The Big Man and the Little Ballerina

Out little ballerina is on the far left.
Out little ballerina is on the far left.

Kit and I needed some nice shoes for an upscale fundraiser we were supposed to attend in a couple of days.  The dress code for the event was “Dress to kill, but no tie required.”  We puzzled over this a bit but agreed that we both needed new shoes to start.  Running out of other times to shop, we dragged both girls to the local DSW shoe store with us on Saturday after Molly’s ballet / tap class.  This massive store features aisle after aisle of nothing but shoes.  It has historically been a place where the kids go pretty crazy from boredom pretty quickly.

I took Molly to the men’s shoes, and Kit took Claire.  Molly was still dressed in her pink ballet leotard and tutu and armed only with a small purple teddy bear for her entertainment.  She was pretty helpful in the shoe hunt at first.  She gave me several shoe suggestions, most of which were flip flops or running shoes, but she was trying.  Then Molly grew bored and started throwing said small purple teddy bear up in the air.  It would land in another aisle or sometimes fall hidden in between shoes boxes.  Molly loved this games and started hiding the teddy bear on purpose.  Then Claire came over to join us and tried to entertain Molly, which was also good at first.  But even Claire grows restless and bored in DSW very quickly.  So she and Molly were making repeated trips to the water fountain at the back of the store. At this point, I was getting no shoe shopping done whatsoever.  I was baby-sitting two tired, hungry, and bored little girls stuck in a large, boring shoe store for grown-ups

With the girls headed toward a peasant revolt, I just picked some reasonably attractive and well-fitting shoes and took the girls over to check on Kit.  Kit had a pile of possible shoes beside her on the ground.  Without getting into the details, Kit was not too happy with any of them.  I honestly thought they all looked pretty darn good and was hoping she would pick one so we could get out of there and go eat lunch.  But more choices kept coming.  Shoes were reconsidered.  We were not going to be leaving soon.  To be fair, Kit was not taking an extraordinary amount of time to pick her shoes.  It would have been okay except for the two restless little girls.  Now in the women’s section, where the shoes come in more than two colors and shapes, the girls were no longer in revolt.  There we just getting really wild and silly — too wild and silly.  They were running around, trying on grown-up high-heals and hats (or were they bonnets?).  They were giggling, getting louder, and wandering farther afield.  Molly was within an inch of a loud scream and/or a bad trip in those way-too-big heals.

I was splitting my time watching the girls and suggesting shoes for Kit.  At some point, I gave my full attention to Kit’s shoes for too long, I guess about 30 seconds straight.  Molly was gone.  But she was easy to find.  She was the three-foot tall giggling ballerina bounding away from us down the next aisle.  She was already 40 yards away from me (these are long aisles) and gaining speed.  At first I approached her at a cool, fast walk.  Then I realized that I had to actually run because she was running away pretty fast.  She had made 40 yards in seconds, and I was not gaining on her.  I was getting a little frustrated or scared, or both.  I ran towards Molly at a pretty fast jog, not quite a sprint, carefully dodging the lady shoe shoppers.  I caught up to Molly just before she turned a corner at the end of the aisle and swooped her up swiftly but gently with my arm.  Luckily, Molly did not cry or scream, but she did kick her legs in the air as a show of protest.

When we got back to Kit and Claire, Claire was smiling and chuckling heartily.  Fresh off Molly’s poorly advised escape attempt, I was a little angry with Molly and failed to see the humor.  I asked Claire what was so funny.  Claire said, over giggles, that my catching Molly was funny because she “just watched a big man chasing a little ballerina.”  Now that she mentioned it, that did not hilarious.  I wished I had seen it myself!

We ended up buying my shoes with one alteration suggested by Kit, but no shoes for poor Kit, who was forced to leave the store before she could make a final decision.  We went straight to lunch at the close-by Indian restaurant Tarka, which Claire voted for even over the barbecue place next door with the free ice cream, because Tarka’s chicken fingers were “hot, salty, flavorful, and roasted.”  I found that “roasted” part in particular hilarious.  Turned out to be a sort of funny shopping excursion after all.

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