The moral of the story
Grace springs through the front door.
“I have Princess Shoes!!!”
We look down. Bright silver, covered with sequins. Those are some fancy shoes, all right. Wooo-eee. The other children make all appropriate noises of wonderment. Grace prances about, delighted.
Emma and I are less so. We had a long-ish walk planned for the tots. Emma checked Grace’s bag for the sports sandals that her sensible parents usually send along on the days Grace demands frivolous footwear. None. Not a sensible shoe in sight. Hm.
“They are my Princess Shoes!” Grace declares again, so very proud. We agree that yes, those sure do look like princess shoes! And wow, are they pretty! And sparkly!!
“The problem is,” I say, easing her off her peak as gently as possible, “that princess shoes are not always very comfortable to walk in, not for a long walk.”
We consider her feet.
“I can walk!!!” Grace, supremely confident. Grace, of course, has no idea. In her four-year-old mind, her Princess Shoes make her happy, so her shoes will be fine, just FINE! Mind over matter!
The question is, will those shoes still be making her happy after 3 km? Pfft. Showing appalling lack of faith, I, unlike Grace, am quite confident those shoes will be contributing to acute misery within a kilometre and a half. I note to Emma that we can always take them off and let her go barefoot if they start creating problems. Grace resists this notion.
“No, I can wear these! They are my Princess Shoes!!” Her lip starts to quiver.
Emma kneels down in front of Grace. “They sure are. That’s sort of the problem. Princess Shoes don’t act like real shoes, you know. Remember Cinderella? As soon as she started running away from the ball, what happened?”
Grace pauses, then her eyes widen.
“One falled off!”
“Exactly! Princess Shoes are like that. They’re very good at looking pretty, but not so good at acting like real shoes. So. As long as your Princess Shoes act like real shoes, you can wear them. But if they start acting like Princess Shoes, we’ll just put them in your bag and you can go barefoot.”
Emma? Is a genius.
And Grace? Walked home barefoot.