Many moons ago, as Zeke and Deacon started becoming more aware of the things that go on around them as we drive hither and yon, I started teaching them what the different color lights on a stop sign mean: green means go, yellow means slow, red means stop. I mean, it's never too early to learn the driving basics, right? Right. Well, thanks to these three fellows, driving has become a whole new adventure (you can't actually see Finn as he's still riding backwards, but he is there in the carseat).
Finn likes to keep things interesting by randomly deciding to scream on our way home from places. It usually happens when he's tired and hungry, but wouldn't you know it, as soon as we are in the house, he takes a look around and relaxes and starts smiling as if he hadn't just been screaming his head for the past 10 minutes. He also HATES it when his hat falls over his eyes and he can't see anymore. Thankfully, Zeke is usually more than willing to help Finn out of his hat. I must say, Zeke is usually pretty good about entertaining Finn whenever Finn starts to get upset. Zeke will also direct me to put on "Finn's music" if he notices Finn starting to wind up.
But Zeke also notices when I turn right on red. This has made driving really interesting lately. Since I taught him that "red means stop", he gets quite upset when I make those right turns. And he lets me know he's upset. Whenever he sees a red light, the conversation usually goes something like this:
Zeke: Red means stop, Mom.
Me: Yes it does. Very good, Zeke.
Zeke: You need to stop the car, Mom.
Me: Yes, honey, I am.
Zeke: You wait for the green light now, Mom.
Me: Yes, Zeke. I have to wait for the green light.
Now, whenever I need to turn right, I have started sitting through red lights (even though it's perfectly legal here to turn right on red) because it's easier to sit there then to have this conversation over and over and over:
Zeke: Mom, red means stop.
Me: Yes, Zeke, I'm stopping.
(I check the traffic, making sure no one is coming at us, then I start to make my turn.)
Zeke: MOM! STOP! Red means stop! No turning on red light!
Me: Zeke, it's okay for Mommy to make a right turn (he pretty much knows his right from his left, so this concept is not totally lost on him) when the light is red, as long as no one else is driving this way. I checked, and the road is clear, so I'm turning right while the light is red.
Zeke: No, Mom. No turn on red. No go on red. Stop the car, Mom. Stop the car.
And so on for blocks, until something else finally catches his attention. So I sit through red lights now, no matter which way I'm turning, or how many cars line up behind me.
Let's not forget about Deacon though. Because if getting screamed at by Finn, and scolded by Zeke isn't enough, I have Deacon back there too, doing one of two things. Deacon is either joining in with Zeke about my breaking the law, or, even better, he's back there making sound effects and telling me/other cars/bikes/etc to look out for other cars/us/bikes/dogs/trees/etc.
For example, the other week when we were taking Finn to his doctor's appointment, as I was turning onto the on-ramp for the highway, Deacon was behind me going, "Vrroooom, vroooom, eeeeeerrrrrr!!" (you know, the screeching tires sort of sound). Then, as I was getting ready to merge onto the highway he pipes up with, "Watch out, Mom. Watch out for those other cars, Mom." Yes, Deacon, I am watching out for those other cars. All two of them.
Don't you just love backseat drivers? Who knew it started so young?