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June 28, 2012

All By Himself

I adore garage sales. There's just nothing quite like sifting through someone else's discarded junk to find a treasure or two. I love the thrill of discovering an antique or a new piece of milkglass. For the kids, my mouth-breathing garage adventures often mean a new (to them) toy or maybe some clothes (admittedly much less exciting, I know).

Earlier this summer, I scored a pair of fifty-cent sandals at a garage sale for Nathaniel. They were perfect; the shoes were in stellar condition and were easy enough for him to put on ALL BY HIMSELF. For a toddler, that's big news around here.

One recent day when the forecast predicted rain, I loaded the kids up and announced that we were spending the morning at the mall. The toddler had picked out his shoes and was predictibly wearing the blue garage sale sandals that he had put on ALL BY HIMSELF.

After several hours of I NEED TO GO PEE-PEE, MAMA! I was ready to call it quits, but before we made our way back to the safety of the car, we had another stop to make- the jewelry store, to get my wedding rings cleaned and checked. Immediately outside of the store was a ride-along toy that became a life-or-death situation when the toddler spotted it. Grateful for the distraction, I told Nathaniel to stay there and play for a moment while I walked ten feet away up to the jewelry counter and handed them my rings.

I kept an eye on him as I gave the clerk my information and waited. I turned to check on Evelyn in the stroller.. and when I looked back at Nathaniel, he was gone.

I knew enough not to panic. I knew that his toddler-sense had probably gotten the best of him and that he had gone exploring. I held my breath as I scanned up and down the hallway... and I spotted him fifty feet away playing on the carts that looked like toy cars.

With the rings safely back on my hand, Evelyn and I flew down the hallway and had a nice little talk with the toddler about the words STAY HERE. And that was when I saw his feet.

My kid was walking around the mall... barefooted.

I remembered seeing his feet in the car, sporting those blue sandals. I had watched him play with a sandal, while on his foot, in another store. I knew they were in the mall and they had to be nearby. So I got down on my hands and knees and looked under the carts. I looked inside each and every one. I searched inside the trash cans. And then we schlepped ourselves back to the ride-along toy and searched around there.

The sandals had vanished because he had taken them off ALL BY HIMSELF.

Our trip to the mall that day ended with a trip to Payless and a new pair of Lightening McQueen sandals. Because as much as I'm a redneck in more ways than I care to admit, I won't be the mom whose kid is running nude through the mall with a trail of shoes and clothes behind him.

The moral of this story: Buy your kid shoes that can be superglued to his feet.

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