Well hello there, exorbitantly priced "Talking" Percy.
I've heard it said before that the "best" parents are the ones who don't yet have children. They are the ones who swear there will never be a minute of television watched in their homes. Nary a crumb of processed food will cross their child's lips. Sugar in all its forms will be utterly foreign concepts. These children will be disciplined kindly and effectively, such that they will never, ever throw fits in restaurants and grocery stores. All of their toys will be composed of wood, and a polyester thread will never touch their skin.
All of this is to say that we have a lot of aspirations, goals, and ideas for how things will be for our children, ESPECIALLY before they are born. Most of us eventually do a pretty good job of reaching some of them, but inevitably we give in to some of the temptations of the world surrounding us. A little television doesn't seem like such a bad thing if it means you get a few minutes of extra sleep in the morning. There is a considerable joy in watching your toddler's face when you've given him his first doughnut. And even if you've sworn your child will never, ever wear a "character" t-shirt, it can be incredibly satisfying to witness their happy recognition when they see a face they love.
I was definitely on the "no characters" team, but, like so many other kids, A is not immune to the charms of Thomas the Train. He loves Thomas and all his friends (the theme song is already popping up in my mind as I type!), and spends at least part of every day pushing them around on the ridiculously expensive train track set we purchased at Christmas (before we used a humble figure-8 track from Ikea). Despite my initial and let's be honest, rather superior, hesitation, I am now fully supporting the Thomas habit. We own a plate, water bottle, 2 t-shirts, and a pair of pajamas in addition to a modest number of trains and accessories.
One of the reasons I decided to post about this specific topic is that I have found myself to be a much more inflexible mother than I ever imagined. My personality is the opposite, ironically-I like to think of myself as laid-back and spontaneous, and while these traits do apply to me individually, I have struggled to translate them over to my role as a mother. I feel pangs of guilt long after I've allowed A a half hour on the iPad. I cringed the first time he slurped down an undiluted juice box (for the record, that was probably one of the best moments of his life!). I'm relentlessly anal about A's schedule, to the frustration of many. If it interferes with nap time, you can bet we're not going.
Giving in to the Thomas craze has been good for me. It's such a small, insignificant thing, really-fostering one of my son's legitimate, completely appropriate interests. Does it really matter that the character of Thomas didn't originate in a Caldecott-winning children's classic? Or that there is a massive industry devoted to churning out all kinds of matching merchandise? In the grand scheme of things, not at all. What is important is letting go of my unreasonable expectations and taking the time to relax, enjoying the things that genuinely make my little boy happy.
Side note: Discovering that Thomas had British origins was an unexpected boon. The knowledge warmed this Anglophile's heart.