Not just a smelly fragrance
Obsession has hit hard in our home. It's amazing to me that tiny little humans can latch onto a concept and become so incredibly addicted that it makes me think that there is some sort of baby tobacco encased within the idea itself. And from that moment on, they are hooked. There is no support group, no patch, no 12 step program. Just pure, uninterrupted addiction/obsession. While I'm glad my son is not addicted to crack I sometimes wonder if it might be healthier... for me.
It Runs Deep
My child can turn ANYTHING into a train or something that has to do with a train. A typical day begins with him waking up, going potty and then promptly telling me that he "needs to go downstairs. Need to play with trains." This is repeated several times until he either a) goes downstairs himself b) convinces me that if we don't go and play trains right away that he might actually die or c) ends up in a sad little ball of tiny human on the floor sobbing uncontrollably because his selfish mommy decided that today washing the three day old stank off of herself was more important than going downstairs immediately to play with the god forsaken train table. Option C rarely happens but if my hair looks more shiny and pretty than normal it's because I washed it... and Link wasn't happy about it because it meant that his precious trains had to do without being played with for a few extra minutes. For all he cares I can smell like a steaming pile of crap on a hot San Antonio sidewalk if it means that we can go downstairs as soon as humanly possible. Luckily for him I have managed to cut down my shower time significantly since having a child. Marathon runners in training have nothing on me. You can run the mile in five minutes? I can thoroughly clean myself in one. What's up!?
Eventually through the day the novelty of playing with the plain old train table wears off. This is when he starts seeking other venues for his train addiction. I quite often end up drawing really crappy train pictures for him. Then he asks to "watch trains." A while back my wonderful mother bought him a DVD called "Chuggington" which is a 60 minute long DVD about little trains that aren't creepy like Thomas (I'm even going begin the story about how terrifying and creepy I think Thomas the Train is). This would be just fine except that the damn thing is divided into six 10 minute episodes that have the most awful annoying theme song ever to be created. Our conversation about whether we should watch this DVD ALWAYS ends in tears. Whoever loses ends up crying. If he wins, we watch and I'm further along the road to one day having an aneurism or spontaneously combusting. If I win, we don't watch it and he has an epic meltdown in which the words "I wanna watch a training time. I need to watch the chugger town" are repeated over and over as he buries his face into the floor like some sort of mentally unstable train obsessed ostrich.
I suppose the good thing about his obsession is that his imagination is quite active and he can find trains even when there is no train-like object in site. That rock over there? It's a hill that a train track goes on. That bench shadow? A train track. That chicken nugget? "I have to eat the train, mommy." That stop light? It's a ding ding (aka a signal at the tracks). That random noise down the street? It's a "chooooooooooooo chooooooooooo." That obese woman? She's a caboose.
Yesterday D was flipping through channels and I took note of the following conversation:
D: Inky wanna watch a show?
Link: I wanna watch trains.
D: What show?
Link: I watch trains.
D: Let's see what we can find.
Link: OK. I watch trains.
*D looks through Netflix to find something child appropriate that's not trains.*
Link: *looks up at me* Mommy. I wanna see the training time.
This is pretty typical. As I am typing this very post I can hear him.
"I needa fix the train track. Ding ding. Hooooooo hoooooooo. Oh it's a train."
Insert various train table noises, clacking and banging here.
"Oh no it's a crashing train. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. I go rooooooooooooooound the track. In the tunnel."
And then he ran over to me and told me "Look at. Daddy has the horse." The last statement confused me for many reasons. First of all it had nothing to do with trains. Secondly, why would D have a horse. And thirdly, WTF? Is that all? And now he's back to the table. Toddlers are odd little people.
I have to admit, however, that even though I am so sick of hearing about, seeing and talking about trains that it is a great tool for me to use to my advantage. The great thing about having a child that is able to talk to you and understand most things is that they respond to bribery and the hope that there will be a prize no matter where you go. I never promise my child anything I will not deliver. For example, when we are in the grocery store and I need him to stop grabbing all the ketchup from the shelf because we need "all these dips" I casually say to him "Hey Link let's go see if we can find a train. Do you think there are trains over here?" I never said there were any. I just said we would go see if we could find one. I promise you that once he follows me into the bread aisle I really am looking for trains. So is he. The difference is that I am pretty sure we won't find any... he still has hope so he follows me. Am I ashamed? Absolutely not. Mostly because I know he will find something that will most likely resemble a train and he will be content and mommy won't have been a big fat liar.
I love my child. I do. I hate trains. I do. I love that he loves something as much as he does. But, I hate trains. I have been on more train rides since Link turned two than I ever had in my life. I had train butt by mid-August. I now know more about trains than I ever thought I would and my kid knows even more: "Mommy what is it?" "It's a train." "It's an engine! And a coal car and a caboose." "Oh." "OK Mommy." It's a freaking train. It's a train that's going to burrow into my head, ride a track around and around, crash out my ear into my child's possession, make him happy and kill me in the process. I hate trains. But guess what?
Link: "OK. We watch trains."
And I surrender.
A Time I Had