Public transit with an infant turns out to be better than I expected. Yes, I was hotter than a Cayenne pepper on the walk there. Yes, the stairs were a lot of work -- I could have opted for the elevator but I'm a bit of a wuss and elevators scare me a little, really just getting stuck in them scares me. And I was pleasantly surprised that the El cars had working air conditioners so they made the heat much more bearable. It also helped that I was able to get a seat since we rode at non-peak times. I will say that I got a few funny looks when I got down to the Chicago Loop since it is mostly filled with commuters and they don't expect to see babies in slings in the downtown area.
One observation I made while being downtown and riding the El with an infant is that the city is really loud. I mean, REALLY LOUD! With the El tracks and trains in the tunnels, the cars, trucks and taxis, the honking, the buildings bouncing the sound around, the people chatting on cell phones, street musicians, and obnoxious teenagers singing in the streets, I was worried that I should have made Iain wear those big noise cancelling headphones the airplane navigators wear on the tarmacs. I did plug his ear with my finger when the Red line train pulled into our stop in the underground tunnel because I felt like a bad mother if I opted not to. It's no wonder Rick is less than good at hearing me these days -- especially when he admits to turning up his Ipod to tune out the noise of the city. He's going to need to see an audiologist at 40 and get fitted with a hearing aid.
Through it all, Iain was a trooper. He was well behaved at Rick's softball game and even humored us while we sat at a bar and had dinner with the team. And he was a great excuse for us to leave at the decent hour of 10pm so we wouldn't be out too late. I will say that it would have been really nice to have a chair at the softball game since nursing and holding an almost 10 lb baby for 7 innings isn't my idea of fun. Thankfully, Rick held his bag of gear-- which was ridiculously heavy and included way too much stuff. Having a newborn again, I've reverted to bringing too much stuff "just in case" and Rick didn't think to leave his dress clothes and umbrella at work to retrieve the next day so we weren't traveling light. With two blocks left to walk home last night, I finally gave in and asked Rick to hold the bag and the baby as my lower back was done. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to going next time when I can drive down in the car, bring a chair, pack the kids and their stuff into a stroller, and not have to lug all of our crap all over the city.
Moral of the story: Having kids in the city really makes having a car a necessity. You can get by without one, but having one makes getting around a lot easier.