Daddy Needs a New Pair of Shoes


On Saturday, I bought my first pair of Rockport shoes.

I bring this up for two reasons, and neither of them to brag. I bring this up because this is the first time I spent more than $100 for a new pair of shoes. And I bring this up because of just how much I was hosed by my old pair of shoes.

I finally broke down and bought Rockports because my old pair of shoes suddenly started letting water in through their soles, and a quick check confirmed that the treads had cracked. But what gets me is this: I bought these shoes in September. I thought I was being rather savvy when I did. They were made by Aldo, looked pretty stylish, and cost me eighty dollars.

Forty dollars per month of footwear seems an excessive amount to pay, doesn’t it? If my Rockports last longer than three months, I’ll have made a better deal. And at least this shoe seller (in London) has promised to stand by his shoes.

It seems to be a truism that when it comes to buying shoes, you can have style, you can have durability, and you can have an inexpensive price, but you can only choose two of the three — and sometimes not even two. But surely you would expect a pair of $80 shoes to last longer than two months? And not meet the fate of my previous pair of shoes, which also cracked in the sole and let the water in? I swear, it’s getting to be as bad as buying a new DVD player. Sure, your average DVD player may cost about as much as a premium DVD or two, these days, but should the DVDs outlive the DVD player by as long as they typically do? Am I expecting too much of this capitalist society to deliver the goods at a decent price?

Oh, what am I saying? Of course not. The modus operandi of this society is to get as much as one can grab with one’s grubby little protuberances.

On the other side of the coin are those items which do last — which indeed last so long as to outlast their usefulness.

I’ve come to the conclusion that new parents have a part of their mind secretly surgically removed during the birth of one’s child. Perhaps the doctors come and take it away when you’re not looking, too busy cooing at the little bundle of life. Because, I’ve decided that we as new parents are entirely too taken with cute little utensils that we cannot suppress the urge to supplant our crockery and cutlery with a complete duplicate set made specifically for baby. You know the ones I mean: plates with separate compartments for each individual item of food, and miniature forks with Dora the Explorer on the handle?

The thing is, Vivian is two, going on thirteen. She refuses to sit on booster seats or high chairs whenever we go into restaurants. She has figured out a way to climb into her own high chair herself. And she is perfectly adept with using an adult sized fork. Sure, she has to be told again and again that forks are not for spearing mothers’ forearms, that food is not for flinging, and that a hamburger is an item to be eaten all at once, and not reduced to its component parts and eaten separately, but she knows how to use a fork, and can eat off of one of our grown up plates. And that’s what she typically does, these days.

And today, I was washing dishes and putting them away and spying the Dora the Explorer plates stashed in the corner, and I was swept with a wave of nostalgia. You remember when your daughter used to eat off these, I thought to myself. And then I realized: she hasn’t eaten off of these in weeks. And then I realized: she’s two. I have perfectly serviceable pants that are older than her. All I can say is that I am proud that we didn’t go for formula, and didn’t stay too long on rice and cream of wheat cereal. Vivian was on solids early, and is quite proud to eat grown-up food.

I can understand the high turnaround new parents engage in when it comes to baby clothes. Until the clothing manufacturers invent accordion trousers, there’s no way that Vivian is going to wear an item of clothing for more than a few months. A dress that went to her knees six months ago now makes for a decent shirt. And we’ve entered into some sort of strange circle of life arrangement when it comes to baby clothes. I’d say about three-quarters of Vivian’s wardrobe wasn’t bought new, but was in fact donated from parents with toddlers born six months before Vivian, and who knows where they got them. And some lucky parent will eventually be getting ahold of four garbage bags full of perfectly serviceable items to wear.

But what about these cute plates? These cute cups? These cute little utensils? Somebody has taken us for chumps, I think.

But then, they are just so cute, aren’t they?

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