Thomas and His Chuffing Friends

4 Apr

Is it possible for a fictional train to actually become the bane of your life? For the past few weeks Thomas the Tank Engine has consumed our household, not literally, nothing that exciting ever happens to Thomas. Books, toys, DVD’s, bags, drinks bottles, pyjamas, you name it Max now has it, he is a walking advertisement for Reverand W Awdry’s locomotive money spinning creation.

We recently took Max to ride a steam train. He was fairly ambivalent towards trains at the time, more of a digger man. We returned home with Max’s engine full of steam. Whilst he delighted in the “choo choo’s” and the “peep peeps” I had a worrying premonition that the obsession developing before my eyes may see him join the ranks of solo adult train lovers that were riding along with us and looked as though they might benefit from the love of a good woman or man.
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If there were to be a soundtrack to my life right now it would be the opening and closing credits of Thomas and his chuffing friends. I know it word for word in all its long and tedious glory. I hate that I can identify enough trains to make me a bona fide train spotter. I hate that I have been sucked into talking to them like they are real living beings, “Max do you think Gordon needs to have a little rest now, come on Gordon time for bed!”

All of the lovely books in Max’s vast library have been usurped by that irritating little train! I used to look forward to story time, but as I find myself putting on my Fat Controller voice and bellowing orders at fictional steam trains, I have an overwhelming urge to set fire to the damned book. I have tried hiding them in amongst his ‘educational toys’ but they seem to have an extraordinary boomerang like quality of reappearing.
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And is it just me or are the morals a little sinister? The fat controller spends his entire day dishing out orders to his steamy subordinates, dangling the carrot that if they work hard enough they too can be very useful. It sounds a little too much like reality for it to be children’s entertainment.

Adding fuel to the fire (I’m even dropping unintentional train puns now) I recently turned an unwanted coffee table into a magical wonderland of train landscape (how my life has changed). I now spend my days on my hands and knees pushing trains with names and voices around an ugly coffee table that inhabits our living room. A word of warning – if anyone does attempt something similar don’t use polenta grain for the beach, spilt water + polenta = quick sand.
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Until yesterday I was consumed with Thomas hatred and then I caught myself doing something that made me realise it was resentment rather than rage. I found myself sitting on my bed watching Peppa Pig, alone. You see prior to Thomas there was Peppa and I truly dig that pig! I missed her wholesome piggy ways and her confident piggy swagger. I missed her little snort and longed for George’s dinosaur roar. I even missed Daddy Pig’s constant boasting and terrible Dad jokes. So it’s not that I necessarily hate you Thomas (I’m actually looking at him as I type this) it’s that I struggle without Peppa.

What’s hot in your house right now? Which ones bring out a little of the crazy in you? And please tell me I’m not the only one who digs that pig.

Flogging my blog with the wonderful Grace at With Some Grace (she also despises talking trains)

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63 Responses to “Thomas and His Chuffing Friends”

  1. rhian @melbs April 4, 2013 at 4:43 am #

    Ha Thomas all the way for us too. I don’t want to incur your wrath, but did you know that Puffing Billy do a special Thomas train ride day out. We took ours for his bday. It could make the infatuation worse though.! Excellent carpentry skills, you can come over to mine and make me one if you like!!
    They’re two, they’re four they’re six, they’re eight . . . . . . Sorry.

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 10:02 am #

      Rhian I would gladly give you this one but I’d be worried that he might do something silly. I am aware of the Thomas train and have no intention of feeding his fetish. And no more singing Rhian!

  2. Karen Reid April 4, 2013 at 5:02 am #

    Oh yes it’s the same in this house too. William being 2 can’t say fat controller yet that has somehow gotten shortened to another f word.

  3. Kassey April 4, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    Oh dear!

    Perhaps I should take this as a warning. I keep looking at the train sets and scenes and I was really excited about getting one for our junior burger but ‘proceed with caution’ is the message I’m getting here.

    At least, proceed sans Thomas as a minimum.

    Good luck with that

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 10:05 am #

      I think Max has got it particularly bad Kassey, an extreme case. Don’t let me put you off and at least I can share the pain with someone else

  4. mychillthoughts April 4, 2013 at 5:36 am #

    OH no!! You mean I’ll soon have to learn to live without Peppa?? Say it isn’t so! Why, just today I was thinking how much I truly enjoy her…as I watched while washing dishes during my Little Man’s nap!!

