Sunday, April 08, 2007

My Little Thomas the Tank Engine

I came across this post on Reflections of Time today, in which a father talks about his 3 1/2 years old son's love for Thomas the Tank Engine. Ah, this brought back so many sweet memories!

My son CB used to be a HUGE fan of Thomas the Tank Engine when he was little. I bought him his first Thomas when he was about 1 year old, and he fell madly in love with Thomas at first sight! He would carry his little Thomas the Tank Engine wherever he went. He often quietly played with & stared at Thomas while lying on his tummy on the floor, until he fell asleep. Back then he couldn't tell me what's on his mind, but I often imagined he must be talking to Thomas in his mind and making up all sorts of adventures he and Thomas' friends could go on together.

His collection of Thomas & friends quickly grew, as his passion for Thomas and all trains grew with him. He's got so many engines, train tracks, videos, books, outfits, and of course, he had to be Thomas the Tank Engine for Halloween -- 3 years in a row! He could name ALL 100+ engines in the Thomas the Tank Engine series, and their different personalities. He had a big 24-piece floor puzzle of Thomas, and he could put together that puzzle upside down! We took him to ride the Thomas the Tank Engine (a full-size steam locomotive) at the Strasburg Railroad, TWICE in 3 years. That's how much we loved Thomas!

When he was about 2 1/2 years old, we went to my daughter's first piano recital (she was 5). LK did a great job playing her very first recital piece. When she was done, the MC gave her a little trophy that every kid who played in the recital got. LK excitedly ran back to me and DH to show us her trophy. What we did not expect was that CB walked straight up to the piano, while I was busy taking a picture of LK with her first trophy. The audience started giggling when CB walked right to the MC, handed the MC the Thomas the Tank Engine that he was holding, and proceeded to climb up the piano bench as if he was going to give a recital. The MC happened to be LK's piano teacher who, amused by CB's impromptu performance, turned to the audience and said, "I know he is not in the program, but, do you mind?" The audience burst into laughter and applauded for CB. So, in front of the full auditorium, CB performed his "Impromptu Op no. 1", which was about 10 seconds long, I think. The audience was cheering for him when he finished.

I had a picture of his very first (although informal) piano recital. He was so little sitting at the concert grand piano. Last winter (he was almost 9) when he was complaining about piano practice and saying he didn't like recitals, I told him about his very first piano recital. Of course, he didn't remember at all. His eyes drew very wide, as if I was telling some kind of fantasy adventure story.

Like all parents who wish their babies would never grow up, I thought CB's love affair with Thomas the Tank Engine would last forever. I knew that was my wishful thinking, but I didn't want to face the reality. He was still playing with Thomas when he was in second grade. Then, out of the blue, one day he told me, "Mom, I think I'm too old for Thomas".

"What? Too old for Thomas?!! But, but, you love Thomas soooo much!!!" I was in shock!

CB calmed explained to me that he liked Bionicles better now, and that I could give away ALL of his Thomas trains.

I couldn't believe my ears! My baby Thomas was all grown up!

I asked DH to put away all Thomas trains in the attic, and told CB that he could ask us to take them out when he wanted to play with them again. He never did. He has moved on to Bionicles, and he never looked back.

We finally decided to sell CB's train table last winter, because it's just sitting there taking up precious space in his little room. On a cold, rainy night, a young couple with a baby boy just over one year old came to look at the train table and bought it. I told them how much CB enjoyed that train table playing his Thomas & friends, and that their son will enjoy the train table for years to come. When they left with the train table, I felt like a part of me left with it.

It was the end of an era, a very important chapter of CB's life (and mine too). Somehow, I was the only one feeling sad....


Karen said...

Ah, the young years when their worlds revolve around Thomas or Bitty Baby. How simple and easy those years were (in hindsight). Surely beats the teen years when their worlds revolve around their peers and their "boyfriends" or "girlfriends."

Found you through the Carnival of Family Life. :)

Csara said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. I have an almost two year old boy who is soooo in love with Thomas too. I can't imagine the day that he is "too old" for Thomas, but I know that day will be here before I know it.

Awesome Mom said...

What a sweet story. I have two little Thomas fans in my house. I am in the midst of decorating their room with Thomas things. It makes me a bit sad to think that someday they will move on to other toys. I am planning on saving the trains for them to have for their kids since they are such timeless toys.

ZenKitty said...

Hi Karen,

Yes, those years were so simple and easy. You could be their hero and practically their entire world. Now my kids are getting older (my daughter entering teen years), life is getting complicated -- different joys and challenges, but still a great adventure. :-)


ZenKitty said...

Hi Csara & Awesome Mom!

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your little Thomas fans! Yes, they do grow up soooo fast. I too remember decorating CB's room with everything Thomas. He still uses the Thomas comforter, but he asked me to take off all the Thomas wall stickers in his room. Oh well.

I also plan to save all his Thomas trains for his children. They are timeless toys!


skeet said...

My son pre-dated the Thomas toys, I think, but I remember the pang each time he signified a new stage in his growth by abandoning a favorite toy or no longer wanting to play a game that had been an obsessive part of his days for so long. Thus we mark their passages through the years. :0)

Visiting for the Carnival of Family Life!

Lill said...

Aww, I know the feeling and the Bionicles will get left behind too. Would it make you feel any better to know that my 17 yr old still has a stuffed wolf toy that he got when he was four on his bed? Even when his friends stay over. The 4 yr old is still in there and so is CB's 1 yr old self. I'm glad the Carnival of Family Life brought me here. Nice blog.
Lill in Maine