Monday, August 13, 2012

Getting Off on the Right Foot

I, like many of you, get a million catalogs in the mail each week.  Many of them end up in the trash and some I read cover to cover.  One I especially enjoy reading through is the One Step Ahead catalog.  While I find most of their items out of my price range, I also find many unique items that I cannot find at just any baby store.  Flipping through the One Step Ahead catalog one day I found a great product for my little ones.  In fact, it was one of those products that I look at and wish I had thought of it because it is so simple yet I had never seen it before.  They are called Shoezooz Educational Shoe Stickers.  They are stickers you can place inside the shoe and they are made up of three farm animals, a pig, a sheep and a cow.  The front of the animal is the left foot and back of the animal is the right foot.  The pair of shoes will then fit together like a puzzle.  Apparently you can also find it on Amazon.

Getting shoes on in my house and getting out the door in a timely fashion can be quite an ordeal.  My boys are almost three.  They all wear the same shoe size and in turn I buy three pairs of the same shoe.  Around 2 or 2 and 1/2 they started taking their shoes off and every now and again try to put them on.  I often found their goal was simply to get a shoe partially on their foot and often that would be the wrong foot.  Trying to explain to a two year old how to tell the difference between left and right seemed like a lost cause.  The problem was compounded when I would put two left shoes on one child and not realize it until I got to shoe #6 (sadly this has happened to me on more than one occasion).  At that point I then have to chase around my other two guys to see who has two right feet and sort it all out!

While I do not expect my two year olds or even my three year olds to know left from right I saw these stickers and thought what a great way to introduce the concept.  Left and right is hard to explain but telling my guys go find the pig shoes or go find the cow shoes, that makes sense to them.  When I first got the stickers the boys were closer to 2 and 1/2 and they did not care that there were any animals in their shoes.  This is when I discovered the added bonus of the stickers.  I could easily grab a pair of shoes and know that I had a left and a right because I could look at the picutre inside.  Now I know this seems silly, a grown woman should be able to easily ascertain left from right and put shoes on her toddler.  In my life, I have six shoes all the same size, shape, color etc.  When I am trying to get out the door and load three toddlers into the back of my car, the struggle to get six shoes onto the correct six feet is harder than one may think and is usually the longest part of "the getting ready process."  When I am trying to find one pair of shoes I am also having three different conversations at the same time that can range from "pick me up" (sure I can find and put on shoes one handed) to "more yogurt melts please."  These stickers have now survived the entire summer in my guys' sandals and have not shifted or come out of the shoe at all.

Now, as my boys are approaching the age of three (just three more weeks), they are starting to understand the direction of  go get your shoes and I am thrilled to say that they not only bring me two shoes but they bring me an actual pair of shoes (one complete animal) and they will request which animal they want to wear.  Something as simple as getting their own shoes is a major victory in my house.