I’m finally starting to realize that one of my duties as a parent is, apparently, to repeat certain requests-cum-directives to my kids over and over and over and over and over again until my core temperature reaches its boiling point or the instructions are finally carried out. I’m not a fan of this part of the gig, but I know that no matter how fast or hard I spin the wheel, this particular ship isn’t changing course any time soon.
The three most frequently repeated phrases we all get sick of hearing, here at DADSCI HQ are:
1. “Go brush your teeth like we asked you to.”
2. “Go back to your room and turn off the light, please.”
3. “Okay, here’s the deal: you can pick up this mess or I can pick up this mess. If I do it, then I become the proud new owner of ___________.”
Those are just some of the countless (and I do mean countless) choruses I sing to both kids on any given day. And due to different personalities, individual foibles, and habits they each get their own tailor-made reminders as well.
The mantra my son hears from me the most (running a photo finish with: “No, you cannot shoot your sister in the head with your Nerf gun ‘just this once’.”) is: “Dude, tie your shoes before you trip and crack your melon.”
It’s constant, it’s never-ending, and it happens so frequently that I’m this close to recording it on my phone and playing it back when needed, just to add some salt to the stew. I actually became so perplexed last week by the fact that his shoes seem to always be untied, after reminding him three times in a 15-minute window, that I finally brought us both to a FULL STOP, took a deep calming sigh, and asked him to show me how he ties his shoes.
As is the case with most 9-year-old boys, he rushed through it and the first knot came apart, looking like a pile of wet spaghetti. It took two more tries before he got the bow to actually hold, and seeing nothing too wacky with his method from my point-of-view on the floor in front of him (though I suggested he pull the knots just a bit tighter), I shrugged, chalked it up to crappy laces, and we rocked on until the next time I had to remind him.
Thankfully, today I found this article online at Wired in which Bill Nye, of all people, addresses this very issue. As it turns out, it might be a science thing and not a voodoo curse after all. With Bill’s help I think I may have finally solved the Mystery of the Perpetually Untied Shoes.