Do you ever feel like Thomas the Tank Engine has taken over your home? Here are my top ten signs that the Really Useful Engine has effectively taken over at your house:
10 - you know the words to more than one Thomas sing-along song
9 - you could find your way around the Island of Sodor without a GPS
8 - you know which engines have separate coal tenders
7 - your child has told you he's "cross" (and your family isn't British)
6 - you've enticed your child into the bathtub by telling him it's "time for a wash-down"
5 - you know which engine had to be mended with a boot-strap, which one delivers the mail, and which one pulls the express
4 - you could open up your own Thomas museum
3 - you remember the frustration when they changed the Thomas tracks to a new kind that *wouldn't connect* to the old ones, aaahhh!!
2 - when frustrated, you've had to fight the urge to quote Sir Topham Hatt, "you've caused confusion and delay!"
1 - you know Thomas' engine friends (and non-engine friends) by name & number and they feel like "old friends" to you too
We have three huge Thomas fans at our house! I have to say, at this point I have a soft spot in my heart for Thomas and his fellow engines. They have been a part of our life for so long, and they have brought a lot of joy to our sons. One of the first inklings I had of my sons' talent for noticing and remembering details was when they started to name all the engines and could tell me each one's number and color... at age 2. Later, they could tell me other details like how many wheels they had and could draw "anatomically correct" pictures of them, complete with whistles, domes, buffers and funnels in the right places. Thomas has helped give us a way to communicate with our sons when that was one of the few things they wanted to hear about (I can remember having to tell them the Christmas story in the context of a Thomas story because that was the only way they'd listen to me...).
Thomas was also helpful as BH and CB worked to develop their pretend play skills. They went from just rolling the trains back and forth, watching the wheels, to re-enacting the various Thomas stories (word for word!) to creating their own stories with the Thomas characters. They have a Thomas pillow and I used to "talk" to Thomas, pretending he was real. I was so excited when they finally stopped getting upset with me for pretending and started playing along. They would remind me every so often though, that "he's not really real, mama, he's pretend" just in case I might have forgotten :).