We tentatively entered the store, new to this world of shoes and looked around. There were so many to choose from, lining the walls and shelves around us.
“Can I help you?” said a polite shop assistant.
“I was hoping to get a pair of shoes for my daughter?”
The shop assistant smiled. “Come with me,” she said & led us to the back of the store. As I got Baby Girl out of the buggy, she whipped out a tiny foot measurer. I sat on the padded seat & Baby Girl stared in amazement. It felt like only yesterday I had been sat having my foot measured for my school shoes each summer…
“Hold out your left foot,” the lady said softly as she gently took Baby Girl’s foot in her hand and placed it on the measurer. She slid the top to her toes and tightened the tape measure round her little foot. Next came the right foot.
“Three and a half, F,” she exclaimed, “with a narrow heel, high arch and shallow toes. Let’s see what we have for you.” We walked to the back wall, lined with tiny shoes. “She’ll need Walker shoes, which are from here down, ” the lady gestured. “But most of our walker shoes don’t come smaller than a size 4, so perhaps it’s best if I bring you what is available and you choose from those? ” I nodded, remembering so many years of torture trying to find a pair of shoes that fit my narrow little feet…
She reappeared with a handful of tiny boxes.
“I can see already, these won’t support her arch,” she said as she opened one box.
“And I don’t think the red sandals will work; it’s only early Spring,” I said.
“Not to worry, we’ll find the perfect match here somewhere. Try these,” she said as she pulled the dusty purple pair with flowers on the toes from their box. We fastened them to Baby Girl’s feet.
“Good length, good width,” she said as she wiggled Baby Girl’s foot this way, “hmmm…” I popped her on her feet. She wobbled & reached for the seat for support. Then flop! Baby Girl tripped and landed on her bum. Pulling herself up she tried again; “Not quite right…” the lady said as we took the shoes off Baby Girl’s feet.
“Try these,” she said as she produced a pink polkadot pair with a frill on the toes. I winced at how girlie the little shoes were but Baby Girl presented her little foot, ready & waiting. “She’s getting the hang of it now,” said the lady.
“Good length, good width, heel doesn’t slip…” She wiggled Baby Girl’s foot again, pinching her toes through the shoes. Baby Girl slid off my knee and took a few tentative steps. She looked at me then out towards the shop… & that was it, she was off towards the door.
There were no red & gold sparks flying, but Baby Girl made it clear these were the shoes that fit like a glove. I smiled and clapped as Baby Girl wandered around the store with a big smile on her face. The shop assistant smiled, “Oh yes indeed, very good.”
She took Baby Girl’s new shoes, placed them back in the box and wrapped them in white paper, still smiling down at a cheery Baby Girl. I paid £32 for Baby Girl’s shoes & the shop assistant smiled, handing me the bag.
Because you see, it doesn’t matter if you want the navy desert boots, purple trainers or awesome little yellow wellies. They may not come in your child’s size, or support their little feet in the right places & God forbid they should slip on the heel! The Clarks’ assistant might as well have been called Ollivander & said; “It’s really the shoes that choose the child…”
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