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The four buggers all needed new shoes, every single last one of them–even the ten month old grew out of her little Robeez.  I rarely am insane brave enough to take them all shopping with me, but the prospect of sitting at home for the next two hours with nothing to do seemed a less attractive option, so I decided to bite the bullet and go. 

The trip began with this dialogue:

“We are going shoe shopping.  For SNEAKERS.  That is ALL we are looking for today.  Everyone needs shoes.  If they do not have your size, I don’t want to hear ANY complaining.  We will go to another store, another day.  Do you understand?”

“Yes Mommy!” 

I have to do this because every single time we go somewhere, there is one child that I cannot find an appropriate *something* for.  Every.Single.Time.  And that doesn’t set well with the unlucky child of the day.

So we get to the shoe store.  Before we walk in, I again give them fair warning:  “If you don’t behave in here, we are going to walk out, and no one will get any shoes.  Do you all understand?”  “Yes Mommy!”  Their little bodies were twitching with excitement.  At this point they would agree to give away their baby sister they are so excited at the thought of new shoes.

In we go.  We head to the boys’ section, first.  The 10 month old is buckled in the umbrella stroller.  I am trying to remain calm.  Chaos ensues.  I hear the boys each shouting which ones they like (and let’s just say they didn’t inherit any fashion sense from anyone, either).  We start trying on shoes.  After about 2 minutes and 5 or 6 pairs of shoes that don’t fit, the 6 year old is frustrated, because he didn’t INSTANTLY find the shoes he wanted.  I think he’s afraid that he might be the aforementioned unlucky one for today.  I look over and the 10 month old is turned around standing, yes standing, in the umbrella stroller, knocking shoe boxes off the shelf.  (Note to self:  tighten stroller seat belt).  I turn her around, she starts writhing and arching her back and fussing.  I look over and the boys are checking boxes for shoes that fit.  More shoes on the floor.  I tell them to stop.  My head feels like it might explode.  The four year old and the seven year old are *helping* by making suggestions to the six year old and handing him boxes.  People are beginning to notice us. 

“Stop.  Everyone freeze.  We are going to find one pair of shoes at a time.  The six year old first.” 

Ten month old is turned around in her seat again.  Holy mackerel get me out of here.  I will NEVER do this again. 

We finally find appropriate shoes for the 6 and 4 year olds and move over to the girls’ section.  The patient seven year old has trouble making decisions.  And we’re in a hurry.  She is so much like me it is painful.  

“Well, Mikaela has these shoes.”  she begins. 

“Is that the type of shoe you would like?” 

“Well, no, not really.” 

“Okay, well let’s try to find something you would like.”

“Well, um…”  then silence.

I’m trying to be patient here.  The ten month old is now in my arms because she screams if I put her in the stroller.  But she’s not sitting in my arms nicely.  She’s spinning and rolling and arching her back and trying to get free.  Four year old has taken the stroller and is going up and down the isles with it.  My head is about to spin off my neck, and I can’t hear because of the pounding in my head.

“How ’bout this shoe Sweetie?” 

Silence.  That means “no not so much.”

“Okay, how about this one?”

“Weeeelllll…”

After a few more suggestions, she selects a shoe she likes, finds her size and we’re done.  I glance at the Robeez for ten month old, and decide if I spend five more minutes in this store it will be at the expense of my sanity.  Let’s get the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks outta here. 

Ten month old is now crawling on the floor because it is the only way she won’t scream.  I am now “that poor mother with all those kids” that everyone feels sorry for.  As soon as I get home I’m drinking a beer.  Four year old is pushing the stroller again, and ten month old is headed for the front door, which is propped open to let in the fresh spring air.  I’m trying to keep it together.  Cursing my husband who is at home, all alone, doing yardwork (how does it always work out this way?).

We pay the bill — $86.  EIGHTY SIX DOLLARS?  FOR THREE PAIRS OF KIDS’ SHOES?  Good golly.  At this point I would pay $800 just to get out of this store. 

And with that, we leave.  I think I may have heard the faint sound of applause and/or laughter as we turned the corner.  I don’t ever have to do this again have to do this again until next month, when they need sandals.  Pray for me, people.