Audrey: The Shoe Meltdown and the Hello Kitty Discovery
I surely looked like the uncaring mother, today in Target.
We had to get a few things, and I decided to swing by to see if they had any shoes on sale for Wesley, and to see if the white-leather-with-sparkles tennies were on sale for Audrey, too. I’ve been watching for a good two months now, waiting, hopefully, for them to go on sale for $10 or so. Well, though they appear to be on sale online, they weren’t in the store. However, I decided to suck it up and pay the full price, $15 for them.
While we looked at shoes for Audrey, she squealed. Well, while we looked in vain at shoes for Wesley, she squealed. I mean, loud. Piercing, complete with near-hyperventilation. Then, when I could see that they did not have her size, I had to try a bigger size on her already-ginormous feet, to see if they would work… She squealed when I removed her little mary jane. Then, she squealed when I had to take the trial shoe off of her because it was just way too big. Actually, at that point, the squealing escalated into full-scale screaming, complete with tears.
And what was the root cause of this meltdown? The nearness, yet the inaccessibility, of so many shoes. Audrey adores shoes. To obsession, she adores them. But, like many addictions, merely holding the shoes, inspecting them, trying them on, or even BUYING a pair doesn’t soothe her. She doesn’t want just one pair or two, she wants all — ALL — of the shoes in the whole store, and she wants them immediately. And when I cannot comply, the meltdown ensues. She’s 19 months old, and her shoe obsession, which began young (and with no encouragement from me) is full-blown, and totally out of control.
She had a few toys, and her bottle with her, but of course, they offered no comfort. Ethan tried to play with her, and she screamed all the louder. I spoke to her, first soothingly, then sternly, to no avail. I tried parking her around the corner of the aisle, out of the sight of the girl-shoes. Whoops! I didn’t see those shiny pink rain boots! Lordy, that is loud.
Worse, since they did not have the shoes I wanted at Target for Wes or Audrey, we had to go to another store. A similar situation started unfolding there in the crowded, messy aisles of Ross, until Audrey grabbed a pink, sparkly shirt (much too big for her) off of the rack, and contented herself fiddling with it. I got a few disapproving looks from a nearby mother, but really, I’d rather have her mess with a tee shirt than scream to high heaven, and so would Mrs. Evil Eye, even though she didn’t know it.
I did find a really great pair of Stride Rite shoes for Wes (only $12.99!), but nothing for Audrey. Finally, I decided that I would go ahead and get her a new dolly, since our dog took Audrey’s ONE doll and chewed her ear off. We found a doll, but upon passing this: she dropped the doll and panted for the Hello Kitty, immediately begging for the “Kitty Dolly.” It was only $5, less than the doll we’d selected, so we put the doll back on the shelf and went to pay for Wesley’s shoes and the Hello Kitty.
This innate longing for hyper-girly things just amazes me. To the best of my knowledge, Audrey’s never seen anything Hello Kitty. We don’t own anything of the iconic feline. Yet, immediately, it grabbed her attention.
It’s hard to tell from the pic, but this “Kitty Dolly” is really sweet: soft plush, with “patent” brown shoes, a bouquet of felt roses, and a dress. Audrey kept looking her over, inspecting, proclaiming, “wah-loh!” (flower) “dress!” “sooze!” (shoes) “Kitty!” “Dolly!” I mean, it had just about all her favorite things, all in one place. Hug the kitty. Kiss the kitty. Look at the kitty’s outfit. Touch the kitty’s bow. Have Mommy kiss the kitty. Hold up the kitty and demand of passersby, “Look!”
Ross, though, didn’t have the right shoes for her. I blew into Famous Footwear, which is usually too expensive for me, but I was getting desperate. As quickly as we could, I surveyed the toddler girl shoes. No plain white leather tennies. Audrey, in my arms, started again to hyperventilate. We’re outta there.
My wise 10yo, Ethan, said, “Mom, you’re not going to be able to take Audrey with you anymore when you shop for shoes. She’s getting worse and worse.” He’s right. I’ll have to do that, because, three stores later, and we still don’t have tennies for her. She has three pairs of mary janes, and a little pair of moccasin-boots, but no daily-wear, casual shoes.
Golly. Girls and shoes. And Hello Kitty. How does one teach self control to a 19 month old? Really, we’re working on it. She knows how to say, “Please.” But the whole, “I’m sorry, but you may not have that” sends her into conniptions, way worse than any fits any of my boys used to throw. Ah, the joys and terrors of motherhood.