I’ve come to learn recently, that no matter the fact that they share genes, children are extremely different. It floors me sometimes.
For example, when my oldest daughter was learning to drive, she was so cautious about it. She was timid and careful. She never wants me to correct her. She would carefully hit the gas and slowly proceed and then she would watch carefully and ease into wherever she was going. She’s the kind of kid that will argue with you until she’s blue in the face, even if she knows you’re right. She doesn’t care, she won’t admit to fault. Ever. So, when it came to driving, she was the same, and I would have to be careful what I said and how I said it so she wouldn’t take it as a challenge. God forbid, how much I had to hold on for dear life when she turned right and I would feel like she was about to “flip” the car. She doesn’t appreciate or thrive on authority, and she trusts her own instincts to get her through. It’s pretty amazing to watch. Especially when she realized she could fix something. She would concentrate solely on ways that made sense to her to fix it. My advice wouldn’t work because it wasn’t her idea, but to see her test the waters herself was interesting. She learned best that way.
The other day, I had my middle child behind the wheel for her first time. I thought for sure I knew how she would react to the vehicle, similar to that of her sister. I figured she would cautiously hit the gas, gently tap the brake and learn to trust her instincts like her sister did. I figured I would carefully correct her without sounding like a threat to her inner self. I felt confident, prepared. It helped that we were only in a parking lot, but still I knew what I was doing…
Boy am I a fool. That’s the first time in the past couple of weeks, I’ve come to the realization how different kids are. My middle child apparently depends on instruction and then decides if it is a good idea to listen and take the advice or not. Her confidence is far different from that of her older sister. Which threw me for a huge curveball. It looked something like this:
“Dina, carefully hit the gas pedal. Nice and slowly.”
“I got this, Mom.”
“Why are you looking at the pedals?”
“Mom, I need to see what button I’m pushing.”
“You need to watch the road.”
“Relax, trust me.” (I’m not feeling so relaxed or in the mood to trust).
“Nice and easy, kid.”
It was the moment she turned her head and smiled, the first day with my kid behind the wheel, that I knew she was different from her sister. In the single moment of realization, she ‘pushed the gas button’ and we took off.
“Dina! Turn the wheel! Slow down! What are you doing?”
“Yes, but you need to hit the brake, we’re going to go into the grass! Nice and slowly. Don’t slam it.”
We come screeching to halt. My seatbelt is choking me and my daughter has a proud grin on her face.
“Mom, I did it! Let’s do it again.”
“Uh, nice and slow.”
“Uh, I don’t want to pop a tire, hit a pole, or end up on the lawn of the school.”
“Can we turn donuts?”
“What? No! Absolutely not!”
“Mom, come on, do you know how fun that would be?”
“Dina, you look at your feet to drive. We’re not turning donuts.”
“I don’t think you’re taking this seriously.”
“Yes I am. I’m driving. I can’t wait to drive. I’ve been waiting my whole life for this day. Tell me what to do, anything, and I will do it.”
“Uh, ease your foot onto the gas and when it comes time to hit the break don’t give me whiplash.”
“Got it.” She drives nice and slow. It’s almost condescending. My phone rings. “Don’t answer that, Mom.”
I looked at her confused. “Why?”
“I’m driving. Cell phones are not allowed on in any car that I’m driving. That’s dangerous. A great way to get into an accident. I refuse to die in a car due to ignorance…”
“Dude, you just wanted to spin circles a moment ago.”
“Yes. That’s just fun, not deadly.”
“Mom, we’re going to hit the grass, would you like me to stop?”
“Well next time tell me. You’re the boss.”
I can only imagine what it will be like with my son. I just decided to go into life as if I never know what to expect ever again. Shame on me for thinking I get this parenting thing!