Trains, Trains, and Automobiles Part 1

For those of you that have not gotten the wire, Rex-Goliath loves trains. The whole thing happened by accident. We were at Blockbuster, renting Chloë a movie (Tropical Barbie or something equally horrific). Rex-Goliath obviously had not understood that renting him a movie was not in my plan. He selected one and gleefully marched up to me, waving Thomas the Tank Engine: The Great Discovery. This is how fate-sealing parenting decisions are made – I figured he would watch it once and we would move on with our nearly TV-free existence. Not so much.

He wanted to watch it constantly. This is probably what happens when you deprive your child of the things that all children love (TV, candy, vodka) – they gorge on it as soon as they get their hot little hands on some. Eventually we got him down to two viewings a day (bear in mind, this whole thing went down during a particularly paper-ridden time of the semester). Then one night, after a few glasses of Franzia on ice, I discovered a website offering Thomas and Toby for $1.99 apiece. I punched in my checkcard number, and off we were (Given my hatred of characters and merchandising, this was a pretty big deal).

Now we are in full-on obsession mode. Since I decided that Thomas is fairly innocuous, I have indulged the train obsession a bit. One of our advent activities was to drive to Hastings to see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train and take low-quality pictures of it. The whole thing blinks and flashes more than a Fisher Price baby toy and is not exactly photogenic for the amateur. Add that to the fact that I was wearing Xavier and trying to hold Rex-Goliath up to see the train while taking said pictures and avoiding the strangely high number of people waving lit cigarettes, it really is a feat that I captured anything other than the bum of some burly man in front of me.

Rex-Goliath was napless until ten minutes prior to arrival. I should have been there right on time, but Google Maps has been failing me big time lately, and I spent a few minutes touring historic Hastings looking for a glowing train. Eventually I found a parking lot with a lot of people walking around, and I decided to just follow the crowd. Definitely a gamble since I was hefting the baby and dragging the toddler (in boots). Lucky for me, I was on the right track (get it? ). We arrived with plenty of time to spare because according to some old dude I overheard, “the damn thing is a half hour late every year.” Finally, our chronic lateness paid off.

The train is really neat to see – one of the cars opens up and a band plays Christmas music. It acts as a fundraiser for local food shelves, so you can do a good thing while seeing a festive thing. The moment that the train pulls into the station is a little surreal – I was half-expecting it to not show up (my luck).

I cannot guarantee that Rex-Goliath enjoyed the experience to its fullest – he was woozy from the mini-nap and it was hard to see anything but crotches and butts from his height. I think he “got” it, though. If the obsession continues, we’ll try for a repeat next year. An additional parent, two more pairs of socks, and a travel mug full of warm goodness would have improved the experience quite a bit.

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