Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Driving with a 15-year-old

Thought I'd take the opportunity to present you with an important Two-Part Post. I can basically kill two birds with one stone here!

First off, I can show you the brand new car I mentioned in Monday's post. Like I said before, it's not new...but it's new to me. And that's what's important! (I am VERY cheap when it comes to vehicles. For some reason, I've never cared about having the newest car. Sure, I love convertibles and would love it if someone dropped a BMW Roadster in my lap, but... when I'm staying at home with the kids and we are budgeting our money as tightly as we can, I appreciate not having a car payment. So, I basically drive a car until it has 100,000 miles on it or it dies...whichever comes first!)

So...I'm VERY excited about my car. It's pretty and shiny and green. It has leather seats. It has this cool display where it shows what song is playing on the radio. It has a sunroof that allows Sydney to investigate the cloud shapes above her. It has electric windows and locks and lights. And it makes me happy!

Now that was the first part of my post...sharing my new car joy!

The second part of this post is my sharing of some important Life Lessons I wish to impart to all of you. If you have a child nearing the early teens, you might want to start thinking about these lessons. Heck, if your child is in kindergarten, you might want to at least copy and paste them into a Word document for further review later on. They are something every parent will deal with sooner or later...whether they want to or not!

Yep, that's McKenna tooling around in my cute new car. She'll be 16 in March, so she is anticipating her driver's test and the driver's license she will soon have. Gary has been pretty good about letting her drive around in his truck (he took her for her permit test when she turned 15), but I had pretty much avoided letting her drive too much (I had the excuse of an older car that wasn't always reliable to use against her!), but now I have no excuse. Suffice it to say that she was excited as I was when I got my new car!

As we drove around town yesterday, I had major flashbacks to when I was 16 and my mother tried with no success to teach me to drive. I argued and yelled at Mom more in that one hour than I probably ever had before or ever have since. We came home from the disastrous lesson and she handed the keys over to my dad. He took over the job and taught me from then on! So...I'm not really sure that it's even a good thing for me--the Mother--trying to teach McKenna to drive. But I'm going to do my best!

(here's McKenna enjoying the sun in her face!)

So...for your enjoyment and education, I present you with

Cheryl's Top Ten Tips for Teaching a Teenager to Drive

10. Do your best to resist screaming "Watch out for that kitten!!!"

9. Allow her to listen to Kanye West at a reasonably loud rate on the radio, recalling how I myself wanted to listen to Def Leppard in the same manner.

8. Be thankful that you're not teaching her to drive a stick shift (yep, not only was my Mom trying to teach me to drive; she was trying to teach me to drive a stick shift. Not a good combination! Especially when you throw in the fact that we lived in a very hilly neighborhood and stopping-and-going on hills took forever!).

7. Don't use the words "wreck," "fiery crash," or "speed trap" too often during your first real lesson.

6. Try not to hound her too many times with the threats of what will happen (i.e.: No cell phone, No Myspace, No BOYS!!) if she ever lets anyone get into her car without having their seat belts buckled.

5, Don't rely on the Passenger Side Brake. Though you may imagine that it's there, it's really not!

4. Do not bring photos of her in a diaper into the car with you and weep inconsolably about how "I can't believe you're not my little girl anymore!"

3, Do not have a panic attack when she backs out the completely wrong direction from a parking space...or accelerates when she should brake...or forgets to release the emergency brake...or drives ten feet at night before she realizes the lights aren't on. Those things WILL happen!

2. Try to relax and enjoy the process.

and if all else fails....

1. Hand the keys over to your husband and tell him it's his job after all!!

(and, oh yeah, a bonus tip! Let her drive through a drive-thru. I think the highlight of McKenna's day yesterday was driving up to Taco Bell, ordering a taco all by herself, and paying the drive-thru dude. And I didn't even yell too loud when she didn't exactly take the corner around to the pick-up window and then almost hit that big concrete pole! Nope, I was a a Good Mom instead!)


Adrienne said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Great post. I am SO not looking forward to that part of my life! LOL

camport said...

lol! Scary! When I was 15, SC handed out day permits. Meaning, we could drive until 8pm w/o adults. This was all based on a written test.

In my class of 38, 36 had been in a wreck by the end of the year, myself included.

Driving will definitely be taught by the man half of this family!

Peace be with you ;)

~Telah said...

Hilarious! I've got 7-8 more years before we hit the driving stage, but it still isn't far enough away! I dread those days.

~Telah said...

I just read camport's comment. When I was 15, I was dating a guy who was 15 and just moved here from SC. He had a license and drove around here by himself. I thought it was the coolest thing ever to be able to ride around with 15!!!!! SCARY!!

