Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: An Open Letter To Thomas The Tank Engine

Monday, 13 June 2016

An Open Letter To Thomas The Tank Engine

Dear Thomas...

Oh what a relationship you & I have had over the years.

Your familiar, cheeky face has been a part of my life since way back in my own childhood - when each afternoon after school I'd stand with my nose pressed up against the TV screen...hypnotized by the monotonous-yet-strangely-entrancing tones of Ringo Starr narrating your tale as I watched you get into yet another scrape or misadventure on the ever-eventful island of Sodor.

You were never a favourite character of mine, it has to be said - Strawberry Shortcake and the My Little Pony crew had my heart and your chugging-charms could do little to sway me from them - but nevertheless, you were always there in the background - always a familiar friendly face to turn to when the only other options were Blue Peter, Newsround or some other fate worse than death. 

But little did I know back then just how big a part of my life you were to become...

You see Thomas, I had a son...and as somebody who hadn't ever really expected to be a mum of boys I had (somewhat stereotypically) envisioned a lifetime of Disney Princesses in my future.

So when my rose-tinted glasses were swapped for blue-tinted ones after learning of the presence of a willy in my womb - I panicked.

I feared the worst - years of Monster Trucks and GI Joe and, worst of all, FOOTBALL ahead of me - and I had to take action.

And so I brainstormed - there had to be an alternative to monsters and soldiers and super heroes out there for boys to love - and then I remembered you.

Your charm and your innocence, your lack of fart jokes and weapons and any sports at all - and I knew you were perfect.

And so, for his very first Christmas, I bought my little boy a ride-on Thomas train - hoping against hope that you'd win his affections and oh my goodness, didn't you do just that!

A quick visit to Days Out With Thomas later and he had well & truly fallen for you, hook line and sinker.

He was under your spell.

And in the three years since, he has utterly adored you.

I dread to think of how much money I have spent on overpriced die-cast pieces of metal moulded into the 12,000 engines that inhabit that island of yours (Which surely must be more of a continent than an island just to fit you all on?!) - my house is rammed to the rafters with every Take & Play toy there is, and I can't walk more than 7 steps in any direction without tripping over a piece of train track or a rogue engine.

We have spent endless days visiting Thomasland, watching every one of your movies, reciting your songs over and over, listening to your soundtracks in the car, and watching "Guess The Engine" videos on YouTube.

The names Gordon, James, Hiro and Emily have been said more often in this house than the names of some of our family members.

We even purchased special stickers of you to put on his boiled eggs to make him eat them!

You have been more a part of our lives over the past few years than some of our relations.

But in the last month or so...something has happened.

Where once he would have headed straight for you and your engine friends when he comes down to play each he heads for his superhero figures and his Scooby Doo set, and you are barely even glanced at as the day goes on.

When he's given his Ipad time, he no longer asks to watch the bizarre fan-made engine race videos, instead he asks for The Avengers.

And he finally confirmed my fears last night, when tucking him into his bed (which is shaped just like you), he said "I don't like my Thomas bed anymore...I want a big boy bed".

Your happy smiley face beamed out at me from behind his head as he said it, and I felt my heart break just a little bit.

I guess this is really it...Our time seems to have come to an end, Thomas.

Your innocent over-sized eyes and shiny funnel have been replaced in his heart with the Hulk's muscles and Batman's cape.

I've accepted it, and it's natural of course....but I can't help but feel sad when I see you laying cast aside on the playroom floor.

Once so loved, and now forgotten...a sign that my baby is getting older, and leaving the first love of his childhood behind him.

He & I have lots of adventures to go on yet, lots of flits and fancies, lots of new "favourites" to enjoy...but you will always hold such a special place in my heart Thomas.

I'll never look at your cheeky grin in the same way again - where once you were just another childrens character, now you represent something so special to me - you are the symbol of my first boys toddlerhood, the reminder of my first years as a Mummy to a precious little boy.

You will always bring a smile to my face, whenever I catch a glimpse of you, as I remember all the happy years we spent with a little boy who loved you so very much.

And despite the fact that selling all of these toys we've collected would probably give us enough money for a bloody good holiday, I know I'll never be able to part with them.

And besides, I live in hope that - with two other baby boys getting bigger by the day - you and I will meet again soon.

But it's farewell for now Thomas...Thank you for the memories.

Lots Of Love,

A Very Soppy Mummy xxx

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  1. Aww that is so lovely but also sad. I for see a Thomas revival when 2 little brothers start playing with the old toys :)

  2. Aww! Bless you! They grow up so fast don't they.
    For me with my girls I have missed out on the Thomas phase even though I tried to get my girls to love him. Hopefully your other two will love Thomas just as much x

  3. Aww I love this post! I've always imagined a lifetime of Disney princess too and although I've got a daughter, she has a big boy cousin and has a little boy cousin on the way so I have a feeling my dreams won't be materialised! xx

  4. Whhaaa! Poor Thomas! I feel like I need to hug my son's little remote control train now!

  5. Awww, this is so sweet. My nearly 3 year old son loves Thomas, I can't imagine him ever not loving him but I'm sure that day will come. It sounds like Thomas has been a really big part of your mummy journey and I'm sure your younger boys will love him too xx #anythinggoes

