Re-enactment of my first time driving
Driving is serious business. My oldest daughter Brianna first got her learners permit when she was 15 1/2 years old. She expected to have her license by 16. She’s nearly 17 and just passed her road test. Early on I set the expectation that she would not get her license until I felt she was ready to drive. She didn’t like that. But now she’s a better driver than 70% of the people on the road around here. Here are a few things that have made the learning process much easier for both of us.
- Start teaching them early. Start explaining traffic rules and signs well before they get behind the wheel for the first time. Don’t just loudly declare “That bonehead needs to learn to drive!” if someone cuts you off. Make sure to explain to your child exactly why that other driver is a moron, and how genius your own driving is.
- Start them off slow. Bring them to a quiet neighborhood or an empty parking lot so they can get a feel for steering, accelerating and braking. Do not pick an area with a BMW or Lexus anywhere in sight. That’s just asking for trouble.
- Make them do simple car maintenance. While this isn’t critical knowledge for them to get their license, you might as well get some free labor out of them for your trouble. I’ve made Brianna change the wipers, pump gas, and get an oil change.
- Resist the urge to scream in horror. When this happens, keep your wits about you. Nothing good will come out of you screaming like a little girl. Don’t embarrass yourself. Calmly, firmly and quickly give precise direction on what you need your child to do. “STOP!” works much better than “SWEET BABY ZEUS WITH A HAND GRENADE – A DEER!”
- Teach them about the dangers of texting and driving. To learn more about how to prevent texting and driving, visit www.itcanwait.com
For additional (and undoubtedly more useful) teen driving tips visit teendriving.com
I have three children. Two girls, and my youngest is a boy. You would think that by your third child, you wouldn’t be surprised by anything anymore. You would be wrong. Especially if your first two children are girls. Boys are an entirely different animal.
Sometimes, there is nothing you can do to prepare yourself in advance for a situation. It usually starts benign enough. A statement or maybe a question. Usually asked in a completely innocent tone. Then it hits you what your son actually said, and for a brief moment you wonder how that child could even be yours.
“Dad, I need the plunger-thingy, and I promise this time I won’t stick it to the wall” – Logan, age 5
If you have a teenage daughter, you’ll probably have to deal with some boyfriends at one point or another. Let’s get real, none of them will be good enough for your daughter. Ever.
The ultimate goal here isn’t to let the boyfriend know you disapprove of his existence. The ultimate goal is to make him think you disapprove of his existence AND are completely unhinged.
Here are seven of my tried and true methods for intimidating your little girl’s jackass boyfriend.
- When meeting the boyfriend for the first time, make sure your wife is there. Let her do most of the talking. Speak minimally, blink rarely. Just stare and grunt.
- Never bother to learn the boyfriend’s name. Bonus points if you call him by the wrong name to his face. Or in front of his mother.
- Never allow them to be in a picture. On occasions where pictures are expected, such as homecomings or proms, make sure to frame it so his head is cut off.
- Make them a card like the one below.
Roses are Red. I’m Brianna’s dad. I’ll rip your limbs off if you treat her bad.
- Within earshot of the boyfriend, casually mention to your wife that you “hope this guy isn’t like the others because I’m running out of places to bury the bodies.”
- When they are in the living room watching a scary movie, make sure to laugh every time a boyfriend meets his end. If it’s particularly gruesome, mention out loud how you’ll have to remember that one for the future. Similarly, if they watch a romantic comedy, continually emphasize how the main female character could “do so much better than that jackass”.
- On occasion you may find yourself in a situation where you will have to toss something to him – like a football, baseball or car keys. Resist the urge to throw at his head. Aim for the crotch instead. He’ll still get the message, and he won’t go running to his parents to show them THAT bruise.
My wife may be taking on more hours at work. Naturally, we had a discussion with the kids and tried to give them incentive to do their chores.
Me: Kids, mom may be increasing her hours at work soon, so we will need you guys to step up and do extra chores and help out around the house more often. The more chores you do, the more allowance you can earn.
Jordan: Dad, you still owe me $5 for my allowance from two weeks ago.
Me: I gave you life. If anything, you owe me $5 for that.
Once when Logan was 4 we were driving along and he noticed a no parking sign.
“Mom, that sign has a P on it, like our last name. What else starts with a P?”
“Princess”, She says.
“Dad, what else starts with a P?”
During a recent road trip we visited Jenny’s brother Dave and her father. We spent a couple of days there, visiting the nursing home where my father-in-law lives, and Jenny’s brother took us around the area. Unfortunately, this was towards the end of our trip, and the kids had enough of being with each other for so long. At this point bickering and annoyance with each other became their default state.
The night before we were going to leave, we went out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. The server brings us our drinks, and hands Jenny her Margarita. She then hands Dave a gigantic, punchbowl-sized Margarita.
“Dad”, Logan says, “Why is Uncle Dave’s drink so much bigger than Mom’s.”
“Well, buddy, I’m not exactly sure…but I think it’s got something to do with mom being a little more used to the way you three behave than Dave is.”
When your daughter bursts through the door with a horrified look on her face, and explains the reason why she is traumatized is that she just witnessed a snake climb up a tree and eat bird eggs out of a nest, your first response should not be to start singing “The Circle of Life”.
Logan, Jenny and I were walking along one day when Logan picked up a stick.
“Mom, what are you most afraid of?”
“I’m afraid of spiders”
“Abracadabra!” Logan said, waving the stick around like a wand and points it at me. “Poof, Dad is now a spider!”
A minute or so later Logan asks me “Dad, what are you most afraid of.”
Last night I hear this thundering crash coming from the shower. I rush to the bathroom door.
“Logan?”, I called out.
“Nothing”, he replied. His usual answer when he’s doing something he knows he’s not supposed to do, but still thinks there’s a chance he can save himself a lecture.
“Are you alright?”
“Ok, well, uh, stop trying to do karate in the shower, you’re going to break yourself.”
A few years ago Brianna had a “boyfriend” and she wanted to meet him at the mall. Of course, instead of dropping her off I brought the entire family along. Jenny and Jordan spent the time shopping, while Logan and I spent the time
following Brianna, um, er, I mean “playing foosball in Sears”.
Logan and I saw them enter a store, totally by accident and through no covert action taken on our part.
I sent Logan in after them with his batman hoodie on, and told him to follow them around the store a little and say “Batman is watching you”.
Instead, he walked up to them, looked the boy straight in the eyes and said: “Batman says no kissing”.
After that, I got him a Dairy Queen Blizzard, because he earned it.