Nina Diane said...

great post Cheryl!
I did not ride nor teach any of my kids.....that was Johnny's job. I was just too scared. I told Johnny......I potty trained em, you teach em to drive!!

Marjolein said... crack me up, this is such a good post!!! My dd is 16, but not busy with driving things.........yet! But I sure won't be the one who teaches her, specially not after reading this...(passenger seat break..wish there was one LOL)

~gkw said...

BWAHAHAHA !!! That's great! No wonder you pulled out the wine when you got home last night!!

Cheryl Wray said...

Adrienne--It will happen sooner than you expect!!! LOL

Camport--Oh my goodness, I cannot imagine 15 year olds driving around without their parents. Scary!!!!!

Telah--Yes, scary!!! I can't imagine the 15 year old boys I know driving; even the 16 year olds are too young in my book! :-)

Nina--Ha ha!! Good argument! I guess Gary and I are tag-teaching her. She drives with both of us, but Gary definitely has much more patience than me!

Marjolein--Yes if only the car had a passenger brake for real. That would make it much better! :-)

G--Haha!! Had to have something to settle my nerves! (No really, it wasn't too bad! She's a pretty good driver!)

Kathy said...

OOOOOOOOO do I remember THOSE days! I think that is when I finished turning completely gray!

With my daughter I couldn't pass it off to the hubby because he was in Korea at the time!

So glad that time has passed! LOL

LOVE your list! ROFL

Congratulations on your new car!

Dettao said...

I so dreaded that part of the teenage years but once it was over and I was able to let them go to their functions on their own, I wondered why I worried so much. I loved it when mine got their licenses. No more 6 am band practice, no morepixking them up from functions at 11 or 12 pm. You will be happy when it's over.

Greta said...

oh yes...this brings back memories but b4 i could get my drivers license i had to learn to drive a stick...yep that's right...i learned on a stick...OY!!!

and not to mention then if came time for my brother to get his license and yours truly had to teach mother said i was enough to handle she wasn't doing it 2 times.... now they blame be for is bad...errrr....good driving

Cheryl said...

I know exactly how you feel. My son is 18 and my daughter is 16 so the memory is still fresh on my mind! I taught both of them. I am still trying to get over the shock! HA HA HA

Ryan said...

OMG!!! I'm having heart palpitations just thinking about J going through the same thing in 3 years!! AUGH!!!

Dawn Bibbs said...

OH're a MUCH better mother than me. I may have to do a post on this very topic myself. Reason being, Jayla...yes, Jayla, my 6 year old will probably be driving before her sister (who will be 23 years old on Friday).

You're GOOD, Cheryl...REAL good!!! :-)

Josie said...

oh my I remember those poor parents..
driving lesson and the drive thru..
what a great mom you are

Anonymous said...

This is just PRICELESS. Love the tips!


Jacquie said...


I have already designated this to be my DH job. I mean he did do this when he had the training school so it is fitting, right? At that time Morgyn loved to hit the passenger side brakes, will that ever come back to haunt her.

Morgyn also said to me this summer after my loooong drive back home

"Hey Mom at 14 you can get a learners permit, I can get one and help you drive home next summer!"

I of course then pinched her and woke her up from her dreamland ;-)

Anonymous said...

That is THE funniest thing I have read today, thank you for the laugh!!!! My son is 15, gulp!

Cheryl Wray said...

Kathy--I am grey ALREADY, but this might just make it greyer!! lol

Detta--You know, you are right! I'm always taking or picking McKenna up from debate and band and winter guard and will be nice for her to be able to get herself to and back from places!

Greta--I also learned how to drive on a stick shift. And I still LOVE driving them!

Cheryl--LOL Glad to see that you survived!

Ryan--Yep..just three years away!!! :-)

Dawn--Why, thank you!! ha! (and, yes, we need to read that story)

Josie--It was so funny that she got such a kick out of going through the drive thru!

Gin--Pretty funny!!

Jacquie--Oh no! lol 14 is TOO young!!!

Heather--Sounds like it's almost time for you to start doing this too!!

Sharmaine said...

That is too funny Cheryl!!!
I am dreading the day we have to do this, and 4 times over means I will be a nervous wreck lol I hope i have the patience you have as my Mum was HORRIBLE to learn to drive with.
Oh and thanks for the Taco Bell photo... wish WISH we had it here... memorys memorys..

Ms.L said...

Hahahaha,what wonderful advice!
You're doing awesome!

I like your new wheels!
We are the same in this family,driving a grand am that's paid off, til it drops.
Do you listen to Dave Ramsey??
His advice helped us pay it off quicker AND we've now vowed to only drive cheap cars with no payments:)

Jeff said...

