Understanding Shoe Strings

It is as easy as 1+1….or could it be more difficult like a^2+b^2=c^2? Whatever it was she was having the most difficult time understanding what her mommy was saying. Bunny ears? Since when do shoe laces morph into bunny ears? Seriously!

Penelope was a big kid, really. 3-years old now and she had already completed her transformation into big girl underwear. She could recite the entire Pledge of Allegiance, the Lord’s Prayer, and the ABC’s for goodness sake! But this shoe tying business was quite the undertaking. She focused while her mommy showed her for the fifth time now in 20 minutes! It seemed ridiculous that this was so challenging.

Why wouldn’t those bunny ears – shoestrings, to be precise – cooperate with her?! Penelope thought for a moment. If her mommy was telling her that the shoestrings had suddenly become bunny ears when she started to tie them, then maybe there was more to this shoe tying thing than meets the eye. Penelope realized that maybe she needed to befriend the shoe string. She was going about this all wrong before!

Penelope watched her mommy again. This time she watched her mommy’s attitude toward the shoe strings. She realized that Mommy treated the shoe strings firmly, yet was kind, so as to not hurt them. Maybe Mommy didn’t want to hurt the shoe strings’ feelings! She realized that Mommy only needed to tie her shoes once a day. And, in return Mommy’s shoe strings stayed in good condition for her and lasted longer….allowing their relationship to last as long as the shoes!

Penelope looked at her own, old, worn out shoe strings. She realized that she never gave them any thought before now, except when they would untie for the zillionth time in any given day! She would become frustrated at the shoe strings and run all over them before Mommy would call her over so she could tie them for her. Mommy was always nice to her shoe strings. She would even remind Penelope to be patient so she could tie them well. And then when Mommy was done tying her shoes, she would pat her foot gently on the shoes strings. Like she was reassuring the shoe strings! Mommy was looking out for them….being nice to them. And the bunny ears knew that too!

Determined, Penelope’s fingers changed as the tension that was once in her fingers eased, she relaxed and smiled at the shoe strings this time. She whispered to them, “Okay little bunny ears, I’ll take special care of you. But, we need to work together to take care of each other. I’ll be gentle with you, and when I finish tying you, then you stay tied to keep me safe. And if you flop untied I’ll make sure to carefully tie you up again. I understand now that you and I have a relationship! We help each other stay safe!” This time Penelope was successful. She smiled grandly at her mother once the final loop was tied. She exclaimed, “I did it all by myself Mommy!”


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