Dante is experiencing his very first pop culture obsession: Thomas The Tank Engine. We got a Thomas DVD at Christmastime, and started slipping it into the rotation last month. At some point, he decided he really likes it. We got our first clue about this when he began stomping around the house shouting, “Thomas! Edward! Gordon! James! Percy!”
So then Laura got some more DVDs in a “3 for the price of 2” deal, and we’ve been adding them slowly. The first one was a big hit, and added more trains to his repertoire. Then Laura found him some Thomas reusable stickers. These were a HUGE hit, and a ton of fun for us to play with. The first night he had them, he wanted to spread them all out and look at them. I hadn’t watched the DVDs too much, so I was a bit ignorant about the world of Thomas; I talked about the stickers with Dante, and he totally schooled me.
PAUL: Oh look, here’s Edward!
DANTE: (gently) That is Henry.
PAUL: Oh, whoops! Which one is Edward?
DANTE: He is the blue number 2.
PAUL: Aha. Thanks for setting me straight about that.
In fact, Dante has become a Thomas trivia king (at least, for the subdomain of Thomas to which he has been exposed.) You can formulate any question about the trains he knows, and he will nail it. Which one is number 5? (James.) Who are the green engines? (Percy and Henry. Also, Emily is dark green.) What does Gordon do? (He pulls the express.) Let me tell you, I couldn’t be prouder.
Unfortunately, the second DVD from the 3 for 2 deal was a bit of a bump in the road. He watched it for the first time by himself, and something in there freaked him out. We won’t be making that mistake again. (Of doing brand new ones unmediated, I mean.) Now he insists on only watching “the old Thomas”, which gets rather monotonous. We just gave him the 3rd for Valentine’s Day, and we’ve assured him that it’s not scary. We’ll ease him into it.
Overall, I’m pretty pleased that this is what he’s glommed onto. The stories are calm and sweet, plus they’re read by fun celebrity narrators — Ringo Starr, Alec Baldwin, and George Carlin so far. His favorite is the Ringo one, which is great for me since it gives me a good opportunity to work on my Ringo voice. Also, the narration is full of entertaining Briticisms. “Sir Topham Hatt was very cross indeed!”
He came up to me today and rattled off what I believe to be his first pop culture quote: “The only engines keeping other engines awake are little engines with very bad manners.” I love that. “May the Force be with you” can’t be far away! 🙂