Category Archives: busing with babies

Speaking of busing with babies…

Today after church, at a southbound 48 stop, I spotted one of my bus parenting heroes, a man I’ve never actually met. Back in ’08, when Chicklet was but a wee lass, I saw him playing Connect Four with his kid at a northbound 48 stop (in the shelter that advocates for what Bus Nerd refers to as “the right to safe trife“). Having already begun my bus reading adventures with young Chicklet, I was inspired by the concept of bonding in transit–and by the way the two of them interacted. Also, I love Connect Four.

But I digress.

Today, Bus Dad Extraordinaire had two children with him (the boy he’d been playing with that day, and a little girl, who was probably around two). By the time I realized who he was (and started elbowing Bus Nerd like I’d just spotted a celebrity), I heard the boy say something about Crazy Eights. There was no doubting BDE’s identity after that.

On the ride, the three of them sat near enough to the four of us for me to keep my eyes (and ears) on them. And you know I did. By the time we were getting off, the boy was shuffling.

BDE then, plus one:
Connect Four

 

 

 

 

 

BDE now, plus two:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

Update, 10/11: Kathi from Ballard just emailed to tell me that she knows BDE. Even crazier? So do I! Her description of him made me realize that I have met him–at a transportation event, of course. (Yes, I realize it is beyond odd that I remembered seeing him at a bus stop three years ago but not meeting him in person much more recently. I blame it the short-term memory loss related to sleep deprivation.) Back when we met, he mentioned that he lived not far from me, and later, we emailed about getting our families together for dinner. It didn’t happen, but now, of course, I have to follow up.

How much do I love my bus community?

Busing with two (not so) babies, part III

My two babies at a bus stop

Recently, it occurred to me that, at 20 months (or, “one an’ a haff,” as he says), Busling is long overdue for some baby bus nerd walk training. After all, Chicklet was months younger when I started forci—er, encouraging—her to walk on our outings, and it’s paid off. These days, she can hoof it a mile and a half (two, even) at my pace without blinking an eye.

I’ve been putting off walk training Busling, in part because he’s the baby (they grow up fast enough as it is!), but mostly because I simply do not have enough hands. I stubbornly cling to my beloved baby pack, despite the fact that Busling has been too big for it for going on eight months, because it leaves one of my hands free for luxuries like, say, carrying an umbrella. (The other one, of course, is hanging on to Chicklet.) And, there really aren’t any good alternatives.

I can’t wear Busling on my back because I’m just not skilled enough at the on-and-off maneuvers, and sitting can be a challenge with a person right behind you. Plus, he pulls my hair.

As I’ve mentioned before, strollers and buses don’t mix. That brings us to option three: traveling with two walkers. You don’t have to think about this option long before you start seeing the challenges. Ever tried holding two hands and, well, anything else? For that matter, ever tried holding a toddler’s hand for longer than 30 seconds at a stretch?

Well folks, I have.

Since last Thursday, we’ve been experimenting with Busling on foot–with the baby pack stuffed into the bus bag, just in case. So far, he’s done great. (The kid is a trooper, like his big sis.) Not surprisingly, he travels at an excruciatingly slow pace, but he hasn’t complained or asked to be picked up, not even on steep hills.

I couldn’t be prouder of my baby boy, but I already know it’s going to be a long fall and winter. I still have no solution for rain, shopping bags, or tired legs, and I can only fall back on the pack for so long before my back gives out. (If I’m still strapping the kid on on our walks to elementary school, please, call someone.) We’ve entered the bus parenting “awkward stage” I’ve been dreading since B was born, and I don’t foresee it ending until he is close to Chicklet’s current age (four in less than a month!).

The perks are still the perks, though. As with all of my previous challenges, I’ll keep trying—and keep you posted!

Odd name, cool concept

My friend Stephanie, who also happens to be the founder of one of the most amazing arts organizations ever to exist in Seattle, recently hipped to a cool new website called Earthbongo. Earthbongo (yes, that’s the name) provides a place for people to “start and join projects that make the world better.”

