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.

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About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on November 9, 2007, in Clothes, Motherhood, Shoes, Shopping, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. This made me laugh out loud: “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 then her delight in the Hello Kitty doll was so charming.

  2. Enjoy it, please? I’d love a girl with a shoe obsession. I am girly with no child outlet. Embrace her shopping and her appreciation for dollys with mary janes. So girl… and you are used to boys who don’t give a rip about any shopping….those will do mom, let’s go now….is what I hear. Very sweet. It is so female.

  3. How cute. Mikaela loves girly stuff, too – especially shoes. It’s funny how it almost seems inborn.

  4. My husband’s cousin works for Sanrio so is always giving our daughter some Hello Kitty thing or another. Meg thinks that this cousin is the coolest person in the world because she has so much Hello Kitty stuff!

  5. Erin ~ Glad to make you laugh. 🙂

    Lisa ~ Don’t worry. I’m enjoying it. Mostly. The whole Super Squeal Scream just started a couple of weeks ago, and I must say, I’m not really happy about that. But her sweet delight in things that the boys could care less for is a joy to my heart.

    Melanie ~ I think your Mikaela and my Audrey are very similar. Have I told you that before? They’re both insanely active and clever and aggressive and girly.

    Daja ~ Wow, to a a little girl, that would certainly seem like the dream job, wouldn’t it? 😀 Actually, I have a friend (more like online acquaintance, but still, she’s dear) who has three boys and a TON of Hello Kitty things. It’s her “girly” outlet. She even got a Hello Kitty cover for her Boppy, saying, “He’s a BABY. He’ll never know, and neither will anyone else.” Hehehe.

  6. Rubber Chicken Girl

    I just take my kids’ measurements of their feet to the store….just add about an inch to the length of the foot and measure the bottoms of the shoes. Always carry the measurements which you update every 6 months or so (or however quickly they grow) and always carry a tape measure. We had to have our girls take a horse drawing, horse obsession, horse idolatry break recently. But… they are a little older and we could ‘splain it to them.

  7. I’m sorry, but I laughed through that whole post! : D Mostly because Audrey is just so doggone cute and also because I can sympathize with the shopping scenario. Thanks for brightening my day with your hilarious post!

  8. Shoes..can’t live without them!! What is the deal with shoes? My husband use to be one pair of shoes kind of guy but since I have bought him shoes (on sale) he has come to the realization that different shoes can go with different clothes (or should I say..should go with different clothes)
    Thanks for the story,
    Debbie aka The Real World Martha

  9. Hysterical! Though on “This innate longing for hyper-girly things just amazes me” – I’d say that all toddlers love cute things in an ungendered way. Every jtime we visit particular friends whose daughter has a bit of a hello kitty thing, dudelet will make a beeline for the Hello Kitty stove or house or whatever…He still claims his favourite colours are pink and black. It just doesn’t take long for the world to teach them what ‘proper’ girl and boy colours are…

  10. I told you before that Audrey was a girl after my own heart and I was tickled pink over this post.

    I’ll have the Princess talk to her about how some of the shoes have to stay at the store for the other children. She is quite familiar with that conversation. 🙂

  11. My 17 month old is the same way, only it isn’t just girly shoes. It is ALL shoes and socks. If she can get away with it she will rotate through shoes and boots. Last month she began screaming in a shoe department because I was taking her cherished red shoes off to try on some sandals. Luckilly she calmed when I gave her the red shoes back. Phew! Good luck with your little Imelda.

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