Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Shoe shopping - figured out!

This is last year's school-shoe shopping experience, re-posted:

After a summer of flip-flops and Crocs, it is time for some new shoes. Bart is growing out of his sandals and Lisa's shoes are all missing; some went with her cousin back to Maine and others have vanished entirely. Shoe-shopping stresses Joe out. Not that he doesn't love shoes, don't ever get that idea. The boy has more specialty footwear than the rest of our family combined (light hikers, work boots, everyday boots, Sunday boots, nice sandals, lawn-mowing sandals...)

No, the stress comes from the kids, and by "the kids" I mean "Bart".
This child turns insane in a shoe store. Having inherited his father's love for shoes, he wants to try on each and every pair in any available size. He presents his bare toes, wiggles them and demands "choos!" Newly-shod he will then run laps around the entire store. I can catch him long enough to do the traditional toe-press fitting before he's off again. And new shoes make him FAST. Bart came equipped with a turbo-boost feature that allows him to outrun the casual chaser, you have to really be determined to catch him. Although I did learn that if you only put a shoe on one foot and leave the other bare he tends to run in circles for a while, making him easier to catch. My technique is to lie in wait at the end of an aisle and snag Bart as he rushes by, change his shoes and let him continue on his way.

Meanwhile as Lisa clomps past in a size 12 pair of red Mary Janes, I can usually distract her long enough to try on a pair that is her size. But as I'm checking out all the shoe options, looking for sizes and casually searching for anything cute in my size, Joe is the main referee of the Amazing New Shoe Race. He's the one that keeps the kids from pulling down displays, bolting for the emergency-exit, finger-printing up the windows and asking passersby if they have chewing gum. Isn't he a great husband?

This year I was not so lucky. Lisa got it into her head that ONLY the most ridiculously Disney-Princess-Or-Perhaps-Dora-Themed Shoes would do. The more licensed characters and blinking lights the better. Plus they cost at least twice as much as the ballet flats I was considering. I'm sorry but... no. I may let them wear Halloween costumes to the grocery store in February but I have to draw the line somewhere. After about 10 minute she had a complete meltdown in the store and we took both kids home - sans shoes.

Fortunately Kelsey from Vanilla Joy had a great shoe-shopping tip that inspired me. Why take the kids along at all? I think all the shoe choices stress them out and turn them insane. So instead, I measured Bart's feet compared to Lisa's. While she was at school I took him to the store with me. While he contentedly clomped around in a 14-sizes-too-big pair of rain boots, I picked shoes that fit him and estimated the size for his sister. I picked shoes I knew she would like and a style that she needed. My master plan worked perfectly and when presented with only one choice of shoes, she happily switched to the new ones without argument.

Lisa loves to name her shoes - so far we have had her Kicks (pink Buster Brown slip-ons), her Steps (clompy buckle shoes), her Slides (pink and purple sandals), her SlipSlops (interestingly, they're flip-flops) and now these. These are her Taps.


Pam said...

That is exactly what I did this year. Just bought Lil some totally adorable knee high boots. She didn't even know she was getting shoes.

Kelsey said...

Ooh, I'm so glad I could help. And those shoes are really cute! Where did you get them? Sometimes I think the kids shoes are the cutest in the whole store and I wonder why they don't make that exact thing in an adult size. I'll never know...

jeri said...

Kelsey, I got these at Target. They had really cute shoes for girls and boys. Payless only had 2 styles of shoes, Diego-themed and ugly-themed.

Sudar Clan said...

I almost bought those exact boots for Lily last week but decided on some other ones. I still think those are sooo cute.

Ali said...

So cute!!

And I, too, steer clear of character shoes, shirts, etc. The first thing I told people when I found out I was pregnant was that I would NOT allow character themed items at my baby shower, especially Winnie the Pooh diaper bags. I have softened enough to allow Lightning McQueen paraphernalia, but that's where I draw the line.

lori parkhurst said...

I considered getting those for my daughter when I saw them at target