Train lovin’ loud noise eschewer


What you see above  is a boy having a blast on a zoo train.  It’s just a blast with coping mechanism in place.

Some weeks back, his Gramma took him on a trip to the local park’s steam train (the Redwood Valley Railway, much beloved by generations of Bay Area miniature railroad enthusiasts: all aboard!), and they had the misfortune of sitting a bit too close to the engine and its noisy whistle (how’re ya gonna know?). The first big blast sent the little guy into a dither that evidently took minutes of fun twists and turns to diminish.  Thereafter, a great many of his statements involved the words “loud noise” combined with the words “steam train.” Also, questions abounded: “Do you like loud noises?” and “Do you like loud steam trains?”

But he seems to have worked through the experience, his train love emerging undiminished. We visited the Oakland Zoo last week, and after a Baba-enforced tour of dromedaries, elands, giraffes, meercats, tigers, tortoises, and sundry small birds (“no elephants! poop too smelly!”) we paid a visit to the rides, which, it must be said, are pretty much the big draw these days. At least for the youngest among us. We visited the mini-car ride and the merry-go-’round, both of which were delightful in their own way, but essentially warm-ups for our raison d’etre there: the zoo train.

Like he did at the beginning of the merry-go-round, he positioned his hands over his ears. Except this time  he kept ’em there for the whole 7-10 minute ride.  All along smiling sweetly, gazing across various vistas near and far.  He just now looked at this picture and I asked him what he was thinking of in that moment. “The choo-choo sound!”  Was he enjoying himself? “Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah!”

One more lesson for Baba’s Who Is This Sweet Person That’s My Boy? file.

5 thoughts on “Train lovin’ loud noise eschewer”

  1. We live near the Roaring Camp Railroad in Felton and can hear the whistle at our house! We take lots of walks at Henry Cowell State Park, and always walk over to see the trains … and my girl child always says, “will it be loud?” But she always wants to see the train and the station and the tracks…. She’s mad about the trains, but you often can’t tell from the expression on her face (very serious). She talks about “seeing noise” — and that means things like chainsaws (lots of those in the redwoods), lawn mowers, bulldozers, etc. Your boy is quite beautiful!

  2. I’ll bet more kids are more sound-sensitive than we know. Our girl child is the same. We have thought it’s possible they’re both fairly highly sensitive, sound-wise and a few other-wises. But I also think that young people are so fresh to so much that it makes sense that they haven’t got a lot of filters. My work has been to try to preserve the sensitivities that help make them kinder, more present people, while helping them filter or cope with what they need to to thrive.

    As soon as I figure it out for them, I’ll rapidly apply it to myself.

    What a dream to live next to the RoaringCamp Railroad! We could hear the whistle on a good day from my grandparents’ house in Santa Cruz, near (what’s now) the university. Since the last time I was there was with my nephews (plural, featuring the one who’s now in the ether), it will be a heavy-dense visit there when I go next. Which will have to be a “when” and not an “if,” given how much a train-lover our boy child is.

    And sister, as regards his “quite beautiful”: lordy! I’m gob-smacked by it daily. Good thing I’ve got the willpower of a Buckingham Palace guard or I’d be giving him lemonade and piggyback rides all day.


  3. Yes, I understand how places hold memories. So it will probably be heavy-dense for you. Heavy-dense like the forest. These big trees are healing.

    I love the tinkerbell photo! And I really like how you’ve expressed wanting to protect all the degrees of his experience.

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