so today . . . i handed out the seatwork to my kindergarten students, and then went back to my desk to give them time to do a little bit of work before we started reading groups. soon eugene was standing in front of me with one of his papers. "yes?" i asked him. "can i help you?"
"this is weird," he said. "why is he wearing shoes in the house?"
huh? "i don't understand. what do you mean? who?"
"look! he is wearing shoes in the house!" so i looked at the paper he was holding, and sure enough, the little boy was wearing shoes. in the house.
this is the seventh year i have taught kindergarten at my current school using this particular curriculum, and this is the first time anyone has noticed that the boy is wearing shoes in the house--probably because that really isn't the focus of the picture. we have had discussions about his choice of toys, we have had discussions about him smiling while picking up his toys, we have even had discussions about if they should use crayons or markers to color it. but no one has ever noticed the shoe thing before.
"yes he is," i said. "some people do."
eugene persisted--"but why?" so i replied with the only logical answer i could think of. "to keep their feet warm," i said. eugene thought for a minute and then told me, "we don't--do you?"
now i am not quite sure what to say. because we do wear our shoes in the house, but clearly at eugene's house they don't, and that seems normal to him. if i tell him that i keep my shoes on when i am inside, will it be the beginning of a rebellion in his five year old mind? will he go home and refuse to remove his shoes, because "teacher ms. julie wears her shoes in the house."
(you may think i have a somewhat inflated view of my importance, but trust me, i don't. it is almost scary how these kids remember things that i have said, and then act on them. i try to use my powers only for good--like telling them that i don't watch scary movies and that peas are delicious and that i always feel better after i take a nap--implying that they should avoid scary movies, eat their peas, and sleep during naptime. but they seem to be more influenced by the fact that my favorite color changes every day, and that i like taylor swift songs, and that i wear skechers.)
so i sort of hedge my bets--"yes, i wear shoes in my house, but i have dogs."
eugene has fish, not dogs, so he accepts that explanation and heads back to his seat.
the truth is, we tried the shoes off thing after we had our carpets cleaned last time. we have really light cream colored carpeting in our house, and when they were done cleaning it, it looked so good! so we decided that if we would just take off our shoes in the house, it would stay nice looking longer. which may be true, but we didn't find out. because it wasn't long until we were back to wearing our shoes again. for us, it was just too much of a hassle. it seemed like usually when we came into the house, we were carrying books or computers or food. and that made it hard to stop and take off our shoes. and if we did, then we had to carry them upstairs to put them away, and then carry them back downstairs to put them on. and then we realized that the dogs weren't wiping their feet before they came in. and while their feet are small, between the two of them they have eight--and yes, there are more dog feet than people feet here!! so eventually we just stopped doing it.
i think if you have dogs, you have to wear your shoes in the house--especially if you also have a doggie door--because you never know what surprises may be lurking just around the corner. and there are some things you just don't want to find with your bare foot--even if it is wearing a sock! there are sticks. and leaves. and the water splashes from their water bowl. and milk bone crumbs. and bits of chewed up toilet paper tube. and plastic eyeballs they have removed from their stuffed animals. and the stuffing from the stuffed animals. and the occasional, but inevitable result of eating grass. and sometimes, when milo is really stressed, we will even find a dirty sock that he has liberated through the mesh of the laundry basket.
and then, of course, there is the dog hair.
i am guessing that if you have fish, you do not have these issues. and so at eugene's house, they don't wear their shoes inside.
but i do. because unexpectedly stepping on a soggy chewed up toilet paper tube in your bare feet is not something you want to experience more than once. or ever!