I asked Athena, “What do you want to do most today?” “I want to ride the train,” she replied just as quickly as I’d asked. It’s been her favorite thing to do. She loves the entire process including getting tickets, riding the elevator, waiting on the platform, listening to the conductor blow the whistle, picking a seat, giving her ticket to the conductor, and watching everything pass by out the window. It’s all like going to an amusement park and I get to experience it with her rather than driving myself. The public transportation system is definitely toddler and parent approved.
I could have picked up all of my tickets for the entire trip in one day but Athena loved the process so much that I decided to pick them up before each ride. She wanted to help push the buttons and anxiously waited for the ticket to arrive behind the plastic. It was like she won a prize at a candy machine. Rather than a worthless candy, though, she gets a ticket that she can hold and give to “the conductor” when he asks for it. (Keep in mind that anyone who works at the train station or on the train is “the conductor” from here on out.)
After we got out tickets, we rode the elevator, another one of her favorite things, to get to the correct platform. She searched for the number 4 like it was a treasure hunt and yelled, “There it is, Mommy” when we were getting close.
Trains were at every platform and her eyes grew with wonder. She yelled, “whooo whooo” to every train and at every conductor. She smiled at everyone around and giggled every time the whistle blew. Thankfully, we weren’t there too early. I thought passengers would be annoyed with her but everyone that walked by or was around us smiled with delight. She was a show stopper, mesmerized and transfixed with a happiness that could only be so obvious on a child’s face.
She carefully selected a seat, rubbing her hand on each one until she found the perfect spot for her. “I want to sit here, Mommy.” It wasn’t a big deal to let her choose so we sat where she wanted.
She proudly handed the conductor her ticket and the conductor gave Athena a ticket of her own to keep for the entire trip. The smile on her face was priceless as she said thank you and held on tight.
It wasn’t until 20 minutes later when she started to color that she passed me the ticket and asked me to hold it for her.
Every so often, she’d glance out the window and say “Wow! Look at that, Mommy!”
She asked if we could climb all the mountains in Germany (I think I’m gong to have a run for my money with this kid when she gets older) and she picked her favorites based on which ones were biggest.
Today was magical. I watched my child do something she’d talked about for months. We watch Dinosaur Train and Thomas the Train on a regular basis and she constantly tells me that she wants to ride trains. It all became reality today. As much as she wants to visit castles and amusement parks, she wants to ride trains. I don’t know if she’ll remember this moment for the rest of her life, but I’ll certainly remember it for the rest of mine.
****Our trip to Germany is sponsored by the German National Tourist Board but all thoughts, ideas, and options are my own.***