    -Cristyl @ http://www.mychillthoughts.com

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 10:09 am #

      I knew I wouldn’t be the only one Cristyl. What’s your favourite episode?

      • mychillthoughts April 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

        Yesterday we watched an episode about going on a bike ride. Peppa insisted on riding her own bicycle but soon tired, as predicted by Mommy Pig. Good ol’ Daddy Pig traded places with Peppa; he on her bicycle, Peppa on the front of Mommy and Daddy’s tandem. And then they all laughed at Daddy on Peppa bike.

        My favorite yet, but we’ve only just discovered Peppa recently as I hadn’t allowed Little Man to watch television until the last few months.

  5. Poppy April 4, 2013 at 6:25 am #

    It is weird how toddlers can get lost in the world of certain tale characters. It is the same with us, it started about 2 years ago, our daughter turning 2. The first star was Mickey Mouse, and of course all his pals. They were the first, and longest craze of hers so far, it lasted for almost a year. Mickey clothes, sandals, lunch boxes, books, etc., and surprisingly good Mickey impressions from the parents’ part (I have an excellent Mickey laugh, if I may say). Our media center has statistics, and we saw Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Choo-Choo Express 643 times within a year… Then Mickey was replaced by ponies. Singing, colourful, annoying ponies, at some point she even refused to wear clothes that didn’t have horses on… I was missing Mickey like you miss Peppa 🙂 Luckily ponies started to fade away, and now parrots take their places (have you seen the cartoon Rio? quite good actually…).
    Meanwhile our son, who is also 2 years old now, is completely into Cars. He doesn’t speak much yet, but his first word he uses in both of his languages (he is bilingual) is car… His so far very limited vocabularly also includes McQueen, and he carries at least 3-4 small Mcqueens with him everywhere he goes.
    I think it is part of their development that they become such big fans of this or that cartoon, it helps them relate to the real world. Thomas is actually quite cute I think (but again, anything is better than the stupid ponies), my daughter for example learned all the emotions via Thomas: “this train is very happy” or “look at that grumpy Emily”.

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      You may not believe me but I would prefer ponies, maybe I just want a change, everything that catches Max’s attention has wheels, legs would make a nice change. It never ceases to amaze me how often children stick to their gender stereotypes, cars and trucks vs dolls and ponies. Thanks for sharing Poppy

  6. Megan Gierke April 4, 2013 at 6:46 am #

    I too dig that pig, we have now moved on to Rob the Robot amongst other things, can’t quite bring myself to cull the 150+ episodes of peppy on TiVo though! ( just in case) 😉

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 10:17 am #

      Save it for a rainy day Megan, send the rest of the family out and indulge in some serious swine

  7. rickfarrar April 4, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    Don’t worry. It is curable. Like everything else that children get hooked up to the initial enthusiasm will pale with time and another craze will grab their attention. There are positives in all this and you need to concentrate on them. Max is showing signs of becoming an avid reader and that is a great gift. He will wil go through many other phases as he develops and all you can do is to guide him through them so that he becomes a well balanced person with a range of useful interests. Have a great time while this one lasts.

  8. Jo @Countrylifeexperiment April 4, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    We have had a Thomas phase, and a Bob the Builder phase, but at 2 1/2 Toby has discovered Mighty Machines – look on Youtube. My mum bought back some DVDs from the USA and Toby begs to watch them daily. They are far less annoying than either Thomas, and Bob.

    I find Thomas annoying, and the Fat Controller a pompous old fart. I question whether the things that Thomas does are actually ‘useful’!

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      They’re not useful at all are they Jo? I’m thinking of filming my own episode in which the island of sodor burns to the ground. Perhaps that will work? Can you get your mum to get us some might machines DVDs too, that sounds much better.

