Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Tale of Two Train Trips

“I love you more than trains and Caltrain.”
-James on his card to Mona on her last day with us

Our last field trip of the year at Mountain View Parent Observation Preschool in May 2013 was an excursion on Caltrain. The previous field trip involved taking a city bus to the Palo Alto Children’s Museum and Zoo, but because James was afraid of the bus we had to skip that part and meet the class at the zoo. He thought there was no light inside the bus, and he had mentioned the same fear about trains. (I think it’s because from the outside both appear dark inside.)

Since I didn’t want to face a two-kids-don’t-want-to-board-a-train-while-I’m-on-my-own situation, I decided we’d try a dry run a few weeks before. While in the car on the way to the Mountain View Caltrain station, James suddenly got excited to get on the train, and pretty much everything went smoothly after that.

The kids were excited to “help” Daddy get his tickets from the machine. They boarded and they looked out the window delighted as we zipped along. They particularly liked going to the upstairs section of the train, mostly because they love to go up and down stairs.

James helps Daddy get the tickets.
Here comes the train!

We chugged about 20 minutes to the Menlo Park station. Stepping down from the train, I held Julia’s hand and couldn’t reach James’s so I asked Mark to take his hand since there was a large gap between the step and the platform. He announced that James was just fine and then a moment later James’s leg slipped into the gap. He was okay but still, Mommy 1, Daddy 0.

The other hiccup when we disembarked was when we walked ahead of the train because when it pulled out of the station it was VERY loud which frightened James. But I explained that it was because we were in front of the train and next time we would be sure not to be, and he was okay with that.

We only had a little over an hour in Menlo Park. Our excursion began with a several block walk to Jeffrey’s Hamburgers for lunch. 

Julia makes her grand entrance into Jeffrey’s Hamburgers...

...And then lies down.

The many faces of James

The kids liked their food (Julia always loves French fries), and James tried a root beer float for the first time. With each bite he looked like he was in heaven.

James likes his milk.

Julia likes her food.

Daddy likes his root beer float.

James is in ecstasy as he tries his first root beer float.

On our way back to the station we stopped in Kepler’s Books, and the kids had fun playing with puppets with Daddy in the children’s section.

Playing at Kepler's Books

Julia and James enjoyed the ride back and everyone wanted to ride upstairs on the train. 

James and Julia play at a fountain near the Menlo Park train station.

Mommy waits with Julia at the station.

“A train! A train!”

Going upstairs on the train
Meanwhile in preschool to prepare for the field trip on Caltrain, Teacher Mindy lined up the chairs to resemble a train and had each child sit and hand her a pretend ticket. 

First row: Julia and James, Second: Melina (her mom Manisha is in the background) and Ethan, Third: Luciana and visitor, Fourth: Brody and Phoebe, Fifth: Ellen and Scarlet, Sixth: Jamie and Harper, Seventh: Lyra and Zachary, Eighth: Everett and Zoe.
Julia gets her ticket.
The following week we met the class at the Mountain View Station. James and Julia got super excited seeing the train pull into the station, and they loved riding the train all over again. 

My kids kind of look like they were transported from the 1920s for the day. You know, except for the ever present jeans.

Pointing at the train, still far away

Everyone in hats!

They play with their friends on the train:

James looks at Everett.
Everett looks at James.

Melina and Luciana show off their talents.
Phoebe and Tracy watch from upstairs.

We disembarked at the Diridon Station near Downtown San Jose and the class walked to the playground at the Arena Green next to the Shark Tank, home of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. After eating a snack there really wasn’t much time on the playground, and soon it was time to make our return trip. 

James eats a cupcake at the park for Luciana’s birthday.

Teacher Mindy put on her Conductor Mindy hat and walked the aisle of the train pretend-taking each child’s ticket. I think James and Julia actually handed her our parking pass. Sucker!

Conductor Mindy returns James’s ticket.