Simply Shoes

Last week the kiddo got new shoes.

His well-worn yellow Crocs (which, despite their style fail, are pretty darn awesome as far as warm weather kid shoes go) were getting a bit too snug. EZ was a little iffy on trading in his beloved Crocs for a bigger size, and even tried to convince me they still fit perfectly, despite his pinched toes and red-marked heels.

That is…until we entered the Croc store: An entire store devoted solely to Crocs. The kiddo wasn’t even sure where to start. He eventually made his way back to the kids’ section, where I asked him to pick out a new pair.

It wasn’t easy. They had every single color imaginable, and there was a lot of hemming and hawing going on. Finally, he zeroed in on a pair of bright neon pink ones.

“These!” he declared triumphantly as he tossed them at me.

I just smiled and held on to them as he ran over to the little pins they sell as Croc decoration. That’s where the real fun started. There’s every single imaginable pin available, especially if it’s a Disney  or comic book character. We had to set a limit of 5, or else we’d be taking at least one of each home with us. It took a lot of serious thought before he finally whittled it down to his top five: Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Captain America, & the emblem for the fire department.

While pink is definitely not in my spectrum of favorite colors (ironic, no?), I do happen to love these shoes. I love that despite what other folks might think about them, EZ just picked out shoes he genuinely likes. He continues, completely unaware of the gender debates storming up around him, to make choices based on his own preferences rather than societal expectations or peer pressure. (A novel idea, eh? sigh.) I’m not sure how long this will last (especially in light of his recent concerns of what others think), but I’ll savor every moment while I can, and do my best to foster it.

So…he happens to like pink, big deal. He also loves superheroes and dreams of being a firefighter when he grows up. For him, the Crocs above? They’re simply shoes.

16 thoughts on “Simply Shoes

  1. Awesome! Basically all I get for my girls are crocs. We’ve done hot pink and basic red, blue, and purple. Next up: black mary jane style. Your son is lucky to have an open-minded Mom.

      • I may get one of their nicer adult styles that look like regular shoes instead of plastic clogs. I actually bought some of the faux fur lined crocs for the girls for winter because socks are like my enemy and I hate even thinking about finding matching pairs for my kids so screw it, I bought shoes with auto-socks. I like that they will last forever and I can pass them down to my sis’s kids and they’ll get used all over again. I also like that they can be put on/taken off without my help, and run through the dishwasher. Win win win.

  2. That’s awesome! We have similar boys, I think! My 4 year old son also loves super heroes (and trucks, and fire fighters), but he also LOVES pink – and loves sparkly, “girl” shoes. We live in NYC (Brooklyn) and yet when he’s gone out in these shoes I get people (mostly grown women) who shake their heads at me, suck their teeth, roll their eyes, even comment under their breath. I’ve had a group of women in their late teens, early twenties even express outright disgust! I try to shield him from these comments. I don’t even want him to hear this stuff let alone internalize it. But it’s getting more difficult to keep him in the dark as he gets older. The other component for us here is that my son has two moms. We are a lesbian headed household. And of course I worry that ppl will think THAT’S why he likes pink, even though WE know that is SO not true. Obviously your child/family points to that.

    • It always saddens me to hear about adults who respond like that. I can (almost) understand filterless kids saying something – or repeating the cringe-worthy phrase “pink is a girl’s color!” – but adults? You would think the concept of politeness would at least give them pause before saying something. I’m thankful for the little liberal bubble we live in, and always have to do a double take when we’re outside of it and somebody makes mention of EZ’s clothes/shoes/hair in a not-so-kind way.

      And then the media wonders where this bullying culture comes from 😦

      I’m so sorry to hear you and your wife have to deal with such BS in Brooklyn!

  3. I love them!

    And now I wonder: What colors would the Critter choose to wear, if he had the chance to choose? I ought to find out; most of his clothing so far has come second-hand from a friend or from grandparents. But he certainly hasn’t gotten the pink-not-for-boys message. This weekend, when asked what balloon he wanted to take home from a party, he chose a pink one, even though the asker was subtly steering him toward blue. (Green was also a choice.)

    And also: Why have I gotten so timid that I don’t wear such bright colors anymore? Though, like you, I’m not so much a fan of the hot pink, for myself, anyway.

    • It’s really been only the last year or so that I’ve seen him make these specific choices re:his clothes. He also loves wearing button down flannel shirts, bow ties, and thinks jeans are fancy. If it wasn’t for the Crocs, I would have assumed I somehow am raising a hipster! 😉

  4. Patrick LOVES purple…I encourage it 😉 He tends to pick out anything that’s purple if we are out…ice cream…food…art stuff…It’s all good! I love that E picked those out!

  5. I love that you let him pick exactly what spoke to him – choice is such an important thing for kids to be able to exercise, and it’s equally important for them to receive your positive regard.

    Now if only other people would get the message! It amazes – and probably equally-or-more enrages – me that so many adults feel the compunction to judge the clothing/color/toy/accessory preferences of children, That we have to actively try to protect our kids from and fight against the ridiculous gender notions that so many want to impose. I’ve noticed this trend even in friends/acquaintances who have little girls – they’d be horrified if anyone told them their kids had to wear dresses, but give a boy a baby doll or allow him to express himself in anything but blue/dinosaurs/whatever, and there’s that LOOK.

    Kudos to all you mamas who fight the system, and let your kids make their own decisions. This reflects so much better on you than any concern about the “gender appropriateness” of any item. If I run into any of you on my own streets, I can promise that you’ll only receive appreciative glances!

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  9. This is perfect. My now 8 year old son wore pink crocs for several years in pre-school and pink has been his favorite color since he was 2. I even washed his white underwear with the red load to color them pink for him to wear. However, since 1st grade, he now publicly states that his favorite color is red or purple. He has felt the peer pressure that boys can’t like pink since Kindergarten. This pressure came from his school friends and not from his family and it made me so sad when he came home telling me that kids in his class were making fun of him for having pink as a favorite color as a boy. It really is so hard to grow up but I think that all we can do is to create a safe place at home where our kids know they can be accepted as themselves.

    • It’s such a bummer when outside influences cause our kids to shy away from their true likes/preferences :/ I really think that the mantra “colors are for everyone” should be repeated in all grades and everywhere! Colors are just that – colors! They don’t inform sexuality or gender or anything like that. sigh. Sorry your son has felt that pressure. We walk a fine line with that ourselves here. And yes – here’s to creating safe environments where our kids can feel comfortable being themselves!

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