The Quest for Dress(y) Sandals

I just wanted a pair of dress(y) sandals, in brown for BigBrother to wear to church or with outfits that didn’t exactly go with bright red crocs or Thomas the Train sneakers. Last year, I found a pair (viewable to the left) at the Store That Has Everything From Sandals to Cantaloupe. This year? No go.

In fact, I struck out repeatedly. One store did have something that wasn’t quite what I was looking for but would have worked… but… of course, not in his size. I got desperate on Wednesday, knowing that he needed something appropriate for this weekend, and brought it up with my friends over coffee. They informed me that they had found a similar sandal at Payless last year. So, after running some errands, we drove 25 miles to the nearest Payless. I had promised BigBrother a treat if he was on his best behavior when we went into the store and so he excitedly followed me in the store, ready to try on a shoe. Anything for a treat, right?

But there was a problem.

In his size, toddler 9, there were approximately six pair of boys shoes. I wish I was joking. There were multiple pairs of the same sparkly little girl dressy sandals. There were multiple pairs of dressy girly sandals. The boys? Their options were some sneakers or some play-sandals featuring licensed characters. An associate popped into the aisle to ask if I needed anything. When I inquired about a boy’s dressier sandal in my son’s size, she said that everything they had was already out.

Really? Because the girls had over 30 pairs in size 9 and you only had six pairs for boys?

Frustrated, I took BigBrother’s hand and lead him out the door. This, of course, was met with a small meltdown as he assumed that the lack of shoe-trying-on meant that he wouldn’t get a treat. I assured him that he was not the one in trouble and he quite sniffling. Thankfully, two stores down was a Famous Footwear store. Not only did they have a wider selection of shoes for boys in general but they had a brown sandal in BigBrother’s size. And it fit. He did ask to hold the Lightning McQueen croc while I tried the intended shoe on his foot but replaced it happily when I said that we were done and he figured that meant it was treat time. I paid twice what I would have at Payless and left, happy that the search was finally over.


It’s not exactly the price issue. I don’t mind paying more for shoes as shoes are important because taking good care of your child’s feet is a good investment. However, I’m just constantly aggravated with the lack of selection when it comes to any form of clothing for boys.

Why do stores, especially discount-type stores, assume that we want our boys to be dressed in junk at all times? Why do girls get frilly, semi-dressy things for a reasonable price while boys are offered nothing more than junk for the same cost? Why do I have to spend more to achieve the same “level” of look for my boys? When did people stop caring what their boys looked like? I know. You get what you pay for. I understand that concept. And that if I want quality, I will pay more. But for Pete’s sake, why can my friends with girls pay less to dress their children the same way?

Now, don’t get me wrong. The boys have play clothes. In fact, they have a lot of play clothes because at 3.5 and 1.5 they do a lot of playing. I do have to search, still, as I don’t like overly junky play clothes. I still like them to look presentable (until they stain the front of their shirts with whatever it is they’re doing that day like, just the other day, rolling down our hill and getting grass stains). But, seriously, if it wasn’t for the Internet most of the time, I’d never be able to dress these children up. (Do you remember my Easter debacle?) All I wanted was a pair of brown sandals to go with his khaki shorts (of which they only had one pair that wasn’t a sloppy cargo pair) and polo shirts (of which don’t have junk printed all over them) so he could look like a well-dressed child when the situation calls for it this summer.

Surely we are not the only parents of boys who dress them in more than a Lightning McQueen shirt (which he does own as fun shirts do have their place) and shorts all summer. Right?

ShoesI suppose I should calm down. They’ve both got their dressy sandals and their nice clothes for the summer. (LittleBrother’s were a random find late last year.) But I know it will be an issue next year. And the following year. (We don’t hand-me-down shoes as their feet are vastly different: short and wide versus thin and long respectively.) I can only hope that some discount stores catch on that they’re not offering the same things for boys that they are for girls and/or the the economy improves and/or I become a child’s shoe and clothing designer before next summer.

[(Speaking of clothes, I have a rant coming up about finding something appropriate and fun for my class reunion. Help?)]


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Virtual Fire Department Visit

If BigBrother had his way, we’d visit the fire department every day. Even those days when FireDad is home. LittleBrother wouldn’t argue either. They love fire trucks. It’s part of their bloodline. And while I have suggested to readers to visit fire departments, the truth is that you can’t visit every single day. So what do you do with a child who is vastly interested in fire trucks but has already used up the fire department visits for the week, month or year.

You turn to technology, of course.

I wish I could take credit for this idea. But I can’t. FireDad gets all the kudos for this one even if it was semi-accidental. He was sitting at his laptop one day (one exceptionally whiny, rainy day) when he decided to surf YouTube. For what? Fire trucks. Fire sirens. And all the varying degrees of noisy but wonderful searches. BigBrother stopped whining, stood next to the chair and exclaimed his joy over and over with each new video. LittleBrother did the same. We had an instantaneous winner on our hands.

There are videos of fire truck sirens in parades. There are citizens watching fire trucks zoom past. There are the sirens going off over volunteer departments, alerting their members to a call. Any kind of siren you want, old or new, can be found. And it provides some great “time-wasting” and giggling. We actually turn to this on days like yesterday and, according to the forecast, today. We normally play outside after supper but when it is raining or, worse, storming, we have to find something else to use up that time. This is just one of the things we happen to turn to because giggles before bedtime… ? Yes, please.

And so, a few of BigBrother’s favorites:


And, perhaps my favorite “siren” video, brought to you by BigBrother:


And so the next time your little one wants to go see some fire trucks, plan a virtual trip. But be prepared to listen to sirens at maximum volume for a good half an hour. Have some ibuprofen ready. And enjoy your virtual fire truck ride. (Make your own video(s) while you’re at it!)