When returning from my partly involuntary vacation in Copenhagen (mixed in with a very voluntary midsummer celebration at my dear dear friend's summerhouse), I for some odd reason had chosen to take Zoe on the train. If it was the 250 kr ticket (vs. a 1200 kr flight) or the wishful thinking that she would sleep for most of it I'm not sure, but already one hour into it I would gladly have paid another thousand for a flight.
The problem for the next 13 years is that Zoe is a full fare on the plane but free on the train. This makes a set of train tickets, which would usually be slightly more expensive than a flight, approximately half price of flying between Copenhagen and Stockholm. Especially for the next 3 years where Zoe still is not able to fly by herself. When checking return journeys for this trip I had even found an extremely cheep train ticket because it would take us into Stockholm's central station as late as 15 minutes to midnight. Thinking that this would give me one hour of waking Zoe and 4 hours of sleeping Zoe I booked them. Except I forgot that when my lovely, regularly sleeping daughter stays with her grandmother for a week, her sleeping schedule will more likely resemble a teenagers with late nights and no naps. When I boarded the train at 6.30 pm it was with the most cheerful, awake, excited toddler who sat down in her seat, reading a book, eating cucumbers and almonds. After about an hour though it was an overtired, cheeky monkey, who wanted to run up and down the aisle that crawled all over me. She kept hitting me with her 'baaaang', not hard but also not appropriate and I had to tell her sternly that it is not nice to hit one's mom. Around this time people around me started asking the conductor if there were available seats in the quiet compartment. Others just looked for seats further away themselves. I took Zoe for a long walk through the train and we went back to the little bistro where I had a cup of coffee (to keep up with Zoe's energy) and she had a bag of cheese doodles that they conveniently place in child's height for her to pick out herself. Suddenly she started crying and wanted to go back to our seats, possibly because we had left her doll there but possibly also because tired kids do unpredictable things. I tried to coerce her into lying with her head in my lap and fall asleep but she could not find rest. She muzzled around for two hours while I managed to stay fairly calm despite her playing with the armrest, constantly popping her head above the seat to say hey to very uninterested people behind us and trying to get comfortable. Finally, at 10 pm, her eyes lowered and she fell asleep.
At the central station I surprised myself even more by packing up and rolling out our car suitcase and several bags while being able to carry a sleeping Zoe out of the train. There she woke up and wide-eyed walked with me while I told her what we had to do. We had to get up from the tracks, take a taxi and get in and up the stairs to our apartment. She did everything with amazing skills and easily fell asleep again in her own bed. All while I wrote down a couple of notes to myself in my head: "Do not take the train again any time soon, even if it looks like a good idea at the time".