The time has come (actually it arrived a few weeks ago) to buy a pair of hard soled shoes for Jonas. He has worn Robeez since he was about 3 or 4 months old. He used a sweet little borrowed pair of Robeez with turtles (thanks, Owen) for just a couple of months, then graduated to a fire-engine red pair of Robeez with a bright yellow backhow, a gift from my sister's dear in-laws. Those, he donned at 6 months, and he has worn them for next eight. I'm sure you've seen these little shoes. They're in very photo, because they're practically the only shoes he owns!
Well, now that he's walking, a firmer sole is imperative. We struck out last weekend finding shoes. My plan was to go to Stride Rite, but we ran out of time. So, I hit another store and came up with snake eyes. I picked him up from daycare yesterday and I thought, he cannot go another day on the playground without hard-soled shoes, so off we headed to yet another shoe store. Let me just say this, going shoe shopping with a 14 mo. old, who has been at daycare ALL day, at 5:30 p.m. = MADNESS!!
We made a bee-line for the toddler shoes, conveniently located at the back of the store. Nice, people. Once again, I found an entire aisle lined with girls' shoes, a splash of pink on every single shoe!, and less than half that quantity in boys shoes. Sigh. "Ok, pick the best, from the worst," I told myself. "Your mission is to find a wear-able pair of shoes for this kid. You can find him the 'perfect shoes' some other time." All of a sudden I heard a thud and tumbling cardboard boxes. "WAHHHHHHH!" Jonas wailed. I walked away from the skateboarder type shoes that I had just been eyeing with disapproval. "Bwa bwa bwaaa," Jonas sobbed. I picked him up and returned to the Hobbit sized shoes with Sponge Bob, a host of Disney characters, and, I think, a cartoon version of the dude from Orange County Choppers. Are you (expletive deleted) kidding me?? What happened to simple shoes for a BABY?! Jonas doesn't know Sponge Bob from his elbow. All I want are some cute, simple shoes for a baby, not an older child.
I finally spied some Buster Brown's with a couple of stripes and laces. Ok, let's give these a dance. Seriously--getting tightly laced shoes on Jonas' feet at that hour was absolutely ridiculous. In between each new shoe and new foot, I had to chase him down the aisle and return him to the mounting pile of shoe box debris. Size 5 = too small. Size 6 = appears to fit. Hard to tell. Ok, good enough? Can we get out of here? I looked at the seams. Wrinkled up my nose. Nope. I don't like the construction. Put 'em back. Ok, now I was panicking. If Joe were there, he would have been yelling, "Just pick a pair of (once again, expletive deleted) shoes, Liz!!!" I paced up and down the aisle, sighing, discontent with the options. Executive decision--we're going to sneakers. AHA! I found a pair of sneakers, and bonus, they had velcro! Only a size 6 in stock. I crossed my fingers... Yes! Time to get out of here, right?
Well... (another sigh) with eyes wincing, I wondered to myself, "but Liz, we know how you feel about these kinds of shoes and sweatshops and child labor and..." Yes. And, ALL of those concerns are big concerns that I have. But. at that moment in time, I had to act. No more of Liz's typical paralysis by analysis. I mean, my son, was practically scaling all of the shoe boxes to the top of the display and he needed shoes! As in, like, two weeks ago! I had to put off exercising my "be a thoughtful consumer" muscle for some other time. I grabbed the box, then the kid, and headed for the counter.
It was a tough decision, but a good one in the end. I still feel a twinge of regret, but it will make more all the more motivated to be better prepared next time. And as much as I want to be a good role model for my child, teaching him about consumerism and buying with conscientiousness, there's also a lesson to be learned there about letting go of perfectionism. You can't save the world every day.
So, here he is sporting his new shoes and playing with his favorite "toy", Daddy's bike.