On leaving piano festival this week with my 9-year-old daughter, in which she received all superiors and swung her little patootie off on her blues piece thank you, I overheard as she muttered out loud “Geez, there are math problems everywhere. Now we have to solve them on trucks!?!”
Everyone’s got driving on the brain. My 16 year-old, #1 daughter is doing plenty of driving; mostly driving me crazy about wanting a car and doing plenty of pouting if she is not always the one behind the wheel. My 8 year-old, #2 daughter drove me around the entire 18 holes today for the first time. Now she really thinks I’m the best, as long as she gets to drive the golf cart again tomorrow. Unconditional love seems to sprout conditions on a weekly basis these days. Most of my friends and relatives about my age are at some stage in the unleashing of offspring upon the motorized public. Not the least of which includes the worry of and maybe even the reality of that first fender bender. We have no one to blame but ourselves, really.
It all started with the eldest just short of her third birthday. One morning at breakfast, she informed me that she wanted one of those real driving jeeps she’d been admiring at the local toy warehouse for her birthday. Furthermore, she asserted her budding feminine nature by declaring, “Now Dada, there are (with two fingers raised) twoooo kinds of jeeps at Toys R Us, there’s the red one, and it’s… well, just plain. (Thoughtful pause) What I’m trying to tell you Dada is I like the prissy one (the Barbie Jeep).” Of course she got it. And there I was, like a good Dad, the night before her birthday assembling said Barbie Jeep and cussing like a Detroit engineer until 3 am.
She was a little afraid of it at first, but before long she was saddling up faster than Bo and Luke, shifting gears and driving around the yard like she was ready for Indy. Just why is it that we enjoy seeing our young children doing adult things? Well, apparently she was more ready than we knew. A few short weeks later as we were piling back into the van at a rest area on the way to the beach, she very seriously asked if she could drive the rest of the way. The amusing part of the ensuing discussion, which went on for some time, was her persistent, clearly logical and almost indignant insinuation, “How hard could it be? I drive my Barbie Jeep every day!”