My seven-year-old is notorious for ignoring his shoe laces as they drag on the floor, in a puddle, or outside on the playground. How does he do all the things a kid does throughout the day with his shoes untied? How does he not notice that? Isn’t that annoying to him? Maybe it’s just annoying to me. And maybe it’s just my kid that does this. When I see him at the end of the school day, I think to myself, “Don’t those long dangling laces get in the way? Don’t they cause him to trip over them, lose balance, and fall?” I wonder if his shoes ever come off when he’s running, jumping, and climbing on the playground? I wonder if after tripping over those laces again and again, he doesn’t make some cosmic connection that all he needs to do is tie his shoes for less hassle, less nagging, and the most important, for walking ease. I don’t get it, but I refuse to give up on this battle, allow dirty laces in complete sprawl to go untied all day.
And even as untied laces are a slight source of frustration for me, for my seven-year-old, I’ve noticed that those same seemingly insignificant laces apparently fascinate and peak a sense of curiosity when they are not a source of mild conformity, begging to be laced and tied in shoes. What does this all mean? Apparently when those same laces are out of my son’s shoes, they instantly become a puzzle, a fantastical bendable string with elastic wonder and endless revelations of play. How is this possible? How can said child be so curious about the curl and bow of these laces while he pulls, turns, and ties them in his hand, but could care less while they pull, turn (untied), and drag lazily beside his shoes on the ground?
Parenting is often baffling. These curious things that kids get into and we adults wonder about do not have rhyme or reason because “play” is determined naturally, with objects that peak children’s innermost curiosity. This mundane “task” of tying shoes (mainly because mom, dad, or a teacher) asks him, is not high on his priority list of curiosity or play. I suppose at seven-years-old, keeping shoes tied is not very interesting, not fun, and certainly doesn’t compete with pulling those same laces out of shoe eyelets and letting them curl about, winding in and out of his fingers in the shape of bows, dragon tails, string battles, and whatever else that young mind conjures up.
Just keep playing with those laces son, a mom can only hope through practice those curious fingers learn to tie bows and knots, keep those shoes tied all day, just as masterfully, as you do in play.