During the first few months of driving to daycare, I’d constantly glance up at the rearviewmirror to see this tiny little face just sitting there, staring blank-faced towards the backseat.
Some mornings Will was content just sitting there quietly until we got to daycare. Then there were the fussy mornings where he’d fuss and cry most of the way there. Turning on the radio was useless on those mornings, as Will would easily drown out all other noise. I’d end up having to reach back and hold his hand in effort to calm him down, which actually worked from time to time. Will also refused to tolerate the sun being in his eyes. The sun had the power to turn a quiet drive into one of the loudest. (I later taught him the trick of holding up a book to shield the sun when this happened; something he occasionally still does to this day.)
When Will was several months old, I noticed he started reacting to some of the different songs I’d play for him. I’ll never forget his first ‘favorite song,’ which I’ll refer to here as “the penguin song.” It’s the first song that made him start dancing in his carseat. As soon as I’d start this song for him, he’d get an ear-to-ear grin, and then he would start moving his shoulders up and down to the beat, and even bobbing his head. Clapping to the music came soon after, and if he saw you clapping along as well, that made things all the more fun for him. Will eventually had his own playlist of about 20 songs or so that he loved hearing to and from school. Listing Will’s favorite songs would not be complete until I include anything and everything sung by The Wiggles. Yes, he loved hearing them in the car just as much as watching them at home.
When Will was about 1 ½ years old, we turned his carseat around to forward-facing. This made the morning/evening rides all the more, how can I say it, “involved.” You would have thought he’d never been in a car before. I remember one morning while sitting at a red light. This was before he was speaking in complete sentences, and only getting out a few words at a time. He started yelling, “Horse! Look! Horse!” I looked all around and saw no such horse. I asked him to point where the horse was, and he pointed towards the front of the car. I looked again and the only thing I saw was the car in front of us. I was just about to write this one off, and the light turned green. As we started moving, I noticed a bumper sticker on the truck in front of us. It might have been the smallest horse I’d ever seen, but indeed, it was a horse.
Soon he was noticing anything and everything, and announcing it at an auctioneer’s pace. One of his favorite things to look for were tractors. Tractors of all sizes and colors. If he noticed one, rest assured, you’d hear about it in short order, and how it was going somewhere to either scoop or dump some dirt. Some other items that have made his ‘watch-list’ over the past three years are birds, boats, horses, cows, ponies, donkeys, stop signs (“octagons”),traffic lights,clouds, & clouds shaped like any of the items I’ve just mentioned. To say Will is an ‘observant passenger’ would be a huge understatement.
Along our route is a construction company. Part of their sign was an actual backhoe “scoop,” painted bright red. Every morning, when we’d get within half a mile of it, he’d start asking where the ‘red scoop’ was (which he pronounced as ‘red coupe’). It became a bit of a game between us, who could spot it first. Once it was within eyesight we’d each take turns yelling, “Red scoop!” (The company recently updated their sign, and replaced the red scoop with something that looks like a giant shield with a sword down the middle of it. We now keep an eye out for the ‘red shield’ every morning.)
This brings us to November 2010, when we gained our new passenger, Mr. Wyatt. Now, when I’d glance up in the rearviewmirror each morning I’d see not one, but two little faces. In Wyatt’s first few months of driving to daycare, Will is still talking pretty much non-stop, taking breaks only to breathe, and Wyatt just sits there, much like Will did at his age. Only Wyatt doesn’t stare blankly at the backseat; he has something much more fun to gaze at – big brother. It’s a wonder Wyatt hasn’t developed a permanent ‘crick’ in his neck from keeping his head turned to the right while in the car. I don’t think Wyatt has begun to notice there’s a world of things to look at outside the car windows, as Will has provided plenty of entertainment thus far.
On mornings when Wyatt isn’t fussy, he’s constantly grinning and laughing out loud whenever Will looks in his general direction. At first Will didn’t know what to make of Wyatt laughing and smiling at him. In fact, Will would quickly turn in the other direction and fake a frown or a scowl, and say something like, “I don’t like him looking at me.” But in the past several months, Will’s definitely grown to enjoy the attention. On the days when he enjoys Wyatt’s attention, he smiles back at Wyatt, holds his hand on occasion, and tries to make Wyatt smile more or laugh harder by making faces or funny noises. When I look up in the mirror and see them smiling at each other, it makes the second half of my drive all the better.
…So for the past three years, about 25 minutes each way, my morning and evening drives have been something I have always looked forward to. Before the boys joined my drives to and from work, it was me that was staring a bit blankly out the window, sitting in traffic, waiting for the lights to change. I have each of them to thank for keeping me entertained, and for helping me take the time to notice everything around me.
I know I’m going to miss having them with me on my daily drives, but I’m even more thankful that we’ve been blessed with the opportunity for them to be at home with Julie full-time until they start school. School. Wow…definitely another post for another