Tag Archives: chicklet

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.








Alki, here we come!

Busing with two babies: one year later

This time last year, I was adjusting to busing with two babes. My first few months with a newborn and a two-year old were challenging, to say the least. But then, my little chip off the big chick stepped up and became a full-time walker, and our travels—Busling in the front pack, Chicklet on foot—got easy again.

The good old days

Now, sweet Busling is growing up, and the old system isn’t working. These days, traveling alone* with two is, well, tough. It’s not the actual riding that’s the challenge (not to brag, but I could teach a class on managing children on transit); it’s the logistics. The wrangling, rushing, folding, hand-holding, stowing, storing. The paying while entering or leaving (and sometimes, while entering and leaving**), the finding space, the keeping dry.

What I’m really trying to say is, it’s the stroller.

Baby B has grown too big to be carried comfortably in a front pack (and has also developed a particular fondness for the phrase, “get down”). The carrier we have also works as a baby backpack, but I am incapable of getting him on or off my back without either assistance or a lot of time. Add to that the fact that neither of us is comfortable with the prospect of him being strapped to me for the duration of an outing, and you have a pretty decent argument for bringing along a stroller.

Except that bringing a stroller on a bus is just about the worst form of torture this bus parent can imagine.

For those who don’t know: KC Metro does not allow children in strollers on buses. (I’m embarrassed to admit that I have no idea why this rule exists, but I assume it has something to do with keeping the aisles clear.) What this means is that, if you’re traveling with a child in a stroller, you must remove the child from and completely collapse said stroller before entering the bus. (I’ve seen some parents do the child removing and stroller collapsing on the bus, but I don’t, for a number of reasons.)

Here’s a sample busing-with-two-and-a-stroller scenario:

1. Put baby in bus-friendly, umbrella-type stroller for the three-block walk*** to the stop. (Alternative: Put baby in front pack for the trip to the stop and carry or drag the folded stroller.)
2. Try to push stroller with one hand while using the other hand to hold on to three-year old. This leaves no hands to hold an umbrella if it is raining, which it almost always is.
3. Attempt to arrive at the stop with enough time for baby-removal/folding (Ever tried arriving anywhere early with two young children?), but not so much time that the three of you get soaked.
4. Remove baby from stroller while keeping a close eye on three-year old near very busy street.
5. When the bus arrives, carry baby, stroller, bag, and three-year old up bus steps—unless, that is, the bus gods bless you with a low-floor vehicle. (Alternatives: a)Allow three year-old to do the climbing herself and hold up the bus. b) Bring baby pack for on/off and add another item to keep track of and another step to the process.)
6. Pay (convenient bag tap—actually easy—yay Orca!).
7. Find space for everyone and an out-of-the-way place to stow the stroller.
8. Spend a few (sometimes many) minutes of quality time with the kids–usually reading books or discussing the goings-on outside the window.
9. Start preparing to repeat the process in reverse.

The new world: a walker and a rider

Because I so despise bringing a stroller on the bus, I spend a lot of time calculating whether it is worth it to me. I generally weigh the hassle of bringing it (if we have to transfer, how crowded the buses are likely to be) against my need for it at the other end. If we’re visiting someone’s home, I’m unlikely to need it. If we’re hitting several different downtown stores, I’m very likely to need it. (If I decide not to bring the stroller, I carry Busling in the front pack and endure the less-than-idealness.) Sometimes (actually often) both the hassle factor and the need factor are high. Add to this the many mitigating factors (rush hour? nap time?) and the fact that our backup travel options are also made more complex (or impossible) with two kids, and it adds up to way too much mental (and physical) energy invested in simply getting around. (I knew we should’ve moved near a Link station!)

Of course I know this challenge will pass. It will get better temporarily when the weather improves (Hello, August? It’s me, Bus Chick. I miss you!), and it will disappear entirely (to be replaced, I am sure, with new and different challenges) once Busling is old enough to walk several blocks on his own. Not that I’m rushing things. The years are flying by as it is. And, stroller hassles or not, I created some amazing baby-busing memories during this one.

* I should say, before you all start to think I’ve gone sour on the bus, that busing with two adults and two children is still a lot of fun—far more fun than I imagine driving with two adults and two children would be. And these days, busing alone with one child feels like a vacation.
**If you ride a route that originates outside of downtown but travels through it, you have to pay twice because of pay as you enter/pay as you leave drama. (If you’re not from Seattle: Don’t ask.) Of course, you don’t actually get charged twice—since you already have either a transfer or a pass—but it’s still a hassle.
***Distances vary, depending on which route we’re catching.

Thank you, Sister Rosa

In honor of the 55th anniversary of my shero‘s momentous arrest:

I love the Neville Brothers and this tribute, but it does perpetuate the myth of Mrs. Parks as a “simple seamstress” with tired feet. Any cursory study of her life will uncover a very different story.

P.S. – Chicklet thinks this song is for her, since in our house, she’s Sister Rosa.

“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds, will continue in others.” – Rosa Parks

A chip off the *old* block (or, Karma)

Back when I was a young BCiT, I made my grandma mad by (unintentionally) announcing her age to a full 55. At six, I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want people to know how old she was. Even now, I find all the shame and secrecy surrounding the number of years a person has been on the planet to be somewhat difficult to understand.

Folks, I’m no spring chicken. Unlike my father, I can’t claim to predate I-5*, but I am old enough to have a (somewhat fuzzy) memory of the Sonics only national championship. (Sorry, didn’t mean to start down that path again.) I’ve tended to view my advancing age as a good thing, since—for one thing—it’s advancing. (I’ll take being alive plus one over the alternative any day.) It also means I’ve lived enough years to have learned a thing or two—and that I’m inching ever closer to that Metro senior discount. I digress.

Last Friday, on an afternoon 3 ride home from visiting some friends on Queen Anne, little Chicklet passed the time (and entertained her neighbors) by making up a song about us.

The lyrics went something like this: “Mommy’s 38, 38, 38; Mommy’s 38—and Rosa’s 3!”

Eh. Hmmm.

Sorry, Grandma.


*I do, however, hope to outlive it.

My girl: ready to roll, as always

Happy birthday, Chicklet!

Sweet Chicklet turns three today. In honor: my first Grist column is all about busing with babies–er, I mean big kids.

An excerpt:

Since our daughter, Rosa was born, three years ago today, we’ve been Metro parents. Rosa took her first bus trip home from the hospital at one day old and has ridden almost daily ever since. What I’ve learned is that there are significant challenges to parenting without a car. This is not because there’s anything inherently unhealthy or inconvenient about taking kids on public transit, but because most U.S. cities, including mine, were built (or rebuilt) to accommodate cars. I’ve also learned that opting to continue our bus-based life was an excellent choice for our children’s health and well-being. Here’s why. Read the rest…