Today being Friday, it was Charlie Day at our house. I don't work on Fridays and my vow has been that on Friday, the day is all about my son enjoying himself. No laundry, no work, no emails, just hanging out with Charlie and doing things he wants to do. This doesn't mean that I spend the day eating butter with a spoon and getting cramp in my hands playing with his monkey puppet but rather that I plan a day based around things I think he'll like. Usually this involves a friend or two and a trip somewhere - a museum; the local soft-play area; the park; a play group or someone elses house... some days it's just us, a big roll of paper, a load of paints and the sound of the rain outside.
Today we started with a short playdate with one of his best mates followed by... a journey on a real train. For me, the point was to see a good friend and for Charlie to meet her baby, have some fun playing in a different house and perhap feed the ducks at the village pond. For Charlie however, the point turned out to be all about the train.
He loves public transport and is ecstatic whenever we take a bus. He's keen on the tube too, his favourite thing is to try to point at the doors the exact second that they open. That, however, all faded into total obscurity the moment we stepped on to the platform at Marylebone station and he saw a real, live, not-in-a-museum train close up for the first time.
One of our Spud Days recently was spent at the Transport Museum with another of his best mates and he wasn't in the slightest bit interested in the old trains there because they were clearly Just Pretend. Today however, the trains were moving, the doors were opening, people were getting on and off - they were touchably, palpably real. He was on foot and typically our train left from the very furthest away platform. I was fully expecting him to beg to get back into the buggy but he padded along silently, hand obediently in mine all the way to the nether reaches. When we actually got on to the train I don't think he could believe it, he was so thrilled. It was fairly empty and we got a whole four-seater to ourselves. I had bought him a cornish pasty at the station expecting him to take a few bites and put it down but he sat happily looking out of the window the whole way and ate practically the entire thing.
We had a lovely visit and he fell asleep before we got onto the train home, waking up on the platform as we disembarked. I thought he would be dismayed but he was just as transfixed by the trains sitting patiently at the station as he had been at the view out of the window and he went home happily on the tube.
Tonight as I was settling him down to sleep I asked him if he remembered the train. 'Train!' he said 'I like it!'. 'Shall we go again?' I asked him and he sat up and said 'Yes Please!' and then lay happily back down and believe it or not, went directly to sleep.