Heaven help me, we’ve entered the Hot Wheels era
It's not that we've never had Hot Wheels - the guys already own dozens, plus or minus the cheap plastic knockoffs that I'm able to covertly palm and carry to the trash after they start losing wheels. But until recently, it's been individual cars that the guys have learned to pick up at night lest the Mom Claw patrol after they go to sleep.
Now, though, we've branched out into Hot Wheels track. Full play sets that you cannot possibly figure out how to assemble by reading the printed directions. Courses that hog the family room for hours at a time.
Pure boy cooties. Ick. What happened to the toy dishes they used to cook dinner with?
In a way, it's Thomas' fault. Armed with a wallet fat with birthday money, Boots stood in a discount store before a dazzling array of Thomas and his friends recently. There was Gordon and Emily and Henry and Spencer - none of whom he has a working model of in his current collection. There were trains I've never heard of. There were freight cars and carnival cars and milk tankers.
There was way too much. Boots picked up one and then the other, eyeing each carefully. "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" he wailed, running out of the aisle. after about 15 minutes. Or was it 15 hours? "I can't pick one. They all look fun."
His paralysis ended when he hit the Hot Wheels. He grabbed the first set he found and took off. It's puzzling that the decision was so easy when picking a Thomas was so impossible. Maybe it's because he has less emotional energy invested in Hot Wheels.
I've had plenty of emotional angst invested since then, and that's not counting the agony of assembling the track.
Thomas I at least know how to play because there are movies and books. The media guide me on the personalities of each train. I know that Thomas and Percy are good but occasionally grumpy, Gordon is mostly grumpy but basically good and Diesel 10 is the bad guy.
Hot Wheels? One second the green car will be the hero and the blue the villain, while it might be the other way around the next. Who knows? Only the guys, and they rarely clue me in before they start playing. I think that's largely because they don't know either, which leads to much bickering as they make it up on the fly.
Big Guy's birthday is coming up, and he's already asked his grandmother for money rather than a present so he can buy the toy himself.
Wonderful. I fear that the best outcome I can hope for is that he's so overwhelmed by the Hot Wheels choices that he runs screaming out of the aisle and straight into Thomas.
Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.