All posts tagged: thomas train

When I Grow Up…

With one month left in the school year, my son’s school creates a yearbook. (Yes, NYC schools seem to go year-round. Eat your heart out.) For this project, class parents needed to photograph each kid. My cohort concocted the adorable idea of photographing the kids with a prop suggesting what they want to be when they grow up. My first thought was: I’m pretty sure my kid has no notion of what he wants to be when he grows up. The next morning, I polled the class. At the first table, one kid said “Firefighter!” Three boys and one girl parroted him. At another table, one girl squawked at me. Literally. Another delivered a 15-second unintelligible monologue, from which I discerned “lion” and “zoo”. Another girl replied, “Nothing.” “But what kind of job would you like to have?” I clarified. “Nothing. Like my mom. She does nothing.” I suppressed a guffaw and continued. The next girl said, “Policeman.” I gave her a high-five. The next girl said, “Sleeping Beauty.” Oh, shit. My son heard that. …

I’m With the Pope

Before I became a parent, I had dinner with some co-workers whose children I found admirable. When I asked, “What’s your formula for success in raising kind, engaged, intelligent children?” They responded, “They watched no TV.” Oh. Bummer. I intended to teach limits, not be a TV Nazi. But they went on, “They watched plenty of DVDs. They just didn’t watch commercial television, so we avoided ads for buying toys and candy.” Smart. Very smart. I’m reminded of this every time my son goes down a rabbit hole of acquisition requests: “Daddy? Can I get a little ‘Scruff’ [a friend of Thomas] for my birthday and a ‘Glitter Glider Sleeping Beauty’ for my birthday and a ‘Zoe Zebra’ stuffed animal for my birthday and a racetrack for my birthday and four pink donuts for my birthday and the ‘Jasmine’ princess movie [Aladdin] and ‘surprise eggs’ for my birthday?” Thank goodness he’s accepted the “maybe for you birthday” mantra and doesn’t scream, “NO! I WANT IT NOW!” But still. He will go on and on and …

9 Helpful Suggestions for Partners of Stay-at-Home Parents

Having commiserated for hours with every other stay-at-home parent (SAHP) on the playground, I’ve learned my complaints about the “home front” are the same as every other stay-at-home parent (SAHP). Since we SAHPs are on the same page, this helpful list is for our partners to help our families stay happy. (Cuz when SAHP’s happy, the family’s happy.) Please, partner parents: avoid saying the following… 1. “Wow. The place is kind of a mess.” Really? I’ve cleaned the apartment three times, already. Those trains have been in and out of baskets twice, those Legos have been constructed and deconstructed thrice. I used 7 of my normally-inconsequential 22 minutes of decompression during nap-time to CLEAN. Meanwhile, do you have any idea where the race cars even go? It’s not my fault you haven’t adapted to stepping on Thomas the Train barefoot without whining…like a baby. Instead of commenting, how about quietly grabbing the kitchen spray and wiping down the table, yourself…while entertaining the kids. I’ll be doing shots on the john. 2. “What did you do …

Thomas the Train Rage

Well that blew. It was our “Day Out With Thomas”, when a rail-riding, full-size “Thomas the Train” visits sleepy train stations with operable train tracks. In our case, the Essex, CT, train station attaches some coaches to a locomotive, followed by Thomas, and makes a 20-minute trip to the local dump, and then back to the station. Last year, our trip was idyllic. Ellison bounced along to the songs during the ride, thrilled at hugging a dressed-up “Sir Topham Hat” and riding a jankety fair rides dotting the parking lot. This year’s day out started out euphorically. For the entirety of our fifteen minute drive, Ellison chanted, “I want to ride Thomas!” The cuteness drove me crazy. At the station entrance, he skipped and chanted, “I’m so excited to see Thomas! Hooray!” I love it when he talks like he’s reading a “Dick and Jane” book. Colton was equal parts confused and excited. We cheered Thomas’ arrival from the previous trip to the dump. As we proceeded toward the boarding area, Ellison noticed a table …


