Chicago: Part 3, Trains, Oh God! The Trains

Before we get into the meet of today’s post, I find it necessary to state un-equivocally that I love Little Man. I love him something fierce. I find him to be the absolute most entertaining person on the planet. I enjoy spending time with him. Time with him really does brighten my day. He already has a quirky sense of humor, and his language skills seem to be growing by the minute. He honestly has the most amazing sense of direction and space. It really is stunning how well he knows where he is. I love that little boy to death and time spend with him is recharging and invigorating

most of the time.

Whilst in Chicago, Little Man’s interest in trains seemed to get the better of him, and cause me to go slightly insane(er). Chicago, for those of you who do not know, is one of the few American cities where mass transit is an accepted form of travel within the city. Therefore in Chicago there are a few different types of trains that one can use. There is the most well-known system known affectionately to Chicagoans and others as “The El” which is there elevated transit system that runs through most of the downtown area, and there is the Metra lines which are commuter trains that feed in from more outlying suburbs. To Little Man these are referred to as “White pas car” (pronounced “wīt pah car” translated as white passenger cars) and “Orange pas car” (same pronunciation of “pas.” He is all into the French nasal diphthongs at the moment. Again, translated as "Orange Passenger Cars”) respectively.

We arrived in Chicago on Monday evening, so Tuesday morning Little Man and I venture forth into the city and make it an entire half-block before we have to stop and watch the El for 1 hr straight. He only stopped watching the train because we had to get back to the room fro his breathing treatment.

Wednesday, his breathing was better and I decided to see if he wanted to look at “Big Water” (**Lake Michigan). We headed across Michigan Avenue into Grant Park and had to stop on the pedestrian bridge that over looked the Metra lines. I could not get him off of this bridge for 2 solid hours because their was a parked train on the tracks that he could watch not move. Occasionally another train would go by and ruin my chances of getting him to be willing to leave the spot. Only lunch with Wifey enticed him away from the bridge.

Thursday, Wifey did not have any conference duties in the morning so we attempted a run on the Field Museum of Natural History and the Tutankhamen display therein. Little Man was having none of it. He wanted to watch trains, and he wanted to watch trains right then and for at least an hour after right then. We did finally make it into the museum and paid our 50 smackers for the Tut exhibit. We spent about 30 minutes looking at stuffed animals before getting in line for Tut. We waited in line just fine, but when we were finally able to look at these artifacts Little Man threw a fit. It was very frustrating. Had we been the only people in the museum and not surrounded by priceless artifacts, we probably would have fought it out. As it was, we were surrounded by people getting increasingly angry with our screaming child, and our child was getting increasingly vocal about the necessity of our departure as we navigated the maze that was the exhibit.

After his nap that afternoon, we watched the Metra for 2 hours.

Friday, morning we watched a little El prior to him allowing me to take him into the city, and for 2 hours in the afternoon we watched the Metra.

Notice it is the same pedestrian bridge. I hate that pedestrian bridge.

Saturday morning, prior to us going to the zoo. Wifey, Little Man and I spent some time watching the El.

On average I spent at least 2 hours a day watching trains in various states of movement. Watching 2 hours of trains daily is not so bad, the issue was that when he was watching for the El he would continually ask “Where white pas car? Where white pas car? Where white pas car? Where white pas car? Where white pas car? Where white pas car? Wherewhitepascar? Wherewhitepascar? Wherewhitepascar?Wherewhitepascar?Wherewhitepascar?” He would ask this until a train went by, and the he would say “There white pas car.” Then he would start his crazy making mantra of “Wherewhitepascar?Wherewhitepascar?” It didn’t matter if I answered him. It didn’t matter at all. He would not shut up. It was constant and un-ending. Why wouldn’t he shut up? I didn’t know where White Pas Car Was! I ASSUME THE WHITE PAS CAR IS ON THE TRACK SOMEWHERE ELSE!! STOP ASKING THAT QUESTION!!!!

Umm, anyway… it was very much the same ceaseless noise making associated with the orange pas cars!

To Recap:
We were in Chicago for 123 hours, he slept for 68 hours, we had meals for 9 hours, and for 12 of the remaining 51 hours we watched trains
Almost ¼ of his entire wakeful time in Chicago was spent watching the same trains
On Friday the El operators were waving to him
They recognized us from the 2.8 million people living in Chicago
World Cup starts tomorrow
Germany is going to decimate Costa Rica
Monday’s post will most likely be all about USA v Czech Republic

**originally I had this called out as Lake Erie. This is due to the inordinate amount of time I have spent working on maps for a major Cleveland transportation project. Thanks to whomever the anonymous poster was who alerted me to my mis-laking.