Tweaking the Shoes, and the System

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Two weeks ago, I wrote about my new system of organization for the kids.  I was very excited about the printed questions hanging on our wall designed to place the burden of accountability back on the kids.  This, after many prior new “systems,” I thought would be the answer to living a harmonious and organized life for our family of six.

So this morning I found myself asking this question: Why was I parked illegally in the school parking lot with a butter knife and a Heely (a cross between a tennis shoe and a rollerskate) in my lap with six minutes until the school bell rang?

Let me answer that for you.

Wyatt has three pairs of shoes. We call them the brown ones, the blue ones, and the Heelys. They are all tennis shoes and all appropriate choices for school – except if the Heelys have their little wheels that snap into a hole in the bottoms. No Heelys at school because then a kid could roll around instead of walk, and maybe get hurt.  So this morning, as we were leaving, the only shoes Wyatt could find were his Heelys, which would have been OK if it had not been for the fact that the specially designed tool that comes with them to pop the wheels out was lost long ago.

Because he didn’t do the checklist the night before and didn’t have the opportunity to ask himself question No. 3 – “Do I know where my shoes are?” – it hadn’t occurred to him until we were walking out the door that he in fact, did not know where his blue or brown ones were.

So I did what any other mother in a hurry with limited shoe options for her child would do. I grabbed a butter knife and yelled at Wyatt to get in the car.

At the first red light we came to, I tried stick the butter knife under the wheel and pry it out on my lap.

No luck.

Wyatt sat nicely in his pants, sweater and socks in the backseat, knowing my success in removing the wheel was directly tied to how much trouble he would be in for not knowing where his other shoes were. He was also nervous about going to school with Heelys and was sort of thinking out loud when he told me, the wood chips by the swings at recess would be easy to remember not to wheel around, but the smooth cement on the way to recess, that would be very hard not to wheel on.

He was still strategizing as we approached the carpool line with the volunteer dad motioning us to pull forward to the front of the line. I didn’t look or wave, I felt too weird having a shoe and knife on my lap.

I pulled into an adjunct parking lot next to the big dumpster, just in front of the “No Parking” sign, and got to work.  Like a challenge on the reality TV show, “The Amazing Race,” Wyatt and I felt the pressure of the clock.

After several attempts, I gave it my all and then – POP! – the wheel flew onto the floor and Wyatt said, “Good job, Mom!”

With four minutes to spare, we hugged and he jumped out of the car with his shoes tied tightly. He joined the other students, none of whom, I’m sure, had any question as to the location of his or her shoes this morning.

I still believe in the new system – we’re just working out some glitches. Like actually using it.

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  1. Dear Jill,

    Great story about the Heelys. Tip – if you will just turn the shoes upside and sideways and use both thumbs to apply slightly upward pressure to the side of the wheel, it should pop out pretty easily. The tool is convenient, but isn’t really necessary with the right thumb technique. Good luck!!

    A Heelys Dad with three Heelys boys.