Friday afternoon found us in the car running errands. Just Lamp, the babe and I. Lamp was, as usual, talking talking talking talking. Like most parents I have developed the ability to listen, without really listening. Nodding and saying a yeah.....uh-huh... every now and then to feign having an actual conversation while mentally running through my daily to-do list. I don't mean to sound so flippant and like I don't care what my kids are saying to me, but really it's just a fact of life, a survival tactic if you will, with young children.
Perhaps she was already talking about ballet, I really don't know, but seemingly out of no where she said, Mom I want some ballet shoes.
But I actually heard her.
And I started thinking about it.
They're soft, they're cute, they have one little strap and I bet she could get them on all by herself.
She could get them ON all by herself.
Oh my gosh. Why hadn't I thought about this before?
Shoes....a tricky thing in Lamp's world. As you may remember, she was gifted several pairs of Freshly Picked Moccs last year which she loved. (And we still love). They are a brilliant shoe for toddlers for many reasons. However now that Lamp is a big girl she wants to do big girl things. Like putting shoes on by herself and most shoes, including her beloved Moccs, don't really allow for this. Additionally shoes are often very ornamental for her. She wears them in short spurts because you know, her feet are her hands. She really can't have her feet covered too often, so they need to go on and off quickly. We've actually gotten away with just wearing socks a lot, but she's a girl and the desire for pretty shoes is in her DNA.
I realize that we happen to be close to a local dance shop, so I call and inquire about sizes. Then I say, I know this is a strange question, but some retailers will sell two different size shoes. Is this something you could do? He tells me no, and I understand. It was a long shot.
We're at the store about 10 minutes later. Hi--so I'm the woman who just called you about toddler sized ballet shoes. So my daughter isn't in dance class, but I'd like to see if we could buy these just as regular shoes for her to wear.
You can see he's just sorta of taking her in, assessing her and somewhat slowly walks back with us to look at shoes. He's not impolite, but this is obviously not his typical customer. And I'm used to it, it's no big deal. We look at shoes and sizes. In my mind I was thinking black ballet shoes would be the perfect choice, but he doesn't have black in the smaller size though so we go with pink.
We try on several pair to get the right size for both of her feet, and we finally get the right combination. I ask him the price--$19 for each pair. But since there is no 'right' or 'left' in ballet shoes, she will have 2 sets of new shoes. Which is great! I'm excited. Really excited.
Lamp is not excited.
Do you like them? Look! They fit and I bet you can get them on yourself. They're so cute...don't you like them?
I don't like them.
I don't like the color.
She's acting shy, hiding her face behind her arm as best she can. Talking softly, and yeah... she's not excited. I can't quite figure it out, because she really wants ballet shoes and they're pink and she says she likes pink, but she doesn't like this pink.
There are a couple other options on the wall. Pink sequined slippers, pink glitter slippers and gold glitter slippers. I ask her if she likes any of these.
She points, I want those ones mom. The golden ones, as she calls them. Of course. Golden is one of her favorite colors.
The store clerk doesn't think they carry them in the smaller size, but he goes and checks. Lo and behold they have one pair left in the smaller size!
Now Lamp is excited. Smiling, laughing... a complete turn around. We get it on her smaller foot and they are super cute.
BUT, now he doesn't have them in the larger size. Dang it. She might be able to get away with a half size smaller. He tells me they'll stretch out. No, they won't work. I insist that they need to be a half size bigger to account for growth, and so she can get them on herself.
At this point, I notice that this store clerk is now fully engaged. His initial hesitancy has given way and he is on a mission. He decides to check to see if any of his other stores carry the size. Then after a couple minutes he comes back, smile on his face and announces We have it. It was the display size.
She puts them on and it's like magic. She's doing her happy dance, laughing, smiling.... I'm smiling, he's smiling. It's a win you guys. A great, big limb differences win. Cute shoes, yes. But also another big girl thing she can do all by herself. A thinking outside the box solution--that Lamp thought of herself no less--that works really, really well.
I take them up to the register to pay for the shoes and the total comes to $25.00. Now that's not $19 a pair, I say.
He smiles. I know. She was just too excited.
Another win. Not the free shoes part. The smile, the good feelings and the doing something a little extra because he can part. That's not just a limb differences win, that's a people win.
*Like I said, I had hopes she would be able to get them on by herself eventually. She got them on yesterday for the first time all by herself. Boo to the yeah.