“Hola!!” I said to a student and his mom; we were approaching them on the street in downtown Minneapolis.
“Hola!” they said back, both excited to see Little L; I often show videos of her in Spanish class at school.
“We’re out searching for her shoe,” I explained. “We lost it this morning on the way to music class.”
“Oh, she’s like Cinderella!” my student’s mother said. “Lost a shoe.”
While I might not jump to compare my one-year-old to a stereotypical Disney princess, in this situation, yes, she had lost a shoe – and it hadn’t even been because of a harried exit. In fact, the shoe hadn’t even been on her foot! I let her go in her socked feet to music class because it’s just a carpeted room and because we’re always late and it takes a good minute and a half to get those shoes on. But I had thrown them in the bottom compartment of the stroller just in case we stopped to roam around in a park on the way home.
We hadn’t, though so I didn’t notice the lost footwear until we arrived home – okay, after stopping to grab me a sandwich on the way. The whole music class outing, in fact, had seemed rather idyllic on this fall day. Or maybe just the walk home – watching toddlers try to play cymbals can be a little dizzying. We strolled through the autumn breeze, picked up toothpaste at the pharmacy, and bought a sandwich. This is what I had imagined motherhood being like while I was pregnant; the first year of Little L’s life was a reality check.
When we arrived home on this out-of-the-ordinary fall day, I removed only one pink sneaker from the bottom of Little L’s stroller.
Now that Little L was a walker, I had to think about shoes. She didn’t need them in her stroller or when running around the carpeted music classroom (don’t worry; we would change her socks when we got home). But what if we stopped somewhere and she asked to get out?
Asked is an exaggeration. What if she started flailing her body and trying to slip out of her stroller?
Best to be prepared, and so I had thrown a pair of pink shoes that I received from my aunt (receiving hand-me-downs and gifts and how to manage them is a whole topic of its own – let me know if any of you have any tips!).
But upon removing Little L from her stroller – she had not gotten out despite a weak protest when we strolled through a grassy mini-park across from Lunds – I found only one pink shoe in the under-stroller holder.
So after nap time, Little L and I set out again to retrace our route. I had already called music class and they did not have the shoe.
But surely someone had seen it along the road and set it on the curb or on top of an electrical box? I see things like this all the time.
Nothing. No shoes, not even anything pink that could have given me a moment of false hope.
In my mind I fantasized about finding that shoe – how vindicated I would feel. “We traced our entire route to music class and back!” I would tell Alex, who would listen with admiration to my perseverance and dedication to shoe recovery. “And then we found it!” I would conclude, victoriously.
You see, it was the only pair of shoes that fit her at the time. And it seemed like a waste to buy more shoes of the same size – who knows how long they would fit?
But that night I texted my mom, asking if she could get a pair of shoes for Little L. She brought them on Wednesday and informed me that although she had leveled up on Little L’s shoe size, she had stuck cotton in the toes.
It was not a week later when I found these in my mailbox at school.
While I didn’t know who had provided the mystery shoes, I was both grateful and disappointed. If only I’d discovered the barely-worn hand-me-down shoes sooner, I could have avoided acquiring that extra pair of shoes!
When I came home from work on a Thursday, my mother-in-law told me about the great time Little L had walking around with her grandparents in the park.
“And those little blue shoes, she loved them!” she said.
I was glad they fit.
“She loves how they squeak.”
Yup. Squeaky shoes. While I’ve seen my fair share of kindergartners with shoes that light up each time the strike their heel down, I didn’t even know shoes that talked were a thing. Go figure.
So now Little L is a big fan of the squeaky shoes. Now that it’s winter she mostly wears boots outside, but we use the squeaky shoes for adventures in the condo building like going down to check the mail.
A number of neighbors have been amused by the shoes and some of their dogs even like them too.
So for now, we use them every once in awhile – though I keep them hidden on a high-up shelf so that she won’t see them and ask to wear them.
And on the days when they get a little annoying, I think, well, she’ll probably either lose one or outgrow them soon.