The Bus

Riding the bus with a baby can be an anxiety-inducing experience, especially for a new mom.  When my husband and I moved to New Zealand, we decided against buying a car and made a choice to use public transport.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Fast forward to me trying to get around town with a newborn: suddenly, that good idea didn’t seem so good after all!

The first time that I took Joe on the bus, I was so nervous about navigating my way through the bus stop, onto the bus, figuring out how to lift up the seat and park the pram, and doing it all with a {hopefully} non-crying baby… that I didn’t realize that I’d gotten on the wrong bus.

Whoops.

In my defense, it was almost the right bus.  I needed to get on the LINK going clockwise and accidentally boarded the LINK going counterclockwise {or was it the other way around?}.  Easy mistake, either way.

As it turns out, my fears about riding the bus were completely unfounded.  Joe is 4½ months old and he travels around with me like a pro:

So, what was I afraid of in regards to riding the bus with a small baby?  A few things:

Being stuck on a bus with a screaming baby – I could just imagine travel-weary, disgruntled passengers glaring at me while I tried to calm a screaming baby.  Getting off the bus with the pram is hard enough as is – doing it while holding a screaming child in one arm, pushing the pram with the other, a nappy bag slung over your shoulder, and then trying not to forget to tag-off with your card on top of all of that, seemed overwhelming to this new mom.

The Reality – Sometimes, babies cry on the bus.  I’ve seen it with other passengers and its happened to me, too.  Most people understand this, and if it happens, it happens.  Worrying about it advance won’t change a thing.  And yes, there has been a time where I was so preoccupied with getting Joe off and making sure that I had everything together that I forgot to tag-off with my card.  It stunk, but I just paid the $3.00 penalty the next time around and moved on.

Getting stuck somewhere in the back of beyond with a screaming baby and no bus coming in the near future – Do you see a pattern here?  All of my worries thus far have revolved around a crying baby!  I worried that I’d travel somewhere in AKL, be out doing my thing with Joe, and that he’d have a meltdown with no quick way to get home.  One of the benefits of owning a vehicle is that if your baby decides that he’s had it, you can put him in the car seat and drive straight home.  So what if he’s screaming?  At least it’s just you and him.

The Reality – If Joe has a meltdown while we’re out and there’s no quick ride home, I can deal with it.  It might mean parking the pram in a cafe, ordering something to drink, and nursing him until he falls asleep or he’s able to face the world again.  I’ve had to do it, and I’ve been that mom with the screaming baby at the table next to you.  Thankfully, Joe (usually) quiets instantly once he starts to nurse, and everyone can go back to enjoying their cup of tea and conversation.

There would be no place for the pram on the bus – Our buses have specially designated seats for prams and/or wheelchairs. I’ve seen people use them, but Auckland is a big city.  What happens if you get on the bus and all of the seats are taken {there’s usually only a max of 2 per bus}.  Or what if you’re on the bus, but someone in a wheelchair gets on.  What then?

The Reality – Anytime that I’ve gotten on the bus and someone’s been in the pram-designated seat, they’ve gotten up (unless they had a pram, in which case I’ve always been able to park in the other pram-area).  There was a time when I tagged onto the bus, only to realize that it was an older model with a very narrow aisle (read: not big enough for me to push the pram down) and no pram seats.  My initial reaction was to turn around and get off, but the driver assured me that it was no problem.  I had to half-carry, half-push the pram down the aisle and park it by the 2nd door toward the back of the bus.  It certainly wasn’t ideal – anytime someone needed to come from the back of the bus to the front or vice versa, I had to finagle the pram and rearrange things just so, giving people barely enough room to squeeze by.  At one point, I got up and moved the pram around to let someone pass, only to discover that another passenger had taken my seat!  I was a bit stressed by the end of that ride, but we managed.  I’m pretty sure that Joe could have cared less.

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Riding the bus with Joe is just another part of my expat experience, something that I’ll be able to look back on one day and say, “Yeah – I carted around a newborn on the bus in a foreign city halfway around the globe.  No big deal!”

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3 comments

  1. Ashley says:

    It looks like Joe loves the bus!! So cute. The last time I was in Boston I had a debate with myself about using the pram on the subway or to wear the baby. I ended up wearing her, but I think I will use the pram next time 🙂

  2. Gwen says:

    Seriously…even if Joe was screaming his lungs out no other passengers could ever be annoyed by that adorable face!!! Sonds like you’ve quickly become a pro at the whole bus/baby thing. 🙂

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