‘Cuz it’s been a trying day. I had to take Tall Girl shoe shopping. With. All. Six. Kids.
By myself. Oh dear.
It began as a good day, until my Sweetheart asked which one of us would be taking Tall Girl out to buy dress shoes this evening. I tried to create an imaginary day between Friday and Sunday, and convince him that we could take her out then, but he saw through me. And since one of us has been out every evening this week, and will be out evening from tomorrow through next Wednesday, I decided that the pain of a group shopping trip was nothing compared to the happiness of putting my feet up and watching Damages on Netflix. So off we went.
Now Tall Girl, age 10, has nice sturdy shoulders. That’s good, since she has the world’s largest chip on them. Somehow, sometime she thinks that she had made the following deal with the world:
Tall Girl’s Deal with the World
World, in return for existing in you, you hereby agree that all articles of clothing, footwear, hosiery, millinery, or jewellery I will ever touch or wear, must be extremely comfortable, extremely stretchy, free from the slightest discomfort, preferably animal print, and can never be grown out of. If you violate these terms World, I will seek redress by wearing the same camp shirt, over-sized pair of yoga pants and mismatched tennis socks in perpetuation. Or until my Mom freaks and makes me put on something else.
Tall Girl takes it as a personal affront that you can’t wear a skirt and go upside down on the monkey bars. She sees it as a design flaw in the skirt, which she insists on ignoring to prove a point. Her idea of “stylish” is a hot pink baby doll shirt, paired with a black and white cheetah print skirt, and in place of nylons or tights, the world’s thickest black leggings. And yes, those tennis socks again. White tennis socks.
Which is so weird, because Sweetie Pie, who’s almost 9, is a born fashionista. She comes downstairs in the morning wearing outfits that look like she just fell out of a magazine, and drifted Zooey Deschanel-style, to the breakfast table. She wears her winter touque with her PJ’s and pulls it off. And I was trying to enlist her support in tackling that problem which is her sister. Her sister which thinks that if she fells comfy, she looks great. Even if 4″ of ankle is showing below the hem of her boot cut jeans.
“Why should I? I don’t care what my feet have on them. I have a nice dress, why can’t I just wear my (very, very white) runners? I hate shoe shopping, I have the world’s worst feet. Nothing fits. Just buy me whatever.”
“Even if I buy you shoes with great big yellow Happy Faces on them? Starring up at you everywhere you go? Maybe some that light up?”
“Sure, whatever. As long as they’re not itchy.”
So, with Captain Good Attitude in tow, along with all the other troops, we drove to the shoe store. I was so stressed that I gave in and broke my rule of not acting like a weird reality TV show family, and made the big kids buddy up with one of their younger siblings. We didn’t all change into matching coloured shirts, so I feel that it was a compromise I can live with. The Baby wouldn’t wake up, so I had to put her into the folding umbrella stroller fast asleep. This caused her to slump forward against her restraining straps and slide into her snowsuit, like some kind of purple, baby origami. Half way through the excursion, she woke up and stared at me with these big eyes that seemed to say, “Why have you folded me into purple, baby origami, Mommy?”
If there is such as thing as a forced march of shoe shopping, I had Tall Girl on it. But before we could get serious, she wanted to try on a pair of high-heels “for fun.” Oh, did I mention that my little girl has ladies size 7 feet? She grabbed these 4″ black suede stilettos with a ¾” platform sole and tried to stick her white socked foot in them. Then she took off the sock, got her feet in and stood up. Broadly smiling, she began showing off to her (younger) sisters by kind of swaying back and forth, the way you would expect a mannequin might do if it came to life on Christmas Eve. It was the most disturbing thing I have seen forever — this sweet, smiling 10 year old face on top of these big, clunky, way-to0-old shoes. I started screaming and she took them off.
Then the real fun began. The secret to shopping with a difficult child is to never let them get a second to argue or escape. So as fast as she could try, and reject, a piece of footwear I was back with another. The process was impeded by the mini-hissy fit Tall would throw between every second pair. “I hate my feet, nothing fits, I hate everything, why is this happening, I want to cut my feet off…” Finally, I had enough.
“Where do you live? Perfect land? Why do think there are all these shoes here? No one goes into a store, finds the perfect pair of shoes, tries them on, finds they fit, see they’re the right price and then runs giggling out the store. This is life. You keep trying on shoes until you find one that fits that you also like. There is nobody else who has it better than you. Stop thinking you’ve got it so bad.”
She stopped, apologized, and calmly tried the next pair. It fit nicely, and looked quite smart. I made her do a lap around the store. We boxed them and took them home.
But on the way to the cash, I saw these awesome boots. I took the display, tried it on, found it fit perfectly, grabbed them in the box, and bought them. I giggled internally.
Please don’t tell Tall Girl.