October 22, 2013: Project Thomas Tank Engine


Did I ever mention that I wanted to be an art major? I was offered a scholarship to an art school and declined for the more reliable accounting route (Sandy's version). An art school offered me a small scholarship comparative to their outrageous tuition in an attempt to lure a bright-eyed seventeen year old to their school (Dad's version).

"What are you going to do with an art major?" was my dad's common question my senior year.

How could he not understand that I would draw and paint for a living? duh! Needless to say, after the intervention of a kind-hearted high school guidance counselor, I became an accountant.

Fast forward eight years. As a practicing accountant, my creative energy erupted under my new role; mom. And I subsequently was appointed the official Halloween designer and costumer to the Lane boys.

At age two, Zach was in awe and wonderment of everything Thomas the Tank Engine. Zach watched Thomas video tapes for hours while pushing the magnetic engines around the train track. Choosing Thomas as his Halloween costume felt nothing short of brilliant as I started designing my creation.

I opted to use boxes, felt material, and shiny paint to create the wearable Thomas the Tank Engine. After spending an entire day cutting and gluing boxes, I free-handed a completed felt-covered cardboard model. A hole was left at the top for Zach's toddler head with arm holes on the sides.

In an effort to make it comfortable for my cute tot, I added a thick blue ribbon to secure the box comfortably around his little body. I was thrilled with my final work of art as I sat on my living room floor covered in glue and paint, admiring my work.

I proclaim this photo "pride and ego"
The first Halloween party of the year was at my health club, Prairie Life Center. This annual fun fest always hit the calendar a few days before Halloween. It was perfect timing for Zach and I to strut our stuff in matching bib overalls and engineer hats.

I piled Zach into his car seat and drove with great anticipation. After a grand entrance and people inquiring on the unique costume I was carrying (no one had seen this replicated at any Target or specialty costume shop), I carefully placed the box over my mini-engineer.

To my complete shock and horror, he burst into tears while screaming "NO!!" I did what any good mother (who spent hours making the costume) would do. I took him into a corner and tried gently placing it on him again. Then I tried coaxing. Then begging, bribing, until finally resorting to threatening.

Nothing worked. He only screamed louder. Exasperated, I temporarily gave up and decided to let him play games for a while as he would "warm up" to the spectacular costume I had made for him.

As we walked into the decorated gym, I thought the next best step would be to let him hold and show off his Thomas to others. I was convinced that this would be the trick and get him to comply.

Zach didn't cry when I handed him the costume. Instead he looked me right in the eye and accepted my treasure. And then without giving it another thought, he grabbed my perfectly placed ribbon and started dragging my beautiful creation across the dirty gym floor. Within minutes he was running around the gym entertaining himself by whipping the box while tugging at the ribbon. He was nothing short of a two-year-old gone wild.

Exasperated, I gave up and resorted to picking out my favorite candy from his bag. A fail? I don't think so. The tank sat for years in our toy room and was whipped around by many kids. Some of the best treasures are those you can actually play with. Final proclamation: a creative, functioning win.

Zach does it his way

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