Home > Uncategorized > “When did water shoes become standard issue for the American child?”

“When did water shoes become standard issue for the American child?”

The Husband asked me that last night, waving the little pink (of course) plastic pair. I’d had to drive 30 minutes to find the last available pair in The Child’s size in the greater Boston Metro area.

She went last week to visit family at the beach. Water shoes are an indespensible item, apparently.

I’ve never been a beach kid. My family pretty much eschewed the beach for camping so I find the ocean and the culture of beach-going a little foreign. The Husband — who grew up in a very beachy family — informed me that when he was a kid, you either wore an old pair of sneakers (Keds) or went barefoot.

I could see the conversation was about to unspool into one of those “things were so much simpler when I was a child” rants that every human over the age of 29 seems unable to avoid.

So I thought about it. And answered: “Probably about the time that used syringes started showing up on the Jersey shore?”

I’ve decided that this will be my self-set goal for the next three months. To really think about any nostalgia-driven laments about childhood and contemplate why things are different now.

I know some things are worse and some things are better. Helmets for bikes — YAY! (One of my friends, K., swears they are stupid and campaigns against them. But the fact of the matter is that the total number of childhood deaths are way way down since they started instituting them.) Car seats — YAY! Video games — BOO! THose LeapFrog talking book things — BOO! Being allowed to roam around the neighborhood for hours and hours on end without supervision…. uh…. still trying to find a balance on that one.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 16, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    I agree lots of things are better.

  2. August 16, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    With you on all of it. All the little accessories blow my mind, and I haaaaaaate those leap frog book things. I’m still back and forth on the last one, too. I can only go day by day; things feel right when they feel right as they’re getting older. I start thinking too much and I get very anxious…

    It kinda weirds me out that my children have somehow discovered and enjoy the “swim shirt” and “water shoes” thing, but less sunscreen and fewer jellyfish threats are the upside. And my kids want to wear giant boots in 90 degree weather, so I guess they’re just wonderfully weird right about now about fashion…a whole other issue, though…

  3. August 17, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    We are camping people too, but that just means that we ended up spending lots of time around rivers etc and thus water shoes have always been part of the kit.

    Alas I made the mistake of buying in to the whole Croc hysteria for this past holiday as a replacement for my previous water shoes… I must be the only person to say that I find Crocs uncomfortable (as well as ugly)

  4. aguane
    August 17, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    I agree with everything except the leapfrog book things. My son loves them and he loves to read regular books too. The leapfrog ones have been a lifesaver on more than one airplane trip – a set of headphones and his leappad and he’ll be occupied for hours. He likes them because they teach various other facts more than he likes to listen to them read him the story – for that he’d rather his father or I read to him, or he’ll puzzle out the words himself. They certainly haven’t harmed his intelligence / ability to to read / ability to function in the world. I don’t know that they’ve helped it either, but I’d rather him puzzle through a leappad book than sit and watch a dvd/tv.

  5. August 19, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Not just the beach. The park too. I remember as a kid I used to love walking barefoot in the park. The feeling of grass under my feet was just sublime.

    Now, we worry about glass shards and needles. So my son has to keep his shoes on. Sigh.

  6. john
    August 19, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Gotta say that the water shoes are excessive, even with the Jersey shore needles. If you wear sandals you wont step on them, and if they are floating, well, shoes arent enough. What should you do, wear body armor at the beach?

    Also, helmets for kids may reduce deaths, but enforcing a rule strike me as nanny state brig brotherism. Rather be free than safe here.

  7. robyn
    August 21, 2009 at 2:58 am

    bike helmets save lives. i’m an avid cyclist and i’ve seen plenty of crashes [been in a few], child and adult. it’s just as important as using a seatbelt or carseat. if they do fall, inspect the helmet for dents or cracks. ONE CRASH AND ITS TRASH- replace if damaged. also after 3 years, the styrofoam dries out and loses its integrity.
    if they get in the habit now, they’ll be safer cycling as adults when they’re riding in the streets with 4000 lb vehicles on their left.

    as for water shoes: at the beach, i can see the point [glass shards, needles, cans]. but they’re required at POOLS and i don’t get that at all.

  8. Patricia
    August 21, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Ok, last year I thought the same thing. We were playing on a beach near Wellfleet in Mass. Some of the kids had shoes on, some didn’t. My daughter asked to go with out her shoes since she wanted to swim. I thought that was a reasonable request and told her it was ok. Not sure if you can tell where this is going, but about five minutes later she stepped on an oyster shell. (not glass, needles or cans) Five hours later (including 90 minutes sitting in traffic) she had 7 stitches in the bottom of her big toe and our vacation with water and sand was over.

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