THIS IS HOW FOUR PEOPLE DRIVE A CAR AT THE SAME TIME
By Victor Uyanwanne
The fifth anniversary of my marriage is still some five months away. Yet within these few years of being married to my beautiful wife and having two lovely kids, I have had several experiences in my family interactions that I consider great.
As a great-dad-wanna-be that I am, I always enjoy the company of my nuclear family members. Apart from the time we spend together at home, it’s always a wonderful experience whenever occasions demand that we go out together, especially, in the same vehicle.
Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation. — C. Everett Koop
As Dale Cooper observed, “Family road trips are a great way to escape the daily grind. Taking your kids on a trip will provide them with an unforgettable experience, but a long drive can put a strain on the family. Saddled with short attention spans, children don’t always behave well in small spaces for long periods of time.”
Apart from a few instances, I have not really taken my family on a major road trip around the country. However, our regular intracity travels in the same car are enough eye-opener…
This is not a post about any road trip, but one that gives a word about how the four members of a young family all drive the same car at the same time.
To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while. — Josh Billings
We own a Toyota Camry car. Being our only car, it serves as our means of necessary mobility. The other alternatives being to call a taxi or use other means of public transportation.
By default I am the authorised driver of the family car. But more often than not, I have three other ‘assistant drivers’. There is nothing wrong in having assistant drivers. The only problem is that all four of us drive (or at least attempt to drive) the car at the same time.
I use the car alone whenever I have to do personal runs. My wife uses it too. That makes us two authorised drivers for the car.
But on family outings, we are usually four drivers in the said car – the others being my two energetic boys, Best and Newman. Believe me, they are ‘drivers’ in their own rights too. Smiles!
Going out together in the family car gives us a room for family interaction away from the home setting. But it can be stressful sometimes having two restless boys to manage on the go.
How easy would you find it to control two restless infants who do not really like to be controlled? Parents in the house, how do you cope in this regard? I would really like to have you share your experiences.
I think Melanie Radzicki McManus made some useful suggestions in 10 Ways to Keep Your Kids from Driving You Crazy on a Road Trip. You may want to check that out.
Out of the many experiences we share in the car, the one that makes me deem all four of us as drivers, is the observed roles played by each one in the driving process. One person mans the steering wheel while the rest three somehow find a way to contribute to the driving routine.
Our second child Newman is 19 months old. He is the most audacious ‘driver’ of the four of us. He doesn’t talk legibly enough yet, but by his actions we see what he can do.
Whatever he wants he goes for it without blinking. He even wants to physically take over the authorised driver’s seat from me. Often times without warning, he moves from the back seat to the front to grab the steering wheel.
Whenever he did that, I could see in his eyes, “Daddy let me drive too.” But of course, I would always say to him “please go back to the back seat.”
The third driver is our older boy, Best, who is slightly over 3 years old. Like his younger brother he seats in the back seat too. Although if not for mummy and daddy’s refusal, he would have preferred sitting on the front passenger’s seat and run the shows on the dashboard.
Best has a unique ‘driving’ style and he is definitely easier to manage in the car than his younger brother. He ‘drives’ the car with me through his probing questions; he never fails to asks me questions for any driving maneuver I make that he doesn’t seem to understand.
“Daddy, why are you moving the car backwards?” he would ask whenever I put the car in reverse motion.
“My dear, I am moving back so we can then move forward in the right direction” I would respond.
If I mistakenly drive the car into a pothole and the car experiences a vibration, he would query again, “Daddy, do you want to break your car?”
“No Best, I don’t want to break the car. It’s just that that part of the road is not so smooth …” I would try to explain.
The fourth driver is my beautiful wife. She drives (in the real sense of the word) as the need arises. But by the way I drive, she thinks I am trying to compete with Michael Schumacher on the fast lane. I wish I had that much driving skill!
“My Love, slow down please” she would say, “You are over speeding,” even when my speedometer says otherwise!
At other times, she would be like, “See that big truck ahead of us, please don’t drive us beside it”.
“Don’t worry, I will overtake it by flying over it,” I would tease.