Help! My Daughter Is a Three-Year-Old Shoe Addict

It started innocently enough. While strolling through Walmart, our daughter spotted a sparkly pair of Mary Janes. They were only $5, so we tossed them into the cart.

Fast-forward four months, ten pairs of shoes later, and I think we have a problem. Purple and pink sandals have taken over her closet. In it, you’ll find shoes that are worn out, shoes that were worn for a week (before she outgrew them), shoes that she loves, but we hate (because they’re slippery or give her blisters). And every morning before we head out the door, there is the shoe showdown: pretty vs. practical. It’s a battle of wills that my husband and I almost always lose.

My daughter's newfound love of sparkly footwear has become a shopping quest of mine. I'm determined to find the perfect pair -- one that works equally well for running and jumping as it does for posing and twirling. The dilemma, I have learned, is that ordering shoes for toddlers is about as predictable as playing slot machines. One brand’s size 8 is another’s 9. The size 36 in those Naturinos is not the same as the ones from Stride Rite. Thank heavens for sites like Zappos, Endless and Piperlime that have no-fee returns: We order several sizes at once in hopes of finding the right one, but more often than not, have to send them all back.

As if size discrepancy wasn’t tricky enough, there’s also the matter of my daughter’s constantly morphing foot size. We picked out a crazy adorable pair of Lelli Kelly MJs (complete with embroidered butterflies and ladybugs) that seemed to fit perfectly. A week later, we noticed they were peeling the skin off the backs of her ankles. I have no concept of how long Isadora’s feet will stay the size they are now. Shoe salespeople say kids need new shoes every three months. Is that even true? Rather than waiting to see, I find myself "buying up" and putting away shoes for her to grow into. As anyone who has ever caressed a new fall coat while praying for cold temperatures knows, the wait to wear can be torturous.

Before putting the blame for this extreme shoe consumption on her lovely, fickle head, I should confess that my own closet is filled with shoes of many colors, shapes and forms. There’s another stash in my office file cabinet that I have deemed inappropriate for commuting. And despite the ten or so I always have within an arm’s reach, I rotate through the same three pairs most days. Wouldn’t it be great if changing shoe size could be my excuse, too?

Today, Isadora headed out the door in a pair of Converse shoes from Target. They have purple stars and laces with hearts. She loves them and they fit. Tomorrow? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Angela Matusik is Chief Content Executive at iVillage. Follow her on Twitter @angelamatusik

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