Driving Miss Japolina...

Monday, February 10, 2014

This is a repost of a post earlier this year...

 When my  son was learning how to swim, it seemed like the hardest parenting thing ever for me. Living in South Florida, it is a necessity to teach kids as early as possible. 

    From age one and a half  on,  he took swimming lessons each spring.  I put him in group lessons at the community center. I put him in private lessons at the community center. I had a swim teacher come and teach him at our house. My husband tried to teach him. Year after year, he would cry, puke, almost drown and then finally start to swim just a little bit and only in the shallow end. 

    Native Floridians like me think anything between the end of September and April as "too cold to swim months" so we would stop swimming and by May, pretty much be at square one all over again.  I watched his friends start swimming and become little fish.  It was not until he was 7, when we were on a cruise, that he jumped in and never stopped swimming.  He is now a strong swimmer and has no fear of water at all so I guess it all worked out  fine.   

   My point is  that I thought that teaching him how to swim was really important for his safety and independence AND really, really hard.  What could be harder to teach than swimming to a kid who did not want to swim? Maybe potty training but that was accomplished way before the swimming was. 

     We are now at the driving stage. Well, the learner's permit stage.  It is totally terrifying.  I know why it is biologically very difficult to get pregnant after a certain age. It is because you should not be sitting in the passenger seat of your car with your 15 year old driving if you are older than 55.  I can't even imagine if I was 10 years older trying to sit in traffic with a child learning how to drive without having some type of coronary event.   

As it is, I am trying to yoga breathe and not scream while he is behind the wheel.   I've considered offering a cash incentive to forget the whole driving thing and eventually apply to colleges in cities with great public transportation options like NYC.  He is now almost 16 and it has not become any easier.

    In my "mommy career", I've always found that having mom- friends a year or two ahead of me, has always been valuable. "Don't worry about fifth grade math, they will get it" or "they will stop that biting thing when they are 3" was always much needed and wise advice.  

   Unfortunately, my friends that have kids who are now in the beginning stages of driving on their own are terrifying me. One friend's son has already been in 2 fender benders after only having his license for a couple of months. Another says that she is terrified whenever her 16 year old pulls out of the driveway and only calms down after he returns home.  I often see another friend's sweet little daughter speeding around town in her new convertible  like hell on wheels.  None of this is comforting.  

Is there anything harder than this? Please let me know because I could use a heads up.


tracy@sellabitmum said...

Yeah - totally not ready to have my kids behind the wheel. I think we'll move to a place without the need for cars.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

nope. that's the hardest one. i promise. well unless you have girls and they have babies but boys? that's the one. i never went to sleep at night until they were all home. ever. and now grandchildren are doing the same thing.

smiles bee

NanaDiana said...

LOL-You WILL survive. Not so bad with boys but watching the girls go out on a date the first few times is petrifying. It is just another life milestone! You can do it! xo Diana

Susie said...

Japolina, You will be fine, once your son gets a bit better. It is scary at first. Once my girls got their license, they were a lot of help for me. Going to the store on short errands. I would like for kids to not be driving the best cars so young...fender benders do happen. It can make the insurance higher. Blessings , don't forget to breath.xoxo,Susie

Anonymous said...

Oh the fights I used to get into with my dad, I used to get out of the car and make a pretend effort to walk home - as If I was ever actually going to do that!

DREAMS ON 34th STREET ~ French Bread & Family said...

Perfectly synchronized...teenage driving and peri-menopausal insomnia! I remember it well!
I wish I knew about blogging back then. I ironed everything that came out of the dryer until curfew!
Breathe in, breathe out!
We're here for you!

Kelly said...

Well I have been there. My oldest is now 20. I was lucky to have his dad teach him how to drive and my son was an fast learner. He even learned how to drive stick shift so he could drive the truck that his grandfather bought for him. I remember when he got his license and came home to drive off on his own without anyone else in the car for the first time. My husband and I cried and hugged because we knew he was now independent from us. Even though he was only 16. The ability to drive was a huge step towards not needing us as much anymore. I'm glad to say that he has been a responsible driver although some of his friends have not been. You just have to hope that he is mature enough to handle a car and is a responsible driver. Otherwise, I'd put the brakes on him driving until later! You are still in charge.

angryparsnip said...

I taught all my children to drive.
Took them to empty office parking lots and let them drive.
But last one also took lessons at a DRIVING SCHOOL I had just had my knee operated on and couldn't get in the car.
It is perfect, someone else who is not a family member drives around with them.
Plus have rules. My friends daughter could not drive anyone but her sister in the car, for 6 months. Then a review.
Plus it helps when everyone knows your kids but if seen driving and using the phone, no car.
It worked for her daughter. No radio and no ipod either.

cheers, parsnip

Courtney Sweet said...

oh man, I don't even want to think about it. I still vividly remember riding in cars with my newly licensed friends and nearly crashing constantly. Only one way to learn though. I'm empty of heads ups though since mine is still learning to walk. Good luck!

vivian said...

LOL! I think we've had this conversation before... I think I told you that teaching my kids to drive was one of the hardest things Ive ever had to do. And that I couldnt even let them push my grocery cart in the store, how was I ever going to let them drive my car? LOL! But by the grace of God.. somehow they all learned and all are good drivers now. Im so glad that job is done and behind me! lol.. I just dont think I could do it again!
Good luck my friend!

Jan said...

The most terrifying moment of my life was when my 16 year old son drove solo for the first time after getting his license. Then his younger sister drove solo - more terror. Then they rode in the car together - it never stops! Good luck!!

Mandy Southgate said...

Oh dear... I guess all i can say is there is a difference between being inexperienced (as in a fender bender) and driving recklessly. As long as your son is trying to be careful, he will be okay.

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