05:38:06 pm on
Saturday 16 Dec 2017

Baby Drive My Car
Jennifer Flaten

A long time ago, okay, sixteen years ago, a nurse handed me two squalling little bundles. After signing on the dotted line, I was ready to take my twins babies out for a spin.

Before you have a child or, perhaps, after, if you are a procrastinator extreme, you read the manual. No matter what manual you read, even Dr Spock, it will contain of list of warnings. “No, I do not mean that Spock.” I mean the other Spock, Benjamin, the pediatrician.


No list of advance warnings.

Warnings, such as “at some point this kid will stick something, somewhere it doesn’t belong either on itself or possibly your pet” or “at some point this kid will explode, literally.” This is most likely to occur when you are on highway, trapped, with no exit for the next 100 miles.

You know standard Baby 101. The problem is that once you leave the hospital parking lot, your baby starts to depreciate at an alarming rate. It isn’t long before your baby rockets out of baby town and into Toddler Ville. After that, it’s merely a three-hour cruise until they arrive in Teenage Wasteland.

Along with what every else happens in the teen years, the worst is that they expect you to teach them how to drive. Okay, there could be worse things, but if you're a type A-personality, with an anxiety disorder, being a passenger in a car driven by a teen ranks right up there.

To make matters worse, it isn’t just how to drive. It is how to drive so they can pass the driving exam and become a licensed driver thus hurrying their mother into an early grave.

That’s how you find yourself at 7 am driving in endless loops around an abandoned parking lot. As much as you would like to remain in the parking lot, once your kid gets a taste of driving, they will insist on leaving the parking lot.

At that point, it becomes the world versus your vehicle. You begin to see the point of owning urban assault vehicle as your primary car or why you might even research if that could get you a “safe driver” discount because, hey, sometimes the cops auction these things off for super cheap.


How to prep for unprotected intersections.

In order to pass the driving test your kid needs supervised driving time. That means you are the supervisor. Are you really qualified to give instructions on what to do at an unprotected  intersection? Is every man for himself the right answer? If you answered yes, then you’re not qualified.

The driving instructor has a fancy gizmo that allows him to seize control of the car at any moment. You know what you have, nothing. Except, of course, you have an invisible brake and invisible steering wheel that you will clutch and stomp all through your time together.

Or maybe like me, you even have a defibrillator in the back seat, in case you need to use it to get your heart restarted after a near miss. Driving with my kid, I felt as if I were Wonder Woman, not because I have a golden lasso and a rockin bustier, but because I felt like we were driving a freakin’ invisible car!

Like the actual labor itself, you will have zero memories of driving with your kid, but somehow they will have accumulated the experience points necessary to go for their driving test. Now an expert driver will judge how well you taught your kid to drive.


Your kid will pass the test.

You will not know if you should be happy or if you should be sad. If you have one child you will never have to do this again. If you have several children it is most likely you will have a blissful time period between kids when you don’t have to teach anyone how to drive. If you have twins, you will just get up and head to the parking lot at 7am with the other kid.

 

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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