June 09, 2009
When my daughters first started talking, car rides were a great teaching tool. "What color is the car next to us?" "What is that animal in the yard?" Once they started learning their colors they liked to point out all the colors they saw. Traffic lights became a great way to brush up on colors. "What color is the light right now?" But then we started talking about how red means stop and green means go. I now travel with four backseat drivers.
It started innocently enough. "Mommy the light is red. Red means stop." "Go mommy go. It's green." Then things became complicated. A right turn on red usually elicits this response: "No!!! Mommy the light is red. Red means stop. You are being naughty." I have tried explaining that sometimes you can go when the light is red, but it's a concept they haven't been able to grasp just yet. Sometimes red means stop and sometimes it means go? Too much for a toddler to wrap her head around.
Yesterday Roo pointed out some colorful flags we saw on our car ride. She was talking about how she wanted the yellow one. Then Cakes started yelling "Orange, orange, orange." Hmmm... odd, because there weren't any orange flags. She likes the color orange so I figured she was simply saying she would pick an orange flag if she could. Then she starts yelling from the third row "Mommy, that light was orange. You were supposed to be ready to stop." I've been trying to explain the caution light to them, but this wasn't a typical traffic signal. We had just driven through those flashing yellow/orange lights you sometimes see near fire stations. "Well, Cakes," I tried to explain, "when the orange lights are blinking you need to slow down but you don't have to stop." At this point she had lost interest in the flashing lights and was now focused on the traffic light we were approaching. "Mommy it's red. Stop!!!!" We were a block away. I can't wait to have my revenge as a backseat driver when they have a driver's license!