All aboard!

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! 🙂

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3 thoughts on “All aboard!

  1. cool but be careful

    That is awesome. I’m glad Dante is having such a good time with Thomas. Hayden also went through a big Thomas phase, and he still plays with his trains quite a bit, although I don’t think he watches the videos much anymore.

    I do think it’s a good idea to screen them ahead of time. This is not so much because of scary parts, but because sometimes those trains are not very nice to each other. In one of the DVDs, one of the trains says, “Shut up!” (I’m sorry to say that I don’t know the train’s name, number, or color. I also don’t know which DVD it is.) This caused some issues over at the Turley house.

    Anyway, I’m glad Dante is enjoying it, and that he has a new outlet for his tendency towards categorizing things. Woo hoo!

  2. Aw, man, he’s growing up so fast. But I wonder what was in the story that frightened him. I know Alec (who’s 8 now) gets scared at situations in which someone is going to get “in trouble”. He prefers to hide behind the sofa when a kid is about to be caught doing something wrong. Whereas Zoe (who’s almost 3) will just get scared at scary images. She won’t watch the Rudolph Christmas special because of the Abominable Snowman but, where Alec tears up when Rudolph goes off on his own, she’s blissfully unaware of the scariness of that situation.

    • I haven’t watched all of the allegedly scary video yet, but in the 2nd story there’s a bit where an opera singer gets frightened by a mouse and screams so high and loud that she shatters all the windows. I know Dante didn’t like that — he’s quite sensitive to loud noises. So if that wasn’t the problem, it was certainly part of the problem.

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