Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Black Shoe Shuffle

Hands up if you’ve looked at your child’s school photo and made a point of checking out the shoes. Aside from obsessives and shoe tragics like me who’ve been up half the night looking for a pair of black shoes to strap onto child’s feet I don’t think most parents register footwear.

It’s photo day at school today, and DQ no.3 has trotted off almost unrecognisable in her school dress with a hair tied back into a ponytail. Please note that I’ve achieved the almost impossible on the hairdressing front, with no lumps and bumps marring the smooth ponytail. Just to digress – maybe I’m just loosing my memory but I don’t remember being worried about bumps in my hair as a child but it does seem to be a terror that reigns high in our house.

On a normal winter’s day, the girls at the DQ no.3’s primary school have an option of either a unisex outfit of shorts and polo shirt, or the more traditional tunic dress and long sleeve polo. I love my daughter in her dress and black tights, however needless to say maternal yearnings do not count in the life of a nine year old and she is a staunch devotee of shorts and polo shirt, regardless of weather and knobbly knees turning blue.

It is not actually the dress that causes the consternation on the three days a year when school dress is mandatory, after all this is my third girl at the school and I could probably kit out a dance team in barely worn dresses. The factor that throws the household into chaos is the black shoes that are deemed the essential accompaniment to the dress. Every other day of the school year she wears trainers and being fundamentally a mean Scot I prefer not to invest in a pair of black shoes for three annual outings.

As I don’t learn from experience, it dawns on me at precisely the same time, 9.30pm of the evening before photo day that we have a black shoe problem. The children morosely line up all the potential black shoes in the house and in scenes reminiscent of Cinderella’s Ugly Sisters, DQ no.3 shoves her feet into shoes that are patently too small or too large. I flap around making helpful comments about how she could stuff the toes or wear two pairs of socks as she mournfully trials cast off shoes belonging to an older sister that make her look like a comic character from Disney.

As with all good pantomimes there is always the same punch line, in my case the desperate ring round of friends to find some black shoes that might just fit. Based on the distinctly odd line up of black footwear on display at school today I wasn’t the only mother with the same problem. I think a black school shoe lending library has merit as an idea or alternatively a rule that all school photos cut off at knee level.

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