“Okay. How do we get home from here?” I ask as we pull up to a stop sign about four miles from home. P rolls his eyes, looks around, and reluctantly says, “Turn left.”
Much to P’s disappointment, I like to use drive time to prepare him for life. I’ve been doing these kinds of things so long, he thinks they are fun…or used to anyway (now a day rarely passes without him rolling his eyes).
We started playing this game when he was pretty small, three- or four-years-old. I would pull up at the end of the child-care parking lot and ask him which way we should go to get home. Now and then I asked him which street we were on. Every time we came to an intersection, I asked him if we should go straight, left, or right (pointing left and right until he knew left from right).
As he grew older, I played at being silly (“Help me! I don’t know how to get home!”), but I insisted he get us home. Sometimes he would be silly right back and tell me to go the wrong way…repeatedly. I kept going with it until he realized we weren’t going home unless he directed me there.
The practice paid off this fall when a friend’s mom was driving him home from across town during post-Packer game traffic. (FYI, Packers traffic blows). He was able to tell her what exit to take and how to get to our place using an alternate route in about half the time it would have taken. Not bad for an eleven-year-old.
Now we have to be quite a bit farther from home to play the game and he doesn’t think I’m as funny as he once did, but he has one more tool at his disposal while he’s out in the big world without me. He can roll his eyes all he wants, but he’ll know how to get home to Mom and Dad.