Roots and


Train trauma

We caught the train to Birmingham at the weekend; we had the pushchair so the changeovers were a little difficult, especially on the way back when we had to change at Beeston and couldn’t find a lift. Dave ended up having to carry the pushchair up the footbridge and back down on to the next platform.

If you have ever stood next Beth for longer than about five seconds she will undoubtedly have told you about her first (and until Saturday, last) train experience and the trauma involved.  For those of you not familiar with the story it happens when she was three.

I had decided to take Beth and Daniel to visit my Nana in Leicester and I thought we should take the train. Loughborough train station had just had a new lift installed in time for the Olympics so I thought it would be an easy trip.

We arrived just as a train was pulling up, I spoke to a guard to check it was stopping at Leicester and he confirmed it was. Beth was on the buggy board and the pushchair had her preschool bag and ‘huggle bear’ were all still attached.  In the rush to get on the train, Beth and her huggle bear fell off the buggy. Beth was fine but the bear slipped between the platform and the train.  I wanted to wait and re-group and catch the next train but the guard was very insistent that we carry on boarding and said that he would fetch the bear out and leave her in the office for us to collect on the way home.

To say Beth was very upset would be a massive understatement, the journey is 10-12 minutes long and she was still inconsolable by the time we left the train…and boarded the bus… and reached my Nan’s house.  I rang Dave and asked him to pick the bear up on the way to pick us up, and he in turn rang his friend who works for East midlands trains who was able to speak to the ticket office in Loughborough to confirm the bear was safe and well, but none of this calmed Beth down much. It was the first time in our relationship where I felt untrusted by her.  She was convinced that the bear was gone and nothing could convince her otherwise.

Daddy did dutifully collect the bear (going miles out of his way) but when he presented it to Beth he had decided to wrap her head in a bandage, something I think he must regret, because the expected gratitude for the rescuing hero was replaced by absolute horror at the thought of the bear being sick.

So we haven’t been on trains since… then a few weeks ago Beth decided she would like to try again.

I’m so proud of her for leaving what is actually a reasonably rational fear behind and decide to be ‘brave’ of it. We’ve talking in the past with her about how we could help her get over the fear, and other people have suggested just pushing her to do lots of train trips. I’m glad it hasn’t come to that and now she has conquered her own fear.

Now we just need to come up with games to play on the train, apparently whizzing past fields of sheep and cows and having your ticket checked isn’t as exciting as it was when I was a child …sigh…

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