Ben's former best friend, blanky, has nearly been displaced by the newest member of our toy family. Thomas the Tank Engine, affectionately known as "Choo Choo," must be in the room with Ben at all times. And he must be on. He must be talking, otherwise the only thing we hear for the next hour is, "Uh-oh, Choo Choo! Choo Choo! Uh-oh! Uh-oh!"
However, this is no ordinary Choo Choo.
Thomas the Tank Engine has four settings: On, Off, Follow Me, and Try Me. In both On and Follow Me modes, Thomas is skillfully trained to follow your voice. When Choo Choo is talking, Ben is very happy and affectionately talks to him, saying "Yay, Choo Choo! Yay!" which of course triggers Choo Choo to follow him around if he is set to either of these modes.
When Choo Choo moves, Ben screams with terror. Nothing has ever set him off so much. He breaks down, convulsing on the ground, screaming and crying, which then corrects Thomas' direction and follows him. Ben views this as an assault. He'll run away, screaming, and will stand behind a door frame, waiting for Mommy and Daddy to fix Choo Choo, which, of course, we do. Choo Choo only belongs on Try Me mode because he doesn't move on this setting.
Almost immediately when the train has stopped moving, Ben says, "Yay, Choo Choo! Yay!" and runs over to play with him. Ultimately, Ben will turn the train over, play with his switch, and turn it to either mode that follows him. Chaos ensues, and the process continues.
Ben loves Choo Choo so much that he doesn't want him to be lonely at night. Two nights ago, we put Choo Choo to bed on his shelf with a blanky and told Ben "Choo Choo go night night!" Ben affectionately patted Thomas' blanky and kept getting up to check and see if he was okay, then stole his blanky.
I guess blanky is still Ben's best friend.