  9. beth April 4, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    I can sympathise – if anyone had told me 4 years ago that not only would I know the names of every engine in the Thomas stories, but that I would spend a good part of my day looking for lost engines and tenders, I would have laughed at them… but I am afraid it is so… (and why is it if I have a certain engine, it’s tender will be missing?… but if I have a tender, the engine will be missing?… and heaven forbid I suggest putting a non-matching engine and tender together!). Our lounge room floor has had a train track on it continuously for three years now – it just gets ‘pushed’ a bit around so we can sweep or mop… But I think the end is near – Master 4 discovered ‘Transformers’ a few weeks ago, and no doubt Master 2 will follow his example. But I think it is just changing little boy obsessions – instead of reserving everything ‘Thomas’ the local library has, I am now reserving ‘Transformers’ books and dvds…. Give me a month or two, and I will be able to tell you all their names, too!

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      3 years???? I’m not sure i will last that long Beth. It’s my own fault I keep buying him new bits and pieces, might be time for a garage sale : ). Enjoy the break that is Transformers!

  10. Catherine @ Cup of Tea and a Blog April 4, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    Oh this made me chuckle. We are all massive Peppa Pig fans. Ho ho!

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 10:31 am #

      They should do an adult version, like the adult Hollyoaks they did, remember that? I’d watch it

      • Erica June 11, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

        I would so watch it too..imagine Daddy Pig after he’s indulged in a few beers!

      • daddownunder June 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

        The mind boggles Erica, he’d be pure filth

  11. LettheWildflowersGrow April 4, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    I love Peppa!She is a little rad,even if she is rude.Thomas is a way of life,fictional or not.I don’t think a boy really has a childhood unless he is devoured by Thomas.It is a right of passage.I can check it off the list now.

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 10:34 am #

      Thomas is a way of life – sounds like the fat controller has brainwashed you Jessi. Hope the windflowers are growing where you are!

  12. Grace April 4, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    LOL! Out of Thomas frying pan and into the Peppa pig fire! Thomas was the bane of my existence for what felt like foreeeeeever! Now it’s bloody Cars.
    But yes, the Thomas plots are sinister. I think the Fat Controller is a slave driver who needs to stop eating his ice buns and sort out his train network that keeps causing confusion and delay. Don’t get me started about his sordid affair with Miss Jenny.
    And it’s pretty obvious that Percy is hopelessly in love Thomas who, by the way is a self-absorbed, narcissistic steamie?
    Can you tell I am OVER Thomas???

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 10:39 am #

      Grace you sound like you truly get my hatred for the smug little engine. I don’t think I’ve got to the affair episodes though, whose Miss Jenny, ooh it sounds quite exciting. Can’t imagine the fat controller having a love interest. Anytime you want to let off steam (dad joke) you know where I am

  13. Twinkle in the Eye April 4, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Raa Raa is all the rage in this house. I just caved in and bought the cubby and the cubby buggy! Angelina Ballerina gets my goat – could she be anymore annoying!

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 10:43 am #

      I have a feeling Raa Raa and Angelina are never going to be on our testosterone driven radar Bree. I’ll trade my talking train for your ballet dancing mouse anytime : )

  14. em @ snowingindoors April 4, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    We were always big fans of Peppa until Annie discovered Ben & Holly, a show I tried to hate, but now love more than Mummy Pig and Grampy Rabbit put together!

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 10:45 am #

      That’s a bold statement Em, that’s my evening viewing catered for. I might play it to him while he sleeps

  15. 40YrOldDad April 4, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Thomas is a little too advanced for our little bloke (okay, you got me…too advanced for me, I’m afraid). Postponing the inevitable for as long as possible, however, there’s something about that Pig and its Cosby-esque happy endings, that has me tuning in. Maybe it’s the voice, or maybe it’s how cute is little George? Snort-snort…

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 10:47 am #

      It’s just so wholesome, its how I want parenting to be, endless trips to the zoo, circus, beach, park, museum, etc. and George’s cute ways of course

  16. mumabulous April 4, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    As I am always telling you, things will get better. My three year old (daughter) is waaaay into Spider Man. Cool. On the downside the five year old will watch My Little Pony on You Tube all freakin day if allowed. Its pushing me further down the path to insanity.

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 10:48 am #

      My advice is to spend as much time with the 3 year old as possible and neglect the pony fan, just a little bit (jokes). A 3 year old spidee fan, I like her style!

