No Sugar Added: The agony of the feet

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If the stock market had the same rate of growth as my children’s feet, we’d really be living large.

Today I had the pleasure of, once again, making the annual pilgrimage to the ski shop; to grimace as the ski shop boys (can they really be called men when they say things like “dude” and “that’s a really nice set-up you’ve got there”) placed the foot-measuring devices lovingly under each of my sons’ feet.

I say lovingly because, indeed, the ski shop owner must get a toasty feeling in his heart every time I show up at his doorstep. Every centimeter those feet grow equals another hour on a Caribbean vacation. As ski shop boy would say: “Sweet!”

Generally, when we go through this ritual, I hold my breath and feign blindness.

Today, I got off easy. Amazingly, the first child’s ski boots (the one with the “really nice set-up” going on), still fit him from the previous season. Even though they were indeed purchased last year in a size that was meant to last him through two seasons, one is still generally shocked when this impossible dream comes true.

It’s like winning the lottery. Or a free turkey at Thanksgiving.

Child No. 2, Charles, has thus far in his young life grown at the rate of a small cactus. Just enough each year for the pediatrician to give him the green light, while secretly wondering whether I am feeding him on a consistent basis.

Yet, in spite of this non-spectacular rate of physical maturing, his feet always seem to grow at a rate more proportionate to his hair. So, yes, this year, (even though last year’s snowboarding boots were meant to last two seasons), we are once again forced into – drum roll please – the next size. This not only means the next size boots, but the next size bindings.

Ka-ching. I can hear the coins draining out of my piggy bank as I type.

I’ve considered the ancient Chinese method of foot bondage, or perhaps forcing my offspring to spend their free hours sporting those torturous prima ballerina shoes and walking around “en pointe,” (clearly, dancing on one’s toes must hinder foot growth), but I just haven’t had it in me to be quite that cruel. Besides, someone would report me to the authorities. Most PTA mothers are just waiting to find something that will force the good people at DHHS to lock me up and throw away the key.

Foot bondage might do it.

Having to outfit growing children with athletic footwear and apparel is one of the banes of parenthood. Luckily for me, my eldest child, Ophelia, has now completed her growth cycle. Unless she begins eating copious quantities of McDonald’s food in the near future, I don’t see her getting much larger than her current proportions. And her feet stopped growing years ago. (An event so heartwarming, it brought tears to my eyes.)

With the exception of skiing and snowboarding, if a sport requires the purchase of additional footwear, I say, “Just say no!” Basketball sneakers for $95? No. Track shoes with inflatable soles for $140? No. It’s not that I am completely against organized sports. But, unless my child is head over heels in love with something like baseball, football or hockey – forget it. It’s not happening.

I have seen the deal go down too many times. The little minxes want to play the sport to buy the rockin’ sneakers. Before the forms have even been filled out, before the ink is even dry on the liability waiver, they’re talking about the cool sporting footwear they’ll be requiring.

Well. Forget that one. What happened to Converse All-Stars? What happened to multi-purpose footwear?

My son Harold is not going to be the next Olympic sprinter. I know this, because I have trouble even getting him to take in the mail. I am certainly not spending money on running shoes that could be used to feed a family of four for a week.

If the shoe fits, wear it. And send a wish to the Universe that it lasts for more than one sporting season.

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No Sugar Added is Cape Elizabeth resident Sandi Amorello’s biweekly take on life, love, death, dating and single parenting. Get more of Sandi at or contact her at [email protected]