Let’s Face It, Braces Aren’t That Cool

Why did we all want braces when we were kids?  Seriously!  For some reason, there was little cooler than prancing into school with a fresh line of metal across our teeth.  What’s the deal with that?  Was it because we felt like we were getting older when we got braces?  Was it a sign of maturity?  For me, the coolness wore off pretty quick when I realized how much braces sucked. 

I got my first set of braces when I was in the 4th grade.  I definitely needed them because when I smiled I looked like that dude from Napoleon Dynamite.  I had head-gear, neck-gear, bionators, and retainers all (in my own head) helping me climb the popularity ladder.  Never mind the fact that I could never really eat anything in public because it got stuck right smack dab in the middle of my teeth.  Forget the fact that every time your braces get “tightened” it’s nearly impossible to eat anything cause it’s hurts so good (thanks John Cougar). “Want an Apple?”  No thanks.  “Here, have a Jolly Rancher!”  I wish.  Oh yea, and sorry Mom and Dad for those bills…ouch.

Braces today are still cool…but they still suck.  There are all sorts of options now that we didn’t have when we were kids; color, clear, ceramic, backside mount, etc. Today, they are designed so you don’t have to look like Jaws from the old James Bond movies like I did.  A little nine-year-old girl rollin’ into class with pink teeth is pretty cool, until she tries to eat of course.  I’m pretty sure it won’t be long until our kid’s braces light up in the dark or help with math homework.

So, next time you see a kid with braces, tell them how cool they look…let’s keep this strange infatuation with braces going strong.  And next time you see a kid that doesn’t need braces because their teeth are perfect, make sure you let them know how unfortunate they are. 

We wrote the parody song, “When I’m Big I Want Braces” with all of this in mind.  It’s our ode to this topic.

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Kids Shoes: Velcro This!

What’s the deal with kids shoes?

When we 30-somethings were kids, choices for shoes were pretty basic. In fact, “choices” is a bit of an exaggeration. Before the age of 6 or 7, I don’t ever remember choosing my shoes. My Mom would simply buy a pair and I would put them on. I have vague memories of going into a shoe store and having a shoe guy measure my foot on one of those cold metal things, but I certainly don’t remember a lot of shoe choices. It just wasn’t a big deal. Back then, you pretty much had basic looking shoes (maybe with a stripe or two) in nice solid colors with some laces.

It occurred to me the other day that shoe choices for kids have gotten out of control when my 6-year old son Michael was yet again searching for his much-often misplaced shoes. The conversation went something like this:

“Dad! I can’t find my Iron Man shoes”

“Where did you last have them on?”

“I don’t know”

“What’s wrong with your Spider Man shoes?”

“They’re not as cool”

“Why not?”

“They only light up in 1 place instead of 3”

You’ve got to be kidding me. Shoes that light up? Shoes that have wheels? Shoes with super heroes on them? Maybe I was too busy actually playing outside as a kid, but I sure don’t remember these options.  And I think I was a pretty happy kid – so having cool shoes with built-in disco balls doesn’t correlate to happy children in my book. And why is it limited to just kids? If these shoe options are so cool, why not have fluorescent work shoes with an imprint of the cast from Modern Family wrapped around them?

And what’s the deal with Velcro? I’m pretty sure Velcro was around back in my days as a kid, but I sure don’t remember being able to strap my shoes with Velcro in place of laces. What kind of message are we sending our kids when all they need to do is strap and go? Tying your shoes was one of the biggest moments in a kids life back when we grew up.

Cross one way. Then the other. Make a loop. Go back through. Tie tight.

The dependence on Velcro is dramatically affecting a child’s ability to seek independence in the form of tying one’s own shoes.

And yes, this shoe obsession is a big reason why we wrote “I Wish I Could Tie My Shoes” on the new Juice Box Heroes CD. Rick Springfield’s original 80s hit “I’ve Done Everything For You” was the perfect tune to create a parody about kids shoes (originally written by Sammy Hagar , by the way).

OK, I’m going back to my office now in my boring, black, lace-up shoes.

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