  17. leighleigh22 April 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Our world has been taken over by “the train” (as my husband and i call him) for the last year or so. We also have a train table, I’m sure we own most if not all of the available trains in the set and everything else that is “Thomas” flavoured that’s out there. Our daily routine centres around the 11.30 am Thomas on ABC4Kids and he seems to acquire a new Thomas every time he visits my mother. Recently though, he has discovered Toy Story. I promise you the theme song is no where near as “eye twitch” inducing as the Thomas song. 🙂 It gets better and “this too shall pass”

  18. robomum April 4, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    They’re two, they’re four…. We’ve been through both of those! I look back fondly at the Thomas stage because my boy loved it SO much and got into it completely on his own. I always thought the FC was a bit slack though, with all his demands. More slack was his wife. Where did she get off? My son’s favourite train was Neville. The most random train. He cost me 23 bucks!!
    What’s hot now are those Power Rangery shows. We’ve almost graduated from ABC2. Finally! My daughter just loves Dora so we watch a bit of that. Dddd Dora!

  19. Kimba Likes - Kim-Marie April 4, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    I miss Charlie and Lola and Peppa Pig. By the time you’re the father to a 9 year old (still can’t quite believe that my baby is 9 next week) you may well be longing for the simple days of Thomas.

    My Boyo was so obsessed with Thomas that he toilet trained himself with Thomas. We had the wee thing done and dusted in two days. The poo thing? A bit longer. He finally gave in because he was blocked to the gunwales and I wouldn’t put a nappy on so he could poo. He sat down, looked me square in the face and said “I poo in pot, I get Thomas car.” It’s a deal. We drove frantically to the shops with 20 minutes to closing time to buy that Thomas and he became the new best friend and bedtime cuddly toy. Even got pushed in his doll pram.

    He would not wear socks if they didn’t have Thomas on them. Searched high and low with no success. Finally put out a call and the MIL sent a parcel of Tesco socks!

  20. Lydia C. Lee April 4, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    No, the Thomas books are particularly bad – and Long. Why are they so long? And the trains themselves are neurotic and frankly not nice…a bundle of ego and smug attitudes…but you will miss them when they’re gone. And be sitting on $10k worth of books and toys wondering whether to ebay it or hang on to it as heirlooms…

  21. Alexandra Hovatter April 4, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    Yay! Daddy blog!

    I haven’t gotten to that point yet. My little boy is almost 5 months, and so far he’s watching a lot of House Hunters and Dateline ID. When we read, its mostly mystery novels. Maybe he’ll become a detective who flips homes on the side? One can only hope he won’t become something a bit more menacing…

  22. Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel April 4, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    You have brought back from terrible memories!! Our Brio train set is now packed safely away, four kids, of which three boys, all at school and over Thomas. It shall pass, have faith!

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

      I’m not sure I can make it, thats potentially three years away. It does feel better to know that there are lots of sufferers out there and I’m not alone. Thanks for popping in.

  23. Neets April 4, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    Love this post – I feel your frustration…I’m a Melbourne mum of 2 who recently got appointed to her new role as Stay at Home Mum. Between Thomas, Chuggington and Dora in this house, I am slowly losing my mind.

    • daddownunder April 4, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

      Your being hit from both sides Anita – Thomas and Dora! If you ever want to meet up and have a burning ceremony, I’m keen.

  24. Kim@FallingFaceFirst April 5, 2013 at 2:05 am #

    Oh GOD how I love Peppa! I love Daddy Pig best. The two girls and I all (this is going to embarrass me but what the hell…) imitate the pigs at the end and throw ourselves down on the couch and giggle and snort at the end of each episode.

    • daddownunder April 5, 2013 at 4:15 am #

      Every episode? You’ve taken it too far. Your clearly a much bigger fan than I am Kim ; )

  25. iSophie April 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Big Peppa lovers here, from the 9 year old, through to the 2 year old, and both of the others in between. I am so so so glad none of them have ever liked Thomas. The 9 year old, when he was really little was actually deathly afraid of the boulder episode, so that was the end of that little phase!

    • daddownunder April 8, 2013 at 7:57 am #

      If you have a copy of the boulder episode please send it my way : )

  26. Declutterbug April 5, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

    You just need more children 😉 with four I indulge my peppa cravings, and have played trains constantly for eight years. So far. I know there are a few more train filled years ahead.

  27. Suraya April 5, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    Join the club, this house is Thomas all the way! Books, toys, tracks, pjs and the likes….even a Thomas watch! We live around the corner from the Train museum that has a small “Steamy” that looks like Thomas. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel…my son now enjoys…Dora. I’m not which is worse!

