Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Teaching my Toddler to Drive

Yes,you read that title right. I'm teaching my toddler to drive.  Well, y'all know that he's not really a toddler--he towers over me and is 15 . . . another few months and he gets his driving permit and starts driving.  So, I'm getting him started now in empty parking lots, for now, to let him get the hang of it without any stress or pressure.

I say, I'm teaching my toddler because it seems like yesterday that he was a toddler.  This is one of those milestones that got to me.

I sat him down on Sunday to have a talk about driving.  I told him that he had to listen, really listen, to everything I had to say to him and that if he did his usual , "ok Mom" or "yeah" or "whatever" or anything else, he would not be driving.  I explained how important it is to obey the rules of the road, and that other drivers are not always going to do so.  I reminded him that drinking while driving, or under the influence of any drugs, is not acceptable.  And finally, I told him that this is one of the most important things he will ever learn to do . . . that essentially, he would be in charge of a very large machine and that if he doesn't do things properly, he could kill himself or others.

And then . . . I promptly burst into tears.  OMG!  I was shocked.  I can always tell when I'm about to cry, so I'm never taken by surprise.  Let's just say . . . I was taken by surprise.  I couldn't believe it.  We had reached one of those times in his life that means significant change.  But, I think it just sent that idea home to him that everything I was saying was really important.

So, I took him down the street to an empty parking lot, explained what to do, safety checklists, and how everything works.  Then, I let him behind the wheel and he drove around and around that lot.  Lots of left hand turns and then lots of right hand turns. Acceleration and then complete stops.  He did really well.  Next weekend, we'll do more of the same and add in some parking and reverse.

I'm really excited for him to drive and I look forward to not having to haul him around.  On the other hand, I'm terrified that something bad will happen to him.  All part of being a parent, I know, but that's my toddler behind the wheel.

I'm still remembering this . . . .
. . . and now he will have no training wheels.
Until next time, much peace and love.

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