Thursday, February 6, 2014

I Want a Cloud

I'm cheating.


It's for a good cause. That should count for something, right?


Okay, so I'm non-weight-bearing on my right ankle for 26 more days (not that I'm counting). That's the right ankle. The one that pushes the pedals when I drive. So, by definition I'm not driving. Except that once in a while I am.

There. It's out. Don't tell Dr. DiPreta. 

My new cast is about half the diameter of the old one, so it fits just fine from pedal to pedal in the not-mini van (with the Sienna, Toyota has definitely taken the "mini" out of the equation). I have adjusted the seat so I can use the cast from my knee or hip to put pressure on the pedals with minimum weight on the heel or ankle. It's fine. I feel more pressure on my ankle when I prop it up to elevate it. 

I've ventured out all of twice in the past week. No biggie. I'm not running a cab service. I'm just popping the pressure valve on family relations that come about when duties shift in the middle of a really cold and snowy winter.

So, spare me your judgment. I'm an old man, and I spent a good bit of my life teaching risk management. I'm good.

Now that we have that out of the way, I can relate my drive home with Jay tonight. I picked him up from day care at about 4:30. I had to coax him out to the car with promises of going home to see mommy. Road-tripping with chopped livah (me) wasn't enough. We got to the not-mini van, where I picked him up and stood him on the floor on the back seat. He takes great pride in climbing into his car seat all by himself, and I didn't want to stymie his mojo. Except he had other ideas.

He made a break for the front seat. I caught him just as he was heading through the gap.


"I WANT TO DRIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"






I think he wanted to drive.

I lifted him over his car seat. He arched like the New River Gorge bridge. I half expected him to do a walk-over into the back of the van. The boy can elevate.

While he arched, I slipped my hand through his legs, grabbed the centerpiece of the seat's harness, and waited. 

And waited.

Dum dum dee dum... any time now. You are your mother's child, aren't you?

Finally he made a tactical error. He assumed that since I wasn't fighting him, that he had won.

He relaxed, and I snapped him in. Score.

I dodged a couple of Thomas the Tank Engine books and a bulldozer. He grazed me with a dump truck, but ran out of ammo and it was over. I handed him a sippy cup of Peace Milk. He accepted it, but as the automatic door slid shut , I heard another "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I WANT TO DRIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I crutched around and crawled into the driver's seat. "Sorry, honey, we can't do that yet. Not until you're taller than mommy."


Would you like a banana?


Okay. We needed to work our way slowly down to how we ask nicely for things. We start with a cheery, sweet "Hey Dad!"

Jay: "Hey dad!"

Me, coaching: "May I please have a banana?"

Jay: "Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze?!?!?!"

Close enough. I started to peel it.


We started over. Hey dad, may I have a banana please, etc.etc. etc. Eventually he got the banana.

He spent the next ten minutes showing me how ready he was to drive. 

"Right turn!"

"Stop light is RED! GO!"


"Orange light. Go slow!"

"You still have to be taller than mommy."


We cruised along for a bit, with him listening to Ozomatli and critiquing my driving. Peace was finally moving into our space. I pointed to the western horizon, and said, "See the orange over there? That's a sunset. Isn't it pretty?" It was beautiful. Clouds and jet trails reflected the remaining rays of the afternoon. 

I heard a soft "oooooooooh" from the back.


"Daddy? I want a cloud."

"You want a CLOUD?" 

"Yeah. I want a cloud."

"I want a cloud, daddy." 

"They're beautiful, aren't they? It's kind of hard to have one, though. They're way up high in the sky."

"Up in the air?"

I said "sky", not "air." He apparently knows that more than one word can mean the same thing.

"Yes, honey, in the air."

"Ohhhhhhhhh. Okay. In the air. In the sky."

We spent the rest of the drive discussing clouds, and air...

...and my driving.

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