Diapers and Dragons

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jonah and the Shoe: a Whale of a Story

I am a shoe whore.

There. I said it. They say the first step is admitting one's addiction, but I'm afraid that while I do acknowledge my vice, I have no intention of trying to go through the other eleven steps.

It's a good thing that I don't have to have expensive shoes or I would have racked up such a huge credit card debt that I would have filed bankruptcy ages ago. Payless ShoeSource in particular is a good friend of mine. We're on a first name basis. However, our intimate relationship does result in an abundance of adorable additions to our household. My husband finally laid down the law about seven years ago: for every pair of shoes I brought into our little family, another would have to go. This way we could at least achieve stasis rather than find ourselves wading through mounds of leather uppers and kitten heels. I haven't counted lately, but I believe I'm hovering somewhere in the vicinity of forty or fifty pairs of shoes.

And yes, I need them all.

And no, I don't have enough.

In fact, I was just musing over the fact that really I need to see if I can find a pair of grey or silver heels, because there are outfits that need such a thing, but it's getting too warm (hope springs eternal, folks) for my grey heeled boots.

(Oh lordy. Payless is having a shoe sale. I might be doomed.)

It may be a good thing that I don't have a daughter. I'm into the whole gender equity thing, but equity doesn't mean "same," and while men certainly have the opportunity to have many, many shoes, most men don't seem to have quite the same propensity for shoe lust that many women do. If I had a daughter, I'm afraid my adoration of the adorably clad foot would most certainly be extended to her. While high heels would not be present in her closet, I'm sure there would be all manner of flats and boots and sandals and Keds and tennis shoes in varying colors and styles. Maybe even red or pink cowboy boots, which I couldn't get away with, but which a small girl could.

As it is, I have to resist the temptation to purchase more shoes than my little boys need. Last spring when we went shoe shopping for them, I was pulling shoes off the shelves left and right. Sneakers, dress shoes, sandals, swim shoes...ComputerDaddy looked at the collection and said How many shoes do you think they need? They're toddlers, for goodness sake! The Widget isn't even walking properly yet!

So we compromised. No dress shoes, since we didn't anticipate needing them in the imminent future (which is all one can consider when it comes to shodding boys who grow inches in moments). No new swim shoes, since I could get those used and they'd only be worn a handful of times. We walked out with a pair of sneakers and a pair of waterproof sandals for each child, along with a pair of leather sandals for DramaBoy.

(When will he wear those?! asked ComputerDaddy.

You never know! I insisted defensively. He can wear them to daycare on hot days and still be wearing nice shoes!

And get dirt and wood chips jammed inside them when he goes out to play? he asked, unconvinced.

I put them in the cart anyhow. I think DramaBoy wore them twice. I HATE it when ComputerDaddy is right and I should have known better!)

This last week DramaBoy had been complaining that his sneakers--those formerly white shoes with the glorious heels that flashed red when he walked, which he insisted he had to have because his friend-cum-nemesis at school had a pair that flashed--were hurting his feet. In addition, The Widget had managed to lose one of his sneakers. (He's very good at this. He has a magical skill with vanishing one of a pair of objects, such as "Gampa"'s glove, which has remained invisible for nearly a month.) A search of the house proved fruitless, even though we KNOW it has to be in there somewhere. I think he's a gremlin in disguise, or at least has some friends among the Fae. I had a pair of bought-on-clearance canvas shoes for him to don, but they aren't terribly practical for daily wear, especially with Winter stubbornly hanging on in these parts.

Darn. Such a tragedy. We would have to go shoe shopping.

So yesterday after I picked them up from daycare we hied ourselves to Target. Target is very kid-friendly in the shoe department, having a large selection for a small price. They outrank Payless for children, in my experience (which of course is fairly vast by now). The last time I tried to go shoe shopping with two kidlets in tow was traumatic, and I was a little apprehensive, but they did remarkably well--for two stubborn, mulish, vociferous little boys, at least. "Good" is a relative concept.

Both boys needed to be measured, and they took great delight in stepping on the little footprints Target considerately placed on a nearby mat.

Look! The Widget is stepping on the BIG foot! He's so silly! crowed DramaBoy.

Foot! Soos! Soos! exclaimed the Widget.

Lo and behold, both boyos' feet had grown in the few months since our last shoe foray. The Widget was up half a size to 6, and DramaBoy had leapt a full size up to a 9--no wonder his tootsies were aching in those size 8s!

