Tuesday, August 7, 2012

To a T: Riding the Subway With Baby?

Tonight was a much needed night of freedom!  My husband stayed home with our three-and-a-half-month-old daughter, and I threw on an extremely conservative dress that felt fun enough, grabbed my wallet and phone out of the diaper bag, and repacked into a brightly colored clutch.  With T-card in hand, I headed towards Back Bay station to meet an old friend for dinner on the Waterfront.  I literally felt naked as I boarded the T, unfamiliar with the lightness of being both stroller and diaper bag free, not to mention the baby...

It was approximately five seconds later that a woman donning Catherine Zeta Jones’ Chicago wig sat down, spread eagle, and broke up a frosty cold bottle of vodka.  Admittedly, I have not been on the train in quite some time, but I chalked this up to a fluke.  After all, it was only 6:45 on a Monday night.  But then I changed to the Blue Line, and a man toting two full garbage bags of cans came clanking on, leaving a trail of fluid behind.

Dinner was perfect: we sat outside and each had a cocktail, but in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but think how this would have gone had I decided to schlep “Birdie” with me.  In fact, I got off at the Aquarium stop--a stop, I suppose, is frequented by moms, dads, nannies, and too many children to count.  How is this going to play out when I become one of those moms in the not too distant future?

My friend and I parted ways around nine, and back onto the train I went.  This time, a little more conscious of my surroundings; perhaps a little too nervous and nit-picky at my fellow passengers, or so I thought...

The train quickly filled up, empty seats wasted by backpacks, doors closed, we started moving.  A man loudly announced to an innocent bystander that he was going to “teach him a lesson” tonight.  We made a stop; the car filled even more.  I tried to mind my own business, stare straight ahead of me.  Looking up, I abruptly found myself in front of a man’s crotch--him standing, me sitting (you get the picture).  Literally, I couldn’t get off that train fast enough.

Look, by the time she can take it all in, Birdie’s not going to see a prostitute, she’ll see a wig she wants for dress-up.  We’ll teach her about recycling, so the man with cans is just a responsible do-gooder.  So, as that nervous new Boston Mama, I turn to you (again!): when did you first bring your child on the T, and how do you deal with the surroundings?


  1. Like you, looking through the world through new eyes as a parent, I found myself thinking Central square looks quite like the war zone! My kids have yet to figure out the menace of the drunk homeless guy on the T. My son at a tender age of three just said, "That man is funny, mama." As they get older, we will have to entertain more poignant questions, but for now, they just enjoy the hustle bustle of the train.

  2. I have been riding the T with my daughter every weekday to go to "school" since she was 3.5 months old. She is much happier riding the train than being alone in the back seat of the car because there is a lot more to look at and she gets my full attention. There are a lot of life lessons to learn on the T which I think is great. We just make sure to wash our hands often!