  6. I can't think of Thomas without hearing Ringo Starr's voice!! #fartglitter

  7. Aw I have this with my eldest too - nearly 4. It makes me a bit sad as well - it signals them growing up doesn't it *sob*. Fingers crossed that the youngest will love it just as much and we can get some more use out of the thousand trains and play sets we have! #fartglitter

  8. This is really touching. My son is 4 now and adores Thomas (books, toys, videos, the last two birthday cakes...). I'll be upset when all this is over. Hope we still have some time to spend together. :) #AnythingGoes

  9. Aw this is lovely! Neither of my boys really took to Thomas the Tank Engine they were more about the monsters and super heroes. Really great post hun. xx

  10. My son's not really intersted in Thomas but loves in the night garden especially Iggle Piggle I will be sad when ihe grows out of it.

  11. Aw! We're throwing my boys 2nd birthday party this afternoon with a Thomas theme. I kind of hate him but you're right, I never thought about the lack of farts and weapons. I'll try and hang on to him as long as I can.


  12. That was so very cute. There is something bittersweet about watching our babies grow. I feel pride and sadness every time I have to banish yet another outgrown outfit from the closet. They just grow much too fast.

    I used to love Thomas when I was a little girl. I had forgotten all about that show for many years. I didn't even know Thomas was still around until I had my baby. My girl it too little for Thomas but, who knows, maybe she will love him too.


  13. That's so lovely. I've never been much of a fan myself but you're right, he's just there isn't he? Reading this post has given me a little ache inside as I know that one day he will be case aside in our house too, in favour of something a bit more @ss kicking I assume. Loved this x

  14. So sweet and lovely. My boys have long since outgrown Thomas but there was a time when he was quite a bit part of our lives too.

  15. This made me a emotional, I love Thomas too but both boys grew out of him so super quickly-I was lolling at the island being a continent and you being able to afford a holiday if you sold all the toys. I'm sure your other boys will love him. Do they like Peppa, my two still watch it! My brother and I were obsessed with Thomas and Postman Pat growing up, I was never that into Disney princesses. Did love a bit of Barbie though but my boys do too-have you seen the witty Barbie's Dream house, it's so tongue in cheek and hilarious. Gorgeous post, thanks for linking up x

  16. He will definitely be back with two other boys growing up! I think most kids have some sort of an on/off relationship with Thomas at some point. #effitfriday

  17. I was expecting a rant and now I'm sad.

    My dad is in his 70s and still loves Thomas the Tank Engine. There's still hope Thomas!


  18. All of mine have loved Thomas and even though they do not like it as much as they did he still sometimes comes out to play x

  19. This is such a lovely letter, a wonderful description of little ones getting older and the special things they hold in their heart. I love Thomas but my boys are also getting to the stage where they talk about him less and less :( #anythinggoes

  20. What a lovely post Hayley. Anytime I see Thomas I think of Tyne and that video you shared of him knowing all the train names :) It's so sad seeing the little ones outgrow something they used to love so much as it means for us that they're getting older and discovering new interests - why can't they stay small forever x

  21. This is the sweetest! We have a Thomas/train fan in our house too although I feel maybe not quite on the scale of yours (at the moment life is about Shimmer and Shine!). This Take and Play sets do my ruddy brain in – they are so hard to house and I find myself moving them around the house regularly! That said, when I watch him playing with them with sheer joy on his face, I do recognise just how important Thomas is to him. We are nowhere near him not being a fan – in fact I think we are only just really starting out, and with another little boy on the way, I think we’ll have Thomas in our lives for a few years yet. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  22. I adored this post, it literally brought tears to my eyes. Emily loves her Thomas trains and takes them everywhere, I dread the sad when she grows out of them. Its strange what you get emotional over when you have a child isn't it. xx

  23. AWWW! How insanely adorable was this post. What a gorgeous relationship for your boy & Thomas to have xx

  24. What a lovely lost. We're in the same boat. My boy used to love Thomas. But when he was 3 years and maybe 2 months or so he lost his love for him. I mean he still plays the with he toys he has but he's not insanely mad about them where a year he would watch Thomas on TV the whole day.

  25. Oh my god!! I couldn't have given a shit about Thomas 5 minutes ago and now I feel like i've lost a family member. You have such a way with words lovely :) I'm dreading my first experience of this with Lu.x

  26. He might change his mind again soon and decide Thomas is his favourite still. Oscar went off Peppa Pig for ages but recently she's been hogging my living room and TV again. It really is sad when little ones move on from their first love though - Stacey's was Dora the Explorer and she was crazy about her for absolutely years. I still have hundreds of Dora toys in my loft!

    Lou xx

  27. SOOOOOOOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's funny how they move on, sometimes gradually and sometimes with a bang. Mine isn't off Thomas yet ( though was never a die hard fan) and we are off to ThomasLand next week. But we don't watch Raa Raa anymore. Our tastes are moving on, we have 20 minute shows and films rather than 10 minutes. It makes me sad, like you, moving on from Thomas (or similar) is akin to leaving baby hood behind x


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