We're continuing to have weather-related ups and downs around here, and we're carefully monitoring the effectiveness of some new interventions. My attempts at writing about them have made Bud sound like a lab rat, which is not fair to him. So we'll be weathering (groan) this challenge privately for a while.
The good news is that it hasn't all been bad. Bud has the delightful tendency to balance tough times by throwing himself wholeheartedly into fun times when those opportunities arise. And these days if the opportunities haven't arisen on their own, he's worked hard to create them.
So it was one evening this week when he suggested that it was time to take a train ride.
I am starting to learn to ignore the initial negative parental responses that pop into my head at suggestions like this: "Honey, we don't have a train... It's almost bedtime... You're being silly," and instead we put on our jackets and waited to find out what kind of adventure was in store.
Bud was delighted. He gathered engineer hats for each of us and ran to find his slide whistle, then we all headed into the moonlit yard. The set-up was surprisingly easy, and after the sidewalk chalk train tracks and beach chair engines were in place we were ready for our trip.
My husband and I were in charge of the chugga-chuggas, and Bud - our faithful caboose pulling up the rear - was responsible for the choo-choos, with occasional slide whistle toots thrown in for effect. As neighbors drove by slowly (we could imagine, but not see, their bewildered faces), my husband called out cheerfully "Just playing train!"
Bud played tour guide from the back, letting us know where we were headed and calling our attention to the sites as we passed them. It was a lovely trip through the neighborhood (where we saw moose, deer, and snakes), the jungle (where we saw monkeys and an elephant), the North Pole (where we saw a polar bear), and even the ocean (where we saw a whale). Our last stop was Dunkin' Donuts, conveniently located by our mailbox, where we gobbled Munchkins greedily and refreshed our weary-traveler bodies with delicious beverages - coffee for me, a Coolatta for my husband, and apple juice for Bud.
Then it was back on board for the long journey home. As we settled into a comfortable rhythm, our bellies heavy with imaginary donuts and our spirits high from the thrill of adventure and the crisp night air, our chugga-chuggas gave way to melody as my husband and I channeled the Grateful Dead and sang home our little-engine-that-could:
Driving that train, high on cocaine,
Casey Jones, you better watch your speed.
Trouble ahead, trouble behind,
And you know that notion just crossed my mind...
Trouble behind? Most definitely. Trouble ahead? Most likely. But somehow I think we're on the right track. We're sure to reach the station eventually, just as long as we keep chugging along together and following the lead of our intoxicating little boy.