Have you seen Mazzy? I have been looking for her everywhere. There is someone in my house that looks like Mazzy and talks like Mazzy but when I call her "Mazzy", she says, "No, Mom. I'm Thomas."

"Thomas the English Muffin?"

"No, Mom. Thomas THE TRAIN!!!!"

"Oh, right. Of course."

For some reason, Mazzy didn't spark to Thomas the Train when she was two like the rest of the children on the planet. She sparked to Thomas NOW. So while other kids seem to be moving on to princesses and superheros, Mazzy is stuck in a locomotive phase.

"Mom! Want to play TRAINS???"

"Playing Trains" means that Mazzy will assign you and everyone around you a "train name" and then for the next three weeks (and counting), you will have to successfully identify everyone by their designated "train name" or risk punishment by TRAIN LAW. 

Note: TRAIN LAW is decreed by Mazzy (aka Thomas) and Mazzy alone. It is subject to change at any moment and it makes no sense AT ALL. 

"Harlow, would you like dinner?"

"That's not Harlow! THAT'S JAMES!!!!!"

"Sorry, James would you like dinner?"


"Oh right. Harlow, would you like some fuel?"

"It's JAMES!!!!!!!!"

"Sorry. James would you like some fuel?"

"Good job, Mom. We're playing TRAINS!!!!!!"

Yep, Mazzy, this sure is fun! 

It's gotten to the point where I'm no longer sure where the game ends and where real life begins. Kind of like the Michael Douglas movie The Game, except instead of fighting for my life, I am googling "train lingo" so I can successfully parent a train without it yelling at me. 

"Mazzy, put on your shoes, we're leaving."


"Thomas, put on your tracks, we're departing the station. If we don't go now, we won't make it to Knapford on time to pick up the rest of the passengers!"

"Okay, Percy!"

Did I mention, I'm Percy?

So you see, "Playing Trains" isn't all bad. If you play by the rules, it can be used to great advantage. 

"Can you please move, Mazzy? I'm trying to make the bed."

"NOOOOOOOO!!!!! I'm playing TRAINS!!!!!!!"

"Thomas, I've been given strict orders to tidy up the train yard. Can you take your caboose over to the quarry? "

"Sure, Percy!"

The best moment in "Playing Trains" was a few weeks ago. Mazzy had named herself Thomas, Harlow as James, myself as Percy and then Mike walked in the door.

"Who is Daddy?"

"He's Cranky!" Mazzy squealed, giving me the best present I've gotten since my marraige began. Telling my rather ornery husband things like, "Stop being so Cranky, Cranky!" is just too much fun for words.

Still, there is only so much Thomas a person can take. Mazzy wants to play in the morning, after lunch, in the car, all throughout dinner and insists I say "Goodnight, Thomas" after I put her to bed.

I keep waiting for the fad to die out but apparently, "playing trains" has more staying power than Madonna and Mick Jagger combined.

Yesterday, was the last day at our summer rental in Quogue. From Day One, being out at the house amped up Mazzy's train obsession, since she had the entire yard to treat like her own personal Island of Sodor.

Before we all piled into the car to leave, we took a final walk to the dock to say goodbye. This somehow evolved into a bizarro version of Goodnight Moon, where we each took turns saying goodbye to something about the house.


ME: Goodbye, dock.

MAZZY: Goodbye, boats.

MIKE: Goodbye, yard.

ME: Goodbye, pool.

MAZZY: Goodbye, trees.

MIKE: Goodbye, geese poop.

ME: Goodbye, trains.

MAZZY: NOOOOO!!!! We can play trains at home!!!!

Oh well, it was worth a shot.


Please tell me I am not the only one with a kid who insists you call them something other than their name? Who/what does your kid pretend to be?