Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Reason to remain childless #5,436

Drawing by Mrs. Chica of clawless.

Em got her learner's permit last Friday. The Mister or i I have taken her out driving every day since then.

We started in the large parking lot of an abandoned K-Mart. I think i got whiplash from the way she applies the brakes. After the second day of driving around light poles in the parking lot, i let her drive the 3 miles to our house.

Dear god! The child has no concept of where the edge of the car is. It was 10 of the most terrifying minutes of my life. We even had a small off-road excursion at the top of our driveway.

I feel badly unleashing this terror on other motorists.

Actually, i think she is doing reasonably well. But do you have any idea how scary it is to sit, helpless, in the passenger seat while your child, who does not know what she is doing, pilots a 2000 pound vehicle through the streets?

I will be more than happy to pass her off to the Driver's Ed people. Anyone have any Xanax?

52 comments:

Bob said...

I taught both of ours to drive.

(I still have nightmares.)

I might could scare you up some 'luudes.

Marsha said...

I shall be there shortly.

capacious said...

I'm not helping with the driving learning thing. My parents didn't help me and I'm not helping my kids. Good luck to them. My heart is pumping just reading about it.

I save every single article about teenage boys and accidents to show them when they reach that age. Is that bad?

QT said...

I can only imagine. Practice is the only way to improve - that was us at one time too, wasn't it?

Driver's Ed will help a lot. I can't imagine what types of drugs those instructors must take!

Nancy Dancehall said...

My dad tried to teach me how to drive stick shift once. Once.

Whoa. And there's a lot of water around you too. Just to give you one more thing to worry about. Jeeze, I'm an ass today.

Tell you what. I'll teach her how to drive if you'll come out here and prevent me from roasting a bunch of preschoolers. I'm writing the post now.

Maggie said...

B. is all ready talking about driving. Oh god. I don't envy you at all. Did the fingernail marks stay in the dashboard?

Ms Chica said...

My Mom taught my sister how to drive a stick. During their first outing, Mom made an error in judgement and climbed into the passenger seat with a large cup of coffee. Three minutes and a dozen re-starts later, Mom tells sis to stop the car in the driveway so she can pour out the rest of her coffee, and then off they go, at least tried...

liv said...

Was that a rhetorical question? Of course I have Xanax. It goes without saying. Lots of it. Seriously.

meno said...

bob, send them right over, dude! Or better yet, come on over and YOU teach her.

marsha, i know, prepare yourself!

capacious, if they become typical teenage boys, they won't listen to you anyway.

qt, it was us, once upon a time. And many, actually most of us lived through it.

nancy, i could teach you to drive a stick. I've even had Em try it and it went okay. Roast away!

maggie, fingernail and teeth mark in dashboard and ceiling.

ms. chica, hmmm, Ms. huh. I'll need to edit my post. See how perfect the picture is? No liquids in the car, got it!

Cagey said...

hee hee!

In Kansas, we can get learner's permits at 14. My mother actually started teaching me on country roads a few months BEFORE I turned 14 so I would be "ready" to cart my sister and step-brothers around when I actually turned 14. And she taught me on a stick shift, no less. Ahh, the joys of being the oldest!

I did teach my sister how to drive a stick shift later on, so I know a little bit about the terror of which you speak.

alphawoman said...

I remember my Dad teaching me in the Kroger parking lot!! I remember being in the old station wagon with the three shift thingie on the side rather than the floor. I could not get the vehicle swung around the gate into the swimming pool making a huge swing to the right. Embarassing, Mom had to get out and take over...I never drove that monster again prefeffing the newer station wagon with one of those 350 engins. Man, that car would fly!!

sari said...

I had to ride with my grandmother a few years ago for 45 minutes and with one of my kids in her car.

I never in my life have been closer to absolute terror than those 45 minutes - I was LITERALLY praying the whole time that we weren't going to die.

I think I still have scars from where my fingernails dug into my hands, so I can feel your pain.

