Archived Story

Wear (are) your boots? [UPDATED]

Published 10:57am Monday, March 5, 2012 Updated 12:58pm Monday, March 5, 2012

At our house, we’re immersed in a winter boot conundrum. It all began in the backseat of my husband’s car — where the boots started accumulating like snowflakes on a driveway.

First one pair appeared. Then two. Like they were multiplying — in the backseat of the car. Go figure.

My husband didn’t think much of the situation at first. He spotted the boots and carried them into the house. It was the responsible thing to do.

But the boots materialized again and again. My husband smelled something foul and brought the mystery of the abandoned boots to my attention.

As with most whodunits, ours had one main suspect. The only person who frequently rides in the backseat of my husband’s car is our fourth grader.

The clues didn’t stop there. The errant boots just happened to be the same size as the fourth grader’s feet.

Add to this the fact that he’d been spotted wearing said boots in the early morning hours before leaving for school.

The final piece of evidence? He rides to school in (none other than) the backseat of my husband’s car.

We had him dead to rights without any need for an interrogation. My husband set the boots down next to the back door and gave me a satisfied smirk. We both knew he was thinking what I was thinking and vice versa. Mystery solved. Scooby-Dooby-Doo.

Every morning, we remind our little guy to wear his boots. Every morning, he reluctantly puts the boots on. Every morning he leaves the house wearing his boots. Ten minutes later, he arrives at school sporting tennis shoes.

This is because the boots, which are designed to protect his feet from the cold and are a necessary component of his winter wardrobe as well as critical to overall recess enjoyment, lie discarded on the floor in the backseat of the car. Sometimes more than one pair would amass because we have lots of boots at our house. We place a priority on practicing boot responsibility.

We understand when it comes to boots, there’s no denying the cold, hard facts. First, boots only work when they are worn.

They don’t do anybody any good (or keep anyone’s feet warm) when they are lying in a heap on the floor of the car.

Not everyone sees things this way. Boots may be warm, but tennis shoes are cool. At least according to a certain fourth grader who lives at my house.

My husband and I realize our son has been putting his feet at risk for hypothermia and frostbite.

We are further discomforted by the thought that his teacher and all other school personnel have witnessed him on the playground, sans boots, for most of the winter — knowing any parent who sends a child to school without boots is one irresponsible parent. Or in our case, two irresponsible parents. The joy multiplies.

Now that he’s been caught red-handed (or would that be red-footed?) our son recognizes the importance of wearing boots all the way to school — and while on the playground to boot.

As an added measure, my husband now checks the backseat before dropping our son off at school. Parenting: there are always new ways to hone your craft.

I thought we had this conundrum figured out. Score one for the parents and all that. Perhaps the teachers would eventually come to perceive my husband and me as the responsible, boot-loving adults we truly are.

Last week was spring break so we didn’t need to worry about school and winter footwear. This morning, I reminded my darling child to put on his boots.

He told me they were already at school. He’d left them there prior to spring break. They’d been sitting in his classroom for over a week, bringing our family to a whole new level of boot failure.

What could I do, except sigh?

I am hopeful today he will return home wearing boots. I say this with a wry smile familiar to those of us who have experienced the likes of boot wars in the past and will undoubtedly be back for a return battle in the future.

At our house, we’re trying to practice boot responsibility, we really are. But, you know what they say: If the boot fits …

 

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist and author of “The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication” Email her at pertmn@qwest.net

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