Sometimes, when going about his everyday life, the Wee Man just stops and stares. Not in a ‘that’s really interesting, I’m going to watch that intently’ kind of way, more a ‘I’m temporarily not here’ sort of thing. Which is a little bit worrying. So the doctor referred us to a neurologist, and the neurologist sent us on to the specialist unit at Addenbrookes in Cambridge.
Having travelled to Cambridge a lot in my younger days – thanks to a friend who worked at the hospital and had room on his floor for me to crash out on after a bit of partying most of the night – I had a vague recollection of the park and ride system. One with blue buses, which, if you are the Wee Man is AMAZING since buses are normally red around these parts.
So last Wednesday we loaded ourselves, the kids and the Joovy Ergo Caboose into the car and set off down the M11 to track down the buses of amazement at Trumpington park and ride.
Turns out, not only are there blue buses, but green ones too! And even more amazing, the blue buses have their own ‘guided tracks’ which they can travel down a bit like a train – no steering required by the driver. (I did feel slightly strange watching him sit there with no hands on the wheel – it’s not a sight I’d welcome in the middle of London…)
The Ergo Caboose is longer than a single stroller and slightly wider, however it fit on to the bus with no problem, steering easily into the designated area of the bus. Bubby D sat happily in her ergonomically designed front seat, munching away on some snacks from the food tray that clips to the front (which swivels open easily too, when I want to get her out). The change bag, coats, lunchbox and all the other random paraphernalia that kids seem to need when they’re out and about fit into the extremely generously sized shopping basket underneath her, and with side access I had no problem grabbing the wipes for her mucky chops either. With its brakes firmly on the Ergo Caboose sat nice and still as the bus pulled out of the stop and started on it’s way to the hospital.
No sitting still for the Wee Man, however! With the excitement of a ‘train tracks bus’ he clearly wasn’t going to stay in the pushchair himself, and he bounded out of his smaller seat on the back of the pushchair and went to sit at the front of the bus to ensure the best possible view of all the goings on. Thanks to the ‘sit and stand’ nature of the pushchair, it’s very easy for him to hop on and off whenever he wants (although there is a seatbelt option if I want him to stay on!).
The bus moved pretty fast and before we knew it, we were back onto the normal roads and winding our way around the hospital grounds. Spotting a bit I recognised as the outpatients department, the Wee Man pressed the ding (that’s three year old speak for the bell on the bus, if you’re wondering) and hopped back on the pushchair ready to disembark.
The doors opened, we got off the bus – and were hit in the face by an extremely chilly wind. Quickly, I whipped open the hood of the Ergo Caboose, and both kids were able to get a bit of shelter. The Wee Man had his ‘windows’ zipped on to provide a bit more protection from the elements, whilst still allowing him to peer out at the rapidly departing bus.
Inside the hospital, the pushchair manoeuvred easily around the various walking sticks, wheelchairs and slow-moving people in its path, and we soon found the children’s clinic – which to the delight of both Bubby D and the Wee Man contained a Wii, a play house complete with kitchen and a large assortment of toys, games, and colouring in opportunities. Such was their delight that we had to strap them in to the pushchair to get them in to the consultation room, once the Wee Man’s name was called.
Several pokings and proddings and one yoghurt bribe later, and the doctor was done. ‘It’s not epilepsy’ he declared, and we breathed a big sigh of relief. Moments later our sigh of relief was echoed by the kids, who were let pleased to be loose on the toys for a while before we needed to make our way back to the bus stop.
Finally, when the imminent trip on the train track bus outweighed the excitement of the toy selection, we got both kids into their coats and shoes and made our way out of the hospital. The Wee Man decided he wanted to stand, and so I unzipped the top part of the hood meaning he could stand on the pushchair platform and poke his head out unimpeded to see what was going on. Exiting the hospital, we saw the bus ready and waiting at the bus stop, and the Other Half took control of the Ergo Caboose as we made a run for it. Two minutes later and we were breathing normally again as the pushchair was once again parked tidily and the kids were positioned happily watching the scenery pass by.
A few short minutes later and we were back at Trumpington, and unloading everything into the car. The Ergo Caboose folded down quickly and easily with a quick pull of the levers on each side of the handles, and fit into the boot of our car with a bit of squidging (we had a foldaway bed in there too…)
And then it was goodbye green buses, goodbye blue buses, and hello again M11 motorway.
Although the circumstances of our trip weren’t the best, the guided buses certainly made it a fun day out and the ease of transporting two excitable children in the Joovy Ergo Caboose meant it was stress free for me and the Other Half too!