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The Ride Home: An Ongoing Update

March 11th, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

I spend a lot of time on this blog writing about the trials and travails of getting Sasha home from preschool every evening. On the whole, it’s not the worst commute: a three-block walk, three stops on the F train, and three more blocks to our apartment. Some people, I’m sure, have it much worse, like the parents of Sasha’s classmates who live in Kensington or Bay Ridge. But those parents, I’ve noticed, bring along a stroller. Jean, Sasha and I long ago gave up on ours; it seemed an imposition on other subway riders, especially at rush hour.

A funny thing has happened to the trip home in the last couple of months, however, something I wasn’t prepared to acknowledge: Sasha has become a calm commuter. Whereas she used to demand I hold her, or let her stand holding a pole, or sit in her own seat, or sit on my lap, she’s now content either to be held in my arms or to sit on my lap, without complaint. No snack needed, no iPhone games—she just waits contentedly, occasionally making toddler conversation with me or flirting with cute girls across the aisle, until we reach our stop, whereupon she announces, “Dao le!” (“Arrived!”) or “We’re almost home!” God, it’s easy.

What happens next is the new problem. In an effort to get Sasha to walk the three blocks home (she’s usually carried), I’ve been letting her lead the way—and she leads the way directly to Stinky BKLYN, one of the many places in the neighborhood that she knows has lollipops. There is no way around this. If I carry her, she bursts into tears and demands to walk, then walks to Stinky. Yeah, okay, I could lug home a screaming child, and I have many times, but I want to avoid that if I can. I always think there’ll be some way around Sasha’s craving, some way of distracting her from her most beloved of treats. But nothing works.

Well, almost nothing. Yesterday, as Sasha was demanding to walk “this way! this way!” I caved: I promised her a lollipop at home. This was not just a move of desperation. A few days earlier, I’d ordered from Amazon a bag of xylitol lollipops—not just sugar-free but good for your teeth!—and was betting they’d arrived. Instead, I found a note from Fedex. Fuck. I had to give Sasha a lollipop from my secret stash to keep her calm. However I game it out, girl’s gonna get her lolly—at least until the weather improves enough to pull my bike out of storage and sidestep the whole walk/carry issue.

All I gotta say is: Her future boyfriends (or girlfriends?) better be prepared!


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