I do my best to be an earth mother. I really do. So any sort of imaginative play should be up there with craft activities, family hikes and vegetarian cookery, right? But when it comes to my son there’s not many things I wouldn’t do to get out of playing trains. Here’s four good reasons why.
- Thomas the Tank Engine is a dictatorship. The Fat Controller and his concentration camp on the island of Sodor is the pre-school equivalent of Hitler Youth.
- Sitting on the floor. Why does nobody warn you that having children means you’re duty-bound to spend the rest of your life on a cold floor? Trains and crawling-on-hands-and-knees are crap modes of transport. Fact.
- Playing trains is a one way track to nowhere. There’s no beginning, middle or end, unless you count building tracks, trampling on them, having a tantrum then building them up again.
- Damn those tracks, they’re cramping my feminism. Why are they so hard to join up? I don’t know about you but they turn me into a rubbish girlie cliche. How am I suppose to show the Smalls that girls can be engineers too when Brio is beyond me?
Give me marble run any day. There’s something really calming about the clack-clack-clacking of marbles ricocheting against each other – almost like one of those executive toys. And I never say no to Lego. Constructive on every level. Even play dough is vaguely therapeutic. It reminds me of those Stress Balls. Great for fist clenching – just look away when then kids start mixing it together.
So, chuff off Thomas, Percy, James and the Fat Controller. I couldn’t care less if there are leaves on your line. I can think of way better ways to let off steam.