I finally got back on the bike again today, after a very long absence. Before school started this year, my daughter's nanny volunteered to come to our house to watch her during the day, as my wife was teaching at the same charter school where her kids were going. Stephanie was going to drive the kids to school while the nanny stayed and watched Anna all day. It seemed like a win/win for everyone - the nanny wouldn't have to drive her kids into Dallas for school, Anna got to hang out with the nanny she already knows - awesome. 4 days into the first week, the nanny flipped out and told my wife "I just can't do this - I can't do this." Needless to say, we were a little surprised at the sudden change of plans. I called and asked her if she could see any way she could do it for one more day, and then made lots more phone calls to daycares in our neighborhood, educated myself about daycares and their prices, and found a place for my daughter.
Once a place was found, I had to drive her to daycare for the first few weeks, because she has now learned that the best way to get to Mommy is to cry as if the world were ending; when I took her to school, she would take her lunchbox and stroll in with a casual wave and a "goodbye, Daddy" over her shoulder. When Stephanie takes her, she is all tears and "Mommy, please, don't go, Mommy". Needless to say, I ended up taking her for almost the entire first month.
Once everyone was settled with the idea of going to daycare, I started thinking about ways to transport Anna and still ride the train, as her school is only a block or so from our house. I do have a trailer that I pull behind one of my bikes for our trips to the park, but I didn't have anywhere to store the thing once I dropped her off. The only option would be to store it in the daycare play yard, and as it is made of canvas, and I live in Texas, I knew that it would look terrible very shortly, so I had to figure something else out.
After extensive research I decided to get a bike seat for my mountain bike - I have built a really nice bike out of a top of the line Schwinn frame from the 80's, and it is a killer street cruiser. I put the seat on, mounted a rack on the front to carry her lunch box, and after a few practice rides around the neighborhood we were ready to bicycle to day care - until the flu hit. Both my daughter and wife have had the flu for roughly a week, so they were home and I was tasked with taking care of bringing dinner home when I came home from work, so my new rig had to sit for a while longer.
Today everyone was well, so we got a chance to ride to school, and it was great. I loaded Anna into the seat, bungeed her lunchbox and diapers to the front rack, and away we went. She spurred me on by shouting "faster, Daddy" as we rode, and once I got up to speed she spent a few minutes trying to get me to slow down with her "woah, Daddy". I pulled right in front of the line of cars dropping kids off and made my daughter an instant celebrity - in the morning, everyone is in a kind of holding room with floor to ceiling windows, and all of the kids withessed our grand arrival. When we went inside, several of the older kids came up and told me how cool it was for her to have a dad who brings her to school that way. Once again, my daughter was too cool for school and gave me a casual wave goodbye as she went to hold court among her very impressed peers. I took the seat off, dropped it in the directors office, and rode the 2 blocks to the train station. Unfortunately there was nothing happening on the train that is worth writing about here, so my adventures in child transportation will have to suffice.
I plan to bicycle at least 3 days out of the week while the weather holds, so I'm hoping to have some stories for both of you that read this blog.