Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An ode to Crocs.

I love Crocs. Can I give them a shout-out?

I personally don’t own a pair for myself. I'm told they're super comfortable, but I just haven't gone down that road yet. I don't think I plan to. However, my kids have several pairs in various colors.

I first discovered these “squooshy,” rubbery shoes in a boutique a few years ago. Initially I couldn’t believe that people were letting their kids walk around town in these clown-like shoes. It looked like a parade of a little nurses and chefs. I decided to give them a try though, and I bought each of my boys a pair for the summer. We were soon hooked. They loved their Crocs, and the shoes’ cuteness won me over. Annabel got her first pair as soon as she could walk.

However, can I register a couple complaints about the Crocs we adore?

My first complaint: I can’t deal with the problem that my sister and I have dubbed, “Croc toes.” Yuck. Now that the warmer weather has returned and my kids are playing outside more, “Croc toes” has returned in full force.

“Croc toes” is a pretty nasty affliction. Can I get some reprieve?

What is “Croc toes” you ask? Let me explain. I love that there are little air holes in the tops and sides to keep the kids from sweating, but the amount of dirt that enters is just gross. Maybe it’s just me, but I do not relish cleaning the dirt that gets caked, and I mean caked, under little toenails. Add a little dirt toe jam and it’s enough to make me retch.

I can handle poop and vomit. (As long as it’s my own kids doing said pooping and vomiting.) It’s part of my job description. But constantly having to scrape dirt from under toenails every night in the summer just sends me over the edge. I've taught my older boys how to use a nail brush for the job, and they actually think it's fun. (Who knew? Showers, they hate, but cleaning their feet with a toenail brush is fun? Go figure.) After they reach a certain age, I just can't do it anymore.

I guess my kids could just wear socks with their Crocs but you try getting a boy to put white ankle length sweat socks on in 80-degree weather. Yeah, good luck with that one. I even made up a little song called, “Socks ‘n Crocs,” but it was not a one-hit wonder.

My second complaint: Crocs, in all their rubbery goodness, have ruined an entire generation of kids who do not know how to tie their shoes. Velcro is also an accomplice.

Didn’t we learn to tie our shoes way back in kindergarten? Not anymore. Kindergarten is a big deal. Haven't you heard? Kindergarten is the new first grade. They’re too busy doing stuff like reading and writing to stop and learn how to tie shoes. Sheesh, what is this world coming to? (She says with a hint of sarcasm in her voice.)

Thus, it is up to parents to teach their children how to tie their shoes, and you can guess how well that one is working out. It’s not.

Charlie, my 2nd grader, can tie his shoes, but it takes him a long time, and he can never get it “tight enough,” as he says. Henry, my first grader, gets the general concept but hasn’t mastered it. My kids have to wear white tennis shoes with their Catholic school uniforms, and Henry refuses to wear anything but Velcro shoes. It looks cute on a first grader, but I picture him being a 30-year old businessman someday who wears Velcro wing-tip shoes with his suit to work. Or dark brown Crocs.

I know this is our fault. Bill and I have tried. We have tried “bunny ears” and the “loopty loop” tricks. Frustration usually takes over from all parties involved, and we give up too easily.

I know what I’ll be doing this summer. I’m going to home school the kids in “Shoe-tying 101”. Wish me luck. It can’t be that hard, right?

Henry and Charlie can both read very well, and they even know how to do basic multiplication and division. But for some reason learning how to tie their shoes is like learning Chinese.

I’ve just decided what to do. I’ll confiscate all the Crocs, flip-flops and Velcro in the house!

Yeah right.

I know I’m a little nutty, but not that crazy.

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