The number one row in British homes? Losing children’s shoes, according to new research.
But the issue isn’t only with losing them – it’s getting them on and keeping them on. For some reason, my toddler always manages to put his shoes on the wrong feet, too – once even upside down (no, I don’t know how that works, either).
Here are five ineffable truths about kids’ shoes you only know if you’re a parent.
1. There’s only ever one of them.
Never a pair – and certainly never a matching pair. You’ll put one down, turn around to pick up something right by you and... abracadabra! It’s vanished. Never to be seen again (until you bother looking under the sofa). And don’t even get me started on socks.
2. You’ll find yourself saying “Put your shoes on!” over and over (until you die).
If you haven’t said it 50 times before 8.30am when nursery and school start, are you even a parent?
There’s no sugarcoating it: come the apocalypse, all you’ll hear above roaring static is millions of parents, mumbling incoherently for their children to put their shoes on.
3. They’re eye-wateringly expensive.
When I first had kids, I was staggered by how cheap everything was. Used to paying £20 for a t-shirt or jumper? Try children’s clothes: in high-street retailers, you can buy two and still have change from a tenner.
Except for children’s shoes. Go to Clarks (where else is there?) and you’ll barely have change from four tenners. For a single pair of shoes.
4. They last weeks. WEEKS.
The funny thing about children is that they just don’t stop growing (or asking for snacks). It still takes me by surprise. I’ll fork out a small fortune for a pair of shoes for my seven-year-old daughter (see above), and barely six weeks later, she’ll be complaining that her toes are squashed.
Whereas that lovingly knitted homemade jumper I made on maternity leave (with time to kill and visions of myself as a natural homemaker mother earth goddess)? The one with the sleeves that look like they were knitted for an orangutan? Still doesn’t fit. Probably never will.
5. They will always be on the wrong foot.
My toddler likes to put his own shoes on. And he’s consistent – that is, consistently wrong. I don’t know how he does it. Surely the laws of chance dictate that if he puts them on himself every single time, at least some of those times he’ll get them the right way round... right? Wrong.
I have heard a top tip, though, that I’m planning to try to sort out the big left/right mystery: cut a sticker in half and put each half inside the shoes. Your child has to match them up so the stickers make sense.
And if they’re still getting it wrong after that? Well that’s when you know they’re messing with you.