Well, bust my buffers.

Hold on to your britches. I can’t believe I’m going to say this:

Our lives have changed for the better because of Thomas (the train, not Jefferson. In case that’s where you thought I was going with this).

I have written in the past about Monster’s tantrums over the little blue train and his multi-colored, steam and diesel friends. Many a facebook status has been dedicated to the trains and the hell they have caused in my home.

Oh, Thomas, you little blue rascal. There was a time I wanted to rip you from your tracks and hold you under water until you stopped struggling.

However, lately, I have come to think of Thomas as a blessing.

My son has taken his obsession from panicked screaming to quiet, focused play.

And he’ll do this for hours.

Do you know what that means? That means that when he skips his afternoon nap, I can put him in the playroom with the trains and tracks, and there he will be until I pry him away.

I think he’d spend days, even weeks at a time alone with his trains. It’s like they are his friends. He talks about them as though they are people.

“Oh, momma, you know what Percy says? ‘FIZZLING FIREBOXES!’ ”

And then he collapses into a fit of giggles.

You gotta be careful with Thomas, though, because he still is a little a-hole. (We have come to appreciate the train, but I still kind of hate him.) Thomas and his ilk are crazy expensive. I go Amazon hunting to find deals on used trains.

I won’t even buy the coloring books. Instead, I find coloring pages online and print them. The first time I handed Monster a stack of ready-to-be-scribbled-on train outlines, I thought he might have an aneurism. A happiness aneurism.

“Oh! OHHHHH! THE TRAINS! Oh, thank you momma! Ahhh hahaha!” Jumping and clapping. Over plain pictures of trains.

And there are still meltdowns from time to time. I’m not going to lie – I have drop-kicked a four-inch Thomas across the playroom. (What? He started it. His whimsical catch phrases and shiny face are just too much for a toddler sometimes.)

And that toddler gets frustrated when people mistakenly buy him trains that don’t match the set we have, which means they don’t quite fit the tracks and cause crash after crash after crash (how many freaking different sets do there have to be, anyway???).

But anymore, Monster can handle the crashes on his own. He has learned to put together the track by himself. He has learned to quietly pass the time with his little train friends.

So, I’m going to say it: Thomas really is a useful engine. The little shit.

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