Pronounced BAH-CHEW-CHEE, it was a nickname my sister called her first-ever niece, Miss C-Jaz. According to urbandictionary.dom, this term is used to express "an absolutely wonderful bum". And that she is, myBachoochie, my little bum cheeks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

'UNkid-Friendly Adventures' Made Kid-Friendly: Vasamuseet and Sweden's Transit in Rush-Hour

It's been a week since I've been able to write, and I really can't put a finger as to why.

We've been busy with a few new adventures and neither have been kid-friendly, but we made it work.  In the end, Miss C-Jaz had a great time.  Parents are supposed to take the short end of the stick and absorb the sacrifices for their children, right?

Saturday was a family day with J's work.  The goal was to visit Skansen and see the Nordic animals at the zoo, which would have been great, but the day started cloudy and never let the sun come out.  Instead, we detoured to the Vasamuseet, and as we walked about 10 minutes after lunch to the museum the dreary day brought more rain, which was not fun to walk in.  This tells me I probably need a wardrobe update: rain coat with a hood and a pair of awesome rainboots.  I've never walked so much to get from one place to another as I have in Sweden than in my twenty-nine years at home in Canada.  I suppose dressing weather-appropriate would make a walk in the rain much more pleasant.

Miss C-Jaz had a great time walking in the rain.  She had her runners on and was bundled up in her toque and comfy Nautica coat.  I struggled with trying to get her to sit in her stroller, which she absolutely did not want to do, so we walked, but her tiny steps made for a slower walk in the rain that did not want to let up.  And yes, Mita, she was warm enough and covered from head-to-toe: Juliet tights under her jeans, layers of shirts, mittens, toque, and hood.

We finally reached the Vasamuseet, which houses the Vasa ship, 'the world's only surviving 17th-century ship'.  It set sail in 1628 built as a warship with 64 guns and 300 soldiers.  It literally sank minutes after leaving the dock with one of the causes being the weight of 24-pound guns concentrated on the upper gundeck - "Swedish engineering" as J would say or thumbs up with a bent thumb.  The ship sunk in its entirety and was not brought to surface until 1961, 333 years after sinking.

It was amazing to see a warship from the 1600's, and its history was both intriguing and dumbfounding, but it is definitely not a place for infants, toddlers, and young children who are unable to comprehend such an artifact.  There's lots of space in the museum, if it's not too busy, and while there are elevators, there are also several floors and areas not easily accessible for strollers. 

Miss C-Jaz, nonetheless, had a great time playing and running in the museum as she followed around her new friends, 4 and a half-year old Juliana* and 3-year old Liam*.  Miss C-Jaz did not listen to me one bit if it had anything to do with being away from her new-found friends, and I tried endlessly to get her to stop running around and climbing on things.  Call me uptight, but running around in public and climbing on things, especially in a museum, was something I did not want Miss C-Jaz to do.  Regardless, she had fun with Juliana who was gentle and kind with Miss C-Jaz, holding her hand and taking her around, even though she couldn't speak much English.  Miss C-Jaz wasn't loud or obnoxious by any means, but I couldn't stop her so all I could do was anticipate where she could get hurt so that at least I could help her around while trying to seem nonchalant and not over-bearing.

I wasn't sure how I was going to get Miss C-Jaz to cooperate with me when it was time to leave but since her friends had to get ready to go, she understood that she had to say bye, which meant she too had to get in her stroller to go.  On her own accord, Miss C-Jaz made a point to say goodbye to Juliana and Liam one-by-one, and we said 'Thank you' and 'See you soon'.  As we left the museet the rain had stopped, and it was a nice walk by the water in Ostermalm.  Miss C-Jaz was comfy cozy and within minutes was asleep.  It wasn't the most kid-friendly day, but we made it work, just like this morning's little adventure.

It's Wednesday, and we had our first Swedish class at J's work, which is 2 trains from home and a few short walks, but traveling first thing in the morning through 'rush-hour' on the train with a toddler and stroller can be a little work out.  Miss C-Jaz was bundled as always, which makes her heavier.  Our Zooper umbrella stroller is definitely more compact than our Peg Perego Uno stroller back in Canada, so it was easy enough to fold and carry around for J while I carried Miss C-Jaz.  As parents we do what we have to do and endure things that we may not always want to.  I know I'm exaggerating, but at one point I felt like my arms were going to fall off from carrying her, but a seat opened up and we were able to sit.  It wasn't ideal, but it wasn't too difficult either.  Transit in Sweden with a toddler during rush-hour was definitely more manageable with one of us carrying the stroller and the other carrying the toddler.  It's also more considerate for passengers who are most likely traveling to work.

After our mini-adventure, we arrived downtown at J's work, and during our first class in a meeting room called Marzipan, Miss C-Jaz fell asleep.  Poor thing - I woke her up at 07:20, much earlier than her 09:30 wake-up time.  It wasn't the most kid-friendly morning, but we made it work.  I suppose that's what parenting is all about, whether it's in Sweden or Canada or anywhere else in the world.  Miss C-Jaz may never remember these adventures, but there's nothing we wouldn't do for her.

* names changed