How fab to end at Taco Bell :)

Sounds like you are suriviving this just fine so far. I hope to see more posts on this as the training continues!

Wendy G said...

That McKenna looks way to cute in that car!! lol I have that happening to me at this moment. Eric is learning to drive. Thanks for the advice...Cute car too!! Huggs

melissa said...

lol! love the pic at the drive-thru ;)

I wish my mom had those tips before she TRIED to be calm and teach me how to drive. oh the memories

Phats said...

hahaha I loved this post, but now I am singing Pour Some Sugar on me!! haha

Does she like the song Stronger by Kanye? Love that song, however I just go around singing the line "you can be my black kate moss tonight" and people give me weird looks.

I will have to remember to come back and look at these if and when Kristen and I have kids

DMB said...

I grew up in Brooklyn, New York where NO ONE I knew had a car or a license, for that matter. My mother eventually got a license and a car when I was in my teens.

She took me out one night and by the end of that first 'test drive', my lessons were officially over.

I didn't try again until I was well into my twenties. I went to driving school. When I finally came home with a license, my little sister said with astonishment,

"They gave YOU a license?"

Soon after that I moved to Ohio with my fiance and I was too embarrassed to tell anyone this was my first car or that I had only just gotten my license.

But they could probably tell, anyway.

Things haven't changed much.

HEWY said...

I'm doing the same thing with my 15 year old. I keep thinking he is going to forgot to brake and I start freaking out. I understand.

Kimberly said...

You are just too funny. I don't look forward to the day my daughter can drive..I think I will be scared to death. Thank goodness I still have six more years.

Danielle said...

Hhahahahahahahah great post Cheryl!!!!!

Kelly said...

thanks for the insight. They grow up way too fast! (in someways and not fast enough in others)

patti_cake said...

She's so pretty. I share your car theory also. I bought my Grand Am brand spanking new but as long as it still runs good and doesn't give me any mechanical problems i'm driving it til' the wheels fall off.
The hubs will handle driving duties. My poor old heart won't be able to take it!

Linda said...

I have something to always. Shawna, my oldest dd learned to drive by ME. Yep... Everytime dad got into the car with her, he wore his motorcyle helmet, and for good reason.... after Shawna had been driving for a while, I allowed her to drive my car home from work one evening....she worked at a grocery store and worked until 9 at night. So I got to the store, she climbed in, 2 minutes later we were airborn. Not kidding at all. She oversteered going out of the parking lot, kept turning right until she hit the gas instead of the brake and accelerated us over two curbs, thus airborning my almost new Tahoe, we landed, hard, back in the parking lot headed for the nearest cement covered light post, you know the kind with the big square of cement at the bottom. a split second before hitting that, she slammed on the brakes and turned us around. Then she gets out of the car crying, shaking, I'm still trying to get the seatbelt off, and she says, I think there's a leak...I look out the door and there is a leak about the size of a basketball, pouring out of my gas tank. The seatbelt came off really fast and we ran.

The fun part of it was when my husband showed up, all the cute firemen surrounded me and Shawna so we'd be protected...LOL. True story.

One of the hardest things I ever did after that was get back in a car with her driving. Took all my nerve....Thanks for letting me share.

Your dd will do fine. Just remember where the gas and brake are honey.

Kingcover said...

I love your new car! It still looks pretty darn good for being second hand. I'll bet it was cheaper to buy over there too (you would get it for less than $30K equivalent over here).
It's scary that kids can legally drive at 16 over there since most of them have barely the height to see over the steering wheel :-P
Stick shifts are the only way to go. Automatics are the lazy way to do it. You have to give yourself something to do other than tuning the radio, eating a chocolate bar, steering with your knees, taking pictures and finding the gas pedal. All of that is before you even stick the key into the ignition!!! :-D

Kingcover said...

"you would NOT get it for less than $30K" ... is what I meant!

Rock'nmama said... crack me up woman! You are my hero...So brave. My son is 2 and I'm giving that job to doubt!

Loreluca said...

You had me in stitches! I can't even imagine HAVING to be in the same car with my boy... or girl... OR baby boy...

Heather said...

Oh good grief! I am terrified of even thinking of Alexis driving! Definitely a job for hubby!!!!!!

Grey said...

Great Post!!!

I taught my son how to drive 2 years ago. It went amazingly smooth. It was his father that kept yelling and gripping the handle tightly. LOL
I am sure when my daughter gets her learners next year... the fun will really begin.
Here we are allowed to learn at 14 and we can get the actual drivers license at 16.