Back in ….. April? Though, let’s be honest, knowing the way I get excited about things, it might have been March…. Anyway, the point is that earlier this year, I bought the dumpling a pair of waterproof shoes at Target. I knew he’d need them for splash days at his daycare in the summer, plus I figured waterproof shoes would just be a handy thing to have for a toddler. They were Croc-esque, though made by Stride Rite’s Target brand Surprize. I also bought a pair of shoes that were a breathable, athletic shoe. I bought them both in a size 5, his Stride Rite size, and was a little baffled when they were considerably larger than his current shoes. Oh well! I thought, just more room for him to grow.
And then the dumpling proved once again that you can’t boss a toddler around as he absolutely REFUSED to wear the shoes I had gotten him. RE. FUSED. In fact, to this day, he still won’t even look at the athletic shoes I bought him. I did manage to get him into the waterproof shoes at the end of May, with the distraction of playing outside in the water, but I could never find such a distraction for the athletic shoes.
So, after all this – purchasing the shoes far in advance and my hard-earned victory in finally getting the dumpling to wear them (he even started to request to wear them!!) – we lost them. Yup, that’s right, we lost them.
Though this happened in June, I can still recall the events clearly. We had packed the dumpling up on a Saturday morning to go to the local Farmer’s Market. They have a little splash pad and we had hoped to delight the dumpling with a morning of frolicking in the water. We had put on his regular shoes and socks (to cut back on blisters), but had taken his water shoes with us. We learned that day that the dumpling seemed to have a deep mistrust of splash pads as he staunchly refused to even go near it, going so far as to “rescue” me or Luffy from it when we tried to lure him in. No harm though, Luffy took the water shoes with him as he bought our eggs and a few veggies. I clearly remember that he took everything to the car and then came back for us, and we all packed up and headed out. That’s the last either of us can clearly remember the shoes.
The following Wednesday, when we needed the shoes for splash day, they were nowhere to be found. We looked high and low, searching the house and my car and the diaper bag. We looked through the grocery bags, thinking it got mixed up there. We searched my car again and again and again, as that was the most logical place for them to appear. We looked through the pantry and the recycling bin. We searched the dumpling’s bedroom and the kitchen. Everywhere we could think of, but they never turned up. The best we could figure is that Luffy had perhaps set them down at a vendor’s stall at the market or somehow dropped them on the way to the car.
Because of my hard-earned victory (re: toddler stubbornness), I was worried about replacing them. I didn’t want to have to go through another round of the toddler power struggle because we had misplaced his current pair. Our Target was sold out of the shoes, but I managed to find them at a different Target. They miraculously had his size (as it was the single size 5 pair and then like a half dozen size 10’s) and I thanked the baby shoe gods for – HALLELUJAH – I wouldn’t have to barter with an eighteen month old again. PRAISE BE.
It was Luffy who finally said something, a couple of weeks later.
“I think those shoes are two different sizes.”
Pish and posh! I thought to myself. I’d checked them! The box said size 5. The shoes themselves both had “5” printed on the inside. They were still tied together by the manufacturer when I bought them. They were the same size! I mean, yeah, the left one is a little harder to get on than the right but that’s because I’m right-handed and it’s the opposite side and grumble grumble complicated explanation is complicated. Trust me! They’re the same size!
Then he held them up for me. They were indeed two different sizes and it was so obvious (once I was forced to see) that I’m not sure how I never noticed in the first place. Not only were they not the same size, there had to be at least a whole size difference between the right and the left. At least. Even the breathing holes were smaller. The sole (colored a brightly contrasting neon green) was shorter. So obvious.
Confused, I checked the inside of the shoes and confirmed that they both indeed said size 5. I bemoaned the fact that I’d chucked the receipt the day we had purchased them. I had actually taken the dumpling to get them and he had been so excited to wear them that he opened the box himself once we got back home. I figured we were good to go!
Since this was Target we were talking about though, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try to take them back. This was clearly a manufacturer’s default. Luckily, Target agreed with me and (thankfully) gave me a full refund once they were able to locate my purchase in their system. They were, unfortunately, out of the shoes I had purchased. Even the website didn’t have any in stock. So, I dragged the dumpling back to Target for a new pair of water shoes. I tested out my theory that he actually agrees to wear shoes as long as he’s there for the picking-out process and found it to be true. I again thanked the baby shoe gods because I wouldn’t need to barter with a twenty month old over shoes that were so very different from the water shoes we started with. PRAISE BE and ALL HAIL TARGET.
That all happened back at the end of June, middle of July. The dumpling has happily worn his new, though not really improved, water shoes for the rest of the summer. We’ve played at various pools, run through sprinklers, played with water tables. All good summer fun. Now that it’s September, I’m about to pack the water shoes away as I figure we won’t need them for a while.
Today, as I was sitting with Luffy at the dining table, chatting about the new exercise class I tried, I glimpsed something familiar. A shot of neon green against the beige wall. No freaking way, I thought, as I crouched down to remove the books from our bookshelf. Sure enough, back behind a stack of books, were the dumpling’s original water shoes. The ones we thought we lost at the market. In perfect condition, of course, since they’d been sitting back there for literally months.
Sigh. Good thing he’s cute as I have no doubt who put them there.