Posted by: Kate | January 26, 2011


OK. I take two weeks off from the Madhouse, and I come back to a topic as wildly uninspiring as shoes? Gah. Hopefully it’s more inspiring for the rest of you, because I’ve been running at a solid blank for two full days on this one.

I think we might have reached the last-ever Mom-purchased pair of boots for my daughter.

It happened two years ago, so I never gave it the slightest thought at the time. Sometime in mid-fall – because God forbid you try and find boots when it’s actually cold out – it just got added to the list: “Milk from Stop & Shop… Drop off library books… New boots for Emily…”

And so I’m sure we went and argued – because she has had an advanced allergy to all things girly since about age 8, and you go try buying 8-year-old-sized boots that aren’t in any way, shape or form girly. And lest you think I’m overspeaking, the last pair I recall purchasing was stark white, and earned her seal of approval: no flowers, no hearts, no pattern at all, just white moon-boots sorts of things. We had to bu them online, because all of the stores in the area were deemed hopeless. Then they arrived and – wait, you might want to take a deep breath and sit down first – there was a flower in the footprint.

You go ahead and try to imagine the epic tantrums and power plays that came out of that one. She actually asked if she could try to file them down or something. I offered to let her freeze to death instead, and after several days she decided that, fine, warm was better, and if she kind of scuffed her feet while she walked, she could hide that offensive flower anyway.

Thinking about it, that might well have been the last pair I bought. This year she’s wearing an all-black pair of LL Bean boots handed down from my sister, and so I’ll keep that in mind for when she outgrows them.

The problem is, she has reached the age that I deemed – at 6:00 in the morning on Monday, so I’m a bit inordinately proud of this – Tease or Freeze. She admitted, for the first time, that the other kids have started to tease her for wearing snowpants and boots to school. And I actually felt my mother, from six hours away and probably sound asleep, step out of her body and take over my face, because I’m absolutely certain that the that’s-just-stupid look she used to use, whenever I moved into some new trend or fad that didn’t make sense, slid onto my features like a mask. I was able to shake it off fairly quickly, I hope, because I do remember how miserable those times are, when cool starts to matter and it means making decisions between things like warmth and acceptance.

The snowpants problem, by the way, has already been attacked by the carefully planted suggestion of stretch pants or tights (“Ahhh! Not tights! Noo! Too girly!” “…OK, then just stretch pants.”) underneath her jeans. But the boots, there’s really no sort of Cool Kids Subterfuge available for that: you either wear them and be warm, or you wear sneakers and shiver.

And I can’t argue much with her on this one, because I don’t, actually, own a pair of boots, myself. I have a pair of my dad’s cast-offs that fit me well enough if I’m actually going to be in the snow or cold for any amount of time, but between a serious aversion to cold (I have Reynaud’s Disorder, so I actually can claim an allergy to cold) and a physical disability that makes romping around in the snow a challenge, I just stay inside from October to March and that seems to work out just fine.

I’m hoping she’ll continue to let me buy boots for her for a couple more years, at least for at-home use… she’s growing fast enough in a million other ways without taking that one small privilege away.

Hey, look, it’s Wednesday, and I’m not only up and online, but it’s before 9:00 in the morning. Shocking. Are you on the Madhouse list yet? Want to be? Did they post this week? Go see…

Allison – Allimonster Speaks
Barb – Spencer Hill Spinning & Dyeing
Batty – Batty’s Adventures in Spooky Knitting
Dave – Notes from the Field
Eileen – Art Deco Diva Knits
Evil Twin’s Wife – The Glamorous Life of a Hausfrau
G – Not-A-Box
Haley – Aimless Tangents
Heather – She Flies With Her Own Wings
Jennifer – Ask Poops, Please <–Please note address change!
JMLC – Daydreams and Ruminations
Kate – One More Thing
LC – LC in Sunny So Cal
LeeAnne – This is the life…
Lisa – As If You Care
Louise – Child of Grace
Marcy – Mittentime
Melanie – usually, things happen
Nikki – Land of the Free, Home of the Depressed
Peri – knitandnatter
Sara – yoyu mama


  1. Welcome back to blogging! And, hopefully, a bit of normalcy in your world. I’ve got the perfect blog post for today’s madhouse … but I’ll have to wait for Mag to get home so I can take her picture. 🙂

  2. Thank God, I thought the same thing! I thought it would be rude to say I found “shoes” uninspiring to whomever suggested it as a topic. I did my best…

  3. I’m afraid I kind of forgot it was Wednesday when I posted this morning … hopefully next week I’ll be more on top of things and be able to get back into the Madhouse!

    How old is Emily again? 11? Look at Uggs (or the cheaper Ugg knock-offs) and see if she likes those better. Personally, I think they’re as ugly as all get-out, but everyone I know who has them says they’re really warm, AND they’re ridiculously popular among the tween-teen set, AND they’re not girly at all. And they’re from Australia originally. Doesn’t that automatically make them cool?

  4. Nice to see you back here. If I were still blogging I could’ve done something on the power of shoes handed down over generations- all of the women in my family have zillions of pairs of shoes and when times are tough, we go shoe shopping together- but I’m not. At least not there. Still blogging food though.

  5. It could be worse. She could be demanding high-heeled designer boots. Sadly, “pre-teens” are not too young for this.
    The term pre-teen creeps me out. I’ll shut up now, or I’ll get started on a rant about marketers coming up with terms that sound like developmental psychology but have very little to do with it.

    It’s good to have you back.

  6. Finally posting a comment on your blog 🙂
    Buy her boots from the boy’s section……

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