I try to be as polite as possible when riding the bus with my baby — I avoid rush hour, I use the tiny 5 dollar umbrella stroller. I stick myself and the baby into the front seat, which makes me take up both seats but with the stroller across in front of me.
I was coming home from a meeting in Midway that for once offered childcare, and went to step onto the 16 at Snelling and University. With my foot in the door, the woman driving the bus told me to get off.
“You must have the baby out of the stroller and the stroller folded before you get on the bus.”
I knew that there was a “hold your baby” rule on the bus, but honestly, I’d never seen or heard of anyone forced to do so. It was raining, it was cold. I asked if I could at least get on before I took out my 5 month old and folded up, so I didn’t have to lay my baby on the wet sidewalk, since she can’t even sit up on her own yet.
“No. Management says you have to have the baby out and stroller folded before you get on.”
I shoved the diaperbag/laptopcase over my back, pulled out the baby wrapped in her blanket, and tried hold her with one arm while folding up the umbrella. The canopy top came swinging off and refused to fold down. Holding it like I was strangling a flamingo, I managed to get it, the baby, the stroller and the bag up the steps. I then held the stroller up with one leg while trying to put money in the changebox and grab a transfer.
The bus has 7 people on board. I set myself in the first seat, shoved the flopping stroller into the corner, holding it next to the wall with one leg. I put the diaperbag between me and the wall, turned my legs slightly out to keep the stroller from toppling, and held the now wide awake and wiggling child restrained on my lap with both arms. I took up exactly as many seats as l had on the ride out, except that now no one could use the flip down seat in front of me without risking getting poked in the eye by my runaway canopy.
The bus never filled more than halfway the entire ride to Nicollet.
Someone was kind enough to unfold my stroller and hold my bag while I got situated once I was off the bus. However, I still swear that when I left I saw that busdriver grinning at me as I struggled to get off.