The Vikesland Ducks

Since September, when the weather suddenly became heavenly, I’ve finally taken up running again (okay, it’s really just jogging so far).  My shoes/feet have been a little uncomfortable, so I decided to be smart and get new running shoes before my knees and hips started to unnecessarily age prematurely.  So this morning, Alaythia and I packed up, and headed to a nearly Seattle-feeling nearby running store.  I was delighted to hear of its existence, and we arrived promptly at 9:55am and impatiently awaited the 10am opening.

The staff was upbeat and helpful, and quickly and accurately assessed what style and brand of shoe I should wear.  They also made some deft observations on shoe size, somehow without me even noticing.  All to say, I quickly had two great-fitting shoes that I just couldn’t decide between, a Brooks Adrenaline and then a Saucony something-inspiring-sounding.  I walked around in each, jogged around, and then finally decided I had better just put one of each on at a time.  At which point I noticed something–it didn’t matter which pair I had on, my left foot felt better in the shoe.  My cheerful and upbeat shoe salesman informed me my left foot was maybe a ten and a half and my right foot more like ELEVEN AND A HALF!!  Yes, folks, 11.5 in women’s sizing.  Oh joy.  At this juncture it’s worth mentioning that my dad wears a 12.5 on his left foot and a FOURTEEN (both extra narrow) on his right foot.

Somewhere in there as I kept switching the two pairs of shoes between my feet, I said something about the hot summer and the shock it had been to come from Seattle and then wear flip-flops for 5 months.  Cheerful salesman then informed me that the 5 months of flip-flops were probably why my feet had, eh, grown.  Sprawled is more like it.

At this interval you may be wondering what Alaythia was doing all this time as I exchanged one shoe for another and walked around in each.  If you have a toddler and or have been near a toddler in recent history, you may able to guess what my little shoe-loving daughter was doing.  Oh yes.  She wasted no time in taking off her shoes, taking off her socks, and then pulling the pinkest shoe off the demo rack and walking around it.  She talked to everyone in the store, touched everything in the store, and ran little laps through the cash register area.  Thankfully they were gracious and much amused by her, and thank goodness the space was fairly small and completely contained.  All to say, she had a wonderful time.

So, with comfortable well-fitting 11.5s on my feet, we paid, and prepared to leave.  Except that she REFUSED to put her shoes back on.  Utterly refused.  “Too tight, Mama!  Tooooooo tight!!!!”  Let me interrupt her to say these shoes are brand new size 7s, and are two sizes bigger than she was wearing two months ago.  And every pair of shoes we’ve put on for the last two months she usually exclaims “Tooooooo tight!!” after we put them on.   Except for these black shoes, of course (which actually ARE for sure too tight, we have to squeeze and shove her feet into them but she never complains for a second…):

So after paying for my gigantic shoes, I picked up Alaythia, put her coat on her, left her feet bare as could be in the 40 windy air, carried her back to the car, and promptly drove her to a nearby Shoe Pavilion.  Note here that I have proudly never bought her a new pair of shoes, as I am a big believer in consignment store shopping for kids.  Or anyone, if possible.  I’ve also much appreciated our bin of hand-me-down shoes from the Johnson girls, and Alaythia’s grandmothers generally supply her with new shoes to satiate her demanding shoe tastes.  BUT, at present, kiddo has tons of pairs of shoes that just don’t fit.

Anyhow, at said shoe store, they measured her feet, and declared her left foot a 6.5 and her right foot a 7.5.  Big surprise…

She didn’t want to wear any of the shoes at that store, and I wasn’t a huge fan of all the Disney-inspired shoe designs for girls.  Plus we were both quickly getting tired and grouchy.  Time to eat and shop some more… I was NOT going home until both of us had a pair of comfortable shoes on our big uneven feet.

So we went across the street to Target, ate a yummy mommy-daughter lunch at a sort of weird fast food/deli thing in the middle of Target, then went to the shoe section.  First thing, I saw a pair of little running shoes that looked much like the ones I had just bought.  No Disney princesses, no lights on the soles, just nice, comfy, little girl running shoes.  I pointed them out to her: “Lay, look, shoes like Mommy’s,” and she squealed with delight, “Ooooh!  I like them!!” and ran to sit down at the nearby shoe-fitting bench (she’d learned how all this worked over the course of the shoe-morning).  I put a pair of the shoes (in size 8!) on her, tied them tight (her feet are much, much longer than they are wide), and she took off running as fast as she could, laughing and exclaiming and greatly amusing the woman who had watched this whole process.

[Let me note here that her dear friend Charlie who is nearly a head taller than her and 8 or 9 pounds heavier just graduated to size 8s as well. Alaythia comfortably wears 12-18 month old clothes and is 32.5″ and 24.5 pounds, which would estimate her at wearing a size 5-6 in shoes.]

She proceeded to spend the next half hour gleefully racing through Target, freed from the pain and agony of her too-small, silly, girly shoes.  After buying her shoes, we spent another 20 minutes on the escalator, going up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down and up again.  I finally told her it was our last time on it, and she proceeded to cry her eyes out as I carried her out to the car.  The exhilaration of the new shoes and her fun in them led to an exhausted collapse into the car, and somehow I kept her awake by making animal noises with her all the way home.

In retrospect, instead of making “meow” “arf arf” “neigh” and “ribbit” sounds, I think it would have suited us better to have been saying “quack quack.”

So is traumatic that my daughter and I have my father’s duck-like feet?  No way.  They’re great flippers for swimming.

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