My oldest is testing for her temps in the next few days. I told her, "You can drive home from the exam place!"
Wait! No...hell no, absolutely not.
Actually, my daughter had that thought about three minutes before I did. She hasn't even driven in a parking lot. No way is she driving home at 5:00 in work traffic. Bad idea. Nevermind.
She asked to start in an empty parking lot. Not a school. Kids around here ride bikes in school parking lots. It would suck to run one over on day one. You can see why I'm not too worried, right? She apparently has more sense than I do.
I looked online to get all the details and made a few phone calls to figure out everything we needed to do to get her driving.
The Learner's Permit
I can't remember anything about this except the fact I failed mine the first time. I also failed my driver's test (both parts) the first time - the written part too. And I should have failed the maneuverability part of the test the second time, but I got upset and cried. The guy felt bad for me and passed me anyway. He advised me to never attempt to parallel park. I hope to God he's not still working there.
The trickiest thing about getting your temps is the documentation you have to bring to prove your identity. I lost my daughter's social security card, which is apparently a critical document for getting your temps in Ohio; I lost it ten years ago when I got divorced. And yet I thought maybe if I tried hard enough I could find it in the house. Instead, I found a ten dollar bill, about thirty dollars in loose change, two gift cards I had forgotten I lost, and a car key for a car I still have.
I took my daughter to the social security office after gathering about twenty documents that they may or may not accept to get her a new card. The office closed at 3:30. I got there at 3:50. What business closes at 3:30? We tried it again several days later and got there on time. All they wanted was an insurance card with her name on it. That's it. Why can't they just say that?
We have to pay $450 for driver's school. When I was a teen, driver's ed was a class offered at public schools. I distinctly remember the experience. I'm very short, so I was car #1 in the simulator. More times than I can count, the instructor yelled, "CAR NUMBER ONE, TURN OFF YOUR ENGINE!!" I wonder if they still use simulators.
Driving With Me
In addition to the driving time at the school, I have to sign a paper stating she has driven fifty hours with me, ten of which are at night. I think that's a good idea. I can't remember driving with my parents except for the time my dad let me drive in a parking lot when I was way too young - like ten years old or something completely inappropriate like that.
So I called my mom. She said, no, they didn't get in the car with me. Not even once. I just drove with the instructor (the one that yelled at me) during driver's ed.
I do remember the day I wrecked the driver's ed car into a ditch. The same guy yelled at me, "GET OUT OF THE CAR!" and cussed while attempting to pull it out of the ditch. I remember everyone who had been napping in the back seat, schoolmates of mine, said nothing but looked absolutely terrified. Rightly so.
I want to be a better parent than my parents were, so I went to a site that the driving school recommended, a site that gives tips for parents trying to help their kids learn how to drive.
It said this: If your child feels anxious or frustrated, absolutely do not talk to them about how they are feeling. Don't even let them know you noticed they look nervous.
What? Huh? Is it better to let them hold in their frustration than have them deal with it or for me to try to understand what the child is worried about?
I also had to contact my insurance company. Apparently, my child can drive my car and learn how to drive without having to be specifically insured. Does that make sense? As long as she has her temps and an adult is driving with her, she doesn't need to have insurance and can just use ours. But when she passes her test, we have to pay approximately double what we are paying now, maybe more.
If we want a discount once she gets her real license, we have to print off a 32-page document (seriously), mostly forms we have to fill out. Several pages includes a parent-child contact for driving - not a terrible idea, but I think they should be able to slam that onto one page.
The remaining pages include logs for each of the twenty required parent-child trips where she drives, including her feelings about it. Yes, this does contradict the above rule that we aren't supposed to acknowledge they may have feelings or anxiety of any kind, and instead goes way the heck in the opposite direction toward the point of overkill.
For the insurance company, we have to document her feelings or pay extra. So odd.
Today, she could get her temps if she wants, but instead we are going to touch up her purple highlights so she looks good in her picture. Gotta have priorities, right?
(I suspect she may be a little anxious or she would have asked to do her hair yesterday and test today. But I'm not going to ask. And I'll let her take a pass on documenting that feeling.)