Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Kid Swap by Bike

During the day, I am a stay-at-home parent to our four-year-old son, Alton. He attends preschool two days a week, and it's a co-op organization, which means that his school runs with the assistance of parent volunteers, including some aide/teaching time in the classroom. We have some good friends (including bikey friends!) who also attend this school, and on their teaching days sometimes our friends need help with securing babysitting for the preschoolers' younger siblings. As Alton is my only child, I try to help out my pals whenever I can.
Today was just such a day. Since my friend and blog co-author Fabi was working in the classroom, I agreed to watch her 1 1/2-year-old son, Matthew, for the morning.  The morning was still forecasted to be flooded with gorgeous sun, so we arranged a bike pick-up/drop-off with our kiddos this morning!
First, Alton and I departed on our normal preschool commute. I often take the Xtracycle Radish on this trip; it's my two-wheeled "station wagon." Plenty of room to cram purse, kiddo rain boots, lunch box, and show-and-tell treasures in the Freeloader bags, plus it's always loaded and ready to go with stuff like tissues, sunscreen, bike lock, raincover, napping pillow, books, etc. This morning Alton had a sorta small breakfast, but with our departure time looming there was no more time to eat. I filled a snack cup with Cheerios, then used one of my homemade snack tethers (another item I keep on the Radish at all times) to secure his cup to his straps for a breakfast supplement on the go! As we rode through the library parking lot with its adjacent park (picture below), it was really hard not to just forget about school and hop on the swings.
But we had to keep going, because we had friends waiting for us! We arrived at preschool to see Fabi waiting with her Surly Big Dummy, a beefy longtail bike upon which she has TWO child seats installed. Her preschooler, Dani, was up front, with my babysitting charge Matthew in the back. Plus snacks for the school class, a load of clean laundry (parents pitch in on the school's laundry duties, too), and a laundry basket bungee'd to the back of the bike. What a load! She poses proudly below with her bike and children on the right, Alton still buckled into my Xtracycle Radish on the left.
 After we got the big kids signed in to school, Matthew and I said our good-byes and I got him settled onto my Xtracycle to head home for the rest of the morning. Kid swap by bike! (Ignore his dubious expression; I'm a nice babysitter, even if Matthew frowns at me during picture-taking.)
Cracker in hand and this little guy is ready to go!
A few hours later, Fabi loads up big sis and Alton on her two child seats and pedals them to my house from the school. They head into the garage to get all their belongings out and pick up Matthew. "Carpooling" by bike--what's next?!

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