Two toddlers + One balloon + Sleep deprivation = Mess.
Two days ago we rode the Kiev metro home without incident. So we thought, “This isn’t so bad. Second day in Kiev and we’ve already mastered the metro.” So we got a bit braver.
We made big plans the following day to travel here and there via the metro. It started out fine. We made it successfully to the embassy and McDonald’s without incident. As a quick side note, McDonald’s in Kiev is clean, friendly, and fast. Plus, it was a treat for us because we don’t have it where we are in Central Asia.
We decided to ride the rails to Kiev’s Dolphinarium. Although this would interrupt nap time, we thought the kids would sleep on the go and we would all survive.
But then my navigation troubles began. I confidently looked at the metro map and packed all five of us and a big stroller on the crowded metro. However, the upcoming station name seemed unfamiliar to me and I thought we were going the wrong direction. So we all piled off at the next stop and waited for the train going the other way. By this time, our oldest had to use the bathroom, of which there are none in the metro. So he and Abby went up the huge escalator to the street in search of a potty, leaving me with the younger two. McDonald’s had generously given our kids balloons. Unfortunately, only one balloon had survived more than ten minutes. Each boy decided to cry if he didn’t have the balloon, so we alternated minutes. One cried for a minute while the other held the balloon. Then it was the other one’s turn to cry while his brother played with the coveted McDonald’s balloon. Trains came and went. Passengers flowed on and off the trains. We were a stationary little crying stroller-island in the midst of a river of commuters.
The crying and alternating continued. I started to wish McDonald’s hadn’t been so nice. If there were no balloon, there would be nothing to covet and therefore nothing to cry about. It was Romans 7 in miniature. Then somehow one boy managed to pop the balloon. The cracking sound echoed through the old metro hall like a gunshot. It seemed like the crowd of Ukranians jumped slightly, looked our way, then continued on, thankful that it was only a balloon. Most parents would have been embarrassed as all eyes turned on me but I was thanking God that the balloon was done for. Of course, my rejoicing was short lived because then I had two crying toddlers on my hands, not just one.
We finally got back on the metro, only for me to realize that we shouldn’t have switched trains. We had in fact been going the right direction the first time, but now we were headed the wrong way. So out we go again. We get going the right direction. I then have us get off for our transfer…one stop too early. Back on the train for one stop, then the transfer. One nice thing about the old Kiev metro cars is that they are noisy. The roar and clacking of the cars through the tunnels easily drowned out the cries and whines of our overtired children.
We had yet another train snafu at the end of the line, but we eventually made it to the Dolphinarium. After all our metro trials, it turned out that we were still half an hour early for the first dolphin show. Just think, we could’ve transferred trains a couple more times and popped a few more balloons.