We had a showing on Wednesday night from 5 to 6:00 and 8 to 9:00 so the kids and I strolled down to the Lennox Center to buy some new school shoes (Maria has lived in flip-flops all summer). They each found two pairs of shoes – Maria finally invested in a sweet pair of Nikes along with a pair of black and pink funky Skecher gym shoes. She only chose those two pairs after beggin’ me for a pair of high heels that were at least three inches off the ground (obviously adult shoes). I was tempted to buy them for her to watch her twist an ankle within two minutes of wearing them but because I am a nice mom, I just told her “no.”
Mario fell in love with a pair of converse basketball shoes. And a pair of Nikes. He had to try them both on two different times in order to make sure that they looked ok and that he could run fast in them. At one point, an older lady approached him and commented that his converse shoes were cool “tennis” shoes. He immediately corrected her and told her “they are not tennis shoes – they are basketball shoes.” Then he went on to tell her he was going to play basketball and football and hockey. She smiles politely and moved on down the aisle. Mario looked at me and rolled his eyes “She thought these were tennis shoes, mom.”
We left the shoes store and hit Bob Evans for some chocolate chip pancakes and french toast. I could eat Bob Evans’ pancakes every meal, especially with chocolate chips in them. Mario loves them, too but without whipped cream or syrup (freak child). Maria has taken to french toast lately with lots of syrup and whipped cream. She loves sausage links, too. We sit at the bar every time and get waited on by the same young waitress who is studying to be a teacher. She asks Maria all sorts of questions about first grade and she lets Mario flirt with her waitress friends. She also lets me order off the kids menu so I can get a bunch of random items for $1.99 each (pancakes and bacon with grilled cheese this time).
After Bob’s, we headed home to take showers to be clean for Maria’s first day of school. After showers, Mario put on his new converse shoes. He asked me to tie his shoelaces for him and all hell broke loose. The right shoelace was not tied exactly the way the left one was tied. Then when I re-tied the left one, it wasn’t tied just like the right. Then the right one had too big of loops and the left had too big of a knot. It took 20 minutes to get it right and even then he wasn’t completely happy with it. I struggle over how far to let his compulsiveness go. He is only three (soon to be four). If you work with him, he eventually feels satisfied. I feel like it is good to do that for him – to take our time and gently deal with his compulsiveness. But then there are the days that we have to get Maria to school by 8:15 and its 8:05 and he is still trying to place the top strip of his shoe perfectly on the bottom velcro strip. On those days, I have to finally give him one more try and then just make him leave it as is so we can get to school. When he flips out, I can usually stay calm and explain that I gave him time to do it but we have a deadline that morning that we cannot miss. Every once in a while, I am not that sane and I simply go into crazy mom mode and scream “Mario, we have got to go – just put on the daggone shoes and move!” Likewise, Mario usually makes the deadlines once he knows I am serious. Every once in a while he goes into crazy son mode and scream “Mom, these are not perfect and I will not leave this house!” In the end, we respect each other’s mania, and let it go as part of life. Of course, Maria always stands up for Mario and tells me “Mom, he is just a baby boy and you need to calm down. Just calm yourself…” And, she is right. Mario has taught me patience – a virtue I have always struggled with since I was a child. I like to think I am a little better because of him.