I started blogging about our journey to adopt our two young boys back in 2017. Some day I may finish the story.
For my first blog post of 2020, I thought I’d share one of my challenges of being a parent to the boys and a 5-year old Labrador called Mickey: crossing the road.
Since the boys moved in 18 months ago, I’ve always encouraged them to come with me on Mickey’s walks. The youngest started coming in a pushchair, and both are now walking, but they still came. It teaches them the importance of looking after another living being and that Daddy can’t always give them his attention.
On our walks, I’ve tried to be a responsible parent and teach the boys the rules of the road. Stop and look both ways before you cross, for example. My eldest has now learnt this and practices it himself (“no cars Daddy”) without me telling him.
Our local estate is generally quiet for traffic, so crossing the road is usually uneventful. As you’d expect, there are times we have to wait for a passing car before we can cross. I’m constantly re-enforcing to the boys that they must wait until the road is clear of cars before they cross.
Which means when someone stops and waves us across the road in front of them, whilst it is a kind act, it does irritate me.
Why, you may ask.
Firstly, it undermines my teaching and probably confuses them. I’ve told them to wait until the road is clear before crossing, but now I’m pushing them across the road in front of this car. The last thing I want is them thinking it’s okay to cross in front of a car, that may not stop.
Secondly, it adds to my stress when I am out walking. If someone waves us across the road, I feel this pressure that I have to be quick so as not to hold up any other traffic. (I’m not joking; one time I’ve had 3 cars waiting for us to cross the road.)
Then just as we start to rush across the road, Mickey will decide a patch of grass growing out the kerb-side is a perfect opportunity for a tasty snack. While I’m pulling him away and over the road, my eldest will have legged it across (despite the numerous times I tell him not to run, just walk!) and my youngest will have walked behind me to try and get round Mickey and is precariously negotiating the step down from the kerb.
Don’t get be a wrong, it is a kind thing for a driver to do, and one I’ve done plenty of times myself. For this reason my opinion may be an unpopular one.
I would politely ask you: please don’t let my kids and I cross the road in front of your car. Unless we’re on a crossing of course! Drive on by and let me choose when to cross; at a time when it is both safe and convenient for us to do so.