Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The One Where Hang Out with Thomas the Train #slice2013

Every Tuesday, Ruth and Stacey, host Slice of Life at their blog, Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

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Taking a big swig of his apple juice, he set down the plastic bottle and grabbed a french fry from the paper tray. He munched happily, reaching for another fry within seconds. The only remnants of his hot dog lay about his plate in the form of bits of bun here and there. It was the first time he had sat still all day (except for when he was watching a movie in the car). I felt such a relief to see his face, calm and content...finally.

We were in Union, Illinois for a Day Out with Thomas, where kids can take a ride with Thomas, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and take part in other train-focused fun. We've been twice before when Peanut was two and three but this year we went for Little Bean who is now three and in love with Thomas. 

As soon as we got there, Little Bean was determined to ride Thomas but the tickets we bought were to take a ride at noon and it was only 10:00. Trying to explain to a three-year-old that he has to wait for something he desperately wants isn't easy.

You know the page in Knufflebunny when Trixie has tried desperately to make her father understand just how dire it is that Knufflebunny has been left behind and she goes boneless? That so happened.

We were able to distract him and pull his attention to riding a trolley while we waited...for about a second until he saw us riding away from Thomas and he went into hysterics again. We played at playground, we toured old train cars, but then Thomas would toot past and it started all over again. The life of a three-year-old, while seemingly carefree, can actually be full of ups and downs. 

That's when we decided to have lunch. Have you seen the Snickers "You're Not You When You're Hungry?" commercials? There is a person who just isn't acting like himself or herself. Instead, you see someone like Betty White, Robin Williams or Kenny G. in his or her place. Finally, a friend hands the person a Snickers and then he or she returns to being him or herself. Any time I have seen those commercials, I've found them amusing but this weekend, as we careened through our three-year-old Little Bean's tantrums, it struck me as just how true they are. You just aren't yourself when you're hungry. Little Bean never told us he was hungry but he ate like he was ravenous. 

Stopping to take care of his need to eat made a huge difference. Sometimes we need something - like food, a nap, a high five, a smile - but we can't always articulate it. Our little excursion with Little Bean this weekend had me reflecting on how we can help others. While we can't always articulate what we need  and we can't always guess what someone else needs, I think a smile or a piece of chocolate, a hand-written card or just a few minutes to listen can make a difference. 

This time of year, when so many of us are heading back to school is a great time to be conscious of how we can support each other. What cheers you up when you find yourself in a funk? I know making someone smile always brighten my mood and a friend stopping by to say hi or leaving me a note always makes my day. 

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