If someone had told me 3 years ago that I would allow my first born son to ride public transportation in a BIG CITY with his pals, I would have said they were CRAZY.
Fast forward to my first visit to Glasgow in August 2007. Scott and I learned that many children rode the city bus (city being the important word here people, NOT big yellow school bus) and even taxis to school. On their own. With their pals. Without their parents.
Now, it's not that I don't trust my children, but I'm not sure I trust the world YET!
Fast forward again to the beginning of this school year. Ethan has asked and asked for a mobile phone. All of his friends have them. He's the ONLY 10 year old in Glasgow without one! We have continued to remind him that (1) he is 10 and that in our opinion, he's too young for a mobile phone (2) school rules say he's not allowed to have one in the classrooms/on the playground (3) that he is picked up and dropped off at school EVERYDAY by his parents and that when he rides public transportation to school, we'll consider it.
This leads me to the next fast forward. After the Christmas holidays, Ethan started asking Scott and I separately if he could ride the city bus home from school. He's just itching for a little more freedom. (either that or he is DESPERATE for a mobile phone!) He gets out of school 40 minutes later than his brothers and he noticed that would save me having to wait around for him. (manipul..............I mean thoughtful little fellow isn't he!) Our house is one block from the main road and 1 1/2 miles down the main road from our house is the school. The bus is on a direct route and he said this was "easy peasy and he could handle it. "
My mind was telling me he's right and my heart was saying, NOT YET! I'M NOT READY!
Thankfully, we found a compromise that we could all agree on. On Thursdays, Charlie has swim and tennis lessons right after school which means that in order for me to get him there on time, Ethan has to find another ride to the gym. So after the Christmas holidays, Ethan started riding the city bus with a friend one year older than him. Sebastian has been riding the bus all year from school to the gym a few days a week as his little brother also has tennis lessons at the gym. Ethan meets Sebastian when the school day finishes and they walk together one block to the bus stop. Then they ride the bus to our gym (just 1/2 mile from our house). Ethan has loved it. And I am easing into it. Most of the patrons on the bus at 4pm are students headed home from school. So I hold my breath, and I say extra prayers of protection and try not to over think it! This is a big city people!
Ethan has also started taking taxis on Tuesdays from school to squash practice. The school arranges taxis and one senior school pupil is required to ride in each taxi. He LOVES it. Oh the freedom! He seems to love the squash too but I think it helps that the transportation is cool! (black cabs like London!) Cabbies have all been through criminal checks before they are allowed to pick up from school. So that's a relief!
Next on our list for Ethan's excitement....a trip to the mobile phone store! Little booger.............