Thursday, January 27, 2011

Speed Limits Revisited

My son has taken a renewed interest in speed limit signs.

A few months ago, I wrote how my wife pointed out a speed limit sign on the road they travel to Kai’s karate class. Kai has a lot of anxiety about being late to places so he is always telling us to drive very fast no matter where we go. On that occasion, my wife pointed out a speed limit sign to explain why she could not go as fast as he wanted her to. He seemed settled by that explanation. For a few days.

But, it wasn’t too long before he had forgotten about speed limits and was again berating us for driving too slowly. Tuesdays are particularly difficult as the time between his swim lesson and karate class is short, so he is especially stressed out.

This past Tuesday, as my wife was trying to get Kai over to his karate class on time, the flashing lights of a police car came up behind her. She was pulled over for speeding.

I’ve often imagined what it might be like if I were to ever be pulled over by a police officer while Kai was in the car. I could easily picture a situation where Kai would be very upset and start yelling at the officer that I was “mean” or a “bad driver.” It’s not farfetched to think that he would say these things to a police officer as he says things like that to us quite frequently when he is frustrated. I imagined being hauled off to jail as I futilely tried to explain the situation.

But, on this occasion, my wife reported that Kai stayed quiet while the officer spoke with her. The officer let her off with a warning that will turn into a ticket if she is caught speeding again within twelve months.

After the officer left, my wife explained to Kai why they were pulled over. She was speeding, she said, and that is against the law. He cannot yell at her to drive faster anymore, she told him. He understood, he said.

The next day, as they were driving to his after-school activity, Kai helpfully pointed out every speed limit sign that they passed. When I say “helpfully,” of course I mean “enough to drive you crazy.”

"It’s 35 now, Mom.” “You have to slow down to 30.” “Go 55.” “Watch out; it’s 25."

So now, in place of the back-seat driver that he used to be, we have a back-seat cop. Hmmm, I guess that is an improvement.


  1. Glad to hear your wife was let off.
    Maybe Kai has found his vocation!!

  2. Hah, I wouldn't want to be pulled over if Kai were a traffic cop. He'd be a real stickler for the rules. 1 mph over the limit? Go to jail!

  3. My son still tells us about speed limits sometimes. He, for a while, was concerned about the gasoline level and the distance we could cover with it...until I said I was only joking when I had said that it was ok if we were to ever run out of gas since all he had to do was push the mini van if we did :)

  4. Ha, ha. I bet he's like a personalized fuel gauge indicator.


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