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.