How would you handle this? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 04-23-2005, 02:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Ds1 is quite obsessed with Thomas the Train, and is constantly asking to go to the Island of Sodor. I have tried doing the whole pretend our backyard is Sodor and the such, and while he enjoys that, he will then say, okay, can we go to the real Island of Sodor now?

I have tried explaining that it's not a real place, that it's pretend, but he keeps insisting that it's real and wants to go there. This has been going on for months. Just this morning he kept saying that he wants to meet James.

To make it even more confusing for him, last year we went to a Thomas's Day Out railroad day. Basically a big steam train with one of the cars decorated to look like Thomas. We are going again this year. He gets so excited about this, but then we tell him it's not real. I'm just not sure if I should be going along with the fantasy that it's real, and if so, how to explain why we can't go there. Or do I be the party pooper and keep insisting that it's only pretend?

As far as other imaginary things go, we were kind of half hearted about Santa and the Easter Bunny this year. I love the magic of it, and remember it so fondly as a kid, but it felt really weird telling ds that Santa was coming down our fireplace and leaving presents. I had a hard time actually getting the words out.

Aaah, I don't know what to say to him. I don't want to ruin the magic of the fantasy for him, but I don't want to answer his many questions with elaborate lies either.
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#2 of 4 Old 04-23-2005, 06:04 PM
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My daughter is the same age--and similar things have come up for us. We are pretty pro-fantasy at our house. I would probably tell her that I don't know if there is a real Sodor. That I have never seen it or been there and I don't know how to get there. That in most real places trains don't have faces and can't talk. Then I would explain that some special or "magic" places exist just for children--that most grown ups can't go there (to help stop the asking to be taken there). That if it is that important to her and she really believes in it I'm sure she will see it someday.

I have read her "The Polar Express" and "Peter Pan" to reaffirm that some special things are mostly just for childhood. That children's imaginations are so strong some people believe they can make things become real.

As far as taking him to see Thomas, I don't know that it is much different than taking him to Santa at the mall. Some parents prefer to ssay that the one you are seeing is not the real santa/thomas. It is a man/train dressed up just for fun. Or Let him believe it is the real santa/thomas and say you dont know if it is real. Tell him to believe what he feels is right.

I find that telling her I don't know is easier than saying it is fake. I dont have to crush her fantasy or tell an elaborate lie. When it IS real to her she will tell me, and I want to teach her to trust herself and search her own heart for what is true in her world.

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#3 of 4 Old 04-24-2005, 08:20 PM
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I've been struggling with this issue too, and have to say I love the answer angierea came up with!

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#4 of 4 Old 04-25-2005, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
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I would probably tell her that I don't know if there is a real Sodor. That I have never seen it or been there and I don't know how to get there.
That's a good suggestion - it feels honest without ruining the fantasy.

Knowing my son, if I told him it was only for kids, he'd tell me I was wrong and start naming all the adults ride the buses.
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