Leah, the angry bus and the lost caterpillar

Just to put the previous post into perspective, Friday’s commute home was so bad and is still so vivid an experience that it’s only now late on Tuesday evening that I can blog. It all started to go wrong when Eve lost her beloved tiny toy caterpillar in between the seats of the bus and I couldn’t get it out. I tried really hard and a new measure of my love for my children is that I willingly stuck my finger into the accumulated gum and other foul debris under the seat and I did this for a full fifteen minutes. Eve’s sobs became louder and louder and two tough looking boys in hoodies moved seats to get away. When the bus screeched to a sudden halt and the bus driver got out of his cab I immediately thought they must be the cause. The driver yelled down the bus, “Oi, you, is that your little boy pressin the ****!!!!!@@@@ bell? I don’t know whether I’m comin or goin. If he doesn’t stop right now I’m not movin and everyone’s @@!!!*** gettin off”

Because I was occupied with the caterpillar rescue I hadn’t noticed that Leah was repeatedly pressing the stop bell. I managed some feeble outrage about her being a girl but the collective chagrin of the passengers meant that my apology had more grovel than derision. Red faced I carried on trying to retrieve the caterpillar whilst yelling at Leah not to touch the bell. I had a panicked moment of thinking my finger was actually stuck and I might have to ask the bus driver to help me get my hooligan boy/girl twins off at our stop. Eve’s sobs were emptying the bus and I had to tell her the caterpillar had decided to make a new home on the 176 bus. “Nooooooooooo” she screamed with despair. We got off a stop early, the humiliation was just too much, worse even than the commute when Leah pulled my skirt off.

Got in, scrubbed my hands and then tried to have a serious talk with them about acceptable behaviour. Leah cried when I told her that she might get a lifetime ban from London transport. Felt utterly depleted as a parent and dreaded having to take them on the bus again. Actually tonight they were mannerly and charming and passengers were actually complimenting me on my well-behaved flash card reading children. So that and Sunday’s petit trianon of a day has restored my parenting equilibrium.

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4 Responses to Leah, the angry bus and the lost caterpillar

  1. Gretchen says:

    Hi –
    So sorry about the bad commute. I hope the week has been better. Yesterday we had the unpleasant surprise of our bus stop (and the next two) being closed in the morning due to some sort of re-paving. So we decided to catch a cab to avoid wandering aimlessly to try and find an open bus stop. We were amazed at how much less stressed we were by catching the cab. Obviously not a long term solution, but a nice one on occasion to keep sanity in check.

  2. Nic Stallwood says:

    You poor love. That sounds horrendous but had me laughing out loud.
    Loving your blog Leonie. Hope to see you soon.
    Nx

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