Must document.

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

I look back dreamily at the days when Ian could put on his shoes, any shoes, with or without socks, and run out the door. This is not our reality today.

It actually started with his pants. He started asking for his pants to be rolled up, and if they weren’t high enough, or they would start to come unrolled, he would cry (scream).


Then, he started to become sensitive to clothing if it got wet. It had to be removed immediately or he would cry (scream).

Last Sunday (cannot believe it’s been less than a week), it was the shoes. Shoes he’s loved for months. Shoes that are not too small. Overnight, all shoes became the enemy.

It’s not that he just doesn’t want to wear shoes. In a way, that would be more manageable. I would just take him places where it’s safe to not wear shoes to play.

He WANTS to wear the shoes, but they must be TIGHT. He’s excited to wear the shoes. We put on his socks, put on his shoes, and lace or velcro them in as tight as we can. The whole time, he’s sitting on his bum, enthusiastically saying, “Yes! These are working!” Then he stands to test them out. One, two steps. “Oh no! They’re moving!” Cry (scream). It seems he does not like to feel his heel move in his shoes. He looks behind him, down at his heels, constantly.

I bought mukluks, thinking hey! These are just socks with soles. Fail. He doesn’t like the feeling of the sewn part of the mukluk.

And socks are more successful but also a battle. He says, “There’s something in there!” and we have to check them again and again, trying to find the tiniest spec of whatever. Or it could just be an extra thread.


This is preventing him from enjoying most activities outside of our home, including soccer, which is just heartbreaking. We had a bit of a breakthrough at soccer yesterday. After tears at home and tears in the car, we made it to the field. I set up camp just above the soccer field. I had his soccer cleats, his “Super Why” shoes (blue Carters from Target), and he was wearing thick knee socks. I calmly explained that we could try either shoes, or he could play in his socks or barefoot. I let him know that it was totally fine to have big feelings and to cry, but there was no crying on the soccer field (otherwise he’d never stop). If he needed to cry or take a break, I was right there. At first, he couldn’t make it to the field without melting (in his cleats). Then he would play for one minute. Two minutes. I think it helped to have the cry boundary. He would snuggle and cry with me, then he would want to “Watch the kids.” He cheered on his teammates.

Finally, another mom suggested he try playing in his socks, (I’d only suggested it 100 times but who wants to listen to their own mother?) and he was off. Played like a champ for 30 minutes. I’m so happy I didn’t leave before that miracle. Part of my challenge as Ian’s parent, is when he melts down (which can be, like, a LOT) I default to we gotta get the hell outta here. No one wants to hear a screaming kid. We’re ruining everyone’s good time. Yesterday, I was brave enough to stay, and it paid off.

Ian’s coach was wonderful as well. He said Ian definitely has a passion for soccer, and we owe it to him to work this out. I agree. Now I feel like at least we have a game plan for as long as this shoe thing lasts.

As for me, I am struggling (honesty alert). I feel like, out of all the kids I know, I have the most challenging child, and I’m playing the victim. Is this normal? What did I do to deserve this? I must be a horrible person to have created someone who is so big, so loud, so demanding and now, so very sensitive. Out of all of my friend’s children, my kid has the loudest cry, the shortest fuse, and the strongest hit.

This line of thinking gets me nowhere but down, I know. I’m starting a weekly parent support group in the hopes that I can feel less crazy and less alone. As soon as I feel like I have foothold on my relationship with Ian, it all comes crashing down again, and it truly feels unfair. Frankly, I spend the majority of my days not enjoying this journey at all. Do other moms feel this way? Like they can’t wait for it to be over?

I love this boy. I am in awe of this boy. He’s completely wonderful. And I’m terrified of him.


2 comments on “Shoes

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