While BJ was at preschool, I took BB to the shoe store. I needed to hit DSW -- my feet haven't ever returned fully to my pre-pregnancy size, so very few of my old pairs fit anymore, and one can only wear flip-flops and loose clogs for so long -- but I was not looking forward to this errand at all. Bringing a toddler to a place where every single item in sight tempts her to pull it off the shelves and take it out of the box? And this is BB we're talking about; you can't leave a pair of shoes on the floor for five seconds without her trying them on. Add in wide aisles, perfect for running amok or running away? Um, yeah, sign me up for that.
But I took a deep breath, reminded myself of the "easier with one kid than with two" parenting rule, and headed into the store. Whodathunk that we'd have a fabulous time?
I started at the clearance racks, of course, and as soon as I found a pair to try on, she immediately took off her own shoes and pulled down a wonderfully tacky pair of pink heeled thongs. "I too! I too!" she exclaimed. She was absolutely delighted.
As she paraded around, giggling, I was able to peruse the shelves with some level of focus. (Shocking!) I paused now and then to put away what she'd taken out, but much of the time she put it away herself before I could get to it. (Even more shocking!) "Time for another aisle!" I'd say when I needed her to move on.
Soon she was echoing me on that, too. "Time anodder aisle, Mommy!" And off she'd go, clomping about in another shiny pair of shoes, often leaving one of them behind in the process. (Cinderella ain't in it, I'm tempted to say, simply for the sake of S recognizing the obscure literary reference. Know thy audience, indeed.)
Then, glory of glories, she discovered the little padded benches that are scattered around the store so that you can sit down to change your shoes with some level of comfort. Turns out those angled mirrors on each side of the bench are perfect for a toddler's innate narcissism. Plus the bench makes a great "horse." She'd clamber up, grinning, and ask me, "What BB didding?" (What am I doing?) Then, before I could answer, she'd give her best "giddyap" hand gesture (the same one she's been using as a sign for "horse" since she was very small). "Neeigh! Neeigh!" she cried. Scramble down, scamper over to the next padded bench, repeat.
I ended up finding a cute pair of green suede clogs, but I'm not sure if I'll keep them. Upon examining them at home, they don't seem quite as "neutral" as I'd convinced myself they'd be. Right now, my wardrobe (and the family budget) simply doesn't have the resources for a pair of shoes that need to match with an outfit. So I'll probably be taking them back.
Not that BB will mind returning to the shoe store; I think she would have been perfectly content to stay there all day. The only trouble we ran into was when I told her it was time to put on her own shoes and socks so we could leave. She refused and started to wail. After unsuccessful pleading and cajoling, I picked her up, put on the offending footwear, and bundled her towards the cash register. She was FURIOUS -- howling, crying, kicking, the works! (Yes, she's approaching two. Whatchagonnado.)
After I hustled her to the car and strapped her in her carseat, I left the van door open while I hurried to put away the stroller in the back of the car. By the time I'd finished and returned to try to calm her (less than a minute or two later), she had taken off both sneakers and tossed them. Out of the car, into the parking lot, a good six feet from the car.
Think "No shoes, no service" applies to a child under two? Because when I go back to return the shoes and look for a different pair, I'm considering just bringing her barefoot!