Hope the lessons continue SAFELY! :-)

jen said...

it's got to be terrifying. purely.

makes one long for the little house on the prairie days.

Mother of Invention said...

My father wisely passed us off to Drivers Ed for a whole week on March Break...kind of a Crash Course!!!

Caro said...

I am not a good driver. I scare myself sometimes. I'll leave this chapter to L.P. Like I did with the cooking :)

Scott from Oregon said...

The best way to teach a kid to drive is to give them 15 dollars worth of gas, and leave them alone inside the car in an abandoned parking lot. No watching- nothing. Just let them play and figure it all out. Half of the kids' bad responses are a result of being fearful of being observed making mistakes.

Just give them nothing to run into, and let them figure it all out...

save your fingernails for your bubby's back...

egan said...

No Xanax, but I know where you can find cheap beer.

ms chica said...

What can I say, meno? I'm not really concerned with formality, the cat has a speech impediment, and my family refused to accept I kept my maiden name.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

My father gave me one driving lesson which resulted in my jumping out of the car, crying, and running all the way home.

I did much better with the Driver's Ed teacher.

My oldest drove us several hundred miles from her boarding school in CT through New Haven at noon to her orthodontist in Westchester, NY, and only disclosed afterward that she didn't have a learner's permit after all, despite what she had told me about getting it through her school.

It took every ounce of self-control not to breathe heavily while holding the door handle with white knuckles and praying audibly.

luckyzmom said...

My daughter used to say that she learned to drive in a dream. We sent her to Drivers Ed anyway. Later as an adult we learned the truth. She spent a lot of time with a friend who lived with her grandfather and the two of them would drive his big old car all over town (luckily a small town without much traffic).

I learned to drive on the weekends where I 5 was being built in Mtlk Terr by a family friend in a car with a stick. Another family friend taught me to paralell park on our farm road off Hwy 99. He parked two cars on the road with space between them and after some instruction left me to practice. As I improved he would come out and decrease the space between the cars.

I hope you will be able to enjoy having EM drive you around soon!!!

Irrelephant said...

I think my parents taught me the easy way--I learned to drive everything else long before I got near a car. I started on a riding lawnmower at 8, then graduated to a mid 40's IH Super A tractor by 10 (and still own that oil-soaked still-running son of a bastard,) and thence into a late 70's stick shift truck that never left our field. By the time I reached a 'real' vehicle it was a breeze. No more trees to dodge, no cows in the way, and no threat of the pneumatics suddenly giving out, letting the bush-hog go crashing into anything.

Try teaching people how to ride a motorcycle for some REAL fun. *lol*

Lynn said...

My parents lucked out...I took drivers ed and drivers training in school. Then my sister had me drive on a freeway for the first time. (she was one brave soul!). I figure I will start saving my money now to have a stranger teach my kids how to drive...you are one brave mommy...and Em is one lucky daughter.

thailandchani said...

I wonder if some people just drive like that! (Hope not!) D. drives like a teenage boy.. and I'm the one who drives like an old woman!

Something is perverse in all this. I wonder what our driving styles tell....

And what IS Em's actual "driving style"? Too soon to tell probably. :)


Peace,

~Chani

Kelly said...

So how did you get suckered into being the teacher? Man...total rip off!

the moose buyer said...

Every parent goes through that and somn only oldest cousins. Lynn forgot I too shared the experience with both her and Joan.

Now in my old age, I let both of them drive me around.

meno said...

liv, Hell no it wasn't rhetorical. Well maybe. :)

cagey, 14? Oh be still my heart.

alphawoman, i learned on a huge mercury station wagon. That was quite the ocean liner to steer.

sari, i hope you never have to do that again. At least i know that Em will get better.

jen, i wonder how she would feel about a horse and buggy?

moi, a crash course, ha ha! I hope not.

caro, i was wondering where you've been. That's smart of you to leave the driving to others. :)

scott, why not, that's how i taught her to swim, just threw her in the lake!

egan, beer works!

ms. chica, you kept your maiden name, you uppity woman you!

