Wednesday, May 25, 2011

an experiment in sibling rivalry

Back in late March/early April, Wolfgang and I went out and got him a coupla pairs of shoes for track season. A pair of expensive trainers and a pair of expensive racing flats. Here's an image of what the expensive trainers looked like after not many weeks.

What's wrong with this picture? Anyone??

Answer: There's only one shoe. Shoes come in pairs because feet come in pairs, and somehow, Wolfgang managed to lose one of the new shoes, rendering the shoes formerly known as "pair" totally useless.

Surely, the other shoe will show up, I thought. Surely it's in a lost-and-found. Surely a janitor or a teammate found it. Surely it will be returned. Surely no one would want just one shoe.

*Long exaggerated SIGH*

Track season continued. The lost shoe never showed. Wolfgang wore a pair of one of the coach's shoes (eew). Track season ended.

And now Wolfgang is looking ahead to cross-country for next fall. He wants shoes. Again. I don't typically have a problem supporting these extra curricluars, in fact we rather encourage them within reason. But it's painful for me to think that there are two perfectly useful halves of a hundred-dollar pair of shoes floating around out there all separated and lonely like a couple of sad cracked mitzpah pendants.

So yes, we will buy him a replacement pair, but I think there should be some consequence. He's going to have to pay something somehow.

A winter ago or so, Chaco lost a perfectly good and nearly new winter jacket in a similar way of the lost running shoe. Rather than have him learn his lesson via hypothermia with possibility of death, we bought him another. There must have been some consequence, but I couldn't remember, so I asked him.

"Mmm... nothing", he replied, probably wanting to forget. "I learned my lesson and haven't lost anything else", painting a pretty picture of himself. "Why?", he wanted to know.

"I was just wondering what Wolfgang will need to do to replace his running shoes", I informed. "You say 'nothing'?"

OH, how the perspective changes!

"Well... I mean... I'm sure I had to do SOMETHING! Plus, I NEED a jacket, he doesn't NEED running shoes. He should have to.... and .... or..... ", etc. etc. etc...

Maybe that should be the policy. If someone loses something out of carelessness and needs it replaced, we'll have the siblings choose the consequence. Might be fun to watch at least.


  1. Oooh. One brother gets to set the punishment for the other. Nice experiment in sibling justice. I definitely think he needs to have some skin in the game (aka pay a goodly portion for the new shoes). Perhaps you could get him somthing in pink with lots of bows. If he doesn't like those options, there is always Wallyworld...

  2. I. Love. This!

    We're gonna do it here!

  3. I didn't catch that one--I thought what was "wrong" was that the shoe wasn't dirty, after a few weeks, indicating that Wolfgang hadn't been going to track (maybe spending alot of naughty time with a girl instead)!

  4. Sounds very much like one middle child that lives in my house! Can't tell you how many shoes, jackets, back packs, calculators, etc, etc, that have been lost in his lifetime.