    • daddownunder April 9, 2013 at 12:49 am #

      I think living next door to a train museum it was surely your destiny

  28. Vicky Finch (@Vicfinch) April 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Been through the Thomas phase twice now. Long gap in between…
    Then it was cars, and more recently Ben 10 and teenage mutant ninja turtles… Just quietly I long for those Thomas days again….

    • daddownunder April 9, 2013 at 12:51 am #

      You mean your not a fan of raphael, michaelangelo, donatello and leonardo (I didn’t even need to google that), bring it on : )

  29. Daley Almeida Soares April 7, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    hehehehe…..I sympathise with you!
    Santi (About a year ago) lived and breathed Thomas the tank engine and like you, I used to get up at 6 in the morning to watch its daily episodes and the opening song was ringing in my head for the rest of day….I knew all the characters and even the ones who only appear occasionally.(Like Victor, Diesel, Salty, Mavis etc…)
    Since then, Santi transferred/developed an interest in Jake and the Neverland Pirates and other Disney cartoons…. but his new obessesion is the Backson from Winnie the Pooh film….My goodness that guy has taken over our lives….I even have the song on my mobile so he can listen to it when out and about, I also had to burn a CD so we can listen in the Car…..I have to say the Backson “theme” is quite cool and catchy but its amazing how kids can jump from one Character to another and influence the whole house to go along with it…I now catch myself singing his song even when I’m having my cig break at work….(Be Prepared….that will be Max’s next Phase)

    • daddownunder April 9, 2013 at 12:52 am #

      I’m not sure if Backson has found his way to Oz? Send me some CD’s and DVD’s out Daley and we can export them to the Oz market – are you in?

  30. Dominique April 8, 2013 at 12:57 am #

    We love Peppa in our house but i’m appalled and dismayed by the current voice change! Someone else (I think its the person who does Suzie Sheep’s voice) has taken over Peppa and frankly it’s all wrong!

    • daddownunder April 9, 2013 at 12:53 am #

      I had picked up on that too Dominique and I’m not happy either – should we start a petition to bring back the ‘real peppa’?

      • Kylez @ A Study in Contradictions April 11, 2013 at 1:06 am #

        Ha! Dave mentioned that to me the other day and I didn’t believe him! Then I head it and I was not impressed. I would sign that petition for sure!

  31. Kylez @ A Study in Contradictions April 11, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    Before Mia was even born I declared Thomas banned from our house! I effing hate Thomas! I got enough of the stupid train when my brother was little, there is no way he is coming in to my house. I even go so far as to check the ABC for Kids program guide to make sure that I won’t accidentally have Thomas come on at some stage. I don’t know how long it will last but I will do my best to keep my house a Thomas-free zone as long as possible!

    Thankfully Mia only really seems interested in Play School and Bananas in Pyjamas at the moment, she gives a little cheer when they come on or she sees an ad for them, its super cute! Timmy Time seems to be another one she is starting to be interested in, and of course, her favourite is Hoot. She loves that owl so much. Even on Monday night when she was sick and sitting on the rocker with Daddy and looking like she was about to fall asleep, as soon as Hoot came on the tv she still managed to raise her little arms in the air (if not her head) and give a little cheer!

    • daddownunder April 11, 2013 at 2:45 am #

      The hatred is strong in you Kylez : ) That is very cute, what a trooper to manage an arm raise for the owl whilst sick. Thanks for commenting Kylez

  32. lukeholt2013 April 11, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    I mourned when I lost the Wot Wots. I kept trying to take Tyson back to them and excitedly exclaim, “Look Tyson, it’s the Wot Wots…your favourite remember?” He didn’t remember.

    I do love Peppa though and that random single adult joke they slip into most episodes. Such as the episode where Peppa was learning about the reflections in the spoon. Daddy pig gave a perfectly intelligent scientific answer only to be interrupted with Peppa asking if it was magic. Then, my favourite Peppa Pig moment…a dejected Daddy Pig says, “Yes, it’s magic.”

    • daddownunder April 11, 2013 at 11:34 am #

      I know the episode Luke, that’s a good one. Not sure i can remember specific quotes though so I think you take the crown of number one fan. Thanks for the comment

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