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None of my girls are old enough to play with real, hard baseballs or softballs let alone tooth cracking aluminum bats. However, there are enough children in my neighborhood that are enjoying softball season at the moment that my kids are noticing. The little girl next door got a new pair of cleats and my oldest girl completely feminine love with the shoes with the "bumps" on the bottom.

After an inpromptu playtime in the side yard, she came in asking what the "bumps" on the bottom of the cleats were for. I explained (as best I could) that the plastic bumps made the little girl be able to run faster and not to fall down as much when playing ball. This explanation was all it took to make the case for buying a set of cleats for everyone in our family. After all, what's not to love about being able to run at record speeds and not to trip and fall while you are in the process?

I could see that even more explanation was going to be necessary and I followed up my previous remarks with the fact that cleats were for girls who actually were involved in softball. After the information that cleats are for girls who are playing sports and as little girls didn't play ball, they didn't come in little girl sizes.

The disappointment in her eyes was sad enough but the pitiful sight of her watching through the glass in the door while the neighborhood kids piled in the cars to go to their ballgames was especially painful to watch. It just so happened that I was having a conversation over the back fence with our ball playing neighbor girl's mom about this sad scenario when a brainstorm struck.

Practically in mid sentence a lightbulb lit up over her head and into the house she ran. I went back to pinning my rugs on the line and in a moment she returned carrying not only a pair of tiny, worn looking cleats, but a pair of those baggy knee length nylon shorts that girls wear to play ball.

I cleaned the red clay off the baseball shoes up as best I could and had them and her shorts waiting when she came back from the pool with her dad. You would have thought that I had given her a new car! The shoes are too big as are the shorts which are pulled up under her armpits at this very minute, but this is one happy little girl!