The one where I realise I’ve never taught Belle how to tie shoe laces

how to tie shoe laces

The other day we were in the living room, getting ready to go out. It was one of those annoying situations where you’ve told everybody you want to leave the house at 2pm sharp, and at 2.05pm your boyfriend says he just wants to clean his teeth and your teenage daughter is stomping about, looking like leaving the house with you is really the very last thing she wants to do in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD.

(Interestingly, I have spoken to Belle about this and she assures me that even during the moments when she’s looking at me with eyes that say ‘I want to stab you with a fork’, she really doesn’t dislike me at all.)

Belle was putting her shoes on. I was watching in that irritating way that mums do when they want to make a point about being in a rush.

The shoes she was putting on had laces, and as I watched I realised she was tying said laces in no way I had ever seen before.

“What are you doing?” I asked, bemused.

“Tying my shoe laces,” she said. Shooting me a look that made it very clear she thought I was the stupidest person she had ever met. (But presumably didn’t mean that at all really. See brackets above.)

“But what are you doing?”, I said again. “That’s not how you tie shoe laces!”

“What are you talking about?” said Belle. “That is how you tie shoe laces.”

“It’s really not,” I said. “When you tie a shoe lace you make a loop, like a tree, and the bunny runs around the tree and pokes his head through the hole…” I trailed off, realising I was probably lacking gravitas.

“Er, no,” said Belle, “you make two loops and then just tie them together in a knot like this,” and she demonstrated, making two loops instead of one, and then tying a knot.

“But how do you get them undone?” I asked.

“You just pull an end,” she said, pulling one. The bow fell apart like normal.

I had to admit that it was a pretty cool way to do it, and in fact it seemed much simpler than my bunny around a tree method, but I had literally never seen anyone do it before. How had she learnt it?! And why wasn’t everyone taught that way?

Had I really never taught my own daughter how to tie shoelaces? And if I haven’t done that properly, what other crucial wisdom might I have forgotten to impart? What if one day, when she’s a grown up, I discover that she’s been trying to start a family by leaving crusts outside the back door for a stork? 

There really should be some sort of checklist for this sort of thing.

Image –  NYS/shutterstock




  1. 1 March, 2016 / 9:42 pm

    We should not feel guilty for the things we neglect to teach our offspring; as this affords them opportunities to discover and learn things for themselves; which is essential for their well being. We can spend endless hours trying to impart life’s mysteries upon our children; trying to give them a hand up; a short cut to being a fully rounded young person; but this can often be to no avail eg try as I may, our kids just don’t get my music. As for the way your daughter ties her laces; I have always tied mine that way, although I do feel that I am somehow lacking , in not knowing the “proper” way.

  2. 2 March, 2016 / 2:45 pm

    Eeks! Not even thought about that one…was hoping mine would just miraculously just figure that out for herself one day? #wishfulthinking

    • Jo Middleton
      3 March, 2016 / 10:19 am

      There you go see, no one tells you you have to actively TEACH these things!

  3. Loops
    2 March, 2016 / 3:01 pm

    Heehee! I used to quote the mantra ‘tie a knot, make a loop, wrap it round, and pull it through’

  4. 2 March, 2016 / 9:28 pm

    It only occurred to me after I bought my son a cool new pair of lace up trainers- they were a Clarkes Sale bargain, I was so pleased with myself! Luckily he’s a fast learner

  5. 2 March, 2016 / 11:40 pm

    My daughter is 16 and I never taught her how to ride a bicycle. She has a go at me from time to time about this.

    • Jo Middleton
      3 March, 2016 / 10:20 am

      Haha! That’s exactly the sort of thing I’d do. There should be more classes for that sort of thing so we can shirk more responsibility. If it wasn’t for lessons neither of mine would have ever learnt to swim…

  6. Annabel
    3 March, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    Ha! Finn got sent home from St. Mary’s with a ‘how to tie laces’ book (think they were trying to tell me something) which had this same weird method in it. It’s two bunny ears apparently-whatever. It’s loop tree, rabbit around tree, in the hole. FACT. This is the method I am enforcing regardless of how much better the two bunny approach is.

    • Jo Middleton
      3 March, 2016 / 7:51 pm

      What is WITH the world? Is this like phonics or weird methods for long multiplication that they teach kids nowadays that I don’t understand?! What’s wrong with the rabbit around the tree?

  7. Faustine
    21 June, 2016 / 9:38 am

    I tie my laces just like Belle! I honestly cannot remember my parents ever teaching me how to tie them… But it works just as well as the ‘traditional’ way (which I won’t even attempt now, it just looks way too complicated..)

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