2.22.2009

One Choice, Maybe

My mom and I recently went shopping for Delaney and Hayden's second birthday, which is on Tuesday.

Roatan has three toy stores, that I am aware of, that carry a limited selection of nice-enough imported toys. The best one is in Coxen Hole. Mom and I went to the other two, in French Harbor, because they were closer and Jesse-the-babysitter only stays til 4 o'clock.

For months I have been looking for a new child-size table and chair set. We used to have one, purchased from a Coxen Hole pulperia, but Mike sat on the orange plastic table and it -- and he -- went crashing to the floor. (This greatly amused Delaney and Hayden, until they realized that they no longer had a place for playdough.) I haven't been able to find another one on the island since. There are dozens of little plastic chairs for sale in the markets, but no tables. Kind of like the island being out of milk and bread most of the time.

I could go to a local carpenter and get a table custom-made (and probably will eventually), but I didn't get around to it in time for the birthday. I know, what kind of parent am I.

So I hoped that Bormac's (above the Gone Bananas internet cafe, next door to the Pizza Inn and across the street from Eldon's), might at least have a table if not a motherlode of good toddler gifts.

My first thought upon entering was wow, I'll be able to find something here that will excite them. My second thought was wow, they have exactly one type of table, and boy, is it ugly. Orange, again (what's with that?) and decorated with Lightning McQueen race cars. Like Herbie the Love Bug, and also courtesy of Disney Pixar. But no Little Mermaid equiavalent to go with it, so Delaney and Hayden will each be getting a table with a grinning speedster on it. Just what our house was lacking.

Bormac's also had one relevant art supply, a finger paint set that I had almost bought last summer at a beautiful Houston toy store but then decided was too heavy for our luggage. So bingo, one more present.

Mom and I then studied every single shelf and found two more toys that fit the bill: an airplane with accessories like a uniformed captain and luggage carts (very cool) and a car-transporter big-rig truck that goes "beep beep" (Hayden's current favorite expression). Neither is of Fisher Price quality, but they'll do. And again, nothing with particularly feminine appeal, but mom was already planning to give Delaney a new baby doll brought from the much better-stocked stores of Los Angeles. So that's covered.

We also stumbled on a large bag of plastic farm animals, which Mike later said will help Delaney and Hayden teach me which is which.

At the second store, we were pressured to buy a variety of High School Musical items. I tried to explain that the babies were only turning 2, and had no idea what high school or a bad musical was, and besides that I didn't want to buy movie-themed gifts (ignoring for a moment the fact that I had just invested in two Lightning McQueen tables and chairs).

This store did have two, and only two, thankfully two, Elmo books, so I bought those. You can never have enough Elmo.

Mom and I felt like we had accomplished a lot, though it was hard not to think about the thousands of choices back home at Toys R Us. This year Delaney and Hayden will get what's available, and not necessarily what I might have spent months (and way too much money) shopping for in the U.S.

I know they'll love their presents all the same. Particularly the unwrapping part, ripping off the one kind of birthday gift paper that I could find at Eldon's.

Here they were last Friday, getting some advance gifts from Meme and Bopa.
Having their grandparents here for the last three weeks has been the best present of all.