From the first moment we place our fragile infants in their rear facing car seats, we hang on their every coo, cry and breath. Soon, their seats are turned and their coos and cries become first words, messy sneezes and sometimes incomprehensible conversations. Then before you know it, you peer in your rear view mirror and the little innocent baby you brought home (which seems so many light-years away) is giggling and whispering with friends.
In that moment you become the Invisible Driver.
In a concerted effort to be a semi-cool mom, I pretend to be oblivious to the kids while straining to hear the conversation on hand. The amount of information that is exchanged in the car ride is simply remarkable. Almost within minutes, I can access whether I am going to volunteer for this carpool again, whether she/he will be a positive or negative influence on my children and most importantly, whether I will need to pop Alleve once my carpool duties are through. But I am also learning quickly that while I am physically present, the kids really have no idea that I am listening. Here lies my dilemma.
Not that their conversation or topics have ever alarmed me, but once or twice I have been privy to a tid bit of information that compelled me to intervene. One incident in particular, was a conversation where the girls were talking about “nerds”.
“So and So called me a Nerd when I got a 10 on my test.” As the conversation progressed it was clear that my daughter was not pleased with the label and mentioned trying not to get a high grade next time. This is where I had to intervene. Later that week, I slyly brought up the topic of nerds. After much discussion, it was established that the Nerd label should be taken as a compliment. My daughter seemed comfortable with the term and the issue seems to be resolved.
The connection was never made (as far as I know) between my carpool duties and the conversation we had, but I can’t imagine this will last forever. In the meantime, I am keeping my eyes and ears peeled. Today, I can help fix things. Tomorrow, they may catch on.