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Not the Cool Parent After All

I really thought I was okay with my stepdaughter learning to drive. I am pro growing up in the most awesome ways possible--let's hit those important milestones on target, and also when the kid is comfortable! Not too early, not too late! No wishes for arrested development, no holding back a kid who already knows who she is--and no pushing the kid forward beyond her years, either. Open the gates when the kid is ready but make sure that they stay closed until then.

Booyah! That's child-rearing!

Or something!

Today, I went to pick her up from her second driving lesson. I'd been intending she drive us home. But as soon as she crawled into the driver's seat, pulling the seat forward ALL THE WAY and was basically this tiny, fragile-looking creature steering us around death, I was Totally Freaked Out.

We did a few laps around the school lot. The turning radius on my car was unexpected for her. My Malibu handles bigger than the little Neon they learn on. She seemed to have the hang of it, more or less, so I had her drive us to dinner.

Let's just say, I've blocked most of it out. It's not that she did anything exactly wrong, but it wasn't quite right, either. It was sort of like being driven around by a very calm terrier. You know when a terrier is calm, they are TOTALLY FAKING IT.

Or maybe I mean a llama. Like, you know a llama just does NOT have the experience to be driving you around, so why did I get in the car with a llama?

Or maybe I mean a Capuchin monkey. They scrunch up their little faces and LOOK like they're doing important thinking, but any second, they're going to fling poo.

Or maybe I mean a raccoon. When you look at a raccoon, you think, "So human! So like us!" Until it comes and gnaws your face off.

I think you get what I'm saying.

We ate dinner. She decided my freaking out was adorable, which is mighty generous of her. We discussed boys, as happens when we have dinner alone. Let's just say, the boys she knows are all Capuchin monkey-llama-terrier-raccoons, but emotionally so. (Maybe in the car, too. Don't know. Not going to let them drive me anywhere.) So glad I never actually dated a teenaged boy. Well, I did, but he was a sophomore in college by then.

I paid for dinner.

She asked for the keys.

I had to repark in the garage, and the trashcan got a bit smushed, but all was well in the end.

I came in and gave her a huge hug. She has not really stopped laughing at me.

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
captainblack
Nov. 10th, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)
LOL.

A certain someone might be amused at your recounting that, "she crawled into the driver's seat, pulling the seat forward ALL THE WAY"...

LOL I say. Again, I say LOL.
katharine_b
Nov. 10th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
Oh god. I don't mean to laugh at your pain, but -- I actually went "HA" when I read the "terrier" bit. I have been trying (very desultorily) to learn to drive stick since we bought our crappy old Saab almost a year ago, and I may need to forward this to T. so that he can understand that he is not alone in experiencing being the only competent human in the car.
merriehaskell
Nov. 10th, 2010 12:54 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm definitely laughing at myself, and would be disappointed if you all didn't join in.
splash_the_cat
Nov. 10th, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)
I would find your freaking adorable out too, but I know I am seeing my future down the road, so will limit my mocking. :)
merriehaskell
Nov. 10th, 2010 12:55 am (UTC)
You've got potty training to get through first. I think I can say to that: "be grateful it's only poop."
ann1962
Nov. 10th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
I'm about 6 months from this, so I sympathize.
(Deleted comment)
asakiyume
Nov. 10th, 2010 01:38 am (UTC)
LOVED this. Driving with a llama. They are so pretty, with their big eyes and long necks, but behind the wheel? Yeah. And LOL capuchin monkey and raccoon!

Important child-training things, like toilet training and driving, I handle by closing my eyes and saying, "Okay, when I open my eyes, I want you to be toilet trained /driving safely, understood?"
merriehaskell
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC)
Llamas, right? I mean, I love llamas. But they are just not equipped to drive my car!
apis_mellifera
Nov. 10th, 2010 01:44 am (UTC)
As long as you're not hanging on to the Jesus handle, pressing the invisible brake for all you're worth, and screaming about how she's going to get into an accident and KILL US ALL, you'll be doing better than my mother did when I learned to drive.

