*Whit climbing into (or out of?) her stroller. We have to strap her in now because otherwise she stands on the seat and attempts to make an escape.
I am one of those annoying people who lugs their kid around everywhere on public transportation. I have no car, no licence, and therefore no choice but to slum it on the TTC every day. It takes 2 busses* a night to get my daughter home from daycare, and that doesn’t even cover our social trips in the evenings and on weekends. I’ve taken Whitney on Greyhound trips to Ottawa (5 hours), Viva adventures to Ajax and Newmarket (1 hour), subway rides from one end of the city to the other (up to 2 hours)… There’s no trip I can’t handle anymore, no ride too challenging for my crazy ass.
*That is, 2 separate bus rides. Whitney isn’t so huge that she can’t fit on one bus at at time.
That being said, I am not a big fan of public transportation – or, at least, I’m not a big fan of some of the people who take public transportation – like the douchebags who see you struggling with your sick, crying baby in the middle of a snow storm, who push in front of you onto a crowded bus and then watch you standing on the sidewalk as the vehicle leaves without you on it (true story). Or the people who won’t get out of the aisle when you’re pushing a stroller. Or the people who sigh and roll their eyes when your toddler starts to fuss on a hot, crowded bus.
To those people I say, no matter how frustrated you are with me and my child, I promise you that it pales in comparison to how tired and frustrated I am. I am not delighted to hold you up. I don’t do a dance of joy when I see you struggling to get around my stroller on your way to the back of the bus. I’m not thinking “Ooh, I can’t wait to get in this person’s way” or “I hope this guy trips on the wheel of my stroller as he passes” or “I hope my child’s wails drive at least three people to suicide tonight“. I’m thinking “I hope Whitney doesn’t start screaming or crying while I’m trapped in this tin can. I hope these people aren’t angry with me for blocking the aisle, but this is as far over as I can get. I hope that chick isn’t resentful that I am taking up so much room. I hope no one sneers at me, rolls their eyes, yells at me, or gives me parenting advice. I just want to get out of this vehicle alive with a happy child and my dignity intact.”
Okay, so truthfully, I don’t have much dignity to lose. Part of being a good passenger (and a good parent) is keeping your child happy so they don’t annoy everyone around you (people who already wish you were dead even when your child is calm) by doing stupid, embarrassing shit. Sometimes you have to choose between the lesser of two evils – you being slightly annoying while you entertain your kid, or your kid being really annoying while they scream and wail at the top of their lungs. I am lucky that my daughter is really good in public, BUT she gets a little cranky and unruly if she’s tired (for example, after a long day at daycare). This past year and a half, I’ve done a lot of things to keep her entertained on our trips – I’ve had her wave and blow kisses at (nice, non-scary) strangers, I’ve read to her, let her climb on the seat and look out the window, tickled her, I’ve asked her to point out various parts of her body, made her raise her hands above her head, etc. etc. Anything you can think of to keep a baby happy.
Last night, I crossed my own line in the sand of obnoxiousness – I sang (badly) in public. Oh, I tried to avoid it. I attempted to play “Where’s your nose” and “Patty Cake” instead but Whitney wasn’t having any of it. Her new favourite thing is The Itsy Bitsy Spider. It’s so cute – her face lights up and she does the actions to the song and everything. Adorable! What’s not adorable is ME tunelessly signing The Itsy Bitsy Spider on a packed bus in the middle of rush hour, over and over again WITH actions because it was the only thing that kept my kid quiet. I was too afraid to look around at anyone but Whitney, but I am sure I got a few eyerolls and sniggers coupled with a bunch of dirty looks, but it was either listen to me belt out the Itsy Bitsy Spider or listen to my toddler throw a temper tantrum, and I did what I had to do. Come to think of it though, maybe her cries would have been the lesser of two evils this time.