Twirl's pink converse are looking pretty grey from wear and tear. The last few pairs of new shoes we have picked out online but he really wanted to go to the store and pick some out for himself. We headed to a store that has a good variety and headed to the kids section. We told him he could pick out the ones he wanted and let him lead from there. We had a great parenting fail by not bringing the stroller which meant one of us had to walk around with Tornado and make sure he didn't destroy the place.
He surveyed the goods, heading down the girls aisle first. He spotted the glitter and gem shoes instantly and declared his choice. There were several varieties and his first pick had velcro. He needs to learn how to tie shoes so we opted for one that had ties. Twirl quickly slipped his feet in the shoes, giggling and bouncing with excitement. Firecracker was very impressed that they lit up and wanted him to stomp constantly to make that happen. His choice made, I offered that we take a look at all the other shoes, just in case something else popped out at him. We finished the girls aisle and headed to the boys. "Nope, nope, nope, I want these, these are the shoes I want. Can I get them?" "Absolutely." "Can I wear them now??" "I don't see why not"
We left to store to run some other errands during which Twirl got several compliments on his shoes. It was a great day.
Here is the tricky thing, if this were Firecracker, I would have made her wear those shoes. They were expensive and were purchased to wear to school. You made the decision and you can't just want things and ask for them and then not use them. But in his case, I know that it could be a source of teasing. Sometimes it is hard to balance supporting him and sticking to our normal rules.
Maybe this doesn't seem like a big deal to some people, but to me it was huge. This is the first time he has really censored himself because of other people. Here was my son, who since he was two has completely chosen his own path and not hesitated. A kid who wore pink converse and carried a pink backpack to his first day of school. He wasn't nervous, he wasn't hesitant until now. I was heartbroken and worried about what this meant. Worried that this was the start of changing himself so other people felt comfortable. Would this move on to other things? Would he suddenly only wear his sparkly shoes and talk about fashion in the comfort of our own house? Is he afraid?
Later in the afternoon I told the story to Cory and he said he would talk to him in the afternoon. I was glad, maybe he had some ideas because I honestly didn't know what to say, I can't tell him that kids won't laugh at him because there is a chance they will. When Cory picked up Twirl, he asked why he wasn't wearing his new shoes to which he got the same reply "I don't want anyone to laugh at me." Thank goodness for Cory who then asked him "But didn't people on Saturday compliment you on your shoes?"
Great thinking, because they did and no one had laughed. Twirl told him that he would try wearing them tomorrow.
Once Tuesday came, I expected to come downstairs and have to ask about the shoes again, but he walked around the corner carrying them and put them on. I helped him tie them and we went off to school. I told him to keep his chin up and not pay attention if anyone said anything, it's a dumb rule that boys can't wear pretty things. He agreed. "Who made that rule anyway?" he asked. Good question my boy.
I got this text later in the day "We're headed to dance. Twirl said today was a great day because no one laughed at his shoes. He was in a great mood."
The rest of the week went just as well. We had a little hiccup over the weekend when he got nervous to wear them again. We talked about it, he wore them, it was fine. I am a very proud mom of a strong boy who doesn't let society pressure him about what he can like. For now his shoes are out of the closet.
Tornado, Twirl and Firecracker