The Indiscretions of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends

18 months is a magic age. All of a sudden Toddler T became interested in TV. I don’t care if that makes me a bad parent, to use Thomas terminology, TV/DVD’s can be ‘really useful’ to distract the kiddy’s while you run around like a madwoman trying to catch up on a variety of tasks.

Toddler T has developed a strong attatchment to Thomas the Tank Engine. It is a true addiction. He will often wander up to me with the TV remote saying “Dain, Dain” (Train, Train)  and then will sit up to 15 minutes glued to the telly. (Pretty good for a 19 month old) There are other bonuses too. His nappy changing behaviour has greatly improved since I put a Thomas poster next to the change table. He now will allow me to get on with the job while he compliantly lies there and points to the engines.

Thomas Tank Engine 1.JPG

I fully support his adoration of trains. I like Thomas, truly I do. The quaint little stories, the proper British accents, the various engines and the innocence and simplicity.

However, sometimes I really need to wonder about codes of conduct on the Island of Sodor.

For instance, the boys were watching Thomas the other day when I overheard this in the story. It appears that the class system is thriving at Tidmouth Sheds.

Diesel the Engine had problems completing his jobs because the trucks were being troublesome. (Makes sense since they are called the ‘Troublesome Trucks’.) Diesel accused the steam engines of telling the trucks to make his job difficult. Their response was:

“Nonsense!” said Henry, “We engines have our differences but we never talk about to the trucks. That would be d-d-d-disgusting”
“Disgraceful” said Gordon.
“Disgusting” said James.
“Despicable” finished Henry.

I can’t help wondering whether the truck’s behaviour might improve were they given half a chance and treated with some dignity. Even J Boy spent the evening last night wandering around saying his newest Thomas quote, “Trucks are nobody’s friends.” In my very best modern parenting, politically correct motherese I tried to adjust this mindset. “I’m sure even trucks have their good points. Maybe the trains should be kinder to the trucks you should try to be friends with everyone. They might find the trucks aren’t so bad.”

But, no. There is apparently nothing good about trucks. It’s impossible to be friends with them.

No difference to many peoples attitudes towards teenage delinquents?

And then sometimes I need to question The Fat Controller’s management techniques. Really, I think Sir Topham Hat can be a pompous old crumpet loving, (in a recent episode I watched, Thomas was pressured to deliver on time so Sir Topham Hat and Mrs. Hat would have their crumpets in time for brekky.), who does not administer justice. It seems that if you are sneaky enough to pull a trick on another engine, you will not get punished for it. In fact, quite the opposite. I’ve seen trucks bump others, yet The Fat Controller will punish the engine that made the damage, not the engine that bumped them!

And then there’s the whole issue of being “Really Useful”. It seems that the engines are petrified of being sent for scrap metal if they no longer are really useful. The engines purpose in life seems to be connected to their usefulness. Of course usefulness is highly beneficial and hard work is a commodity not valued by enough people thse days. But, I’m sure that the trains living in this usefulness frenzy  should not be the case. I am quite sure that the good Rev. Awdry lived his life according to the Biblical principal, that by grace you have been saved, not works. (Rom. 11:6; Eph 2:8) Surely the engines have a higher calling that is greater than their accomplishments?

So, has anyone else had issues with Thomas and his counterparts. Or am I the only supercritical over analysing mother out there? (I probably did enjoy my course on children’s critical literacy a little too much at uni.)

Having said all this, I repeat. I do like Thomas and his friends. (You may sing that last line.) The fact that it can be a trifle politically incorrect probably makes a little more endearing to me in some ways! Toddler T is getting Thomas for his 2nd birthday, and it is going to be a sad day in our house when this lovable little engine is no longer ‘cool’ in our house!

Continue Reading

A New Year Non-Resolution

In my early 20’s I was big on New Years Resolutions. I would write out detailed and comprehensive lists that would cover every aspect of my life from university, home life, love life and spiritual life. I would then forget about them by February and then towards the end of the year reflect on the fact that I didn’t achieve many of my resolutions. So my New Year Year’s resolution became to stop making resolutions.

Sadly, I broke that resolution as well.

I soon realised that it’s perfectly healthy to contemplate the New Year. In fact it’s beneficial. It is necessary for the development of our character to be in a constant process of identifying areas that we can improve. One of the reasons I don’t like labelling a “New Years Resolution” is that in fact it shouldn’t be just at New Year that we are making goals to achieve. In reality, it’s a year long process, and when we see that our original goal was unachievable, instead of abandoning it, we should be readjusting it. Success is a step by step process.

But there is just something about the New Year that energises you to become better. There is a feeling of optimism and the feeling that this year the world is able to be conquered. Why not take that renewed feeling of resolve to propel you into the year?

I read some New Year Resolutions recently on a favourite blog of mine. (See here) It inspired me to write this post. There is something about making your inner resolve public to give you a bit more motivation to not slack off.

