One Track Mind

pic: Sir Topham Hat is creepy enough as a wooden miniature, don’t you think?

I was a tense night, wasn’t it? I gave up at 9pm. The brownies were great–especially because the teenager had put Extra Dark Cocoa into my grocery cart without me noticing. Wow. But, I was not to be distracted from the anxieties bubbling up online, on tv, and on the sofa beside me. We went through a pack of gum and started on ballpoint pen caps. So, I retired to bed with the latest Thomas the Tank Engine Yearbook, pondering the merits of the 5-in-1 Expansion Set versus a combo of the Figure 8 with the Cross & Switch. Mind you, the toddler is completely satisfied with the bare bones beginner setup downstairs, and with his one engine and 2 cars. He has no idea that “more” is even an option. He looks at that Yearbook as often as I do, but he looks at it as a storybook, not a catalog. He doesn’t understand that these toys are to be lusted after, to be acquired, to be possessed. I want to keep it that way for as long as possible. His train table is a piece of pegboard propped up on three Huggies boxes. It falls down every time he leans on it.

No, he’s fine with his limited riches. It is his mum who longs for switch track and arched viaducts and, dream of all dreams: the Deluxe Roundhouse with Turntable. I want it all. Right now. I imagine getting a pile for cheap on Craigslist, hiding it until he is developmentally and emotionally and gratefully ready for each piece. Until then, I would get to play with the whole thing when he’s in bed. Honestly, though, I’ll end up getting one pack of track and maybe, just maybe, one more engine. Toby, perhaps, as he is so sweet and old. And I will buy these things with my PayPal play money, laboriously begotten through a series of time-consuming and barely profitable eBay transactions. As long as toys don’t touch my Visa or my checking account, they are free. Even so, they are toys, they do add up, and they change things. Less is more, I know, I know. He spent a half hour in the dirt yesterday, scraping at it with a pot shard. Dirt is truly free. And it’s really, really useful.

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