Last Christmas, Nathan received his first Thomas the Train set from his godmother and since then he has been obsessed with these freaky faced forms of transportation. Like Britney-Spears-You-Want-Crazy-I’ll-Show-You-Crazy. Every day, he’s singing along with their British children chorus and then he yells at me like a drill instructor, “SING TO THE MUSIC MOMMY!” Some of the songs have the lyrics on screen and some don’t, so I just make up the words or provide the lyrics to Ginuwine’s Pony (have you seen this site friend?! Have you seen it!?) which confuses Nathan because he wasn’t alive yet to enjoy the fine stylings of late 90s R&B.
A few weeks ago, I purchased tickets for our family to attend Day Out With Thomas 2010 Tour at the Snoqualmie Railway Museum. It was touted as a day when the “real” Thomas would make a stop at our station and the whole area would be transformed into a Thomas on steroids wonderland. Mike and I had been trying to pump up Nathan for the event, my efforts mostly motivated by the fact I spent so much money– a formula true of all kid-related events: the amount of excitement I am expecting of my son is inversely proportional to the amount of money I shelled out for tickets. In this case: $18/ticket = YOU HAD BETTER BE EXCITED.
There was a huge tent with several train tables laid out and cars set at each one for the kids. I could understand that this was a Let’s All Enjoy Thomas together gathering but it was more a mad Lord of the Flies exhibit. Kids would take cars by force from the hands of other children and others would gather all the trains they could find in their arms leaving my poor son to play with a rickety James train or left only to play with a sad coal car. There were some parents who would bellow, “Share! Share! Share!” Others would simply stand there and not say anything while their shitty kids hoarded all the toys and worse were the parents who swooped in and did the train snatching for their brats.
One older kid jacked a car from Nathan’s hands while his parents stood right there and my son looked at me like, “WHAT KIND OF CRUEL WORLD IS THIS?” So I pointed to another car that was available and said loud enough for the parents to hear, “Some kids are learning how to share! You had to learn how to share, too!” Which is my passive-aggressive way of saying, “Way to ignore a teachable moment jerkwagon! Nice job supporting forced robbery!”
Normally I wouldn’t say anything in those kinds of situations because kids will usually figure things out on their own. But Nathan is so sensitive, so prone to breaking down to life’s injustices–the chips are too spicy, he didn’t get to open the door himself, I didn’t fetch apple juice quickly enough–that I have to announce what is going on and then steer his attention elsewhere.
Luckily, Nathan’s cousin Alejandro was there, too so they did what they always do: run around until both of them forget who is the pursuer and who is being chased.
The bouncy house smelled like feet, but Nathan didn’t care. This is his usual bouncy house face and also my face when I get to eat a Subway sandwich by myself, only my jaw becomes unhinged and I get the crazy eyes. You’re welcome for that image!
I had brought my big camera, but it was extremely difficult carrying a baby on my chest, holding a heavy camera and yelling at a four-year-old to smile. With teeth! Look in the camera! It’s the one I’m holding! With the lens! Just look into the circle!
They had staff in front of the train who took photos for you, which is why the boys are looking at her and not at me because she said, “LOOK OVER HERE!” drowning out my calls to, “LOOK AT MOMMY! I PAID FOR THIS! I’M NOT PAYING FOR ANYTHING ELSE!”
Finally, a photo of us on the short and slow train ride up the ridge. This is how I imagine family photos will be for the rest of our lives, only half of us will be in the moment, aware of what is going on. The other half will be interested in something shiny on the floor or figuring out a way to muck up a picture with a mouth that is only a vehicle for the sound, “GAHHHHHHHHHH!”