Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Come on children, you're acting like children, every generation thinks it's the end of the world

Sometimes parenting calls for teaching your kids important life skills, whether they're old enough to learn them or not. Sunday afternoon we drove out to the dry lake bed so I could teach Tortellini and Togers how to drive. The complicating factor? My car has a standard transmission. Call me crazy, but I firmly believe that everyone should know how to operate a stick. Besides, they're both a lot older than I was the first time I drove a motorized vehicle with a clutch. I was eight. (Hi Mom. I bet you didn't know that, did you?)

I explained everything on the drive out, and demonstrated how to work the clutch and gear shift. Once we got there and they started driving there were a few times I thought my car was going to die out there in the desert. It didn't. And at least we had no traffic to worry about.

Tortellini went first. Her biggest problem was learning how to start out. She killed the car a few times, then just figured that she could get going easily if she peeled out rather than trying to take it slow. Periodically she'd forget to take her foot off the gas when pushing in the clutch, so the engine would rev until I pointed that out, but that was only for the first few minutes.

Togers asked to go second. Apparently that was because he wanted to learn from Tortellini's mistakes so as to avoid looking foolish. His plan seemed to work because he figured it out almost immediately. His biggest problem was recognizing when he was about to hit a bump and slowing down for it. That definitely made me glad we weren't out on the streets. My poor car's shocks.

And of course Mr M wanted to take a turn, so I let him sit on my lap and steer while I operated the pedals. I decided that as long as I have a say in things, that kid will never get his license. He asked if I could drive faster, so I did, then I saw a little look on his face, knew exactly what he was thinking and said, "Don't you dare turn that wheel hard while we're going this speed." He was disappointed, but asked if I could slow down enough for him to do it. That seemed to satisfy him.

By the end of the day, Tortellini and Togers seemed to get it all figured out:

Then we went home. The end.


Amber said...

can you teach me? I still have yet to learn. they looked good out there! :)

steph said...

that is very cool! i learned how to drive stick when i was a teenager, but seven years of taking the subway seems to have erased it all from my mind.....

Dee Ice Hole said...

What a cool place to learn to drive - I don't know for sure but I'll bet your place to learn wasn't that unencumbered.

MJ said...

I think it's easier to learn to drive a standard before you get your license....when it's still illegal. At that point, you'll do anything to be able to drive.

Once you get it, the desire vanishes. yes, I learned how. :)

I also learned how to drive when I was 8...and almost hit a parked car.

Ah, the memories.

Sour Cream said...

I think when Chico was behind the wheel was when I was most nervous.

I like driving though.

Bill From Gainesville said...

Nice fathering right there. I took my daughter out to a huge parking lot behind the Mall and let her drive a tiny bit (she is 12) but I got nervous and only let her drive for a few minutes. Not a lot of deserts in Florida

Native Minnow said...

Amber, sure thing, just come on out and we'll head back out there.

Steph, I hadn't driven one in about ten years before test driving this car. It comes back pretty quickly.

Dee Ice, I learned by driving a tractor in an empty field, so it was pretty unencumbered too. I did, however, nearly kill a migrant worker while doing so.

MJ, I think you're right. I'm hoping to get them out there again to see if we can make things a little smoother still.

Sour Cream, you both were pretty scary.

Bill, parking lots are good places too, so long as it's not Wal-Mart on a Saturday ;-)

Lightning Strikes said...

LOL I love it! And I'm glad they are learning to drive standard! I LOVE my standard!!! And I won't have an auto until I start having kids...and maybe not even then!!!
Looks like they did good though!!! And just think...in a year Tortellini will be LEGAL to drive! ;)

Lindsay-Weaver said...

I agree with you...everyone should learn how to drive a standard. It's a handicap to not know how. I'm glad you're making them learn. Kristen taught me how to drive standard, and she was very scared as well. lol

mindy said...

My dad took me out a single time to help me learn how to drive. It was awful, I think I was crying by the end. Then I decided I was perfectly happy waiting until drivers' ed to learn anything.

That does indeed look like the best place to learn to drive. And I agree that everyone should learn how to drive a standard. They are more fun anyways.