They’re Two, They’re Four …

I’ll admit it. My kids can be pretty thuggish when the mood strikes. Luckily, the only gang affiliation they currently have is their known ties to the Really Useful Crew, and the only banging is done to each other’s heads, with wooden trains.

James sleeps with a few select engines (never mind the fact that they are far from cuddly) and will happily sit at the train table from morning ’til night if given the opportunity. Thomas has finally made the transition from terrorizing the Isle of Sodor with Godzilla-like climbing and swiping to merely causing (mostly) unintentional carnage while actually playing with trains.

Even Maddux, who is ordinarily ensconced in the magical land of princesses and faeries, will drop everything for a showing of “Thomas and the Magic Railroad.” (Personally, I keep expecting Mr. Conductor to break into Jack Donaghy’s deadpan whisper, or admonish Lady to “Never go with an evil diesel to a second location!”)

Unfortunately, the trains of “Thomas and Friends” just happen to have really awesome names, such as James, Thomas and Henry. Sound familiar? Yeah, the first two are my boys’ names and the third is what both would have been named had I ever won that argument with Chris.

Now, not being a huge “Thomas The Tank Engine” aficionado before bearing my children, I was not aware that Thomas and James are the names of the fictional Number One and Number Five trains, respectively. However, this is brought to my attention each and every time I introduce my sons to any boy over the age of 3.

The other day, my lovely daughter asked me, somewhat sadly, “Mom, why didn’t you name me after a train?”

“Well,” I said, not having planned an answer for this particular question, “I actually did not name James and Thomas after trains. I picked those names out because I liked them.”


Phew, I thought, glad she dropped that.

“Mommy,” Maddux said thoughtfully after a minute or so, “I would like you to call me Lady from now on.”

“How about Daisy or Emily?” I ventured, wondering how people would react if I happened to utter an absentminded “C’mon, Lady” at the mall.

“No, Lady is the most beautifullest and special of the girl engines,” Maddux said, attempting to flutter her eyelashes like a Disney princess but (thanks to the fact that her eyes roll back completely when she does this) looking more like she was having a mild seizure. Then she threw her hair over her shoulder with a melodramatic hand gesture.

“Alright, Lady, but I will have to call you Maddux when we’re not at home.”

“That’s fine, Mommy.”

And off she went to the Isle of Sodor, to roll with her crew.

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