We arrived at the Thomas & Friends Presents: Day Out With Thomas: Great Discovery Tour 2008, Brought to You By LEGO/DUPLO, the Choice for Exxxtreme Plastic Interlocking Block Building, just as the life-sized Thomas engine pulled into the station. Noah managed to catch about a half-second glimpse and promptly lost his mind.
"THOMAS!" he screamed. "THOMAS! THOMAS!"
I thought for a second he was about to plum pass out from the excitement. Even the will-call ticketing folk, whom I imagine are sick to death of Thomas and Percy and Sir Topham Fucking Hatt after the 17th consecutive weekend of dealing with this nonsense, smiled at Noah's Beatlemania-level enthusiasm. Jason and I smiled like big old dweebs, because WE RULE. MAXIMUM MAGICAL SPECIALNESS ACHIEVED! GREATEST. PARENTS. EVER.
By the time we got closer to Thomas, Noah was speaking in tongues.
And. That's probably when we should have turned around and gone home.
Note to the Greatest. Parents. Ever: when your child says no, he does not want to ride on the train, don't fucking make him ride on the train. Oh my God.
Then again, I'd ordered the tickets weeks ago for $18 each. Plus $3.50 in processing fees! Each! You are riding that train, child, and it will be MAGIC and SPECIAL and we will talk about the memories of that MAGIC and SPECIAL time we paid $64.50 to ride on an old MARC train for 25 minutes through some fields in Baltimore while a tinny Thomas singalong CD was pumped through the loudspeakers and the brakes on our car made a non-stop disconcerting grindy sound, and we will talk about these memories for YEARS, dammit. YEARS.
Noah's been doing so well with his little sensitive sensory quirky issues lately -- he's actually about to get kicked out of Early Intervention, the little smartypants valedictorian -- but oh, the train drove him batshit. He screamed and panicked and kicked and wept and he did not CARE that we were riding a train that was tangentially connected to a big blue Thomas engine, although technically Thomas was up THAT way and the train was moving in the OTHER way so...hmm. I am beginning to suspect that the Day Out With Thomas Great Discovery Thrash Metal Rock n' Roll Tour 2008 is possibly kind of a racket.
REST OF THE WORLD: Welcome, Amy! So glad you could join us.
Since we were 1) surrounded by families with toddlers, so like, eff them, right? and 2) $64.50! Sixty-four-fifty!, we did not get off the train during Noah's freakout but gritted our teeth and kept muttering that he'd be fine once the train started moving, oh God, just MOVE ALREADY. It was at this point that a elderly woman walking by felt the need to inform us that our child was "not happy."
What?! Not happy? For real? Why...that means we've been doing this entire parenting thing COMPLETELY BACKWARDS this whole time? Dude, we're such BONEHEADS. And here I thought this was just laughter through tears.
Noah did settle down once the train started moving (slowly, without any realistic chugga chugga woo woos, and yes, I WAS looking forward to some realistic chugga chugga woo woos), so much so that he laid down on our laps and tried to go to sleep.
Back at the station, the gift shop was sold out of the preshus little conductor caps that we'd had our hearts set on for our non-hat-abiding toddler, the concessions were closed so I couldn't spend $5 on bottled water and when Jason went to inspect the family photos we'd had taken in front of Thomas post-train-ride he happily told me that they were ABYSMAL and we all looked LIKE ASS, and therefore he DIDN'T BUY ONE. Then we high-fived because SUCK IT, Thomas & Friends. We done outsmarted you in the end, we did.
Of course, Noah did have fun. He climbed on a Thomas made out of LEGO/DUPLO BRAND INTERLOCKING BUILDING BLOCKS! and got walloped by a 12-year-old on the moonbounce got involved in a turf-war/choo-choo-hoarding incident at the train table -- you know, the same train table WE HAVE AT OUR HOUSE -- and did you know that antique trains come with built-in Naughty Steps for overstimulated toddlers?
Noah called this one "Mommy Thomas," and now all his trains at home are "Baby Thomas." That would be freaking adorable except for the fact that I just want to punch all the Thomases in the face right now.
Don't worry, she doesn't mean it. I still love you, Creepy Pixelated Uncle-Sized Thomas.
After the World's Longest Nap I tried to get Noah to tell us about everything he'd seen that day, like Mommy Thomas and all the Big Trains and the Bouncy Slide and That Train Ride That Wasn't Really Death on Grindy Wheels After All. He seemed to be drawing a blank on it all. Except, of course, for the windmills. The windmills were AWESOME.
This is a windmill. It's...probably best if you don't argue with him on this one.