Monday, July 23, 2007

Left and right

As I've written before, there are a variety of milestones that children and their parents reach. First baby steps. Potty training. Going to school. First lost tooth.

We hit another today with both girls simultaneously. They both learned to tie shoe laces.

I know, I know, at nearly seven and nine years of age, they should have learned this ages ago. I agree and it had been a point of discussion between Pete and me many times.

And why the delay, you might ask.

I am left-handed. The only southpaw in the household. All the others are right-handed.

Just so you righties understand where I'm coming from, let me be very clear: Left-handed people tie shoes backwards from you people. Actually, y'all tie backwards from us, because our way is really the correct way, even if we do comprise only about 10% of the population.

I can remember when I learned to tie shoes about a century ago (okay, it was about 1974). My parents are right-handed and, even though they tried hard, I just didn't get it. So my Aunt Kathy, a fellow southpaw, was called into action. I can remember us sitting in my grandparents' living room, working and working and working until I finally got it.

So, teaching the girls to tie shoes became Pete's project and something I've been reminding him about for a few years now. Given that I did the bulk of the potty training on my own (with lots of phone calls to my mother), I thought it was only fair to hand this one thing off to Pete.

But it didn't get done and it didn't get done and it didn't get done. To be fair, I didn't push the issue. The girls' shoes are all pull-ons or have velcro. Even Graceful's riding boots zip instead of tie.

But Graceful is going to soccer camp next week and her cleats have laces, not velcro. As it is, she's probably going to be one of the few girls who's never played soccer on a team before, and probably the weakest player there, so she's going to be a bit behind the curve. No sense in making it worse with the damn shoe-tying thing.

So on my "to do" list of the week, I made a note to make sure both girls learn to tie shoes (sort of two for the price of one). At dinner tonight, I announced that lessons would begin after dessert. There was actually an ominous silence, and Elegant looked worried, as if I had just announced that floggings were imminent.

Graceful grabbed her new cleats, still new and untouched in the shoe box and brought them downstairs. We're all so germ-phobic that we decided that learning to tie on new, unworn shoes was about as clean as we could get. Father and daughters sat out on the screened porch and got busy. Less than 10 minutes later, Graceful walked in to show me her success. Elegant followed a few minutes later.

Whew, I'm so glad it's done. I was feeling a bit sheepish about the whole thing.

Now, if we could just get the training wheels off of Elegant's bike...


Aims said...

Hey! That's good to know. I am also a lefty and my sister says that watching me do things like write looks bizarre, so my kids wouldn't have a hope. Here's a funny thing - if your first teacher is a lefty, chances are you'll turn out lefty too, as you'll copy how they write as you learn.

Happy Working Mom said...

Some of this stuff is hard to do! We've tried a couple of times to teach my daughter, but it hasn't clicked yet. Maybe this winter when she unwillingly gives up her flip-flops for the season she'll get it.

Josie said...

I can remember how challenging it was to teach Wonder Boy how to tie his laces - I'm a righty, he's a lefty.
Now, at 17, he leaves them tied and slips his feet in and out of them....