Goodbye to Distracted driving-I don’t know what it is about having kids, but suddenly all your bad driving habits are thrown out the window. I confess, I was a texter and driver. Not all the time of course, but every now and again when I knew I was being safe, I’d type the occasional text. They say on average someone texting will not look at the road for 5 seconds. That seems insane and incredibly dangerous. Either I believed I was a better texter than that or I was just stupid. Probably a combination of both. But now that I have Bekytt, you couldn’t pay me to text and drive. With my hands that is.
I have found voice text and Siri to be extremely valuable. You don’t have to look at your phone to do it, and you can still let someone know when you are running late because you are stuck in traffic or your baby decided to have a meltdown. Yesterday, I was an amazing driver. All I learned in Driver’s Ed and Defensive Driving (from the military) came to light yesterday. Not only was I driving in the middle lane, assuming it is the safest, but I was scanning my mirrors, staying a safe 5 seconds behind any care in front of me. The only problem with scanning the mirrors is I have one to check on Bekytt as well. Another product that has caused accidents sadly with parents looking at their kids and not at the road. This is something I tried to go without that first week home from the hospital. It lasted only a few days before I was convinced when he was quiet he wasn’t breathing. Almost along the same lines as texting, I decided I could use the mirror safely and I would never look away from the road too long. I decided this would be safer than me freaking out that somehow the seatbelt was choking him and he was slowly passing out without me knowing.
I didn’t know what to expect when we got in the car to leave yesterday. I was hopeful, but had very low expectations. If I assumed the worst, assumed we’d only drive 30 minutes at a time, anything better would be a win. I had ordered roadtrip food (apples, snap peas, gluten free dairy free soy free granola bars and crackers) from Woodman’s online and thought if our first stop is only 20 minutes away to pick up our “groceries” then I at least have a safe spot for our first stop. Bekytt was sleeping for nearly an hour before we left so he’d likely be ready to eat by then. After the wonderful lady brought our groceries to us, he fussed a bit so I took him out of the car seat, changed his diaper and tried to feed him. He didn’t move. He was still sound asleep. I sat there for awhile thinking he’s got to wake up, but he didn’t. After a phone call from my husband, I put him back in the car seat and we traveled another 2 hours without a peep. I was driving extremely careful, hyper aware, but I had to check on him in the mirror because I literally assumed he must not be breathing if he is still sleeping this long. Well he sure was breathing.
He let me know very nicely it was time to eat. I was prepped and ready. The backseat was set up perfectly for a diaper change and feeding. Laundry bag hanging up, blanket and pillow ready for nursing, burp rags stuffed in the seat pocket. Diaper bag perfectly placed. I was proud of my preparation and it worked great! We got buckled back up and headed out for another 2 hours. This was too good to be true. As luck would have it, a great long lost military friend sent me a message that morning that we’d be driving right by her house and if we were up for a stop to let her know! After changing our route, I was sad I wouldn’t get to see any of the friends I had planned on, so this felt Heaven sent! And she lived literally right on the way. Bekytt jumped the gun a little for his nursing needs, but once we got there it was just what we needed to stretch our legs and reconnect.
We have successfully made it past Chicago. I may have had hopes of continuing the drive after our visit, but those were shattered quickly as Bekytt began his nightly ritual of crying for a few hours. My friend soothed him many times as I ate, went to the bathroom, or just took a break, and I had that glimpse of raising him in a commune again. Maybe one made of yurts. I really want to bring something like that to the US, but I digress.
Driving him reminded me of how distracted we have all become in this world. A road trip used to mean playing I Spy or trying to be the first one to complete the alphabet off of people’s license plates. It meant opening the windows and letting the fresh air in. Listening and singing your heart out to some great oldies but goodies. It meant junk food and drive thrus. Road trips were my favorite as a kid because they also lead to long conversations with my mom and brother. It was our best bonding time. We had no choice but to stay in the same room together and good things always eventually came from it. Of course there were the occasional fights with my mom yelling “I’ll pull this car over if you don’t stop. I mean it!” But that is also what made them great. I want that for my son. Ok, maybe minus the old definition of fast food, but I want him to experience the open road. Love to travel and not be locked into a device just to stay quiet on the trip. There were a few points he opened his eyes while we were driving and he was content and smiling at something. I want him to continue tolearn to self entertain at a young age and know how to live in the moment he is in and not be distracted by other things. I want to teach him how dangerous texting and driving is and I don’t even want him to have a phone until college. One of my great college friends never had a cell phone, and I swear this enabled him to embrace the college experience more than any of us. We didn’t lose him because he didn’t have a phone. He didn’t drop off the face of the earth. We just had to plan things with him like “meet me at the front door of the Red Shed at 10:30pm.” Simple planning goes a long way!
I want my son to be the Eric of our graduating class. Not being distracted by devices, enjoying friends, music and life for what it is. I want him to know what a real road trip is and I’d love to start being a good example for him. We are almost half way home this morning, so for the rest of the drive, I vow to not touch my phone and play some oldies but goodies, and maybe even roll the windows down. –Kathryn Kraft, MPT