You See Dead People? I See Trains. No, I Really Do.

In Baby Howie, Celebrity Obsessions, Peanut, Tolkien on September 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Is it September already? Where has the time gone? What have I been doing? What is this strange device in front of me with little buttons and a screen? And what is the meaning of life?

I’m not sure how three months have passed since my last post, but I’ll quickly recap what we’ve been up to: recovering, working, being in the weddings of close friends, Peanut starting preschool, Peanut’s 3rd birthday party (during the planning of which Tolkien said “After this, I don’t know if I’m going to have the energy to plan her wedding”), traveling, and the next thing you know the summer had gotten away from us. But we are all doing well and are secretly looking forward to a calmer autumn.

So the Peanut has turned 3. She started school this year, a wrenching transition for Tolkien and I but not for her. We ended up enrolling her in the infamous school with the horses, mainly because I ran out of time to see many other schools before my surgery and treatment, but she seems to be having a really good time and always wants to go back. It’s hard for me to see her be out of the house so much, but I try to remind myself that a) we wanted her to have the socialization of being with a large group of kids, and b) nothing is set in stone. I have a lot of conflicting feelings about what the best schooling situation is in this day and age, which is a topic for another post, and I’m sure we’ll go back and forth in the coming years on where she should be educated.

In the meantime, though, it’s been an eventful year. And when we look back on 2012, do you know what we’ll remember? That it was the Year of Thomas.

Don’t look so smug, Tommy.

This was the year that the Peanut became obsessed with Thomas the Train. I never watched it or read the books myself, so I didn’t know anything about it, but Baby Howie showed her an episode once on a rainy day and something about it immediately captured her feverish little imagination. Here are the proofs of her devotion:

  • She is allowed to watch 30 minutes of television a day, and for the past 4 months she has always insisted that the only thing she wants is Thomas. She has actually committed toddler blasphemy and said, “I don’t like Elmo. I only like Thomas.” (I think she said that for the shock value. I can’t imagine she means it.)
  • She has memorized all of the trains’ names. They all look the same to me, but she knows the minute differences between each one. Sample conversation: Me: “Is that Emily?” Peanut: (looking at me with real concern, as if maybe someone should drug-test her mother) “No Mama. That’s Edward. Emily’s eyebrows are rounder.”
  • Every single morning when she wakes up, the very first thing she says is “Today we’re going to have a PICNIC PARTY for [insert name of random train here]!”
  • The owner of our local consignment store thinks I’m the “train lady” and, whenever she sees me, immediately tells me if they have a new batch in.
  • Tolkien and I find ourselves singing “They’re 2, they’re 4, they’re 6, they’re 8 …” under our breath all day at work. Peanut scolds us if we don’t sing it in a British accent, as she does. (And now it can be stuck in your head too. You’re welcome.)

  • Our house is overrun with Thomas paraphernalia because family and friends heard Peanut’s breathless chatter and got her Thomas items for her birthday.
  • The sheer awe Peanut felt each time she found out family members had the same first or middle names as various trains was truly astounding — you could just see her admiring the luck one must have in life to be named after a celebrity.

But here’s the thing … for the last several days, she has started requesting Elmo again during TV time. And here we are, surrounded by Thomas toys and books that we bought used or received as gifts, and not willing to let their time be over so soon. I mean, how wasteful is that? Really, this character toy thing is such a scam! And the people who own the Thomas trademark totally milk this. Do you know that not only is there a never-ending supply of different trains, buses, planes and more, but they make each one with different expressions and in different seasons? I have come up with a very scientific equation to calculate their profit margin:

x number of characters x y number of expressions x 4 seasons = a year’s income and a spoiled generation

Happy Summer Percy

Sad Winter Percy
















We just can’t do this every few months with whatever new book or toy Peanut pulls into her relentless embrace!

So I now find myself in the position of trying to get her back into Thomas and His Innumerable Friends. “Let’s play with Thomas! Isn’t Thomas so cool? I love Thomas!” (As my inner self apologizes to God for these blatant lies.) Next I think I’ll start reading them to her in her sleep. Since I can already recite them in mine.

Dear heaven, I hope something in here will be on my medical boards.

  1. That is so funny. So glad you are getting back to ‘normal.’ Whatever the heck that is…I just know it has been elusive for you lately. Love the Thomas story!! So cute! Miss you guys.

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