(It's really no wonder I had to take driver's ed twice...)
dendrophilous
Nov. 10th, 2010 02:17 am (UTC)
Only her second driving lesson? You are very brave.
merriehaskell
Nov. 10th, 2010 02:20 am (UTC)
That's when they are given their magic pink slips that say they're allowed to drive with a parent. The instructor theoretically won't give them one if he doesn't deem them ready for it.

IN THEORY.
dendrophilous
Nov. 10th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)
I think I spent weeks driving around a big empty parking lot, and then on the nearly empty roads on the college campus (it was summer), before my dad let me drive home.

Though maybe that was before I took the official class. I am now old and can't remember. I know in class they took us on the freeway...
steve_buchheit
Nov. 10th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC)
You didn't reach over and grab the wheel, did you? If not, then you're still the cool parent.

And boys at that age, pretty much automatic. It's the hormones.
merriehaskell
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC)
No, I didn't grab the wheel. I did air-steer once.
mrgeddylee
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:09 am (UTC)
I think I've told you this before, but when I explained learning to drive to Liralyn, it went something like this: "You go to driver's ed, and they teach you the rules of the road and how to parallel park. Then you drive on your own and you don't really know how, so you wreck you parents' car two or three times. Once you have a few accidents, you get a feel for what you can't do, and from then on you're fine."
behindpyramids
Nov. 10th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
this made me go awwwww and lol like crazy.

"Like, you know a llama just does NOT have the experience to be driving you around, so why did I get in the car with a llama?"



and now so much of my mom's behavior when I was learning how to drive makes sense...except I made it worse because I decided she was too mean, so she had to beg me to drive and the screw up the courage to be a passenger.
dichroic
Nov. 10th, 2010 08:17 am (UTC)
I had the opposite experience. After I moved away and got my first car (stick, which I did not know how to drive at hte time - the saleswoman actually drove it to my apartment for me, and then I spent the whole next morning doing circles in a parking lot) my parents came to visit. Mom wanted to try it, not having driven stick since her own teenage years - so I let *her* do circles in a parking lot, and then she returned us half a block to my apartment and promptly drove it into one of the poles that held up the shade over the covered parking.
nancyfulda
Nov. 10th, 2010 10:43 am (UTC)
Alas, my little monkey-llama-terrier-raccoons are likely to be at the wheel in less than a decade. I hope I can weather it all with as much aplomb as you do...
beth_bernobich
Nov. 10th, 2010 12:01 pm (UTC)
Terriers! *wipes tears of laughter from eyes*

I was fine riding with our son while he finished up driver's ed and accumulated the necessary 30 hours behind the wheel before he took his test. We did country roads, city roads, one of the smaller highways, parking lots, etc. And this was all with a stick shift.

But I did have to hide in a dark room and hyperventilate when he took the car out ALL BY HIMSELF for the first time, and ON A BUSY HIGHWAY. No make that the junction between TWO BUSY HIGHWAYS.
nipernaadiagain
Nov. 10th, 2010 12:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reminding me my craziest experience during learning to drive.

As I do not live in USA, so I did not learn to drive before being close to 40 and it was hard. As I am a person who should not drive, just that the world has changed around me and now driving has become something most adults should know how even here.

But I digress.

So I was doing these laps in the open space and it was not going especially well, when another car drove to the clearing to do some laps also. They faced me and I was sure I had flipped my lid from stress, as there was a big shaggy dog driving the car!

When I stopped hyperventilating and took better look it turned out that the reason to do some test driving was that these people had apparently bought a car from UK. The dog WAS sitting on the side I expect driver to sit, but it was NOT driving!

What a relief it was to know I had not been seeing hallucinations - shaggy-dogs driving, indeed!

Also - my youngest will have his driving test this this Friday. But as I am a bad driver (usually using public transport), I expect him to be better than I am and it is him who cannot bear to ride with me, not the other way around.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 10th, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
Such a good mommy.

Also:

"Booyah! That's child-rearing!" LOLZ4EVER

Lawrence
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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