I cannot believe just how much of a contradiction we parents are to our kids. Hypocrites, really. I mean…talk about mixed messages we give them…
For example: Benjamin and I took our bikes to pick up Sonja at her Montessori school today. The way to her school follows along a big lake on a designated bike path, but the path is interrupted by a residential road lined with old trees, beautiful houses, and little parks and playgrounds. The entire distance is about 6 km and takes about an unrushed 20 minutes, one way.
The child I’m cycling with is 5 years old. Sure, he knows the rules o the road, and I’m there reminding him to be diligent whenever we get off the bike path and onto the mostly quiet residential road. There’s occasional traffic, but we’re clearly visible with bright, neon jackets and reflectors on the helmets. But still…I’m a little nervous.
For the majority of the trip, Ben wants to cycle ahead of me. Which is ok, since then I can see him and bark orders at him as I see fit. (Don’t forget to stop at the stop sign! Watch for that pickup truck making a turn!)
Sometimes though, I request he follow behind me. There’s a section of the residential street that becomes quite narrow, and curves around a bend. Then there’s a sharp corner ahead where oftentimes it is impossible to predict if a car is about to enter our line of vision, or not. Plus, to make matters worse, they allow parking on that same narrow strip.
Idiocy, really. Even two cars driving in opposite directions have to practically pull up onto the one sidewalk in order to not scratch each other’s mirrors.
So imagine me cycling along, pulling a bulky bike trailer behind me, and keeping an eye on a 5 year old boy. I tell him:
DON’T PASS ME ON THIS PART OF THE ROAD, STAY BEHIND ME AND KEEP TO THE RIGHT.
I’m yelling this toward him as he slows down to let me pass him. But that’s not the kicker. The kicker is the following statement:
MAKE SURE YOU STAY TO THE RIGHT BEHIND ME, I CAN’T SEE YOU, I DON’T HAVE EYES ON THE BACK OF MY HEAD!
Every child in the history of children knows, KNOWS, that all moms have eyes on the back of their heads. Sure, they can’t SEE those mysterious eyes, but they KNOW they’re constantly being watched. Stalked, even.
Mom sees everything. Even when it’s not apparent she’s watching.
Like I said.