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Mommy's Little Police(wo)men

We were driving somewhere yesterday when
Maddie asked out of the blue, “Mommy, are you going 35 miles
an hour?”

Startled, I glanced down and saw that, thankfully, I was going that
speed. “Yep, I sure am,” I answered. “How did you

“Because that’s what the sign says the speed limit is
here,” she said, pointing to another sign as we moved on.

Several months ago I blogged about
Maddie’s newfound concern over my driving skills – her
need to know all the rules of the road, and her anxious,
back-seat-style driving as she watched me yield on green and turn
right on red. I knew it was just a phase, but it still can test
your patience. I’d spent many days explaining to her the
basic rules of road safety, and she’s apparently combined
that knowledge with her budding ability to read and putting those
together to become her own little traffic cop.


We sat in silence for a moment in the left turn lane, waiting for
the oncoming traffic to thin so I could turn on an unprotected
green. There was one car in front of us, and though no one was
coming towards us, the car in front of us was reluctant to get out
there. I restrained myself, still chewing over the ramifications of
Maddie’s back-seat virtual speed-gun skills, when Cora piped

“Hey, guys, the way is clear! Get on out there before the
green goes away!”

Did I mention Cora’s sharing Maddie’s obsession with
policing traffic?

Yes, Cora also joins in this fun game. As we drive along,
she’ll watch the road ahead, scanning for the next stoplight.
As soon as she spies it she’ll begin the running commentary.
“Mommy, the next light is red, you’ll need to stop! Oh,
look, it’s green now, you’ll be able to keep going!
Mommy, you’ve gone through the green light, good job! Oh,
there’s another red up ahead! Red means stop!”

And I just want to pull over the car and shout like a petulant
teenager, “Hey, you think you can do better here? Then STOP

That’s ok – I know it’s part of a young
child’s need to know more about her surroundings. I can live
with that.

I also know they’ll be learning to drive at some point, and
payback’s a bitch.


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