Driving under the influence of a 3 year old.
Cj is observant.
He's just one of those kids who pays attention to whatever is happening around him. He notices where we are, who is around, what has changed, and much to my dismay, he usually comments - loudly, as only a preschooler can - on his findings. "Mama, that man is big and gwumpy like a giant!" or "That people is not nice. She don't smile at me."
Yeah, it's good times in the old grocery store checkout line.
Anyway, one of the things he started paying attention to very early was what was happening when we are in the car. At the age of about 18 months or so, he would start yelling "OUCH!" every time the car went over a bump in the road, which, out here in the wilderness where I live, was pretty often.
And it has evolved from there.
If we meet a large car on the street, like a semi or bus or occasionally a Mazda Miata, cj will start to yell "LOOK OUT! LOOK OUT! A CAR IS COMING!!!" in a voice usually reserved for outside only play.
Then a few months ago he asked me "Mama, why that light red?" when we were stopped at a stoplight, so I explained to him that red means stop, green means go and yellow means slow down. RJ begs to differ that yellow means floor it, but it was my teaching moment, so we went with my interpretation.
He has taken all this newfound knowledge, along with the knowledge of what a stop sign is and what speed limit signs are for, and become the world's most observant backseat driver.
It's a ton of fun driving anywhere with him in tow.
It goes something like this:
CJ: "MAMA! LOOK OUT! LOOK OUT! HERE COMES A CAR! WATCH OUT! STOP! STOP! GREEN MEANS GO, RED MEANS STOP! STOP!"
ME: "Cj, honey, could you please not yell? You're making Mama nervous while I drive."
CJ: "RED MEANS STOP! STOP MAMA! STOOOOOOPPPPPPPPP!!!!!"
At this point I usually slam on the brakes, much to the dismay of the people behind me, only to realize the red light in question if 1/3 of a mile up the road.
ME: "Ok, cj, Mama appreciates all the help, but I think I can handle the driving from now on."
CJ: "MAMA! SLOW DOWN!!! YELLOW MEANS SLOW DOWN!!!! LOOK OUT!!! HERE COMES A CAR!!! WATCH OUT!!! OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!"
And so it goes, as I lurch about through town stopping and starting and speeding up and slowing down at the most inopportune times, praying that I won't get pulled over for possible driving under the influence at 9:30am in the Kroger parking lot.
I can see it now: "Oh no, officer, I haven't been drinking, well, not since last night anyway. See my son just told me I needed to speed up and turn left here, so I did. I'm sorry it was so sudden, but he JUST told me."
"Ma'am, are you allowing your toddler to pilot this vehicle? I'm going to need you to step out and place your hands on the hood..."
Yeah, no good can come of that.
But just try driving normally while someone is screaming "LOOK OUT, MAMA!! STOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPP!!!! A CAR IS COMING!!!"
Maybe it's time to invest in some earplugs.