I have a 4 hour commute (going and coming back)Monday through Friday to get Amani to and from school. Most of those days I have to bring Avery with me unless his grandma babysits. I’ve been doing this for a few months now and I’ve learned a couple of things during that time. I hope these tips help and if you have any more,drop them in the comments.
1) BRING SNACKS. I’m up at 4:30 am and Avery is up at that time as well. I feed him breakfast but by the time I’ve dropped Amani off, its around 8:30 and he starts getting a little cranky and peckish. I pack dry cereal and orange juice or water and he eats and takes a nap. I suggest a healthy snack that isnt messy but if you forget, there are newsstands in most of the train stations.
2) ASK FOR HELP. One of the train stations I use to travel doesn’t have elevators or escalators,which means stairs are the only option. I usually lug the stroller up and down the stairs myself but not anymore.A young woman fell down the stairs and broke her neck while taking her stroller down the stairs. That really scared me so now if Amani isn’t with me to help, I don’t mind asking. I very rarely have to ask and it’s usually a gentleman who helps. But sometimes people act like they don’t see you and on those occasions,I ask. Don’t be afraid, remember it takes a village and who can say no to a woman with a baby?Oh, and I’ve been harassing the MTA on Twitter about putting elevators in ALL the subway stations. Might even start a petition. If they want to raise the fare, they have to make it worth it.
3) TALK TO YOUR TODDLER. Avery is in his pointing phase and he wants to know what everything is by pointing and saying “that”. Being a city baby provides LOTS of opportunities for learning. For example, here in NY the trains have letters or numbers to identify them. We take the ‘A train’ and whenever it pulls into the station,Avery will point and say ‘A’. When other trains pull in, i repeat the letter for him in an attempt to get him to recognize and remember it. Also, read the name of the stops to your toddler as well as signs and the subway maps. You may not think they are paying attention or understand but repetition is key. It alo distracts from tantrums and restlessness.
4) ENCOURAGE TALKING TO STRANGERS. As I said in #3, Avery is in a pointing phase and he loves to also point at people. People usually smile, wave, and talk to him and he ‘talks’ back. This is a great way to encourage and practice socialization skills. Avery LOVES people and is starting to understand how conversation works. Thankfully, no one talks to him in “baby talk”. A few people even shake hands with Avery which is another way he’s learning how to greet people. And just like #3, it distracts him from being restless and having a tantrum.
Traveling with a baby used to really make me nervous mbut now that I have been using these tips, its much smoother sailing. There can be annoying delays and rerouting of train lines(mostly weekends) but remember babies/toddlers thrive on consistency so no matter how the travel changes stick to the routine as much as possible. And if all else fails stick a tablet in their face. Good luck, city moms!