In an attempt to bring some light and humor into this space, I will share with all of you a relatively short anecdote from my time with Strudel. Shout-out to the woman who said, “You can write a column about this.” And so, here I go.
I had the pleasure of having Strudel for a sleepover last week. Her shoes were a little small, so I told DIL #1 that I would take her for new shoes. This had happened a few months before, and when I told Strudel that we were going to buy new shoes, she said, vehemently, “NO new shoes!!!” And since she is the boss of me, we did not go for new shoes.
This time was going to be different. Babka was going to be successful in this mission. So with a big smile on my face, I said to Strudel, “Tomorrow, we are going to get you new shoes and then a balloon and then we will go see the doggies at the doggie store and then we will get you a new toy!” The toy store is conveniently located right near the pet store. Coincidence? I think not.
She responded, in kind, with a big smile, “Strudel get new shoes, balloon, see doggies, and buy new toy!” Man, do I love that kid.
Okay, so tomorrow arrives, and we are still in agreement on the whole new shoes situation. Until we start getting her dressed. “No socks, no shoes,” she tells me quite matter of factly. I explain to her that she can’t walk around the mall without socks and shoes. She doesn’t seem to care.
We go into the car and arrive at the mall. From there, she goes right into the stroller because, as I said, she has nothing on her adorable little feet. I keep saying, “Strudel is getting new shoes, a balloon, seeing the doggies, and getting a new toy.” She is still in complete agreement.
Once we get into the kids shoe department, she starts pointing to the foot-measuring thing and cries. Uh oh. I take her out of the stroller and explain to the salesperson that my perfect Strudel needs new shoes, but she is afraid to have her foot measured. The salesperson says that has happened before, and she has a different one that is less scary looking. She also hands Strudel a pink balloon, which Strudel delicately holds on to.
Seconds later, the salesperson approaches Strudel with a blue foot measuring thing, and then the fun really begins.
My adorable little Strudel starts screaming. I am holding her, the salesperson is trying to measure her foot, the screams are getting increasingly louder and folks are starting to look over at us. Over the din, I tell the salesperson to just bring me two pairs of pink shoes, any pink shoes, in the sizes she thinks will fit Strudel. We will return whatever doesn’t work.
Strudel is still screaming. I look at her and say, “Hey little girl, don’t you know that if you scream in public, Babka gets judged by everyone around her?” She looked back at me and in between the sobs said, “Want… blue …balloon.” Ahh, a slight reprieve from the hysterics.
Once the blue balloon was in her possession, I acquired a few brief moments of clarity. I quickly paid for the shoes, placed Strudel back in the stroller, and we continued to the doggie and toy portion of the morning (because of course all of this happens before 10:30 a.m.). You see, with this clarity, I remembered that recently Strudel learned that Hashem had made her boo boo all better, and she likes pointing to her knee and telling everyone this fact.
I begin to have the following discussion with the sweet, intelligent daughter of sweet, intelligent Son #1. “Hashem made your feet bigger, and that is why you need new shoes.” She looked up at me, and with bright eyes and a huge grin she said, “Hashem give me new shoes?” It was smooth sailing from then on.
Out of the mouths of babes. May Hashem hear all of our prayers, whether they are for new shoes or, more importantly, for peace.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck wants to point out that she was never as patient with her own children as she is with her Strudel. It didn’t even enter her mind to say to this kid, “That’s it, we are going home and you are not getting a new toy.” Why is that?!?!?!?!