Saturday, June 25, 2005

To the City, the Big Big City*

My Wee Suburban Ones took their first trip to the city yesterday. To visit Jeff at work, we took car, commuter train, and double-stroller -- a multivehicle approach that I strongly advocate to achieve maximum exhaustion.

Sean LOVED the train. I know this because he kept saying "I LOVE the train!", in between observant, enthusiastic commentary on the ride itself: "We're slowing down!" "Here comes the tunnel." "Look! There's another train!" "That's the horn, Mommy, it says beeeeeeeep beeeeeeep!"

It was amazing to see how his eager mind filtered this brand-new experience -- one that for me, who used to take the train every day to work, is unremarkable and routine.

Allie took it all in stride; I suppose it was just her age, but who knows? Perhaps she was merely determined to be blasé and cool in the face of Sean's excitement. Nonetheless, I was impressed that she stayed on my lap during the whole train ride.

Things got a little more complicated when we got off the train. Sean was pretty freaked out by the swarms of people at the station, and the din and chaos of the city streets sent him into a small panic. He clamored for me to carry him during the entire 8-block walk from the train station to Jeff's building. I felt just awful for him. I hadn’t realized how frightening a downtown area -- with all its noise, traffic, and crushing presence of humanity -- can be.

Once we arrived at Jeff's work and Sean saw his Daddy, he calmed down. He and Allie turned on their mega-watt charm for Jeff's coworkers, and even refrained from running down the hallways until right before our departure! I enjoyed seeing Jeff interact with his kids in front of his colleagues -- it allowed them to see firsthand what a great dad he is.

We felt brave enough to face a lunch outing, and this time, Sean was as cool as a cucumber on the city streets. The trip home went smoothly, too; Allie slept on the train, and Sean was once again fascinated by the ride.

My parting observation -- lordy, it is difficult to navigate public transportation and the downtown area of a Major U.S. City in a double-stroller. Feel free to chide me for being a major suburban wimp, but I felt ever-so-grateful that my car was waiting for me in the parking lot.

* Now I can't get that rather grating Peter Gabriel song out of my head.