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It’s the little things

September 2, 2010

A few months ago, my younger son came back to my place wearing flip-flops his dad had bought him. They were the cute, cheap kind you get for a few bucks that you wear out during the summer and then they fall apart right as it’s time to start wearing socks again.

My son loved those flip-flops. In fact, he refused to wear any other shoes–to the playground, to church, to a wedding, inside the apartment.

I hated those flip-flops, because every day he wore them he fell in them. He’s got rows of new knee-scrape scars, and scabs on his elbows, and bruises everywhere from tripping in those flip-flops. (In a particularly tragic event one morning last week we were walking to the switching spot, and he saw his dad and started running, yelling “Daddy is the coole–UH!” and skidded across the pavement. Oops.)

On Friday night as I was getting the kids from their dad, one of the flip-flops broke. Completely, with no hope for repair.

Tears, wailing, gnashing of teeth from the boy. And secret joy at liberation from the bruise machines from me. Until his dad picked him up, gave him a hug, and said, “We can buy a new pair next week.”


If I veto the new flip-flops, then LOD can’t keep his promise to our son. I clearly can’t do that. So instead I’ll just hope we get a cold snap soon and he has to go back into shoes with socks.

I am really wishing I’d told LOD how much I hated those stupid flip-flops so he’d known not to promise new ones.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. BratGrrl permalink
    September 2, 2010 10:06 am

    Shoes. My STBX is a shoe fanatic. He always had more shoes than I in our closet. And while I roamed the aisles of Payless — by choice back then, by necessity now, due to my diminished income — he was at the name-brand stores. When I got irrationally ticked off was after we split and he was taking our daughter out to get shoes. Every weekend, it seemed, she was coming home proudly sporting a new pair. I felt as though he was showing off, being the “better parent.” Saving receipts, no doubt, so that he could prove to a judge by his expenses how much support he doesn’t owe me.

    Funny how things have changed, now that custody has been decided and the acrimony has decreased somewhat. Our settlement amount hasn’t been solidified, but I hardly care anymore if he whips out some receipts in court to make a point. My memory now is imprinted with the glorious look on my daughter’s face when she’s had time with daddy, just the two of them. Because now there’s two “stepsisters” and a little brother who make such occasions as shoe shopping few and far between.

    So, that’s why I found my lips blurting out, after I’d taken her on a back-to-school clothes shopping spree last week, “Perhaps Daddy can take you out to get shoes.” The strange part of it was that I not only wanted her to have that joy, but I wanted my STBX to feel included in her preparations for school. They set a date and talked about it incessantly whenever they were on the phone. I was happy to be a part of that. Corner, consider yourself turned.

  2. Krissy permalink
    September 2, 2010 10:26 am

    One thing that struck me forcefully about this post is how easily it could have been written by someone still happily married. My husband and I have different things that drive us batty, and if we don’t get around to mentioning them the other can keep going and going until we want to put a fork in our eye.

    I am hoping lots and lots of people considering divorce without considering the outcomes carefully will read this blog. My parents were divorced and did NOT co-parent well. At the end of the day they believed the 1970’s myth that the divorce would rid them of the minutia of parenting and partnering negotiation, in which they were not at all compatable and often totally inept.

    What they found, and HATED about life and partially about me, was that the minutia remained, only now instead of pretending to try and get along and see the other person’s side, they had to deal with the minutia in an environment rife with open hostility and vicious resentment.

    I don’t know if the divorce was self-indulgent or necessary, but I know that in the being-parented department, it did not improve things. My post-divorce life was the pre-divorced life with all it’s disharmony and ineptitude PLUS severe abandonment issues. “Divorcing for the kids”, my butt.

    I’m glad things like this are bucking the 1970’s leave-your-life-behind-and-start-over myth.

  3. September 2, 2010 10:52 am

    I just found your blog, thanks to a friend, and I’m so happy you two are doing this! I’ve been co-parenting with my ex for a while now, and we have a (dare I say it?) congenial, even friendly, relationship. We live close to each other, freely come and go from each other’s houses (for kid-related things), even still spend time together as a “family” (dinners, clothes shopping, sports events and occasionally a trip for a night or two). I am continually amazed by how many people find this strange or assume that it means “things aren’t really over” between us. But they are, we’ve each moved on, found other people to share our lives with (who, thankfully, understand the desire to co-parent in a friendly way) and The Kid is very clear that her two happy households are better than the one unhappy one. And that’s what its all about: The Kid. And her happiness and emotional well-being. Our ‘stuff’ can be put aside for a few hours to give her the best of us.

    I find it very, very sad that co-parenting and actually getting along is not more common. I too, tried to find resources, advice, kindred spirits in this crazy co-parenting journey, but there is soooo little out there. And so much anger, cynacism, rage and just plain vitriol. So much wasted energy.

    So, thank you. I look forward to reading your blog . . . I’ve already found some very interesting stuff – like the blogs about why my ex always HAS to call when he’s missing The Kid; and why I hold back, not wanting her to feel guilty that I miss her. I’ve SOOOO LIVED those moments!!


