Now I am no Imelda Marcos. I like shoes (and especially boots) a lot. Mainly, I suspect, because as my body shape has fluctuated from hot air balloon-like around the births of the boys, to saggy deflated balloon in the subsequent years, the one part of my anatomy which has remained constant are my feet. And therefore shopping for footwear is a lot less depressing than shopping for clothes. So, I like shoes but I don’t love them. I have summer footwear, and winter footwear and of course the MOB-ligatory wellies. And that’s it.
My boys, however, appear to have, nay, need, a plethora of foot apparel for every occasion. They have…
1. 1 pair of school shoes
2. 2 sets of trainers
4. (Mainly unused) plimsolls (it said on the school uniform list you had to have them)
6. Assorted football boots, mostly missing studs
7. Walking boots
8. Sundry slippers
9. 1 started out as ‘good shoes’ but rapidly relegated to ‘old’
Not to mention that pair of sensible shoes which I purchased in the sale and which they absolutely refuse to wear. You know, those.
Our house, and particularly the shoebox where we sling our shoes, is positively ‘oversploding’ (as Feisty Fellow puts it) with footwear. Slightly smelly, definitely scuffed, always muddy, boys’ shoes.
And I wouldn’t mind if they were dinky ones, sweet little sandals or pretty ballet pumps. But no. The boys shoes are huge. Hulking lumps of grey black leather, lurid red football boots with angry-looking studs, Velcro-clad nylon that always smells of sweat.
And I also wouldn’t mind my shoe mountain if the offending items were actually worn, appropriately and willingly. But no.
‘Right boys, we’re going out. Put your shoes on!’
‘Which ones shall I put on mum?’
‘Whichever you like… we’re going into town.’
‘OK. I’ll wear Crocs.’
‘Crocs? But it’s pouring. Your socks will get wet. Wear your trainers.’
‘But I don’t like my trainers, and anyway they’re wet from yesterday.’
‘OK then, your walking boots.’
‘They give me blisters…’
‘Left them at school.’
Give me strength. We leave the house. They’re all wearing wellies.
Today, for the second time in six months, I took eldest Sensible Son shopping for new trainers. I realised, to my horror, that his feet are now bigger than mine. For a split second I was excited at the prospect of pinching his fleetingly worn hand-me-downs. A split second, before I vowed that I would not be the beneficiary of any of his ex-footwear. His second hand soles will be going to his brothers who are less bovvr’d by the state of them and have a less astute sense of smell.