Toni said...

Are you saying that i can't send my boys to you in a few years??

meno said...

hearts, my dad didn't actually instruct me, he just sat there stoically whilst i spun the tires.

luckyzmom, oh the things we learn about later on. That's scary.

irrelephant, a motorcycle? you shut up!

lynn, Em will be going to driver's ed in a month or so, but i wanted her to have some idea what she was doing before that.

chani, i am a much more conservative driver than the Mister. And you're right, it's too soon to tell about Em.

kelly, oh, we are taking turns, believe me.

moose buyer, maybe that's the answer, hire a chauffeur!

toni, as Em would say, Hell to the NOs.

Em said...

Oh you have my sympathy! I hate every moment of teaching a kid to drive. Please god, just let me get out and walk.

urban-urchin said...

i have xanax- but I think I'd get in trouble sending it.

I see the future and I am terrified.

Joan said...

I knew better than to let my folks teach me how to drive. My dad tried to teach me how to ride a two-wheel bike when I was young and that gave me great insight into his abilities as a teacher. Instead, I had the person, who actually taught me how to ride the two-wheeler bike, teach me how to drive a car...my saintly cousin!

DDM said...

My mom taught me to drive by sitting in the passenger seat with an ENORMOUS bowl of popcorn. She stuffed her face for the entire car ride so that she wouldn't be able to yelp or scream. It worked! And my friends had already taught me how to drive.

Princess in Galoshes said...

Mom just admitted this weekend that she was scared of being in the car with me when I learned to drive, but was fine with my brother, who used to drive like an old man!

Harrumph. Me and my impeccible driving record now trump Mr. Brother and his dented police vehicle. ;-)

Bobealia... said...

I think my father nearly had a heart attack when I ran a stop light whilst learning to drive on my permit.

mrschili said...

"It was 10 of the most terrifying minutes of my life."

AHAHAHAHAHA!!! Oh, GOD, Meno! No, seriously, I'm not laughing AT you, because I can see this very scene looming in my own future, but I can TOTALLY hear your tone in that little sentence up there (and I can see you, white knuckled and pressing the phantom break by your feet, jaw clenched and uttering silent prayers).

I'm going to give my kids RIGHT over to the professionals. I know there aren't many things that I'm better off NOT teaching them, but I have the distinct feeling that driving is one of them...

Caro said...

Started working full-time Meno. My hats off to all of the moms and dads out there who manage work and kids and life and being married and breathing air. Wow.

Schmoopie said...

My dad didn't instruct me either. He brought the newspaper along and opened it wide while I was driving around the neighborhood. I did fine, and he didn't have to worry because he couldn't see anything anyway!

Bring Em over to West Seattle and have her try the hills in the stick shift. That is why we are hanging-on to our car, just to make A. have to learn to drive these San Francisco-like hills. :) I am so evil!

Dick said...

You are beginning to see why so many parents pony up the bucks for the driver's ed classes. Pat's 15 1/2 YO grand daughter is chopping at the bit to get her license after her 16th in July and be able to drive the Honda Civic her parents have bought for her. My brother in Spokane actually taught driver's ed in high school. One year.

Mama P said...

This made me cry. I am not looking forward to this day at all. Not the whiplash. Not the driving with the teen. And certainly not the view of K-mart.

Ortizzle said...

Driver's Ed would have been a good idea for me if there had been funding. Parents and partners do not have the stomach for that kind of thing, LOL.

AC said...

Yes, I do know how scary that is. Even though Jenny took driver's ed I still had to do most of the practice and instruction. We have curvy, steep roads back here and I know exactly what you mean about the edge of the car! It was always way too close to the dropoff!

Susanne said...

You know what we're doing here in Germany? To get a driver's license you have to go to classes and then you drive with a driving instructor who has his own set of pedals and mirrors at the passenger seat. No parents involved. They are allowed to drive on the streets only after they have passed the test.

