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The Train Reaction

by Kate Hayes,

What is the deal with little boys and trains? 

My daughter is five years old now. In that five years, the most interest that Anna has shown in vehicles is when she told me that she thought we “named” our SUV “Trailblazer,” which is why we referred to it that way. Just like a girl…always naming and nurturing things. 

Our son, however, is a different story. Kellen is all about action, all the time. The moment he turned two, something inside him started screaming, “You are a boy. Boys love noise. Boys love dirt. Boys love trucks. Boys love boats. Boys love TRAINS!” 

And suddenly, without quite knowing how it happened, Kyle and I joined the ranks of all the other parents of preschool boys whose lives revolve around choo-choo trains. We read about trains. We do train puzzles. We set the DVR for all the train shows on TV (“Thomas and Friends,” “Chuggington,” and “Dinosaur Train.” If I’m missing any, please let me know.) We collect toy trains for Kellen to add to his ever-growing collection. (Did you know that ONE wooden Thomas train costs $20?? Hello, Craigslist!) And then, of course, we spend hours upon hours playing trains with Kellen in his playroom.

He always makes me and Kyle “be Percy.” I don’t know why. He has about 50 trains. But no matter what, we get stuck with Percy. It’s actually pretty amusing, because he doesn’t pronounce his R’s yet…so when he asks, “Mommy, do you want to play with my Percy?”…well, you can imagine how it sounds. It makes me glad he’s not a girl.

Our family also plans train-related excursions for our son’s benefit. We visit attractions that have trains, just so he can ride them. We take the commuter rail to other attractions whenever possible, because Kellen thinks it’s the main event. Just this past Sunday, we took a two-hour train ride along scenic Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire. We drove two hours to get there, and three hours to get back home (with traffic). That makes seven hours devoted to said train ride…mainly because we knew how much Kellen would love it. We knew he would be THRILLED! Which he was…until he fell asleep thirty minutes into the ride. Oh well. At least the rest of us were able to enjoy some lovely New England scenery.

It just all leaves me wondering WHY my son and countless little guys like him are so passionate about trains. They’re big. They’re noisy. They go fast. I get that. But I still don’t get it. Do you???

All I can think is that it must be a guy thing. And because I adore my son, I will continue to go along with it. I’ll watch more Chuggingtons, do more train puzzles, and make the very best choo-choo sounds that a Mommy can make. I’ll even pack little Thomas trains to take with us when we travel. Except for Percy. I can’t have him talking about his Percy in public. I’m sure you understand.


Kate is a contributing writer for Mommy Moment. Kate is the proud mom of Anna and Kellen, two preschoolers who are starting to pick up all of her best habits: a passion for reading and exploring new places, an intense interest in organizing, and a total disregard for sleep. See what she has been up to over at

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Jackie H.

Friday 22nd of October 2010

7 hours for a train ride? You win mommy of the year. I'm afraid I would have stuck my kids in laundry baskets tied together and pushed them around the house for a train ride. ;) By the way, I hit up a garage sale and purchased a TON of Thomas stuff for $6. Woo hoo!

Moms In Heels

Saturday 16th of October 2010

I for sure can jump on this train (haha). My almost three year old LOVES anything with wheels, including trains. I almost had a heart attack when I say Thomas' price tag- but hey my son has expensive taste- I can appreciate it. Sometimes I envy the parents of girls with pink lace and baby dolls, but for not it's my little guy and his trains.


Friday 15th of October 2010

Thank you all for the comments! And Mairna, you're right about the Thomas Take Along Trains. They're much cheaper and definitely sturdier. Makes sense, right? The only problem is...if you have tons of wooden tracks like we do, the Take Along Trains don't really fit on them. That is a definite ploy to make us buy more trains and tracks! But when you have a kid who loves this stuff so much, I guess it works!


Friday 15th of October 2010

Just goes to show that it isn't all nurture! We have trains all over our house as well, and live and breath trains too.

The dis cast metal cars are much cheaper and don't dent and lose their paint like the wooden ones. You should try them out! I think they are take along Thomas or something like that...


Thursday 14th of October 2010

First words for my two included Truck and dog. (well tu and do but its obvious when they are pointing at one). I recently got them some Thomas board books. Well, both my boys are serious book "readers" now.They have no interest in the TV shows yet (which I'm happy about). I got them each an Early Engineer train and they love those too.

I don't mind. I wasnt allowed these things when I was growing up because I was a girl. I always wanted a train set. The day my guys are old enough, we'll be getting a train table (or two).