Riding the rails with Reid

We made it to the train station pretty much at the time I’d planned last Friday but 30 minutes later than Ken had thought wise. I’ll start by confessing that he was right. Reid and I jumped out with the stroller and our bags at the drop-off zone and Ken went to park. I used the self check-in kiosk to convert my web reservation receipt to a ticket. Note to self: use the kiosk everytime. It’s too easy. When I asked the Via guy about pre-boarding, he told me to go straight on. I delayed long enough to attract Ken’s attention and he hurried us acros the tracks and got his good-bye kisses and hugs. He never even looked like he considered saying, “I told you so,” though it would have been well-deserved.

Our trip from Ottawa to Toronto was pretty uneventful, except for the bathroom incident. Reid and I fingerpainted with those magical Color Wonder Crayola fingerpaints. We read some of the Nick Jr books that I bought from Costco. Reid, of course, fell in love with Big Sister Dora! adapted by Alison Inches and Show Me Your Smile! A Visit to the Dentist (also about Dora) by Christine Ricci. Books based on tv shows generally rub me the wrong way; the stories tend not to flow real well. The Dora the Explorer television shows always make me think that they’re re-purposed video games; the way their written you can imagine being told to “click here.” The books are very similar. At least Reid can easily point at parts of the page. I let Reid watch a Franklin dvd on my laptop. I wasn’t sure if she’d be interested in Franklin but she was. She was also interested in a nap and so was I. I’m shorter than the planned-for passenger. My feet don’t touch the ground when I’m sitting with my back against the seat. My legs ached by the time our nap was over.

When we were waiting to get off the train, an older lady said to me, “Your little girl is very well-behaved.” It was true but still, I told her to please be careful not to jinx me since Reid and I had to get to Chatham still. We both laughed and I was proud of Reid. And maybe proud of me, too, for keeping her entertained.

At Union Station, we took the elevator from the platform. I was glad that it worked this, unlike our arrival in Toronto in June. We went outside briefly, me thinking that Reid would enjoy being able to see the sun and run a bit but she wanted to go inside. It was hot and humid in the station but I guess if you’re riding in the stroller, it doesn’t bother you too much. I’d denied Reid’s request for a hot dog and bought her a hamburger Happy Meal instead. I’m not sure that that was the healthier choice but I thought so. I need to research fast food health sheets.

After supper, I had Reid run around the pre-boarding lounge. She kept herself busy for a bit and then wanted to race me. I obliged her since I’m such a strong believer in running Reid’s wiggles out before we get onto an airplane or train. There was a lady with a two year-old sitting and reading to him. The little guy grinned to see us running around but I didn’t think it appropriate to invite him to join us. I wanted to, though. He was being so good but it seemed like a waste to use his sitting still energy when there was time and room to run. Sometimes, I restrain myself from interfering in someone else’s parenting but I don’t have to restrain myself from commenting. Of course, I didn’t hear or see him on the train; maybe he has a greater reserve of sitting still energy than Reid does.

Once on the train to Chatham, I bought Reid a can of orange juice. I’d said “no” initially but Reid asked for the juice in such a weak, parched voice that I changed my mind. Before we got to Oakville, Reid spilled the orange juice. The kindly older ladies sitting across the aisle in the four-seater took Reid in with them while I did my best to clean up. I took Reid to the closest bathroom, in the next car, and washed her up and changed her into pajamas. As we came out of the bathroom, the service manager told us that we should stay in the new car as our car was full. We agreed and settled ourselves into the nearest seats – in VIA 1.

First class train travel is at least as good as first class air travel. The chairs were wide, reclined far enough to sleep comfortably and there was lots of leg room in front of them. When you actually pay for a VIA 1 ticket, the steward brings food and drinks at no additional charge. If Reid wasn’t travelling for free in Comfort class (read: economy), I’d be very tempted to pay the difference between my ticket and first class. When I was pregnant I travelled first class a few times. With my big belly on the second trip to Chatham, I could barely open the tray to eat my meal.

Reid watched Franklin again and a new PBS show, Word something or other – a preview dvd that I got at the BlogHer conference. Reid liked the new show enough that I’ll watch it and provide an actual review in the next week.

We got into Chatham very near to our scheduled 10:30 arrival time. Reid had fallen asleep about 9:00 and so I had a dead weight to carry off the train. I got Reid into Uncle Roger’s arms still asleep though she roused when I turned to go back for the stroller. It got worse when I pinched her leg with Grandma Joyce’s super deluxe car seat that has a crazily short buckle strap. She fell back to sleep in short order, though.

Uncle Roger was impressed with our two backpacks and one shoulder bag for luggage. I was impressed, too. My plan had been to bring only the two backpacks but I couldn’t cut back enough on what I was bringing. Ken would blame it on my electronics -iPod, Blackberry, laptop, 2 cameras and a video camera. But I’d say those things were necessary. Reid didn’t play with all of the toys that I packed but it’s impossible to predict what will engage her and we still had the 8 or so hour return trip.

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