ceases. “Oh no!” I think to myself. “Isn’t he happy with the Velcro anymore?” “Are the kids teasing him because he straps instead of looping!!?” “Just when do I fit in the HOURS it will take for me to teach him without requiring a Xanax before each excruciating session!?” His grandfather, overhearing the request, stealthily moves to the kitchen and out to the back deck. “Coward” I mouth over my shoulder as he smiles back at me.
Taking a breath, I manage a smile, as all grandmothers and mothers do at these moments, and reply with the barest quiver in my voice, “Sure, buddy. We’ll start tomorrow!” And so we did.
We’re still working on it, I’m happy to report. And we are using the bunny ear method. Of course the laces come untied within 90 seconds of his securing them, looking more like limp noodles than neat little bunny ears knotted precisely. But precision will come and my patience is serving me far better than I thought. My arthritis balks, but I ignore it.
Acceptance is a marvelous thing, I’ve learned. My grandson teaches me a new found enthusiasm for things I once found to be a dreaded chore and I revel in his accomplishments and my own.
Soon we will tackle the art of the double knot; how to tie one and more importantly, how to untie one.


One comment

  1. life is a bowl of kibble · October 31, 2011

    I had a child late in life. This time around I did things totally different. The tying shoes lesson was one. After two weeks of frustration, hers and mine, I stopped. I was not going to teach her until she asked. We Velcroed it. for weeks, months, years until she said mom, I just realized I don’t know how to tye a shoe. Really? I asked. I showed her one time and that was it. She was 13 years old. I am not saying that is the way to do it but it worked for us.

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