  4. Somekindofmom permalink
    September 5, 2010 10:32 pm

    I am not divorced. I’m a happily married mom of 2. But I have been reading your blog since your first post, and I am completely hooked and intrigued.

  5. LOD permalink*
    September 6, 2010 11:24 am

    I’d like to say that I reacted purely to please the child and promise him we’d replace the flops that he loves so dearly. But the fact is, I was mostly thinking frugally. I’d already bought him a pair of Crocs that he won’t wear because they gave him terrible blisters. So the idea of buying new sandals that he could only wear for a week or two before school starts struck me as a waste.

    So he needs shoes that 1) are good for the water and 2) he can put on in two seconds. If a cheap pair of flops can fill the need until fall, I don’t see the lasting harm in a couple of spills.

    Besides, he has to learn to walk in those things some time, right?

  6. Bonnie permalink
    September 6, 2010 2:09 pm

    Well, at least your child can fit into flip flops. My 20 month old has feet so thick and chunky that they don’t fit into anything except extra-wide mandals in the summer. I’m not sure how we’re going to make it into the fall and winter, because the only other pair of shoes he has are boat shoes from the Gap with the elastic bits entirely shot (and therefore too wide for any child to wear without falling off, except my child.) 🙂

  7. mom2boy permalink
    September 7, 2010 5:49 am

    “My son loved those flip-flops. In fact, he refused to wear any other shoes–to the playground, to church, to a wedding, inside the apartment.”

    You don’t want to deal with the fight over making him wear shoes you want him to wear even though you think the tripping and falling is bad?
    I’d agree that isn’t a divorced c0-parenting issue, just a parenting issue. But maybe that’s the point.

  8. Shelley permalink
    September 7, 2010 9:07 pm

    My daughter has a pair of flip flops she LOVES that I DESPISE for similar reasons. Unfortunately, the damn things are Nikes and won’t wear out.

  9. anon permalink
    September 8, 2010 2:56 pm

    How I agonized over telling him the flip flops were not good for a toddler still unsteady on his feet. He was so proud of that first pair of “shoes” that he had procured for his Boy. I can’t remember if they were a little too big or if it wasn’t yet warm enough to wear them, but they sat in the box on the counter for a couple of weeks. The babysitter and I would look at them and dread the day they would come out of the box. I understand very well that bumps and bruises and scars come with this stage, but setting him atop flip flops to develop motor skills at top speed on cement is placing him at an unnecessary disadvantage. I finally got up the nerve to crush his pride by asking if he still had the receipt, could we please exchange them for some sandals with velcro straps? He was visibly disappointed, but agreed it was best. I hated doing it, but decided it was worth the avoided bloody knees and elbows, and that awful noise you hear when a little skull hits the sidewalk.
    This is while we are still living in the same house. I fear the ever changing list of decisions that will have to be agreed upon while living separate lives (flip flops, of course don’t even make the cut). Which differences are worth approaching, possibly causing conflict and which do you let go of (or suffer the consequences of) in favor of keeping the peace and respecting your co-parent’s “style?” Moxie, I’ve been following you for years. I’m so thankful for this new window into your co-parenting journey as I need the resources and role models now to turn this into lemonade for my son. Thank you.

  10. September 8, 2010 7:52 pm

    Dude, get him some Keens. Seriously. They WILL NOT WEAR OUT, and he can wear them in the water or to school. Get them a little large and they’ll last 2 years. We swear by them. Kids’ sizes cost like 35 bucks, well worth it.

  11. September 8, 2010 8:45 pm

    Kid loves the flip flops. Kid falls often. Oh, well. Unless he’s creating such a fuss with the injuries it’s impacting your life? If so, say “Hey, kid. Flip flops your choice. Not another peep when you fall.” If he deals with the consequences of his footwear quietly, then try and let it go. Wonder if flip flops/ knees actually not the problem; maybe you are worried about co-parenting decisions and are therefore kind of extra-focused on this? I think you are a good writer, and I think that this story, written by a parent who thought it kind of funny that so many injuries are caused by a much-loved object, would be the kind of minor event elevated into a lovely anecdote that marks a graceful blog. But the underscore of fretting/worrying/wishing you had thought of warning LOD that you didn’t like the shoes has me wondering. I think divorcing, however amicably, is wrenching. I think the shoes are representative of this. Let the kid enjoy his shoes. Be present for your kids, of course, but focus more on yourself, maybe?

  12. askmoxie permalink*
    September 9, 2010 11:31 pm

    JE, interesting. I didn’t see any fretting or worrying in my post at all. Just annoyance at those stupid flip-slops and the brief taste of freedom of being done with them and then the crushed dream when the new flip-flops were offered. Plus, I purposely put this up because I knew ever still-together couples would understand. I wonder if you’re bringing something else into it?

    mom2boys, the difference between happily putting on shoes after one request and lollygagging and putting them on after multiple requests is huge. Plus I kept hoping he’d get the hang of them and stop tripping. Naivete, probably, but his older brother never liked flip-flops so I never had to deal with it before.

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