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My hard day in the big city

451 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Natalya
Zane and I have just arrived in CHIcago, for a little vacation/family time. Today my sister and I decided to go to the library in the loop, so we had to take the El there. Well, I thought it would be a great experience for Zane, he loves trains, I would be able to hold him etc. He did nothing but scream the whole way there! I have no clue why! He is teething, but he usually doesn't deal with pain that way. He wouldn't breast feed, wouldn't be comforted, kept trying to throw himself out of my arms and when I finally put him down he would scream and want up again. I had no clue what to do. I tried breastfeeding, tried to redirect, to no avail. So, I just held him and let him scream.

So, we get to the loop and he refuses to be put in the sutemi. He wants to walk around and he just can't. It's too dangerous, when I did let him down he ran directly for the street. So, another tantrum. The library was ok, he was free to wander to his heart's content. I'm getting off topic, I guess the reason I wrote this is because I want to know why he reacted this way to the el?? He did the same thing on the way home. What would you have done? There was this sweet lady that told me not to feel bad, that every mother in the world has experienced this. It really helped, but I almost started crying because of the relief I felt after she said that to me.

Also, I'm starting to question my decision to move here. It seems so hard to be a single parent in the big city! (We've been living in the country country for the past year, before that Madison, WI) I don't know what I would've done without my sister there. How do you big city parents do it? I'm seriously thinking about using my stroller all the time... he seems to just sit and take it all in when we use it, in the Sutemi he fights me, and his surrounding much more. Why is he doing that too??

Thats all for now. I am soo exhausted after today.
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I bet the El is just a bit overwhelming, what with all the REALLY loud screeches, rumbling, and all the people.

A year ago we took DS to a big and crowded party and had that exact same experience (non-stop crying near the people, wanting to inappropriately run around etc.). It was just a bit freaky to him - and usually he loves parties!

Even though your DS loves trains, it's probably a different experience being on one, especially the rickety old El. We live downtown but I've never taken my guy on the El (to my shame!) for fear of having your experience.
I don't know where you are in Chicago, but a fun place for you to go might be the Nature museum at Lake Shore Drive and Fullerton. There is a wonderful butterfly room there. Outside the museum is a great park that is like an oasis in the City. THere's a pond and lots of grass and great birdwatching. It is quiet and beautiful.

Also, if you are up north, check out Bloom Yoga Studio ( There is a great Mama yoga class there on Wednesdays; they provide babysitting during the class for a really reasonable fee (if your DS can do that). It's a real rejuvenator.

The parks in Evanston on the lake are nice too. lots of room to run around.

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Welcome to Chicago!!! I live here!!

Chicago is a GREAT place for toddlers, don't be discouraged!!! Try to see things from his POV. Sure, it's a train, but it's a loud and screechy train. Take him on a Metra train; it's quieter and smoother for the first time around. (Take it to Ravinia!!)

Fun places for toddlers to go:
Millenium Park: run in the big fountain! Run under the Bean! (when it's finished that is!)
Cultural Center: There are SEVERAL big open rooms that are hardly used in the daytime. Run free, little boy!! Free Art!!
Lincoln Park Zoo: Goes without saying.
Buckingham Fountain: Get wet, little boy!!
Shedd Aquarium, especially the Wild Reef: Holy cats, there are fish over your head!!
Navy Pier: So many things to look at! Giant Wide Open Space at the end!!
Field Museum: Run and point! Run and Point!

There are so many fun things to do, please IM me or something, perhaps we can get together and talk about it!!

As for the running in the street thing; Keith got over that quickly. Begin a firm rule of "Be Held or Hold My Hand. Period" We carry him in a frame pack for crowded events.

Don't be discouraged, I'm sure you'll love the city!
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I'm not sure if this will help, but I thought I'd throw it out there. We had a similar experience on the NY subway once. DD was screaming/crying and very upset while we moved, and yelling "out" every time the train doors opened. Since then we have gone back several times and she has been much better.

It turns out that dd does have issues with motion sickness (like me
) and has since gotten sick in the car a few times while traveling. I know that my problems are tied to inner ear and balance, and I also end up feeling worse if I haven't eaten, or eat the wrong things before traveling. Also, if I go somewhere that I can't see the horizon--underground, or on a boat too far out to see land, less frequently in air travel--I can end up feeling really lousy, fast. Also, a lot of stop and go, and sharp turns can make it worse (dh's driving kills me :LOL ).

I'm assuming that since it's an El, that the train is up high. Try to focus him on things that are outside and far away (not moving close/fast by the train) as opposed to facing in while you travel--that may help a lot. Also, don't eat things like eggs and orange juice for breakfast if you're going on the train right away--keep it to dry cereal, a banana, yogurt, or toast/bagel. If he has a cold or sinus trouble/tooth issues, chances are it would make it a lot worse.

Anyhow--these things may not be the problem at all, but I figured it couldn't hurt to tell you about them.

Also, I think the stroller is a good tool for occasional use. Even with two parents, having the stroller is a good fall back for us on long days out. Zane may just want to sit forward and see what's going on around him, without being handled. If he's comfortable and happy (and safe) then it's working for both of you, right? And you can always bring the sutemi and switch on and off where it'll work better. And strollers are great for carrying packages when not in use!

Good Luck--sorry this was so long.
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Thank you ladies. You have been so sweet!!! I am feeling better about the city today, Zane seems to be acclimating a bit better. I think we will avoid the el for awhile, I think I did too much too fast yesterday and he was probably way overstimulated. Poor baby. Man, there are so many neat things to check out around here, I need to focus on the blessings of the city rather than the things I miss in the country. I definately want to check out the nature museum, it sounds fantastic!!!

Gardenmom- I too have some motion sickness issues, I never even though about Zane having the same thing.

spiralmg- I want to check out Bloom yoga studio. I'm not a yoga woman myself, but I saw she has a neat performance going on this month that I'd like to check out.

littlehorse-Your post was cracking me up. I could just see my little guy partaking in all those activities.

Anyways, thanks so much for all the advice!
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