Caitlin and I went to the mall Sunday for a 3-year-old girl’s equivalent of the quest for the retail Holy Grail… the search for the perfect Dora sandals. The hubby mentioned a few weeks ago that he’d seen some at the mall shoe store. (As a side note, our mall is one step away from becoming Nashville’s largest fireworks stand, or so it seems as even Old Navy and Victoria’s Secret…we’re talking stalwart pillars of suburban mall life…have closed.) After the obligatory escalator ride, we headed straight to the shoe store which has an actual name so generic that it might as well be The Mall Shoe Store. I quickly scanned the children’s shoes and to my dismay there were no Dora sandals. I rounded the corner to the clearance aisle still hopeful, but only found some white dress shoes and a few random pairs of boots leftover from winter. “Caitlin, sweetie, they don’t have any Dora sandals, but look at these. These have BUTTERFLIES.” I was using my sunshine mommy voice in hopes that I’d tempt her as I had really talked up the Dora sandals like an idiot. She would have none of it. Only super cool explorer Dora could adorn her feet. So we headed to Sears, which, sadly, is the only other store in the mall that sells children’s shoes. We hit a shopping brick wall at Sears, too. Thankfully Caitlin is easily amused at the mall and I distracted her with another escalator ride. We walked past the first shoe store we’d hit and I had that shopper’s intuition that somewhere, somehow in the aisles of the store there was the perfect pair of sandals and that we’d just missed them the first time. Plus I really didn’t feel like driving to Target or the other upscale, bustling local mall which makes ours look like a giant flea market. Caitlin agreed, somewhat reluctantly, and I wrestled on to her feet a cute pair of pink and green sandals while she hitched her sundress up and stuck her hand down the back of her Sleeping Beauty underwear while yelling “MY BOMMON HURTS MAMA!” So much for looking like a little lady. Any way, I called it a loss because they were too loose, but as we were leaving I scoped out the clearance section once again and there they were…a pair of sporty pink and purple Nike sandals on the top shelf marked down to $15.98! I still had my shopping mojo! Like Cinderella’s glass slippers they molded to her little feet perfectly and, more importantly, she loved them. I told her they were great for running on the playground and she was so excited about her new sandals she wore them home. Fast forward a few hours later and I was pushing her in the stroller at dusk while the hubby was home with Amelia, who had zonked out early for the night. About half way into our 1 mile walk Caitlin climbed out of the stroller and started jogging beside me in her little pink and green sundress, pumping her arms, blonde hair flying, and saying, “I faster mommy! I super girl mommy! I faster!” And darn if she didn’t jog the half mile back to our house.