The Useful Duck!

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sadie learns to drive

I posted most of this over at the Ed Winkle Blog-as I've been invited to guest his blog for him while he is on vacation.

I should have taken photos to document this major event her her life.

I think there is more to this story than just the driving which is what I wrote about at Hymark High Spots.

We got off to a bad start yesterday morning.

Wife is teaching school again this year. She left for work with a note and a list of chores for Sadie. I came in to check on S. and she was grumpy. I went over the list with her and she got mad at me. She told me she could read and she knew what to do. I asked her if she knew what to do then why was she setting a the table crying? That made things worse.

I really gave her a speech as we have been having some problems with anger management on her part.

First, I made her take deep slow breaths and calm down.

I told her she needed to take control of herself and her life and learn how to control her emotions. I told her there was a reason she was upset. She needed to figure out why she was angry and figure out how to change those feelings in to something useful.

She didn't know and then began sobbing.

I told her she needed to stop crying or she would have something to cry about.

She stopped.

I asked her if she had breakfast.


I asked her if she knew what to have for breakfast.

She said yes.

I said, you are tired, you didn't eat breakfast and you don't know what you want to do today.

First eat breakfast, as you eat, or after you eat go down this list of chores, figure out what to do to finish them. Then figure out what you want to do. You've got legos, a movie, books to read, and you can help me.

If I come back in and you are still setting her with no plan, no breakfast, and still crying-then I will have a plan for you.


Then I gave her a hug, said I loved her, and pointed out that when I was her age I had the same problems. I would get angry and frustrated and I still do. I said I had to come up with a plan to deal with these issues and I was telling her what worked for me.

She seemed ok, but I was afraid I had been to hard on her.

When I came in later she was happy. She did her chores and was watching a movie. She thought she would like to come with me for a while, so that is how we led into the driving thing.

I do not know what goes through her pretty little head but she seems to be a good girl.

I am sometimes hard on her when she does the wrong thing, but I always try to show her I am proud of her for doing something well.

So anyway, Yesterday I taught my daughter drive. I needed to move the mower from one end of the farm to the other. Sadie was hanging out with me as her Mom had to start teaching school yesterday.

I looked over at her and said, "You want to learn how to drive?"

She said "ok"

And that was that.

Now she has been setting on my lap and driving for a while. I run the pedals and she steers. A couple weeks ago she steered the swather when we were swathing wheat stubble, so I know she can steer.

I sat beside her and gave her some basic instructions. How to start the truck, how to stop the truck, we practiced slamming on the brakes if there was an emergency. We practiced looking both directions when turning onto a road. I didn't teach her to back up as I'm a forward looking person...Well, that was a bad joke, I didn't want to give her too much information.

Then I got out and let her go for a while. She had a 30 acre field to drive around in before we moved so I let her get the feel of things on her own. The truck is a 1990 Ford F250 4wd with an automatic. I put the transfer case in low so it started out easier and top speed was limited, but I really didn't need to. She is a careful driver.

She was ready when it was time to move. She drove right down the farm road with no problems. At the next field I let her drive some more. It was kind of funny to watch her from a distance. She started and stopped and drove in circles. I could tell she was being careful.

We agreed to keep this whole driving thing low key but she was so proud of herself we had to tell Mom. We broke it too her slowly. To our surprise Mom was cool with it all. We did explain the practice sessions in the big fields, how careful we were, and that the truck was in low range.

Just the same, when it was time for supper, I was very surprised to see my white truck driving slowly down the road. Sadie had driven clean to the other side of the farm, navigating through a mudhole, down a steep hill, and through several turns with deep ditches beside them, all with no problems.

I told her she did a good job. I think the girl must have grown a foot. She is 8 years old.

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