After two months of incessant screaming from my little bundle of joy, I was pretty much losing my mind.
I was home alone while my husband was at work, struggling to breastfeed (which is a whooooole other story), and it seemed like my precious baby had two modes: sleeping and crying. But she didn't seem to want to sleep. So she mostly cried.
After many desperate attempts to calm her down--toys, swings, carriers, shushing, swaddling, noise machines--I finally found something that worked: taking her for a walk in her stroller. This, of course, sounds a lot more civilized than it actually was. It generally went something like this: she gets worked up, I move her from place to place and try various soothing motions and noises unsuccessfully, I finally realize that she will. not. calm. down., I have to let her scream in the stroller while I wildly fly about the apartment, grabbing my coat, keys, and diaper bag in order to get the heck out the door.
In short, it was an insane flurry of activity that would result in a mile or two of walking from me and blessed, blessed silence from her.
At first I thought, "Perfect! I can do this! I'll walk two times a day. Maybe her crying will help me lose my baby weight!"
But then the two-a-day walks exhausted me. Especially because the crying would commence the second we walked back into the apartment.
And then bad weather hit.
So I was once again cooped up with a crying child.
When I was tearfully complaining about this situation, a Manhattan friend said, "My baby did the exact same thing. I used to throw her in a carrier and ride the subway from one end to the other. For hours. The baby would sleep and I would read a book."
Brilliant! But we live far from the PATH, and my baby did NOT like being in any sort of carrier at the time.
Then I thought about the Light Rail.
It was really close by, and I could wheel my stroller right on. No stairs at all.
The next time I whirled around the apartment, throwing things in the diaper bag, I decided to wheel my stroller right onto the Light Rail platform. When the train arrived, I plopped down on a seat, covered the stroller with a light blanket, and waited.
There was silence.
(Well, there was silence from my baby. The teens going to the Newport Mall were talking pretty loudly.)
We rode all the way to the end of the line in silence and then waited for the train to go back the other way.
She was quiet the whole time.
The whoooooooole time.
As for me, I forgot to grab a magazine and my cell phone had died, but I didn't care. My baby was quiet. I got to sit and daydream and even close my eyes for a minute.
Of course, when our ride was over and we walked back to the apartment, her eyes popped open immediately and the tears began. But I arrived home feeling refreshed. Like I could breathe again. Like I had energy to fight the next battle.
And so my love affair with the Light Rail began.
As my baby grew, her crying lessened (thank heaven!), but we continue to ride the train. It has taken us to many places--to Edgewater to change up the view on our walks, to the Newport Mall to have a place to go when it's storming outside, to Jersey City to go to baby yoga.
I still appreciate it as much as I did on that first glorious ride.
These days, you can find Rosie exploring town with her beautiful daughter. When she has two hands free, she writes and edits for Scholastic Children's Publishing and at www.writewithrosie.com.