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Just stuff (things on my mind that aren't to do with writing)

Driving with my baby


I’ve done some pretty scary things in my life. Ok, so maybe that doesn’t include wrestling with Margaret Thatcher (although I bumped into her in a corridor once, and that was enough), or being tied to train tracks just before the 3.33 from Paddington is due, but you’ll just have to trust me on this.

Point being, that nothing has scared the bejesus out of me quite so much as teaching my daughter to drive. Although my husband did all the hard bits. After her first lesson, he came back and said with a perfectly serious face, ‘She can drive mostly in a straight line, but hasn’t quite got corners, yet.’

After a week or so, when she had ‘got corners’ I went out with her. And really, she was very good. Her main problem was judging the flow of traffic, and that comes with experience.  My main problem was that she might be 17, but on a quite fundamental level, she is still my baby.


Rationally, I’d quite like her to pass her test, so I no longer have to be her personal chauffeur. Instinctively, the last thing I want is for her to pass her test and be on her own at the wheel in a thundering lump of metal, with all those maniacs/continental lorry drivers out there cutting her up and undertaking her and probably texting while they’re doing it.

I can’t help it. Every time she meets a new situation and gets slightly nervous, I twitch like a sea anemone on benzedrine, while all the time forcing myself  To Speak Calmly. It doesn’t always work.

‘Which lane do I go in, mum?’

‘This one,’

‘Which one?’

‘The one you’re in!’

‘But you said -‘

‘Never mind what I said. Watch out for that car! No, no you’re doing fine. That’s right. Indicate…..And…..(deep breath)…relax.’

It’s not that I want to roll her in bubblewrap, far from it. It’s just that I realise, more and more, that bringing up children is a series of steps in showing them them how act and think for themselves. Teaching her to drive is one of the final bits of letting go before, in a year or two, she leaves home altogether.

And that is really scary


About elainecanham

I started blogging because I'm a writer, and I thought I ought to. Now I realise that I blog because I lwant to; even when I can't think of much to say. I do a lot of work for local businesses - get in touch if you like my style.


25 thoughts on “Driving with my baby

  1. Just about the thing I’m proudest of is not teaching the boys to drive, but staying calm and encouraging while I did it. Both are now much better drivers than me.

    Posted by simon682 | June 12, 2014, 1:42 pm
  2. Mine range from 44 to 38 (4 of them). Sorry to tell you I still worry, though not about their driving. They now worry about me driving from here to Sydney (500km) though not, they assure me, because of my driving ability but because of the ‘other’ idiots on the road.

    Posted by helen meikle's scribblefest | June 12, 2014, 11:00 am
  3. My 12 year old is BEGGING me to let her behind the wheel. She can’t even drive a LEGO car in a straight line without crashing – it’s terrifying to think of her behind the wheel of a non-virtual vechicle. When I’m in your shoes, I’m going to have to take a big slug of single malt before I get in the car with her! I’m sure you’ll both do fine.

    Posted by Nan Sampson | June 11, 2014, 9:17 pm
    • Daren’t. Firstly it’s illegal here, and secondly I know I have to be alert. No relaxing on the job! (But plenty after)

      Posted by elainecanham | June 11, 2014, 9:34 pm
  4. My daughter is only 6 months old and I already manage to get teary eyed every time I think of her moving out, getting married, not needing me as much anymore.. Excuse me, I need to go find a tissue somewhere

    Posted by Sally | June 11, 2014, 8:46 pm
  5. Teaching them to smoke is even harder. Ahhhh – just kidding.

    Posted by Bruce Goodman | June 11, 2014, 5:05 pm
  6. At least when she learns to drive and leaves home she’ll be able to get back to you when leaves on the line stop all the trains. Kids leaving home is horrible but sometimes kids coming home is worse- right after you converted her bedroom into an office.
    Really scared would be teaching ME to drive !
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Posted by davidprosser | June 11, 2014, 1:07 pm
  7. Can’t think about it. Won’t deal with it. Kids are still little. They will never drive. They will be little forever.

    Posted by naptimethoughts | June 11, 2014, 12:18 pm
  8. Even though I’m not a mother, I feel your pain. Just be thankful that your daughter is going for a car licence, and not the motorcycle licence that I first went for – and passed – at the age of 17. I can only imagine the trauma I put my parents through!

    Posted by Jools | June 11, 2014, 11:58 am
    • Our two elder kids had motorbikes. And that drove me nuts. But it meant that they were pretty clued up when they started driving cars. Rose, on the other hand, never even used to like cycling, so it’s a much steeper learning curve.

      Posted by elainecanham | June 11, 2014, 12:30 pm
    • Ack! A motorcycle? They are never getting on one of those. Of course they are 6 and 3, and will be so forever, so I don’t have to worry about any of that independent thinking or living their own lives crap. I don’t know how you lived through it.

      Posted by naptimethoughts | June 11, 2014, 1:48 pm
    • are living you mean. Just cause they grow up, doesn’t mean you stop worrying about them. Anyway, yours aren’t going to grow up, so your worrying will remain the same!

      Posted by elainecanham | June 11, 2014, 3:15 pm
    • My sister keeps warning me that they’re going to grow up so fast I won’t be able to keep up with them. I’m afraid she’s right… I’ve only recently realized that it gets HARDER as they get older, not easier. It’s so scary watching them- this year it was putting j on the school bus and not knowing what he was up to… All day. Soon it will be that he wants to go places alone… It’s all so scary. I can’t imagine teaching them to drive. Yes, they need to be let go, but I’m just so BAD at it.

      Posted by naptimethoughts | June 11, 2014, 8:30 pm
    • you can’t be that bad, otherwise he wouldn’t be on the school bus every day – he’d be at home in a cupboard. It comes in easy steps, you know. School, going to a friends for tea, a party without you, clubs, discos, cub camp, school trips and really, you don’t spend all your time knotting your hankie and blowing your nose in the curtains. It Will Be OK.

      Posted by elainecanham | June 11, 2014, 9:41 pm
  9. Hey lovely blog….let me follow you….be in youch

    Posted by Love, Life and whatever | June 11, 2014, 11:46 am
  10. “Leaving home ain’t easy” – for both parties.
    Your daughter might be home more often than before – on a pretty relaxed level. 🙂

    Posted by Karen | June 11, 2014, 11:46 am

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