So I wrote this almost 2 weeks ago, and just found it still listed as a draft... Eh, better late than never, right?
Last year around this time (actually, at the beginning of May), Roo got fitted for his first pair of AFOs (Ankle-Foot Orthotics). I quickly learned that the physical therapist's encouragement that "any shoe should fit, you'll just need a bigger size" was... less than accurate. Finding shoes to fit over the braces was a challenge. But we finally built up a selection of 4-5 pairs, which is plenty for a boy, especially a 2-year-old boy.
But that was a year ago, and now Roo's poor feet barely fit into those AFOs that seemed so large last May. So last week he was casted for a new pair, and today we got them. I noticed right away that they are a little bit different than what we had before. They are shorter for one thing, and they have some different padding and a slightly different shape around the top. Our PT and the technician who made them seemed very pleased with the fit and the way that Roo was standing and walking with them, which is great. They are blue with fish on them, a change from the Spiderman images that have covered his feet for the past 13 months. Lamb picked out the new design.
After everyone was satisfied with the new accessory, the kids and I headed out to lunch--to a local chain restaurant called Rockne's. I have to say, I love that we finally have a place that all three kids like that is a little classier than good old McD's. This is a restaurant where you actually sit at a table, hold a menu, and ask a friendly waiter or waitress to bring the food you wish to consume. There are no boxes containing toys, no paper-lined trays, no numbered meals, no self-serve garbage cans. And the kids still like it.
As if that weren't surprising enough, Roo especially likes it. Rockne's, in fact, serves his favorite food. Graham crackers? No, those come and go on his approved-food list. Yogurt? No, although that is our go-to food for pretty much every meal. What food could possibly be so good that we take our 3-year-old to a sit-down restaurant for it? Mushroom and Brie Bisque. FOR REAL. He ate an entire bowl and then... are you ready for this? (cause I wasn't)... THEN he said, "Mo doop!" (more soup) Yes, that is two words, put together to form a complete thought! Are you still sitting? Because you shouldn't be! You should be jumping up and down for joy!!! This kid is leaping ahead with his language, folks! And eating something most kids wouldn't touch!
(On a side note, some people have suggested that Roo may just have a more sophisticated palate. To them I say, you should see this kid gnaw on a Target cart.)
ANYWAY, from there we ventured out for some new shoes. Somewhere inside of me, a light flickered in my brain: "Shoes? New shoes are to be bought today! Yippee!" And then another part said, "You're with three kids. And the shoes aren't for you. Shut up." I should have listened more to that second part.
I knew from experience that I wouldn't be able to find tons of shoes to fit over Roo's braces, but I felt certain that I would find 1-2 pairs between Payless and Target. I was so very wrong on this. In fact, after FIVE STORES (with THREE KIDS), I was discouraged, disheartened, frazzled, and (let's just admit it) hot & sweaty. And meanwhile, Roo was tired of me messing with his feet (and getting dragged in and out of the van), and the big kids were being as well-behaved as any 6- & 8-year-olds can after trekking to their baby brother's orthotics appointment, lunch in a "real" restaurant, and five stores where we bought NOTHING fun.
The new braces seemed to present two distinct issues: First, finding shoes that would physically fit over them (that weren't comically large on his poor little feet and body); and second, finding Velcro straps that were long enough to close once I got the shoes on. I finally found one pair that didn't look terrible, but the top of the shoe was stretched so far that the Velcro strap couldn't close. I bought them anyway, thinking that I would just go to Joann's and buy some Velcro to fashion my own hokey-looking strap for the poor kid.
Mission... accomplished-ish... I guess... Let's move on.
Meanwhile, Lamb has been on a kick of saving up her spending money for small kitchen appliances. She now has an Easy-Bake Oven (which was actually a Christmas present), a snow-cone maker, and a cotton candy machine (which is absolutely AWESOME--really! You can put 2 lifesavers and a tiny bit of sugar in there, and it whips up some pretty darn amazing spun sugar!), and now wanted a donut maker she had seen at Bed Bath & Beyond. I had promised her we would get it at the end of the excursion, so there we headed.
But just as we were getting out of the van, I remembered that Carter's was just a few doors down. "Guys, we need to make just ONE MORE STOP first. Please be patient."
So we walked into Carter's... and I'm pretty sure I heard angels singing. We left there with not ONE, but TWO pairs of shoes that fit beautifully over Roo's braces and FASTENED! AND one of them was on clearance! (Aaaaaaaaannnnnnndddddddd... so were most of the clothes that ended up coming home with us too. Darn you, Carter's.) Whew!
And yes, we DID get Lamb's donut maker, too.
Hallelujah--mission accomplished FOR REAL this time.
And to think, shoe shopping used to be one of my favorite things to do. I think I may be cured of that... for a day or two...