Sunday, July 29, 2007

Birthday Planning

Today I took Grace, Jack, and Henry to Walmart to shop for George for his birthday. The mere fact that I went to Walmart period was laughable, however their selection of bikes blows Target's out of the water so I had no choice. I quickly picked out a two-wheel bike for George ("WITH training wheels, Mom" as Henry ordered) and we made our way down the toy aisles. The kids have always enjoyed buying each other gifts, so I thought this would be relatively easy. I was wrong.

We struggled with three primary issues. First, the immediate selection by my children of toys that, for one reason or another, simply wouldn't work. I will admit that I'm most impressed by my ability to look at a toy --- any toy --- and discern immediately whether or not the toy will work for a 3-year-old (or 5-year-old) boy. The bottom line: most won't.

Grace's first selection: "Hey Mom? How about this game? It's called 'Fact or Crap'." My response: "Who the hell named THAT game?" I suppose my language slip went right over her head because she responded to me with, "Um, probably the person who invented the game?" Now, in Target, I would have been embarassed by that dialogue, but in Walmart it was tame compared to what was going on around us.

From there came issue #2: the boys selected a whole slew of toys that were just plain wrong. A Star Wars light saber? No. Play-doh? Absolutely not. A Pirates of the Caribbean Sword? HELL no. Toys with 150 pieces or that cost $150? No, thank you.

I quickly figured out the mentality with which Henry was shopping. He'd point something out and I'd say, "No, Henry, I don't think George will like that." Henry's response? "Well, that's okay. I'LL like it!" Super.

Final issue: Grace, who was the only one seriously looking for George without ulterior motives, simply could not find the "perfect" gift for George. After one hour, I said, "Grace find a present. Any present. I don't care what it costs." She finally decided on a baby pig that George can feed. Not sure about it, but I was too delirious at that point to really care.

On a good note, Grace is really wanting to learn Spanish, "so that I can talk to the birthmother when we go pick up my sister." The My First LeapPad games in Spanish were on clearance for $5 so I bought them all. She started this afternoon with Disney Princesses and let me tell you, I really underestimated how challenging this would be! It's a full story in Spanish! She and I have been online all afternoon looking up words in the Spanish-English dictionary. She's doing well learning to figure out words based on context though. She's my kid, so she's very frustrated that she isn't fluent yet, but we're working on it. I'm pleased to know that all the Leapster stuff comes in Spanish and, at a minimum, can be ordered online in Spanish, so that'll be great for everyone!

Speaking of that exercise, here she is and she wants to translate again. Adios!