The other night we were playing with the trains in C’s room. These are little wooden trains based on the children’s series Thomas the Engine. The great thing about them is that they’re sturdy enough (and simple enough) for the kids to be able to put the track together themselves.

The problem, of course, is that sometimes they end up getting things a little mixed-up and that loop they wanted to create isn’t so much a loop as an long winding track that never connects with itself.

That’s the situation that J was negotiating with C the other night. He wanted to use a short curve, and she was trying to point out that if he did that, the track wouldn’t be able to connect with itself. I realize this seems silly, but if the track doesn’t connect, the train will crash, and we’ll have to deal with that little trauma. Also, we both think it’s good to teach the kids how to think things through, and figuring out that a certain piece of track is needed to finish the circle is a great opportunity for that.

In any case, the discussion was getting rather heated when N couldn’t take it any more. He went over, grabbed a train bridge from the bin and held it up, calling out “Bridge! Bridge!”

Well, that’s what he meant to say. He doesn’t pronounce the R’s in Bridge, and the ending “dge” sounds exactly like “tch”. Got it? If not, try again: take “Bridge”, drop the “r” and replace the last three letters with “tch”.

Okay, good. Now back to our story…

When N called out “Bidge! Bidge!”, J’s head whipped around. “What?”

As I’ve mentioned before, my wife tends to be a gentle person. Well, even the gentlest soul can be a little sharp when she thinks her youngest son is calling her a …ah…”bidge”. Her tone and glare were sharp enough for the little guy to wilt.

He looked down at his bridge uncertainly, and I jumped in. “I think he said bridge.”

She looked at me, and then started to giggle. So did I. N raised his bridge back up.

“Bidge! Bidge!”

C didn’t know what was going on either, but he was happy. He got to finish building his train track to nowhere.

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