Not Manolos. Not Jimmy Choos. Plain shoes. Everyday shoes. Shoes for a boy with aspergers. How hard can that be? Quite difficult as it turned out. I know to be careful about shoes. He does not want to part with his current pair, even though there is a hole in one of the soles and they are one size too small. Shoes have been purchased before, and then rejected as uncomfortable days or even hours later.
It's taken me several months to persuade him to go shopping for shoes. And he had to pick December 23rd! Luckily his big sister agreed to mind Smiley, which meant special time for him with Mum and access to all the children's shoe departments that don't have lifts...yes really!
But who knew there were so many ways in which shoes could feel uncomfortable. His toes hurt, or the heel moved, or the shoe 'compressed' his feet. Or they looked wrong, they weren't cool or he didn't like the colour. We trudged up and down the busy shopping streets of Dublin weaving in and out of the Christmas shoppers. Thanks to the recession there were no queues in the shoe shops, and the patience of the staff was inspiring. They'd watch him twisting this way and that, reason with his issues, bring different sizes and different styles. I photographed the boxes so I would remember which shoes were on the 'possibles' list.
Finally in the last shop I thought we'd found 'The Pair'. Ok so the shoes weren't completely black. They had red and silver flashes on them, but I figured I could get those past the school. They had laces, but hey, he's 10, it's time he learned how to tie laces. He was delighted with them.
"They're really comfy Mum."
The assistant showed him how to tie the laces. Several times.
"But I can't see where the second loop comes from!" he said. Over and over again.
That's when I realised. These shoes would not do either. Aspie boy is very anxious right now. He follows me everywhere, including outside the house when I go into the garden, whether it's to hang out the washing, put nappies in the bin, put the bins out, or leave Smiley out to the bus. He won't wear shoes in the house, so they have to go on each time. And that would be completely unmanageable with lace ups.
By this time it was 10 to 1 and I was feeling faint with hunger, never a good time for me to make a big decision. So we came home with no shoes.
But we did return home with a long sleeved T-shirt with Yoda on the front. This purchase increases his choice of winter outfits by 50 per cent, and is thus a good thing.
And as for the shoes? Well we'll just have to do it all again another day..