Backseat Driver

For many years the Roc rode in the car in complete and utter silence.  I, on the other hand, always talked the duration of the ride until we reached our destination.  On the way home I was usually silent like him, completely worn out.

As time went on and the Roc grew he started talking a bit more in the car.  I would ask things like “Buddy, do you see the police car?!!” and he would whisper “Yes” from the back.  Not much more than that, but he was looking, observing, and absorbing.  I’ve always known more is going on between those ears than could be seen from the outside.  The wheels are always turning in there.

More time went by and he started to say “I see a truck!” or “I see a flag!  I see a flag moving!!!” and I would get all excited and keep pointing things out, trying to keep the connection flowing.  I’ve received many strange looks while sitting at red lights, I guess I’m fairly animated and amusing to other drivers while keeping the Roc entertained.  I don’t care, if it gets the Roc talking, I’ll act like a lunatic.

As always, the Roc is changing with time.  In the past few months a new kind of dialogue has emerged from the backseat.





And none of it in whispers.

“Turn right Mommy, I don’t want to go left.”

“Mommy, don’t run into those trees.”

“Watch out Mommy!  Don’t Do THAT!” (When I happen to push the breaks a little too hard for his liking.)

“The light is green.  GOOOOOOO!”

“No!  Don’t stop the car.  I don’t want to get the mail!”

“We made it!  Good job Mommy.” (While going through a green light.)

“I want to go on the other road.  Take the other road Mommy!”

“No!  Don’t stop!  Keep going!  Move cars!!!”

“We almost crashed.  Be more careful Mommy.” (We were cut off in traffic and I had to slam the brakes to avoid hitting the car in front of us.)

“Oh no, the light is red.  We didn’t make it.” (light turns green)  “Go!  Go Mommy!  Hurry so we can make the next one!  That light is green!  AHHHH!  It turned red!!!!  You will have to turn now so we don’t stop.” (We were actually turning right at that light.)  “That’s better Mommy.  Turn right.”

“Go slow so we don’t crash into any animals.  We don’t want to crash into a deer again.” (We almost hit a deer one night and he is now very worried about it happening again.  Rightly so.  It was scary.)

“Go, go, go!”

“The light turned yellow, that means slow down!” (Yup, and it also means go thru it so you don’t get stuck at a red light listening to your 5 year old scream in the backseat.)

“Watch out for that grass!”

“Don’t crash the car Mommy.”

“I want to drive in the dark.  Make it dark so I can see the lights Mommy.”

“Let’s Go!  Make the car GO!  Faster Mommy!  Push the pedal!”

“The animals come out at night.  Watch out for animals.”

“Be more careful Mommy.”

“I don’t want to go this way!  I want to go THAT way!”

“I can’t see!  That TRUCK is in my way!!!  Arrrgggghh!  Move truck!”

“TUUUURRRRRNNNN!  Go!  Turn NOW!  GOOOOOO!!!  I’m READY to go!!!” (While waiting for cars to pass before pulling out into traffic.)

“Whoops!  We almost crashed.  That wasn’t good Mommy.”

“I want the light to turn GREEEEEEEEN!  Make it turn GREEN Mommy!  Do it!  Do it!  Do it!”

“Go the fast way Mommy!  Turn left!” (We don’t usually take the toll road, which I call “the fast way” but he likes to go that way.)  “We missed it!  Go back!”

“Whoa Mommy!  Don’t DO that!

“Don’t stop and talk to anyone Mommy.  Just go.” (I’ve been known to roll down my window and talk to neighbors.  He doesn’t like that.  Come to think of it, neither does GC.)

And finally today:

“Watch out Mommy!  Don’t go onto that grass.  You will get stuck just like bear gets stuck in his door.” (From the book Bear Wants More.  Bear gets so fat he can’t fit into his den.)

Rereading this it seems that I drive both too slowly and too fast, that I need to pay better attention to my surroundings, and that I narrowly escape crashing my car on a daily basis.  Not so.  I’m a very good driver.  Yes, at one time I was reckless, I drove too fast and I didn’t pay enough attention.  That all changed once the Roc entered my world.  I am very careful now.

I’m a good driver.

Really, I am.

Just ask…well, the Roc is the only one who rides with me…so maybe you shouldn’t ask him.  At least he could tell you that his Mommy will never drive a minivan because according to him those are “old Mom cars.”

Okay, he’s just echoing a phrase that I’ve said.  (So sorry minivan drivers.)  Much like the “homework sucks” phrase GC taught him the other night.

Oh well, it’s all good.  Good sentence structure.  Correct pronoun usage.  He’s letting me know what he wants.  It shows that he can get thoughts out of his brain at a pretty quick speed.  Good language progression all around.  I’ll take it.

Demands and all.

Okay, I’d like a please every once in awhile.

And maybe the volume could be turned down a bit.

That will come.

We’re working on it.


10 thoughts on “Backseat Driver

  1. “I’m an excellent driver”. ~ Dustin Hoffman, Rainman

    We are still mostly in the silence mode. Except for a little bit more frequently now a “Look…” or “I see…”.

    Your post made me smile, because I just KNOW we’re heading there. Just as soon as she can get the words out. She screams bloody murder in the car if I turn “the wrong way”. Like Roc, I’ll just bet she can’t wait to tell me what she really thinks of my driving.

  2. Kim – you crack me UP! I always thought you were a bit on an “anxious” driver who would squak (yell) at other drivers who were not driving to YOUR liking!

    Matthew is ALWAYS concerned about red lights. He thinks we’re going to go to jail. I finally figured out that he’s often times looking at the wrong light, and he thinks that we are the ones going through the red, when actually it’s green for us.

    Matthew still about every (other week or so) asks me why Rocco doesn’t like the new car smell (which should now be gone btw) because “our car doesn’t STINK”!

  3. Oh my gosh, we have the same kid!! I get a lot of directional advice and then complaints when I don’t follow them, LOL! This list is hilarious, gotta love speech therapy, right?

  4. LOVE IT!! Sounds just like my little 5 1/2 yr-old backseat driver. He usually tells me our route and if I happen to go a different way…very unhappy! “Turn left, now right…now go straight towards Philadelphia!” (He reads the route signs to me). We have the luxury of a GPS system and he is entranced by that thing watching “the map.”

    Usually his first words after I get in the driver’s seat are “Get the map!”

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