Projects range from changing your habits at the dry cleaner to interviewing a family elder, and participants live all over the world. And yes, if you haven’t guessed it already, I started a project of my own.

If you have kids and want to drive less, join me!

Walking with Chicklet (or, Why I shouldn’t worry about my kid)

The entire Bus Fam is walking home from the 27 after a lovely downtown shopping adventure*. On the way, we run into a young gentleman who, though possibly somewhat intoxicated, is perfectly friendly and polite.

After saying hello to all of us, he puts his fist out, at Chicklet level, and asks for a pound. Chicklet looks down at his hand, gives him her (in)famous side eye, and says, “My knuckles are hurting.”

The man shrugs off the slight and tries again, this time with an open hand. “How about a high five?” he asks.

Chicklet looks at his hand, then her own, repeats the side eye, and replies, “I think my hand is hurting, too.”

***

*The purpose of said adventure was to purchase “big-boy dress-up clothes” for Busling, for a wedding we’re attending next weekend. My boy in dress-up clothes = cu-ute!

Westbound 8 & 27 stop, 10:55 AM

Chicklet, Busling, and I are waiting for a slightly late 27/17 to visit my brother in Ballard.

Chicklet: “I wish the bus would do certain things.”
Bus Chick: “What things?”
Chicklet: “Take us to Uncle Jeremy’s house right now.”

***
Northbound 17, 11:30 AM (en route)

Somewhere on Dexter, we get a great view of Busling’s favorite building out our window.

Busling, hollering: “Hello, Space Needle! Helloooo Space Needle!”

Eventually, another building blocks his view.

Busling: “I don’t want to say goodbye.”

Families “in motion”

This weekend, I’ll be sharing what I know about busing with babies at a family transit workshop sponsored by the Squire Park in Motion Program.

What: A casual, kid-friendly workshop where parents can learn: “how to know where the bus is going; when it will arrive; how to keep kids entertained; what to carry with you for the trip; and other helpful things to know when riding the bus.”
When: Saturday, August 6, 10 – 11:30 AM
Where: Central Area Motivation Program, 722 18th Ave (served by routes 2, 3, or 4)
How much: Free!

Kids are welcome, of course, and there will be door prizes (zoo passes!) for the first 10 families to arrive. All particpants will receive a handy family transit guide to take home. Hope to see you there!

Not so SMART

Bus Nerd saw this in the Free Press today:

The SMART bus driver who told a Taylor mom she couldn’t breastfeed on a bus in late June was suspended for five days without pay, and her dispatcher was suspended for three, company officials said today.

The two employees were punished for not following company policy and for using profanity after Afrykayn Moon, 32, said the driver tried to keep her from boarding the bus while her then two-week-old son was nursing.

She said the driver refused to drive the bus until the child was done breastfeeding, and had security guards try to remove her.

Yikes. Southeast Michigan, this is not a good look. You can’t offer a two-week old a sandwich.

Here’s a longer article about the same incident, and, in case you care, here’s one of my past posts on the subject of breastfeeding in transit.

On busing and biohazards

biohazard

This morning, Bus Nerd and I realized that our entire Saturday was wide open—no birthday parties, family events, volunteer commitments, or pressing chores (OK, some pressing chores)—so we decided to take our nerds-in-training to the Science Center for a few hours. It had been a while since we’d gone (last time was November), and I’ve had four free passes burning a hole in my bus bag since last spring.

The morning started off well enough. The whole fam was packed and ready to go slightly early, so we got to spend a few minutes playing at the park while we waited for the 8. The bus was full but not crowded, and we were able to find three seats together in the front section. Nerd and I shared reading duties until somewhere around Miller CC, when a little old lady offered Chicklet a small bouquet of daisies.

