Monday, April 30, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Thomas' Day Out - part 1

Before we get rolling today, we want to share with you the huge team-up love fest that our good buddy, the Consummate Chef, and Awkward Mom have going on right now. You can read our ode to her here. But make sure to read her latest post; which has a bazillion excellent tips for getting your child to adulthood with the least therapy bills possible, a super fun story about Awkward Grandma's idea of a good sleep-over, and an ancient picture of Awkward Mom in all her 80s finery. Good times.

We also want to ask you all if spring is a giant mutated version of spring where you are? Spring has always been a friend of ours, here in Awkwardville, but we are starting to think he has gone rogue because he is downright nasty this year. But then, just when you have hauled out the winter coats, he is nice again. Maybe he is a conflicted villain, a la Magneto or even (movie-version) Doctor Octopus. Don't know. All we do know is that he was definitely leaning to the villain-side this weekend for our outing with Thomas.

Quiz time, Readers! What is a Day out with Thomas?

a. A rousing reflection on religion and the Reformation with the ghost of Thomas More.
b. A murder mystery party with Thomas Crown where everyone attempts to steal a priceless painting while debating the merits of remakes.
c. A crowded and expensive event at the Henry Ford Museum where children ride a train made to resemble the fictional steam locomotive that has been hypnotizing children since 1946.

If you guessed anything but c, can you please email me and tell me how you get an Internet connection on that isolated island of yours? Then, strap yourself in for an education in childhood obsessions.

Thomas the Tank Engine is an institution unto itself, and dealing with this institution is a rite of passage for all parents. An institution just slightly less expensive than that other institution parents get to deal with: college. I really hope all the money made on Thomas books, TV shows, toys, train tables, games, hats, clothes, furniture, balloons, legos, and Pez dispensers is going to the Wilbert Awdry family, mostly because he seemed like a nice man who liked trains and tweed, but I have my doubts. Not sure whose pockets our money is lining but I am gonna line them all day long if it keeps doing this:

This, my dear Readers, is the face of pure joy. It is the face of happiness brought on by the indescribable exhilaration of riding on a train. It is also a face in need of a wash and some aloe...pick a side, Spring! This strange combo of windburn and sunburn is getting on my nerves!

OK, I am all over the place today. Let me back up a tad. As you all know, Awkward Dad and I got a membership to the Henry Ford Museum back in December. It was mostly so that Super Preschooler could indulge his Wizard of Oz obsession in their Wizard of Oz visiting exhibit, but the rest of the museum is super cool too and well worth the membership. Especially considering that the Henry Ford Museum is connected to Greenfield Village. (Take your time, readers. It is amazing and I can wait here all day; 2/3rds of the Supers are napping right now.) Our pass gives us complete access to Greenfield Village. Any time we want. Holy Historical-Disneyland-by-way-of-billionaire-American-industrialists-with-questionable-politics-but-good-taste-in-architecture, Batman. We have already been to Greenfield Village 3 times since it opened for the season on April 14th and the Supers have now shortened to the "village." As in, "Mommy! Mommy! We want to go to the Village!! Right Now! Doesn't matter that it is 6am and they aren't open. We need to go to the Village!" It just occurred to me that I might be taking them to the wrong place; could be that my children just have a thing for M. Night Shyamalan movies. (Oh! She is on a pop-culture reference high today, Readers! Look out!)

OK. Greefield Village = Cool. What else do I need to back up on? Oh, trains. OK. Well, here is the thing. Super Toddler loves trains. Like love love. Like trains rank up there with food, water, and anything Pixar love. Why does he love trains so much, you ask? Well, because he is a 2 year old boy. And trains are cool. Duh. Everyone (except those of you on the isolated islands out there who don't know any children and were never children yourselves apparently) knows that most children go through certain phases with regards to toys and interests. The train phase. The superhero phase. The dinosaur phase. The princess phase. The car phase. The dress-up phase. The horse phase. The (shudder) boy band phase. Certain phases hit certain children harder than others. For example, Super Preschooler has enough dress-up clothes to put on a show at the MET. Some phases turn into lifestyles. Awkward Dad still collects comics. Awkward Grandma never outgrew her horse phase and has graduated from dreamily drawing horse pictures to having a real live horse to love. We have yet to see if Super Toddler will become an engineer, a toy train enthusiast, or a hobo, but for now, he loves trains. Along with many other children. Most of whom appear to be here at Greenfield Village with us right now.

Day out with Thomas (which the over-achievers in the crowd already read about on the Greenfield Village web page) is a 3 weekend event held at Greenfield Village where a real live Thomas the Tank Engine (with creepy rolling eyes) replaces their normal steam train and gives children rides around the park (for a special, separate fee). There are train-related games, storytelling, numerous gift shops, kettle corn, and a chance to get your very own awkwardfamilyphoto and pose your child with Sir Topham Hatt. Here is ours:

Ah, family outings. Check on back here later this week and I will tell you all about it. The festive fun! The diesel drama! The derailment that Super Toddler caused in the toy train tent. Oh, and spring was totally villainous and rained the whole time. (Projected weather for the other 5 Day Out with Thomas days? 70s and sunny.) Have I already said it? AH, family outings!

What are you still doing here? Go check out CC's tips for raising great kids. I am gonna go work on tips 9 and 10!


  1. Wow, I am so impressed with the Henry Ford Museum/"The Village"! I sure wish we had something like that around here. Maybe I'd find something if I had the courage to venture farther than a 10-mile radius from our house!

    Also, you're right, CC's post was fantastic!!! Were those t-shirts made with "Spin Art?" Ah, the 80's, good times.

    1. The Henry Ford is amazing and well worth the yearly membership. It is like supercharged history! :)

      CC is awesome and yes, I am pretty sure those where made at something called spin art....god bless the 80s....

  2. We went for a day with Thomas two years ago. We had a terrible weather and so-called "Annie" and "Clarabel" were so dingy and dirty that I just could not justify to pay for it more than once. But the Kid still enjoyed it :) At this age they don't care about money or cleanliness...

    1. Oh, dirty trains make me sad...but I am glad that your son still enjoyed it. No, they do NOT care about money or all. Their father doesn't either, so it appears that some children don't grow out of that. :)

      Thanks for reading!