Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round...

Here in London, Zoe and I go on a lot of public transportation and I am proud to say I am learning to navigate the underground with a stroller. The trick is to know which stations have elevators and escalators and look helpless at the ones that don't, prompting a nice fellow passenger to help. In the beginning I would still carry her in the Beco or my wrap if we were not going out for long but she is 22 pounds/10 kg now and walking far with her is tough. She has never been a fan of her stroller, (which is one of the main reasons I have always carried her so much) she simply doesn't like to sit still and be driven around, which leads me to look enviously at all the calm or sleeping babies in the strollers around town. How do they do it? Do they drug the babies? Do they bribe them? Zoe might sit without complaining if we are walking through a particularly interesting area with many people, but as soon as I get into a train or bus, she wants up: "Bah? Bah?", she says, pulling her buckle and pointing down.

I had a particularly long train ride to Cambridge yesterday, one I do not want to repeat any time soon. The train we were supposed to catch was cancelled due to unavailable drivers (that's actually what the sign said) so we ended up on a completely full train where, even though I walked all the way up front, each and every single seat was taken. I pushed the stroller inside the train and prepared myself to stand up when a woman at the window graciously offered me her seat. Zoe promptly smiled and padded her on the head when she sat down on the floor in the hallway. Luckily our seat was around two women who clearly had children on their own because they smiled and paid her the right amount of attention, but diagonally across from us was an elderly lady with thin black hair who was not going to be Zoe's friend. She looked a bit at her when she reached out her hands but she huffed loudly when Zoe accidentally dropped a lime wedge (after taking it out of the plastic cup with fruit, biting in to it and making the funniest sour face), which bounced off the lady's stocking clad leg. I apologized but the lady just starred out the window, clearly upset. As I tried to give Zoe a bit of milk from a carton with a straw, something we have just recently started, Zoe squeezed the carton spilling a bit of milk, also on the woman's stockings. I thought she was going to have a fit at me, the irresponsible mother who let her baby eat on the train, but she just huffed louder, still not looking at us, which made the mother across give me an acknowledging look. She knew I was trying my best. I was relieved when we finally reached Cambridge and managed to carry Zoe on my arm, while pulling out the stroller where I put her in, to her loud screams.

So taking Zoe on public transportation is not my favorite activity but after learning a few tricks I am getting better. One trick is to always take the bus rather than the underground and then take her out of her stroller and on my lap for the ride. She often gets rowdy and difficult to hold because she wants down so she can run around, which is obviously not an option on neither a bus nor a train. I found that she likes my singing so I sing quietly into her ear: "The wheels on the bus goes round and round, round and round, round and round..." So far so good.

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