Independence is overrated |

Independence is overrated

It’s a little embarrassing to be the adult who can’t get out of the back seat of a car because child safety locks don’t let you open the door from the inside.

That’s what you get when I’m playing chauffeur. You’d think I’d be proactive and get out to open a door as soon as I stop the car, but the locks are a new thing for me, so I haven’t quite adjusted yet.

In fact, in my new attempts to give Katie some independence through learning new skills, I’m often telling her, “Yes, she can open her own door and get out of the car.”

There may have been more than one occasion that led to an argument, with her telling me she can’t and with me — frustrated — trying to convince her she can.

It wasn’t until last night that it occurred to me that, no, she can’t.

I’m feeling a little foolish now.

But, as I said, there’s a learning curve. Activating the child locks is a fairly new decision in our family.

It happened when the girls — confined to the backseat — began to explore their surroundings.

They found the window control first. It was kind of cute watching the thrill they got from having some control over their surroundings, so I let it go.

I mean, it wasn’t bothering anyone and they were using a little discretion and not abusing their new power.

Then, as we’re heading down First Street, the overhead light flashed on.

That only happens when a door opens, and I knew it wasn’t mine, so we skidded onto the side of the street and I jumped out of the car.

It was immediately apparent that Katie was the culprit — her door was cracked just enough. It was enough to alert the driver but not enough to open.

“Time for child locks,” I thought, but I couldn’t get her door open. It was locked and still attached just enough.

Well, her window was down (the aforementioned new skill), so I just reached through to pull up the knob.

As soon as I reached in, she pushed the little button that set the window in motion — up, not down.

Watching my arm slowly getting crushed kind of freaked me out a little. I screamed and screamed at Katie, which freaked her out enough that she wasn’t sure what to do.

As the pressure increased, I’m in full-blown panic mode yelling “stop, stop!” at the top of my lungs.

I don’t know whether Katie even understood what I was saying, but what must have been a crazed look on my face scared her enough the she jumped backward, effectively taking her hand off the button.

The next thing I hear is, “Is there a problem here?” coming from the sheriff’s deputy who had pulled in across the street.

Here I am with a bright red face, my arm rolled into a window and my daughter freaked out and bawling in the back seat. What do you say in that situation?

“We’re fine, thank you,” is what I managed, knowing full well that was an extremely inadequate answer.

But what else do you say?

So, now when you ride in my car you have no control of either the doors or the windows, nor is touching the switches on the dome lights allowed. Sorry about that, but I do have my reasons.

Want out?

I’d be happy to open the door for you. Independence is way overrated.

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