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No heavy duty topic today. This is about taking my 3-year-old for his first transit trip of more than one stop.
He's been on a bus before, but always for a single stop, back in the days when his growth outpaced my parental muscle development.
This time, to make up for upsetting his schedule, I picked him up from our old daycare lady and asked him if he would like to ride the bus. "Yes," he said. "What colour is the bus?" he chatted to himself. "Lellow!" He could say 'yellow', but 'lellow' stuck.
"No, that's a school bus. We're not going to school. We are going on the city bus."
Even though I had scheduled us pretty well, the wait for the bus with a 3-year-old is often interminable!
The bus finally came, and he popped himself up on a seat with a view of the front. That is a better view than he gets in the van, I realized, and I felt a little sad that our modern sense of safety consigns kids nearly forever to the back seats of our own vehicles.
"I like a city bus!" He just sat there and took in everything; I had half-expected he would be trying to run around.
When we got to the light rail station, I made the call that since he had been so good, I would take him on the train. Now he is a big, big fan of Thomas the train. As soon as I told him, he wanted to RUN - so he grabbed my hand and we ran all the way across the bridge.
Of course, we also got to play with escalators, his fourth favourite thing after chicken, trains and pretzels.
(Mind you, I've never pitted pretzels against escalators, so I am not completely sure of the rankings)
We went south and once again he sat really well, pointing out the other tracks and getting strangely miffed at the impudence of the trains going the other way.
Here's where I made a bit of a mistake.
We couldn't cross over from one platform to the other at one station, so we went one further. We ran across to the other train to go north, but four minutes was not enough to catch the last bus. So, we went north one stop to try to catch our only other option to take us straight home - that one wasn't going to arrive for at least twenty minutes. The bus schedules really get mucked up at precisely 6 pm.
...and that's when he got really hungry.
I should have checked for snacks beforehand. There were some old broken baby cookies in a tiny bag; hardly enough, and I had to fend him off to jump on the train to get to our next best option to come home.
To the north, black, black clouds were rolling in, and some lightning struck.
We managed, and I even met an old coworker at the station, but conversation was just not possible when shepherding a slowly-melting-down toddler and doling out broken cookie bits.
Our next best option was there mercifully soon, and now my son was plaintively thirsty. He was distracted and recalcitrant all the way to the strip mall area - still a fair hike from home. Getting him off the bus was a major ordeal.
To make it up to him (for making something up to him in the first place, but taking too long!), we popped into the nearby convenience store and bought him a rare treat: a small slushie.
His bad mood persisted for a short while but started lightening up after nearly dragging him across the road... no, no, now is not the time to stop!
While I was dreading but prepared to carry my dear sometime sack of potatoes all the way home, he actually marched nearly all the way, finally asking to be carried just over a half block from home.
The black clouds managed to completely miss us, too.
He seems to have a fond memory of the whole day :)
He said hello to quite a few people before his mood went sour, and got lots of smiles from people. When I told folks that it was his first big transit ride, a surprising number of people related that they had just done that with their own kids or their siblings' kids.
I guess it's just a spring rite of passage :)
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