children, mom blog, mommy needs a vacation, parenting, second child, second grade, shoes

elastic shoe laces aren’t for everyone

Silly me, I thought putting elastic laces in my second grader’s shoes would make life easier.

Her options for footwear to get her to dance class last night were slim since it was pouring rain and she normally just slips on crocs with her dance tights. She doesn’t have rain boots, or any boots really, so her school shoes in which I’d just put elastic laces were the least leaky option. Feet covered, dance bag in hand, off we went.

Punctuality is not one of the virtues I’m known for, but regardless I try to be late for dance class on purpose in order to score a parking spot within the same zip code as the dance school. However, no matter how late I arrive, the prior dance class lets out later. We were not going to make it inside without getting a little drenched so I held my breath knowing wet tights could be the thing sets off my almost 8 year-old and makes me leave her at dance class forever.

Rushing through the puddles as I deflected the drops destined for my child with my pretty paisley umbrella, we arrived more splattered than dripping. This was a win.

She sat on the bench to remove her stretchy shoes as I instructed her: “Don’t pull on the plastic at the end; loosen them with the button and then slide them off.”

Let me fill you in, dear reader, on how these laces work: you trim the laces to the fit the shoe and the plastic end pinches the ends of the elastic to keep it all together. There is a sliding button to adjust the tightness. It’s quite simple, really. I feel like I’ve already over-explained it, in fact. BUT APPARENTLY THAT’S NOT POSSIBLE.

Ballet shoes on and wet sneakers in hand, she walks into class and that’s that (for now). My lovely husband was tasked with dance class pick up so I returned home to make dinner. And maybe pour myself just a little wine.

An hour later dinner was warm and waiting, and I was a little more chill than I was at drop-off. My daughter and husband walked in as my sweet, smart girl announced: “Mommy, there’s something wrong with my shoe!”

Of course there is, baby girl. OF COURSE THERE IS.

“I don’t know what happened; the plastic thing just came off.”

“Baby, did you pull on it?”

“Maybe. I don’t know.”

Uh huh. I know. Mama always knows.

I also know I don’t have the patience for silly problems right before dinner, so I set the shoes aside because I am a wise woman. I am also a woman of my word, so I absolutely tackled the janky lace after we ate.

I need to state for the record that the ends aren’t meant to be removed, but I’m stubborn. I dug through my non-curated junk drawer to find just the right “tool” to pry open the locked plastic. Of course I succeeded. And of course I put them all back together. And of course I RE-EXPLAINED the way the stretchy laces work to my all A’s, GT child.

The end. Good night. Except…

Fast forward to this morning.

Last night we had big thunderstorms that woke us all up a few times, so probably neither me nor my youngest were in our best frames of mind. Also I don’t normally have my coffee until she’s on the bus, so there’s that. And for what it’s worth, she always has a lot to say in the mornings. And the afternoons. And at night. She’s a bit of a chatterbox. This sometimes negatively affects her forward progress when getting ready for school. Ahem.

With only a few minutes until we needed to leave for the bus stop this morning, while I was readying my coffee pot, I heard her say, “Hm, this shoe isn’t tight enough. I think I need to–”

“Oh, hey wait!” I rushed over to her to intervene, “You know not to pull on the plastic, right?”


“Do you need me to help you tighten your shoes?”

“No.” *beat* “OK.”

I gave her the spiel AGAIN while demonstrating on one shoe. “Pull on the laces to tighten them, just like your regular laces. You can’t pull on the plastic part because it might come off again. You understand?”


“You got this?”


I walked away. *beat*


Surprise! She didn’t “got this”.

We were running out of time but, like I said, I’m stubborn. So I sent her to finish getting ready while I found a tool to pry open the plastic that isn’t meant to open AGAIN. I’d learned from night before, so it didn’t take long. Also the grip had probably weakened from last night’s prying. So there’s that.

This time only one lace had come out, though, and she’d also managed to pull it out through the button thing that slides up and down to tighten and loosen the laces. OH, and we had like four minutes before we needed to leave for the bus. So I quickly reattached and reclamped the plastic thing. As I’m about to return the shoe to her I see I didn’t thread the lace though the button thing and — GUESS WHAT? — I have to open the thing that’s not meant to be opened AGAIN.

The clock was ticking. Switching shoes at that point would have caused a meltdown that I was in no way caffeinated enough to deal with, so I got to work.

Tool. Open. Thread. Clamp. DONE.

And… we walked out the door to the bus stop. I didn’t feel the need to share with her my little “oopsie” that probably contributed even more to the weakening of the plastic clamp that wasn’t meant to be opened.

I’m so glad I chose to make our lives easier by putting elastic laces in my daughter’s shoes.