Jaynehowarth’s Weblog

Journalist and writer

Posts Tagged ‘growing up

School shoes: the agony (and no ecstasy)

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I am trying very hard to be patient and to be understanding.

I remember the pain and the sorrow.

I remember all too well the stand-up rows I had with my mother about them: both sides adamant that the other was wrong; neither would back down. It was like the OK Corral, but in a shoe shop.

The reason for this grief?  School shoes. I recall the shelves heaving with dreadful footwear that *no one* would be seen dead in: the “sensible” lace-ups with delightful crepe soles; the t-bars that no one over the age of eight would wear.  No – what every secondary school girl wanted to wear was the patent pumps with big Minnie Mouse bows (am I showing my age?).

Unfortunately, my mother with one eye on her purse and the other on the perceived longevity of this fashion attire refused to say yes. What I needed, she assured me, was sensible leather shoes that would keep my feet dry when it rained, warm when it snowed and were still appropriate when the sun was shining.

But – I was a near teen, going into what is now Year 7 and I didn’t want little girl shoes. It was an argument we endured at least once a year (depending on how long the shoes lasted). I can’t remember who won. I imagine it was 50/50. Maybe.

Fast forward *cough* a few years and I am having the same issues with my daughter. She is about to go into secondary school and does not want sensible Clarks. Fine – I don’t rate them anyway. But we are definitely at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to deciding what’s appropriate.

Do you think these Alexander McQueen shoes will go with my uniform?

Thin soled ballet pumps – as far as I am concerned – aren’t going to last when you are walking a two and a bit-mile round trip five days a week in all weathers. She won’t touch the Hush Puppies and I do sympathise: most are hideous or just too young (adorned with butterflies or silver hearts).

History is repeating itself. The stand-offs are probably hysterical to an outsider. I’m having palpitations each time we enter a shop; her body language speaks volumes. She can’t even look the shop assistants in the eye. I just apologise continuously.

Oh, that I could fashion a pair of school shoes that were right for a girl on the edge of teendom!

A plea to shoe designers: please save me from the embarrassment of another ding-dong of a battle in the middle of a shop. Is it so hard to come up with leather shoes that can satisfy mums and their fashion-conscious daughters?

Excuse me for a moment. I’m just going for a lie down …

Written by CommonPeople

August 7, 2010 at 7:59 pm

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This week I am letting go of my baby

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Today is the day my daughter has been waiting for for the past four years. It is the day that she and the rest of her school year go off away for four nights on their first school residential trip.
For her – and most of her friends – it is the first time she’ll have been away from home (staying away at grandparents’ for a night doesn’t count) for any length of time.
We parents had been to meetings galore, signed pages of permission forms, health and safety forms and medical papers, read letters and online communications about the trip.
With each extra piece of information, my daughter became more excited about spending four nights with her friends in the Lake District with teachers and a handful of parent helpers.
The preparation by the school, which has visited the same site and used the same adventure company for years, was faultless.
And although I couldn’t help but have a few pangs that I was cutting the cord a little more, I was happy for her to go.
The purpose of the trip is commendable: to develop independence and teach the children to work together. In just a few days, they will be ghyll scrambling, abseiling, canoeing, carrying out team-building competitions, taking part in quizzes. They are bonding, growing. They are starting to find out who they are, and who they could be.
There will be born leaders and those who are natural followers, but all will be pushed to find their potential. They are all nine and ten years old and are preparing for life beyond the cosseted world of primary school.
As they approach their final year in juniors, they will look like big fish in a tiny pond; they will outgrow their surroundings and will need to spread their wings.
My little girl and her friends are growing up. Fast.
Inevitably, there were nerves and all looked nervous as the coach pulled away from the school gates and parents waved them off. Amazingly, there were no tears from neither children nor adults. Not in public, anyway.
Of course, I miss her already. But I’m looking forward to her return. And I’m expecting many changes.

Written by CommonPeople

June 2, 2009 at 6:40 pm