Thursday, January 14, 2010

Booster Seat Driver

From the time that Kylie was able to speak, she has demonstrated a keen sense of her surroundings, specifically landmarks when we are driving. At first I thought it was limited to a few of her favorite places, but I quickly realized that she had this ability with nearly every place she had ever visited. For the last year or so, I have really gotten a kick out of it because she will tell me when I miss a turn or that I am going the wrong way if I take a different route. She is finally beginning to understand that many routes can be taken to arrive at the same destination. But what she did today just blew me away.

We were on our way back from our almost daily McDonald's routine (I know, I'm a terrible father, but we both dig the playgrounds) and she asked to go to a specific park. The park she described was a dog park that we hadn't gone to in over a year because, well, it’s a dog park and we don't own a dog. The playground is small, but she insisted. I explained to her that we hadn't been there in so long that I couldn't remember where it was. Without hesitation, she told me that she could tell me how to get there.

Now at this point, I am willing to bet that most parents would laugh it off and continue to their original destination, but I was curious. I decided, what the heck? Worst case, I drive around in circles for a bit and then drive home. So I let her navigate. She started by telling me to go straight. Being the cruel great dad that I am, I had to mess with her test her. I kept asking, "Should I turn here?" She would always answer, "No, keep going straight." Finally, she said, "Turn here. Turn that way.", because we are still working on "left and right" she still tends to point out the direction. Well, I couldn't make it easy for her, so I turned in the opposite direction. She got a bit flustered and told me that I went the wrong way. I apologized and made a u-turn, sure that she would be turned around, but she said, "Now go straight." As soon as we could see the railroad tracks she said, "Ok, slow down, it's coming up."

Now, I drive this road a lot. I drive on it multiple times daily. For whatever reason, some of us "tune out" certain things that we consider irrelevant to our daily routines. I honestly had no idea where the park was, but I was sure that it wasn't on this road. But lo and behold, we crossed the railroad tracks and up on the left I saw the sign for the park. She immediately said, "Turn here, it's right there!". I was flabbergasted and couldn't stop laughing. She didn't understand what was so funny.

This probably isn't that amazing. Kids know what they want and they probably catalogue things like locations differently than adults do. But when you have a 4-year-old successfully navigating a road trip for you, it makes you question your sanity.

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