Dear Kind Lady riding Amtrak train to Minneapolis,

June 15, 2011

I am terribly sorry my daughter woke you up from what appeared to be a very lovely nap by grabbing your arm and viciously shaking it around like she was a dog sinking her teeth into some kind of raw meat. I thought by the way you jumped 13 feet out of your seat that I might have to find your heart and re-insert it into your chest, but I sincerely appreciate that once you unclawed yourself from the ceiling, you still found it in your heart to be nice to my beast baby. Hopefully you were able to enjoy the rest of your train ride in peace, and I will see if it is possible for Amtrak to notify all of its passengers should I decided to travel with beast baby via the railroad again anytime soon.



Now that all that is out of the way, I am very proud to say that I survived not just one, but TWO 5.5 hour train rides alone with a one-year-old hopped up on whole milk and an unquenchable desire to lick anything and anyone. We took the train up to visit relatives and celebrate two of my cousins’ high school graduation parties over the weekend, and I think the train ride there proved that it is, in fact, possible for one to hold one’s breath for five hours.

Because I do not remember exhaling from the moment we stepped foot on the train and Sienna made a flying leap for a trash can (have you ever stopped to think about how disgusting a trash can on public transit must be? If you take a one-year-old anywhere near public transit, it’s best not to think about it, trust me), to the moment we stepped off the train and I could finally restrain her in her car seat. I think people in Iowa heard me finally let out a deep, huge sigh of relief. 

I mean I was expecting her to be hyper, considering all the new people and things she was going to see for the first time. What I didn’t expect was her insane ability to outrun me time and time again. You might think that it shouldn’t be that hard to keep up with a one-year-old. Well. Try keeping up with a one-year-old while also dragging along a 47-pound suitcase, a car seat, a diaper bag, a purse, AND a bag full of enough snacks to supply every pre-school in Dodge County. Because, STUPID STUPID ME, I over-packed and when we first got on the train, there were no two seats together anywhere, so we had to lug all of our stuff around with us until someone either got off the train and freed up a seat, or until someone was willing to double up.

Finally a couple guys offered to give up their seats and from then on things went much smoother.

Except I know if Sienna could talk, she would’ve been saying things like, “Hi air vent, want me to lick you because I was really hoping to pick up some sort of disease from this trip so here comes my tongue WEEEEEE!!” Or “Ohhh this arm rest tastes like thanksgiving dinner and I want seconds!”

But once we found the jackpot that is the Amtrak lounge car, we got some snacks and every plastic straw I could get my hands on and she finally settled down and we started to enjoy the trip. 

It amazed me that every single kid on that train was equipped with either a laptop or a portable DVD player. Maybe their parents were trying to avoid the chaos that I experienced in our first couple hours on the train, but Sienna isn’t exactly a “park in front of the tv and watch a movie” kind of kid anyway. Besides, if we had been glued to our seats watching Dora or Barney for the millionth time, we might never have met Jesse, the nice Amtrak man who worked at the snack booth and gave Sienna a free bag of M and M’s. Or Will, the 2-year-old boy who sat with us and ate pizza and told Sienna she had “boo-ta-full eyes.” Or Conductor Randy, who gave Sienna a Junior Conductor badge and showed her how the levers open up the doors at each train stop. 

So maybe it was chaos, and maybe we aren’t as high-tech as some families who travel with mini-movie theaters, but I’ll never forget watching Sienna absolutely live it up on her first train ride, or the pure adorable-ness as she walked up and down the aisles conversing in what sounds like some sort of asian language with everyone she passed by. Besides, all the running around tired her out enough so that both of us could get some rest.

Those memories are why I wouldn’t trade our crazy train for anything.

Even if she licked a few questionable surfaces along the way.


2 Responses to “Dear Kind Lady riding Amtrak train to Minneapolis,”

  1. Cindy said

    I am laughing at my desk and people around me must be wondering why. Anyhow…great Wylde Life Journey with memories for a life time. Yes you are correct, you have plenty of material with your 2 ‘ants in your pants” handfuls 🙂 C.

  2. Cindy said

    I see Princess Sienna had a manicure with Pink..hmmm …a little ‘fancy” in this little redneck after all:)

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