I’m still not making New Years Resolutions though.

But here’s my New Year Ambitions

1. Watch Less TV.
I love TV. There’s just something so relaxing about blobbing out in front of the couch each night. Normally with the lap top these days. The Accountant, with his male frame of reference, can’t understand how I can cruise the Internet at the same time as watching the telly. But being female I do, and it brings me great satisfaction.

It also wastes time.

So, I am thinking if I can tape what I want to watch and save them to watch without ads only a few times a week, I should have more time to blog, and not just read blogs, write my magazine articles instead of procrastinating or ‘researching’ (essentially the same thing as procrastinating when done in front of the TV.) More time to tidy up. I haven’t made this confession on my blog yet, but I’m an awful housewife. Housework does not come naturally to me. More of that later…maybe.

2. Make Things

I often observe that many stay at home Mum’s reach the pinnacle of their craftiness. (And that’s not just being able to outwit small children.) The advantage of doing some crafts now is that your eyesight is a lot better then if you save it to do it all when you are retired. Plus there are gazillions of cute things to make for kids.

I told The Accountant about this plan. You’d think he’d be happy. It should save lots of money. Instead he scoffed. He has no faith in me and made reference to previous unfinished projects and claims in the long run it costs rather than saves money.

He does have point. So if I can make two things, I’ve achieved my ambition of make things (plural).

So, when I do watch TV, I’m going to turn the Internet off and continue with a forsaken project: the granny squares.

My mother always used to crochet as we grew up. My 3 siblings and I all had crocheted blankets on our beds, as well as on Mum’s, the spare room, and then she started making them for family friends and babies.

A few years ago I decided I should learn the skill. It was a lot easier than I thought. Mum always had said she did it because it was easy. Crocheting seems so much more impressive before you learn. I’m still impressed with Mum’s handiwork though. She’s made some gorgeous blankets over the year in great colour combos. Plus she is a bit more advanced then just granny squares. I crocheted a blanket for my mother-in-law for Christmas in 2008.

In 2010 I decided to make a blanket for the J Bomb’s bed. Unfortunately the project stalled when I hit a busy patch with my casual job. When I got less busy, I discovered I lost my crochet hook. I searched and searched to no avail, so pushed the project aside and I’ve kind of forgotten about it. So that would have to be on the to-do list this year. Thankfully I found the hook during a Christmas tidy up. Currently I’ve done 38 granny squares. I figure I’m going to need 99, so I’ve still a bit to go yet. Primary colours is the colour scheme and I’m planning to do a black border. 
I’ve also got a little project underway at the moment for my nephew’s birthday. I’ll blog about it if it’s worthy! (And completed)
3. Journal More
This is an ambition to help foster my spiritual life.
I love journalling, but I’ve slacked off the last few years and journalling has become very sporadic. I went through a period where I did it every time I read the Bible, but I found that sometimes I didn’t read the Bible just because I didn’t have time to journal. (Especially since I became a Mum.) So I eased up on myself and thought it was better to at least read the Bible even if I didn’t write down how God was speaking to me. I suppose you just get out of the habit, so I’d like to get a bit better with that again. I find it can sometimes help arrange my thoughts more clearly when I journal.
Our pastor had a brilliant message on Sunday at church about instead making a resolution to “read the Bible more” you should “read the Bible better”. I will definitely be applying some of his suggestions into my Bible reading as I journal too.
4. Use Stuff Up
I keep getting smelly stuff (nice smells!)as gifts, which is fine, I love smelly stuff, particularly body wash and body moisturiser! I L-O-V-E the feel of mosituriser and how soft your skin is afterwards, plus the scent seems to linger longer on body with matching body wash and moisturiser. Good quality perfume is also a favourite of mine.
However, I keep on using the brands I like, and the brands I’m not as fond as keep getting put aside. Take exhibit A.

I think my Nana gave this deodorant to me when I was 15. That’s over half a lifetime ago. (My lifetime to date that is…) I should add that I have used up many deodorants since I was 15, and this one smells nice, but I’m not in love with it, and I’m not the hugest fan of roll ons. Which is a shame, because I keep getting them as gifts. (Do you think I should be concerned I keep getting given deodorant?) I’ve got a huge stockpile that I really need to work through. No buying aerosols, sticks or crystals this year unless I use up the 6 roll ons! Probably won’t happen, (using them all up) I’m not a huge deodorant user. I just don’t get that bad with underarm odour except in the middle of summer. Although, maybe I’m smellier than I think. Maybe that’s why I keep given new ones? Sobering thought.

I’ve also got a lot of powder to use up.

Anyone made up some resolutions of have ambitions they like to share? Or is there anyone else out there with a stockpile of unused goods in your bathroom cupboard? (Please tell me I’m not the only one!)
Continue Reading