Much better I think.

holly said...

this has always been a true test of parental love and patience, I think. jessica was pretty easy to train, but I worry about Kris, he's NEVER been easy, so I doubt learning to drive will be any different.

I feel for you, I really do.

Sanjay said...

Em will be fine me thinks and so will everyone else. :)

meno said...

Em, it sure feels like walking would be safer.

u-u, yeah, i suppose that would be breaking federal law or something. Damn!

Joan, your cousin rocks! But you knew that didn't you?

DDM, popcorn? How about donuts? Good for your friends. I had a friend who taught me how to drive a manual, much better than the parents.

princess, shows you what mom knows, huh?

bo, i can understand that. Running stop lights can lead to accidents.

mrs.chili, Em will be going to driver's ed, but not for a month or so. But you will still have to let them prectice while you are in the car, so get ready baby!

caro, it's a full plate to do all that. I know, i used to. It was hard.

schmoopie, brave dad! NOT. I will teach her how to drive a stick after she learns to drive, i think the world will be safer.

dick, your brother taught driver's ed? Oh dear god, that would age a person.

mamap, sorry. you have a few years to go though. Make the hubby do it.

ortizzle, but they still have to practice, even with driver's ed. And that's where i come in.

ac, but you lived. I need to hear that right now. :)

susanne, i agree with you. And isn't the age 18 instead of 16?

holly, maybe you can send him off to boarding school, where they will teach him. Just an idea. :)

sanjay, easy for you to say!

Mona Buonanotte said...

I'm getting my Xanax prescription now, in anticipation...yoiks.

Malnurtured Snay said...

Oh god! When I think about the possibility of having kids, this is one of the things that scares me the most: DRIVING!

Tink said...

My Mom REFUSED to teach me how to drive. I had to teach myself. Now I'm the one stuck teaching my brothers...

...and I understand why she refused.

Anonymous said...

Someone somewhere once called me the "anti-opinion" and maybe that was an appropriate description?

Here's the thing....sixteen is usually too young to drive a car. I know, I know. Just saying that outloud puts my life in danger -- but it's such a true statement, folks.

Too bad so many people can AFFORD to have their car insurance go sky-high or they let their sixteen year-old have a JOB (another mistake if it's during school year, but that's another story) to pay for the costs.

I used the cost-factor to keep my kids from getting behind the wheel at that age. Thank God. As freshmen they were hell-on-wheels (pun intended) and by the end of their senior year...they were stable, mature and wise enough to realize what a responsibility driving a motor vehicle really is. They've all told me I was right. Whew. Who knew?

I contend the reason you'd write something like you did is because having that girlie behind the wheel is a mistake. When OUR palms sweat? It's a sign. Cece

Tracy said...

I know I am a bit late to the party here, but I just wanted add my 2 cents.

For years I had my kids believing that 25 was the legal driving age. Then my son's friends at school set him straight and he told the girls. Damn!Foiled again.

However, we have discussed the restrictions that they will have until they are 18 at least, and when a HS kid recently died due to speeding and careless driving we all sat down and had a long talk about it.

But still I live in fear. And they are totally taking drivers ed.

meno said...

mona, yeah, stock up now!

mal. DON'T DO IT. Okay, just kidding....sort of.

tink, you poor thing, you didn't even have to have kids to feel the pain. Oh well, it'll be good practice if you do.

cece, yep, 16 is too young, that's why we had Em wait until she was almost 17. That, and she hasn't been intetested until recently. I listen to that.

tracy, i think 25 is about right! Plus there are some restrictions on the licenses here for the first year. But as you say, it would still be scary at 25.

TTQ said...

who knew K-marts would be good for something...

xanax, lots of xanax, try an anti-psychotic mix..you'll be drooling before long...just pointing and saying "OOOOOOOOOOO PRETTY!" *clapping hands in glee*