Everyone has their good days and their bad days. In that regard, Sweet Girl is definitely within the norm. The only difference is that she seems to swing a little higher and a little lower, but she's always had a flair for the dramatic so that's not surprising. So after a really good couple of days some not-so-good days have followed. Sinuses flared, her nose bled, and crankiness ensued. And to exacerbate the situation we had to get her new shoes.
New shoes may not seem like cause for concern but the process of shoe-shopping is anxiety-ridden for Sweet Girl. If her feet would stay the same size and that size wasn't hard to find, I'd buy her shoes at Target while she was hanging with her dad. Alas, she has a wide foot (you're welcome Sweet Girl) and she keeps growing up despite my wish that she stay my little girl forever. Then there's the issue of the stench. Any sandal of Sweet Girl's is going to have a rather adventurous life. It will meet mud puddles, dirt piles, probably some Oreo offerings, and will take enough steps to wear out the tread on most Goodyears. This particular pair of sandals was well loved and therefore well worn, and oh they had the smell to prove it. We could smell Sweet Girl's shoes before we could see them. I was worried disposing of them would require cooperation from HAZMAT. It was definitely time for new sandals. To Stride Rite we go!
What Sweet Girl doesn't like about the shoe-shopping experience isn't the actual new shoes (though she used to limp around the house like her feet were asleep when introduced to new shoes - not any more much to my [somewhat inappropriate] disappointment), it's the measuring. A stranger is about to get in her space, touch her, and bodily move her parts. Not cool. And on this particular trip, to the one Stride Rite currently open in middle Tennessee, the store was busting at the seams with kids, strollers, parents, and grandparents grabbing shoes tax free and buy one get one half off. Sensory overload to say the least. Sean and Little Man scan our options while I gave Sweet Girl a pep talk; it's not going to hurt, it will only take a second, no one is going to hurt you, you don't have to be scared. She bravely sits on the bench but as the store employee comes over, the tears start to roll down her cheeks. I reiterate the pep talk adding the always popular "Mommy's right here. Don't worry." But she wants to be held and it's clear the employee is not digging the tax free madness and isn't willing to be creative. So Sweet Girl cries the whole time, all the while repeating "Don't cry. Don't cry. Don't cry sweetie." (clearly I say this more than I thought), and I feel terrible about shoes of all things.
It is, of course, over in about two minutes. Sweet Girl was not the only child crying or melting down in the store at that time. She gave me a "big ole hug" and a "Hurray! We did it!" when it was over. But I still feel terrible that I couldn't make her more comfortable and that we will have to buy shoes again someday. My sister-in-law, who feels my pain on this, and I will someday open a shoe store/hair salon/portrait studio for people with sensory issues. Low lighting, appointments can be made for individual attention, games, movies, wide open spaces, whatever it takes to make these necessary and important things easier for those who need a little time and space and especially for their parents who feel their stress and anxiety a million times over. But until that day (here's to a good walnut crop!) we keep working on it. Sweet Girl gets braver and my house smells better with the old sandals gone. She's a sweet girl but she has stinky feet.
Side note: When we got home (about 50 miles from the craziness) we realized that there were two right shoes in the box. Dad to the rescue! He and Little Man returned them the next day and got Sweet Girl a shoe for each foot. He's a good dad.