October 21, 2009

The Blue Shoes

I did it - I finally did it - I hid the gross, disgusting, ugly ,worn-out, fake crocs that Alex has been wearing every day for 2 1/2 years. It took a lot of guts - but I am proud of myself  (at least for now).

When my kids were little, I thought it was sort of cute if they wanted to wear the same pair of jeans or shirt for more than two days in a row. However, Alex is 16 and these dreadful blue shoes have got to go. She should not have even worn them for two weeks in a row.

Many people I know with down syndrome have flat, wide feet. I am not sure exactly why that is - but as a result Alex has a funny step and walks with her feet pointed outwards. As with everything in her life, Alex has learned to compensate, and walking or even running - as evidenced by the fact we are going to participate in track and field at the National Olympic Games - is not a problem for her.

However, what this has resulted in is her insistence on wearing loose, slip on shoes. I am sure these are not the right shoes for her - they provide no support and encourage her outward gait. I know the physical therapist and orthopedic doctor would really be on my case - so I choose not to take her. I am learning very well from my daughter - avoid confrontation at whatever cost!

Alex wants her feet to be comfortable and with this footwear strategy they are. But that is still no excuse for the obnoxious blue shoes. Until now I had put up with this travesty, but not anymore - I am now a reformed ugly shoe enabler.

The final straw came last night when I went to pick Alex up from football practice. She came running off the field wearing maroon and gray striped knee socks, which were clearly visible through the yucky, blue shoes. I try never ever to be embarrassed by anything my kids do or wear - but this one was beyond my control. I insisted to Alex that they go in the trash as soon as we get home, which caused massive tears. We compromised about the trash and agreed to her closet. Don't tell her - but she will not find them in there when she goes to sneak them on later.

Over the years we have bought lots and lots of shoes for Alex. She has had clogs (my personal favorites), sneakers and wide flat shoes. Somehow, they never came close to those hideous blue shoes. Recently, when I was in Denver - which is the largest city near us (3 1/2 hours away) where we can shop, I decided to look for shoes for Alex. I found the cutest, widest, furriest slip on clogs a girl could ever want - but not Alex. Guess I will get to keep them!

Peer pressure does not work well with Alex in terms of her attire. She does not want to wear “cute” clothes or dress like a girl. She wants to be comfortable. I know her teachers and some of her friends have questioned her about those revolting, blue shoes - but she just does not care.

Now, I agree that comfort is important – but so are well-fitting, semi-attractive pants, shirts and shoes. I really do understand how she feels – but in Alex’s world there is usually only black or white – the gray areas are a bit challenging for her. I think she struggles with so much in her life that clothes are just not important to her.

For now I have won this battle. But I know in the long run Alex will find something to replace those nasty, horrid, blue shoes and I will probably humor her. Afterall, there is a shoe war to win.

I must share though – that when Alex knows that something exciting is going to happen at school – or if she wants something from me – she will come downstairs in a skirt, nice top and appropriate shoes.

What a funny and conniving daughter we have! Makes me proud.


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