Babies are tiny creatures that for the most part drink milk from their mothers’ breasts, but from the look of any set of new parents, it sure seems more like babies survive by eating their parents’ brains. Nobody has ever looked more like a zombie than a person who three weeks ago was living a normal life and now hasn’t slept more than six non-consecutive hours in as many days. That newborn phase is rough, and sleep deprivation can make a person do many stupid things. This week a Swiss couple made the news when they left their newborn on a train. I’m surprised this is news, because I am honestly shocked this doesn’t happen every day.
According to The Local, the parents had their weeks-old baby in a stroller when they boarded the train in Switzerland. Then they realized they hadn’t validated their train tickets and realized they had to get back off to have the tickets punched. All that’s pretty normal, but then they utterly fumbled the next move and instead of having one parent leave to punch both tickets, or have both parents leave with the stroller they picked the worst option and both parents left the train to punch their tickets, and they left the stroller on the train.
Predictably, because train doors are always assholes like this, the train doors picked exactly that moment to close between the parents and their baby, and the train took off without them.
The parents were of course in an abject panic when they saw the train leave with their baby on it, but everything turned out OK in the end. The terrified parents ran to station staff for help, and the people in the train car with the baby immediately notified the conductor about what had just happened. The parents were reunited with their baby at the next stop, and the baby slept through the whole thing.
The people on the train seem to have been pretty cool about the whole situation. They watched the whole thing go down, and as soon as they realized the train was leaving without the parents and with an unattended baby on the train, they alerted the conductor. They kept an eye out and alerted the authorities for help. They didn’t film the incident so they could shame the parents on Facebook, like some people would do.
A spokesman for the railway said this was a first.
”It’s true that we find all sorts of curious things on trains, like army-issue guns or wheelchairs. But to my knowledge it’s the first time that we’re found a stroller with a baby,” he said.
Honestly, I’m astounded that this is the first time this has happened. It seems like it would happen every day with a newborn.
Babies tend to eat your sleep, and sleep deprivation makes a person make sub-optimal choices. I wish I had a video of my husband’s attempt to assemble an Ikea crib three days after our baby was born. The dude has a Ph.D. and can read and write in Mycenean Greek, and he was flung into an incoherent rage by his complete inability to understand this pictogram:
That was also the time he attempted to clean a mirror by using a soapy floor sponge, and when the mirror just wound up covered in floor grit and dried soap and way dirtier than before he started cleaning it, he declared that the mirror was broken and could not be cleaned. Several months later, just to check, I asked him how he thought a person cleaned a mirror. “With Windex and paper towels, right?” he said.
“Right,” I said. I just wanted to check, because having a new baby makes you wonder things like, “Is my partner just really, really tired, or does he not actually know that Windex exists?”
If you are pregnant with your first kid, I strongly advise you to assemble any Ikea furniture immediately. Do not assume you will be able to assemble an Ikea dresser after having a baby. Do not assume you will know how toothpaste works after having a baby. (I put sunscreen on my toothbrush three days in a row.) Hell, just baby-proof the entire house now, for your own sake more than the baby’s. If you told me that a new parent had eaten one of those dishwasher detergent pods because they thought it was candy, I would not be even a little bit surprised. And if you wind up on a train with some unvalidated tickets, give them both to your partner and sit with the baby, because the train doors will always, always close the second you turn your back on them.