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Little girl in her mother"s shoes

Filed Under , , , on December 27th, 2014

Spit-Shine Shennanigans

By Seth Kabala

Amy went into our main-floor bathroom on Monday to find Ella standing in the middle of the floor, bent over her new ballet flats, rubbing away with her sock on the outer skin of the shoes. Tiny food chunks clung to the shoes, becoming tinier and tinier, messier and messier, with each swipe of the socks. When Amy was close enough to take in the aggregate of the food, she concluded they comprised the harbinger of sickness: vomit.

Before Amy could say anything, Ella looked up and said, “I just have to clean my shoe off.”

“What are you doing?!” Amy said, disbelief in her tone.

“I just have to clean my shoe off,” Ella repeated, frustration entering her voice.

This cycle repeated several times, both daughter and mother growing increasingly frustrated with each other’s responses. Suddenly, Amy’s angry, puzzled/irritated (constipated?) expression gave way to realization. She asked Ella a specific question, got the answer she was expecting, and thought, This is all Seth’s fault.

I have a Pinterest board called “Shoes.” It has the leather and suede numbers, but I’ve also pinned wonders made of crocodile, lizard, and ostrich. Second only to dead, grilled animals on a plate are dead, tanned, and shelacked animals stretched into shoes.

My youngest daughter, Ella, 3, has begun developing her own affinity for all things fashionista. She picks out her clothes most days, color-coordinating well, and has to have a tutu as part of the ensemble. She thinks she’s ready to hit the stage with her big sister now (belting out Let It Go during Anna’s latest dance recital), but it’s going to be a couple more years, so the tutu must suffice–that, and the ballet flats, to which she shows the same devotion I show to my foot-ware.

The last step in my morning routine is to sit on the bench at the end of our bed and commence that day’s shoe treatment. Up until this point, aside from my time in the shower (Kids, “You shall not pass!“) and putting on my undies in the upstairs bathroom, the only room in the house with a lock (yeah, yeah, I know), Ella is glued to my side.

Embracing my inner cheapskate, I eschew commercial buffing products and opt instead for spit-shining with the day’s socks. Ella takes advantage of every learning opportunity, launching herself onto my back from her perch atop mine and Amy’s bed, remaining adhered until I’ve descended the stairs, whereupon I buck her off, straighten my aching spine, and daydream about BENGAY.

At first, I thought she had apprenticed herself to take advantage of this time while my back is still healthy, and I can physically support an irregular counterweight while in the bent-over position without having to wear a girdle the rest of the day and sign up for herniated disk surgery later in the year.

But no.

She wanted to get a birds-eye view of the spit-shine process. Remember Amy’s question? She asked Ella if she was trying to shine her shoes like Daddy, and Ella answered in the affirmative, creating fodder for this column and knocking me down several notches on the Seth vs. Amy Awesomeness Chart.

Ella’s self-study, however, lacked the knowledge that one’s mouth must be empty of anything but spit-shine lube in order for the process to work. Watch for my new parenting series: Spitting 101–everything you wanted to know about the proper etiquette of using saliva for fashion purposes.

Come to think of it, this could have pilot potential on Bravo.

Fabulous.

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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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