In the final stretch of the ride, baby Busling, who had spent the early minutes hollering, “Daddy, read dat boot!” at Bus Nerd, became unusually subdued. He leaned his head back against me like he was about to go to sleep, but his eyes remained wide open. Somewhere on Denny, he burped.

I think you know what came next.

Folks, I’m no stranger to bus vomit (ahem), but today was the first time I become intimately acquainted with it.

I turned Busling’s body inward just in time to ensure that any of the regurgitation I wasn’t able to catch in my hands (oatmeal, take II–ew!) landed on my lap (and unfortunately, Chicklet’s) instead of the aisle and several of our fellow passengers’ knees. Then, Bus Nerd and I took advantage of our well-stocked-yet-lightly packed bus bag and ready-for-anything bus parenting skills and sprang into action. Here’s what we did:

1. Bus Nerd got out the baby wipes and used several to scoop Busling’s breakfast out of my hands.
2. I found the plastic bag I always carry with me* and dumped the foul wipes—as well as the jackets of the three of us who were vomited upon—in there.
3. Bus Nerd used more wipes to clean off the kids as best he could (and do a quick once-over on the seat, just in case), before it was time for us to get off.
4. At the Science Center, I took the kids into the bathroom and used (perhaps for the first time ever) both of their changes of clothes. (It had been so long since I packed them, Chicklet barely fit the pants that were in there for her.) I then threw away the icky wipes and added their dirty clothes to the (now quite foul) plastic bag.
5. Since I don’t carry a change of clothes for myself (after today, I might start), I washed off my jeans with a soapy paper towel. Then we all washed our hands.

As it turns out, Busling is not sick; he just suffered a bout of motion sickness. All of us managed to have a great time at the Science Center, foul plastic bag and all. We even enjoyed a spontaneous picnic lunch and some live music at the Bastille Day celebration near the fountain.

I’m hoping that the incident was just a fluke. As someone who suffered from motion sickness well into early adulthood, I wouldn’t wish that on my kid. And, as someone who is not particularly fond of being vomited upon, I wouldn’t wish it on myself. But, just in case, we made a point not to sit in the side-facing seats on the way home–and I kept a new plastic bag at the ready for the entire ride.

***
*I don’t think I’ve discussed this enough. I couldn’t find a post–or even a paragraph–devoted to the plastic bag’s many uses. It’s coming soon, I promise.

Bus chick preparedness, part IV (or, How to survive a birthday party at the lake)

Back in April, the Bus Fam attended the Healthy Kids Day extravaganza at Meredith Matthews YMCA. Among the SWAG we took home was this handy little “ouch pouch” from Group Health.

Ouch Pouch

It’s hard to tell from the photo, but it’s about the size and weight of a package of Kool Aid. Of course you know where it ended up.

A couple of weeks later, a family friend gave Chicklet and Busling a basket of Easter treats. It was a huge basket with tons of candy and fun, plastic toys—in other words, something we would never have bought for them ourselves. They were thrilled.

The best part from my perspective (given that the basket contained no chocolate), was this adorable little set of sand toys.

Bus-friendly beach set

It’s got everything kids like to play with at the beach—bucket, shovel, rake, sifter, sea-themed molds—but it takes up only slightly more space than a kid’s cup.

Which brings me to last Friday, the occasion of our little friend Miles’s first birthday party. Since the celebration was being held at Madrona Park on a sunny day, we wanted to be ready for beach fun. We traveled to the party (on the 2) with only the bus bag and one small additional bag, which contained: food to share, a gift (books, of course), the tiny beach set, towels, sun hats, and sun screen. We also carried an additional package (books again) for the first half of our journey. (We stopped at the post office on the way to mail a belated Father’s Day present to Busling’s Godfather.)

I digress.

During the festivities, both Chicklet and Busling managed to take some pretty good spills. (They’re learning the hard way that running and sandals don’t mix.) Fortunately for them, their mama knows how to pack a bag.

Ouch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alki, here we come!