Driven to Distraction


We all know the dangers of driving while distracted and lawmakers have banned many of the offending distractions. There is one that they have overlooked and I am here to alert the powers that be. They need to start drafting a bill. The “driving while listening to your child reenact a story law” will not only save lives but familial relations as well.

Normally I treasure the time in the car with my kids when we can chit-chat about the day and let the conversation drift along with the miles. However, it all comes to a screeching halt when one of them begins recreating an episode from school or a dream they had; complete with accompanying hand motions.

It usually goes something like this:

Reed: “Mom, we were at recess playing football [or insert any sport here that involves conflict] and I had this great move.  So, the ball, it comes to me and the sun is kind of in my eyes and then I go like this. Mom, are you looking because you have to see how I juked him out.”

Me: “Well, honey I have to keep my eyes on that big truck next to me.”

Reed: “Just for a minute. Just look in the mirror. Here I will move the mirror so you can see me.”

Me: “Do not climb over the seat and touch my mirror, I need it to see if I can switch lanes.”

Reed: “Ok, then I can show you here.”

Reed then stretches the seat belt to its full length and places both hands on the center console to act out the players in this most fabulous, NFL worthy recess move. I have now forgotten where I am going and my name. My brain is mush.

Reed: “So, my thumb is me. And this thumb—mom see this thumb—that one is Kevin and my middle finger is the kid from 6th grade.”

I keep trying to glance down at the center console but I am attempting to merge onto I-270 and Reed’s head is right in the middle of my rear view as he continues to ramble on. I employ the age old tactic of repeating the last word of every sentence to show that I am, indeed, intrigued by the story. I offer an “uh-huh” every now and then as well.  I even find myself driving faster as a means of hurrying to reach the story’s conclusion.

But the story never ends. Ever.

And if they recount a dream, it is even worse because dreams rarely have rhyme or reason when you experience them, let alone when translated the morning after.  So, I struggle to keep up with the twists and turns of the dream while navigating traffic and pedestrians.

The brothers are not very patient about listening to their siblings’ stories and inevitably get lost in their thoughts and blurt out something in the middle.  Then I am forced to drive, listen to the story, glance at the hand motions and give the offending brother an icy stare for being rude.

Then Reed asks, “Shoot, where was I? I hate it when they talk over me.”

I have no idea where I am. I have no idea where he was in the story. Where is a policeman when you need him? Surely I have committed some sort of infraction because I have completely lost track of the road and other drivers.

Sometimes, I am saved by the fact that the narrator gets distracted by a song on the radio, a brother or our arrival at our destination at which time he vows to tell me later.

Later is good. Yes, later when I am not trying to simultaneously wrangle a 5000lb SUV and swivel my head to catch every inflection and motion pertinent to the tale.

After all, what can be more distracting than your child, the one who deserves your attention the most even if they ask for it at the worst times?  I don’t have the heart to tell them that I can’t listen or put them off until later.

And I am interested, I swear. I just can’t do the driving and the story justice at the same time. Thus, the law. Save me and the millions of other moms like me who are lucky enough to have that chatter in the car but not talented enough to operate that car and actively engage in it.





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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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