I’ve written a variation on this theme, before, but it’s the greatest hope I have for my kids. “Daddy? You be ‘Anna’ and I’m going to run away from you with my cape and you say, ‘No, Elsa! Don’t go!’ Ok?” “OK, buddy.” Role-play ensues. Even Colton, who’s words are limited to “pee-pee” and “nana” gets into it. When he sees anything Frozen, he shouts “Anna!” As already discussed, our household is ruled by Frozen. (Actually, Thomas the Train still rules, but there’s a lot of Disney princessifying going on.) Frozen thrills Ellison. He plays all the rolls: Kristoff, Sven and (especially) the sisters. I’ve gotten good at fashioning dresses out of old swaddlers (blankets, not Pampers.) The other day I figured, “Eh, he hasn’t watched it in two weeks. Why not?” As we waited for the movie to load on my computer, Ellison jumped on the bed shouting, “Hooray! Hooray! I’m so excited to watch Frozen!” He shouts “hooray” sans irony. I mean, who talks like that? It’s so…earnest, so…“Barney” dialogue. After a recent …

3 1/2 Ways to Teach My Toddlers About MLK, Jr.

On this Martin Luther King, Jr Day, and after a conversation I had with some narrow minds over the holidays, I’m choosing to think of lessons from MLK’s life in three segments: Have empathy for people who feel down-trodden Don’t condemn an entire population for the actions of a few. Racial issues are more about socio-economics than skin color. I’m imagining discussing this with my 3-year-old:

2 Ways I Put Christ Back into Christmas. No Kidding.

I’m wrestling with how to put Christ into Christmas for my sons. This is Ellison’s (3yo) first Christmas where he “gets” it. But I’m afraid “getting it” means only, “Santa brings me Rocky and Peter Sam!” (*Friends of Thomas) I’m concerned he’ll be a kid who tears through gifts, ungraciously casting aside Uncle Terry’s educational puzzle, and demands, “Where’s Rocky!?!” (*FOT) At the risk of sounding FOX-like, I’m waging my own war on Christmas. I won’t allow my kids to take part in our seasonal consuming frenzy without understanding what’s important and why we celebrate.

5 Things I Just Wasn’t Expecting About Parenthood

1. “Granny Hour” Back when Ellison was born, I read (meaning watched the 20-minute bootleg video) of HAPPIEST BABY ON THE BLOCK. I understood the “5 S’s”. But at about six weeks, when he became inconsolably irritated and annoying, my sleep-deprived mind didn’t realize Ellison needed the 5 S’s. I was suffering more than he. A friend told me it was “Granny Hour”. In olden days when we lived in tribal villages, or just villages without cars and YouTube, Granny realized that Daddy needed a drink around 5pm and she’d come over and bounce Junior so that Daddy could get fresh air (into his glass of wine). Nobody told me that the 5 S’s were for what would become Granny/Witching/Hell hour…and that it would go on for the first three months of infancy.

My Halloween Dilemma

Since you read my last blog, I don’t need to remind you that Ellison chose to be “Zoe Zebra” for Halloween, right? I will remind you, however, that “Zoe” is a 7th-friend-from-the-left (essentially background) on the uber-popular British cartoon, Peppa Pig. Per Ellison’s request, Colton dressed as Peppa’s little brother, “George Pig”. The two of them were an adorable, zoological sight stumbling down SoHo cobblestones knocking “store-to-store” at the likes of Tiffany’s, BoConcept, Jack Spade and Louis Vuitton. I’m not kidding. It was absurd. And hilarious. No, the stores didn’t hand out $10 bills or even full-sized candy bars. They handed out the same solo Reese’s and bite-size Snickers as the Williams and the Ericksons.

5 Big Sarcastic Thank Yous to the British for Poisoning My Son

We all know what island the imbecilic “Thomas the Train” hails from, and it ain’t Sanibel. It’s the mythic Island of Sodor, somewhere between the coasts of Britain and Braindead. Because of Thomas, we have spent 1.2 million dollars on trains and tracks. And what does my son do after I set up tracks? He places the trains around the track a few inches apart and stares at them. I try to push the $22 wooden blocks around my expertly crafted track, but he screams, “Noooo! Not that one!” Ellison doesn’t play with the trains. He stages them. Thank you, Great Britain, for making my son OCD. Then there’s the Thomas plot lines. In every story, one thing happens: someone disobeys orders. Every train from Diesel 10 to Paxton to Skarloey (actual names) seeks short cuts in daily tasks, thusly disobeying orders, thusly causing “confusion and delay”.