Jen Warman: New Freakin' Mummy


Travelling With A Baby

Planes, Trains, And Automobiles . . . With A Baby

Last month, I decided it would be fun to take the train, with Cole, to visit some friends in Ottawa for a few daysjust me and my baby on the train. I had a very romantic idea of this trip, in my headhe would sleep with the smooth and gentle motion of the train, while I sipped on some wine and watched the scenery pass us by. Maybe I'd even read a magazine, or close my eyes and have a nap? Perhaps, I'd pull out my leather-bound journal and quill pen and write some poetry (pfff, that's a lie). Ahhh, just me and my baby on the train.

Well, I probably don't have to tell you (because I know you're already snickering at my naivety), but BOY WAS I WRONG!!! As soon as I lugged my stroller, diaper bag, and suitcase onto the train, I realized that this was a very, VERY bad idea, and this was a very small train. Fuck. Me! I gulped, took a deep breath, and prayed no one was assigned to the seat next to us. I did my best to distract Cole while we waited for everyone to board, hoping that once the train got moving, he'd be lulled to sleep. Then there was a loud announcement: "Excuse me. Excuse moi." (They repeat everything in French on VIA trains, making every announcement take twice as long.) "We are sorry for the delay, but we are experiencing some mechanical problems. We hope to be departing within the next twenty to thirty minutes." *Insert French version here.* My palms began to sweat. Another thirty minutes on top of our four hour and sixteen minute train ride? I'm not very good at math, but that's four hours and forty-six long-ass-mo-fo-minutes, on a tiny train, with a VERY ACTIVE five-and-a-half-month-old baby. Did I mention that I was by myself? And did I mention that I thought this was a good idea?

Finally, after thirty minutes and twenty-three seconds, the train started to move. But, I had already used all of the tricks up my sleeve to keep Cole distracted. Now what? Play peek-a-boo with the guy in the seat behind us? Okay, sure. (Sorry dude, but you made eye contact, so you sort of asked for it.) Okay, that used up three minutes. Now what? Try to lick the pleather headrest, while bouncing on Mom's knee? Okay. Sure. That used up two minutes. Now what? Make eye contact with the six-year-old girl across the aisle and hope that she wants to talk/play with you? YES, PLEASE!!! "Hello! How are you? Where are you going? Are you in school? Do you like babies?" *She nods yes* "Awesome!"

And that's how we occupied ourselves for the next four hours.

We'd chat with the little girl (okay, I'd chat with her, and Cole would giggle and drool), and then she'd come over and offer up some of her toys for him to play with. Then she'd read her book and Cole and I would sing/snuggle/play, and when we needed a distraction again, we'd look across the aisle and chat with the little girl (and her Mom, of course). Finally, after what felt like days, Cole was hungry and nodded off to sleep in my arms, while eating. It was lovely. We snuggled in the sunlight, and I kissed his bald little head. This is the trip I was dreaming of!

And then, there was an announcement: "Belleville! We are now arriving in Belleville. Belleville! Nous something something arrive en Belleville." (My French is crap, sorry for the translation.) Oh, what's that? A speaker? Right beside Cole's ear? Awesome. Thank you. Merci. Merci pour WAKING UP MY BABY! Aghhhhh. Noooooooo! And that was that. A thirty to forty-five minute nap and the rest of the trip was me being Super Mom to keep my baby happy, so that he didn't cry/get annoyed. I changed his diaper in the train bathroom, and that in itself was an adventure. I had to brace my legs against the sides of the stall and grip Cole so tightly that his legs turned blue (not really), just so we both wouldn't go flying during the earthquake of a train ride (so freaking bumpy). Cole had a terrified look on his face the whole time he was on the change table, so I just made eye contact and talked in a happy voice, while saying, "Holy crap! I hope I don't drop you! This is insane! Fun times buddy, fun times!"

And then, finallytwo diaper changes, and ten thousand activities laterwe arrived in Ottawa, exhausted, but happy. I was so happy to see my friend Emmy at the train station, but as we drove away in her car, I realized that in three days, I have to go back. Ahhhhhh!!!

Do any of you have travel tips or crazy stories to share? We're heading to Chicago at the end of the month, but this time we're flying, and this time I'm going with my hubby!