Real Shoes

Our little guy had some cute MiniStar elephant shoes with soft bottoms that his grandma bought him. They were adorable. They were unscuffed, because little guy usually did his crawling indoors - and often shoeless.

Then those lovely long toes (that showed up so well on the ultrasound) grew a bit more, and we had to get him some MiniStar shoes in a size large with red trucks. (The only large ones they had in the store.) These shoes lasted him a mere two weeks, because little guy not only began crawling outside the house but walking too (with the support of mommy's or daddy's fingers).

He crawled on the driveway and through the grass. He grabbed the bottom of his stroller with one hand and spun it in circles as he crawled around it, scuffing the red hoods right off those shoe cars.

Our little guy walked in the grass. He walked on the sidewalk. He walked on pebbled and mulched paths. He walked through wet grass. He walked up steps to slide down slides. And he walked a medium-sized hole straight through the bottom of his right shoe. (Teething could have contributed to this hole as well.)

Since his little car shoes were in ruins, we decided we couldn't delay. It was time for new shoes.

Our stop gap measure was a trip to Target for shoes he could wear to the water playscape at Brushy Creek Park.

Since these weren't elastic slip-on shoes we were looking at and since our little guy was now extremely mobile, we spent our time searching through the mid-sale rubble for anything that we thought might be his size, trying to compare shoe soles against a moving footsie, and pinning our son down long enough to wrestle his foot into the possibly-right-sized shoes one by one.

We were all exhausted by the end of it. And frustrated. (Although the little guy was frustrated for very different reasons than his parents were. We were interrupting his exploring to squish his feet and press on his toes. He didn't really see the point when there were so many fun things to grab and swing and toss. And there was a lot more in the store to see than smelly shoes.)

Ronak and I settled for a 2/3 pair of water shoes and some size 5 shoes he might grow into some day.

I told my mother about our adventures, and she suggested we visit a real shoe store for real shoes now that our little guy was doing some real walking. I had pleasant childhood memories of visiting uptown Kingston for my annual Buster Browns when I was a little girl, but not knowing this area very well, I had no idea if such a store specializing in kiddies existed.

I got on the internet and found Sandy's Shoes on Yelp. The reviews were positive, but "pricey" and "not cheap" had us on the fence. How long would he be wearing these shoes? Was it really worth it to spend the extra money? Couldn't we just find something at a Rack Room Shoes or some place like that?

I pictured us chasing our little guy around a Rack Room, tackling him, shoving his feet in shoes too big and too small, shoe boxes and their contents strewn everywhere.

I decided we should at least get his feet properly measured at a store that specializes in such things. Let their salespeople try to keep his feet from moving long enough to figure out his size.

So we visited Sandy's Shoes. (It's in the same plaza as Terra Toys, which we thought would be a fun place to go after the stressful shoe sizing.)

I had been forewarned by Yelp reviewers that we would need to sign in and wait (amid fun puzzles and puppets) but still wait - especially on a Saturday.

Perhaps it was the rain or the fact that we were actually out the door early on a Saturday, but there was no wait and a salesman helped us as soon as we walked in.

He said that the little guy could sit on my lap while he was measured. And my ten-month-old boy sat in awe. He didn't move a muscle as his foot was expertly placed against the metal show sizer and proclaimed to be almost the size of an 18-month old child.

While the salesman was in the back getting shoes, the spell was broken, however, and our little guy decided to use the man's stool as a walker and began pushing it around the room and into the wall.

The salesman brought back two pairs of shoes in size 5 (a size which we mistakenly thought would be too large for him in our exhausting ordeal at Target). He said they were two of the more popular shoes, sturdy but with flexible bottoms. But he also had some that beeped in the heel while the child walked. (Ronak vetoed the beeping shoe idea, as he imagined our little guy contorting his body while he walked, stumbling, distracted by the mysterious sound emanating from his heels.)

The sandal was a See Kai Run, and the sneaker (with an antibacterial coating inside so it could be worn with or without socks) was a Tsukihoshi. They fit our little guy beautifully, and he enjoyed trying them out.

Ecstatic, relieved, we didn't look any further. Ronak said, "We'll take them." And we asked if our son could walk out in one of them.

Which he did, happily, to Terra Toys where he gave the shoes an extensive breaking in test, crawling on the floor with push toys, racing around the store with walker toys (and anything else he found with wheels that he could push), and climbing up on the sofa in the kid's section.

And at the end of the toy shopping, when we didn't see toes poking out of any newly-formed holes, Ronak and I were very pleased with our real shoe expedition - which was not only successful, but surprisingly relaxing - especially when compared to our wrestling adventure at Target's shoe department.

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In 2007, we moved to Austin, and this blog chronicled our adaptation to Texas life: festivals, wildflowers, and bats - oh my! Then we had a baby, and that changed everything, so now, we blog about where to buy organic food, what parks are fun for babies, which exterminator is taking care of our scorpion problem. (You know, the usual parental concerns.)


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