For a small child, his feet are on the larger side. Hmmm.

Both boys then made a beeline for the prominently displayed, easily accessible Spiderman sneakers that lined a full three levels of shelving. DramaBoy was momentarily sidetracked by some bright white and yellow Transformers sneakers, but I deterred him upon the discovery that the fastening was a very poor design that I know from sad experience causes the Velcro to wear out and fail in half the time it takes for the child to grow out of the shoe. (You got that, right? It does make sense. Break down the sentence piece by piece.)

Much to their joy, not only did these sneakers have Spiderman crawling all over the surface, the heels also..... (drumroll!):


Some shoe designers are brilliant. Also kid-savvy.

We then trailed over to the dress shoes, because my boys now attend Sunday school and I figured that while white sneakers with flashy heels might be marginally acceptable, Spiderman sneakers with flashy heels might be crossing the boundaries of respectability. This is when things began to fray at the edges. The Widget happily tried on his pair of brown loafers, then waddled about pulling other options out of the boxes, offering them cheerfully for my inspection (Soos! Soos! On?) The elastic string binding the pair together was apparently long enough to accommodate his steps, so he was effectively hobbled without risking disaster. DramaBoy, in the meantime, became obsessed with checking and rechecking the size of his feet and the shoes on the other side of the shelf and the pop-a-ball baby toy someone had abandoned on a bench. His hearing disappeared magically as I tried to summon him back into my presence to try on loafers while shoving shoes back on the shelf in the trail of the Widget.

Finally I pulled a protesting DramaBoy into my lap, whereupon I capitalized upon his earlier retelling of the Jonah story (presented for our enjoyment in the car on the way to the store).

Do you remember why God was upset with Jonah? I asked.

Because Jonah didn't listen to him, DramaBoy replied.

And what happened when Jonah didn't listen?

He was swallowed by a whale.

That's right. It makes God unhappy when we don't listen. It makes me unhappy when you don't listen, too. So what should you do?

I should listen, he muttered.

That's right, I said. I noticed a woman standing nearby, looking at girls' shoes, a small smile on her face. I quickly added, just in case she thought I was threatening my child with a fishy fate, Now I'm not saying you will be swallowed by a whale if you don't listen, but it's not good when you don't listen. If you keep being loud and not doing what I ask, I won't be getting you a snack after we buy the shoes. We'll just go straight home.

Okay, he sighed. And he tried on the shoes.

Gotta love Sunday school.

This morning the boys gleefully modelled their new shoes for the staff at daycare (We don't wear Spiderman shoes to Sunday school! We only wear them for regular school, DramaBoy informed them. We have brown shoes for Sunday school!) They turned, they stomped, they demonstrated just how very cool their acquisitions are.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm training them up in the way they should go.

6 bits of love:

Eric said...

Wow. Forty to fifty pairs? Sticking to gender equity, I'm rollin' with about 9 pairs right now, not including the sandals I'm wearing right now. :)

LoriM said...

Haha, so cute. You don't order shoes online, do you? I hear that's another whole world of fun(zappos?) But - I'm not a shoe person myself. Or a shopping person. I thought it was because of my third world upbringing, but maybe not.

Kathleen said...

Sadly, I have to admit that I am COMPLETELY the very opposite when it comes to shoes. I hate shopping. I particularly hate shoe shopping. Especially now that my daughter wears women-sized shoes but is still just a girl; it's difficult finding anything but spiky heels which would only make the little thing look like a woman of the streets.

If we ever visit together, I'll give you the credit card and let you take my girls shoe shopping. They'll love you, and you can live vicariously through them.

But this was certainly entertaining nonetheless.

Love the "disappearing hearing". Funny how it does that, huh?

Hilary said...

You're not alone in the shoe department. I have over 50 pair at the last count. It's a good thing the good lord didn't give me a girl because, as it is, I have to resist buying all the cute little girly shoes for my niece. Although, my son loves to buy shoes.

thedomesticfringe said...

This post cracked me up. I definitely think Target rocks for kid's shoes.

You should take a picture of all your shoes. It would be quite the picture. If things get really bad, you can always open a pre-loved shoe store. ;-)

Oh, I would've let my kids think they'd get eaten by a whale. I'm a bad mommy.


Becca said...

Love this post :-) cracked me up!

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