The wheels of the bus


Isn’t public transport wonderful?

No. I’m not that much of a fan either. It can be very useful though and is often a necessary evil, I have however learnt that it is not ok with a toddler.

The first day was actually pretty good. He was so fascinated by the whole new world that he was being exposed to that he just took the time to soak it all in. The sounds, the lights, the scenery flashing by, the freedom of not having to be strapped in and getting cuddles whilst travelling home from daycare. We talked about the bus driver, the ticket machines, the passengers that get on and off at their stops and where they might be going. How delightful. How positively wonderful.

Then we woke up the next morning and had to do it again.

This time the bus was packed. Nobody moved for that awkward moment where everyone re-evaluates their level of right to be sitting in the priority seating and their ability to deal with remaining seated in the face of social conscience.

Finally somebody moved and we were afforded one seat to accommodate us, our umbrella and all 3 of our bags. We wedged ourselves between the other 2 occupants of the seats either side and sank gratefully into it. I then spent the next 5 minutes trying to arrange ourselves and all of our things in a manner so that they were of the least possibile inconvenience to all the other people that were arranging themselves and their things in the small spaces that were afforded to us.

“What’s HE doing?” he pointed practically putting his finger up the nose of the man sitting almost on top of us.

I thought hard about how to frame “I don’t know” in a way that didn’t encourage any further questioning of anybody. Fortunately his attention was turned by the sound of the bell ringing that somebody wanted to get off the bus.

“Ha. The light is on. Who’s getting off?” he asked the bus as a whole. Then individually by pointing his accusing finger at everyone on the bus in turn.

During his panoramic interrogation of the bus populous he jointly discovered the umbrella and the lack of any kind of restriction that would prevent him from being able to reach it and showcase his umbrella opening skills for the pleasure of everyone on the bus.

Somewhere in the middle of trying to keep the umbrella down, wrestle it free from his vice like grip, stopping him from ringing the bell every 5 seconds, ensuring that he remained seated so he wasn’t injured by being thrown about or onto the floor, trying to keep the contents of our 3 bags intact and keep them in their allocated space I realised that it was time to push the button for our stop. I thought about telling him that it was his turn, the turn I’d been promising him but decided that for expediency I would just push it. As I tried to stealth manoeuvre my hand up to the button without him seeing I managed to forcefully knock the corner of my handbag off my lap and send it spinning like a Catherine wheel onto the floor scattering it’s entire contents across the bus floor as it went.

At that same moment he realised that I had taken his turn to push the button and his whole body became rigid as his lungs filled to unleash the full body toddler tantrum that had been brewing since not being allowed to have his way with the umbrella.

I attempted to collect my things, crawling around on the floor of the bus between the legs of all the other passengers, sticking my hands into questionable corners to reclaim my possessions, still trying to keep a hold of the ones I hadn’t lost yet, including my child who was now screaming and convulsing like he’d been shot. Finally I dragged them all out through the sea of rush hour commuters, silently swearing never again…at least not for the 8 hours until home time.

*Image from


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