DON’T Let the 5-Year Old Drive the Bus!

Never have I pretended to be the best Mom out there…ummm…or even the most responsible, but after reading this, you just might put me in the Moms that need additional help category!  It’s true I am a Mom who believes in long leashes and who wants my children to experience life to the fullest. It’s also true that I have a very tall, and quite curious five-year old. So the story begins.

With a mild winter thus far, the temperature tonight is just above zero degrees and with the wind howling, it feels a lot colder. Having let the car heat up for a bit, I begin the process of getting everyone out to the car when I stop suddenly, still clutching the door handle, as I realize my car is in the middle of the driveway. Huh?

Slowly I walk outside and down the steps towards the car, parked innocently in the middle of our driveway. As I walk, I look up. I look left. I look right. I look around. As I reach the car, my five-year old son, Conor hops out of his seat on the back left side of the car and walks towards me seemingly without a care in the world. I can hear ”doot-da-doo” tumbling through his brain as if shouting ‘Nothing to see here!’ Hmmm.

It’s quite dark outside, but as the moon shines down, it illuminates the white left bumper that is now hanging off my car. OMG. What could possibly tear the bumper off?  I look at my car. I look back at Conor and suddenly it clicks as I ask him why my car is in the middle of the driveway.  He’s quick to respond with an ‘I don’t know’. Of course he doesn’t. Yet, my car didn’t just drive itself to the middle of the driveway, we aren’t after all housing Christine, the Highlander.

I jump backwards to intercept Conor from going into the house as my partner in crime, Tommy walks out wondering what all the commotion is about.  From a completely new angle, the garage appears out of the darkness behind Conor, its white frame screaming out in a new and altered angle: from straight to diagonal and back a few feet. No shit.



“Conor did you drive my car into the garage?”, I ask dumbfounded.

“No”, he replies innocently.

“Conor?” Tommy asks with more substance as if to shout ‘You tell me the truth right now’!

“I didn’t even touch the steering wheel!”, he screams.

Holy shit, I think to myself, as the realization sinks in. ‘Conor drove into our garage.’ Talk about feeling dumb, scared, and really in awe all at once. Tommy looks at me and gives me the look of pure stupidity as he asks me if I left the keys in the car. To which I reply yes, I do it all the time as we live in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t think our five-year old son could drive, never mind knew to put his foot on the brake to change gears!

Fighting in front of your kids is never a good thing to do. Add on top of that the pure shock that is likely coursing through Conor as he tries to put on a big boy show of bravery, while having been scared out of his mind. I look at him in a new light and truly feel for him.  I can remember loads of crazy things I did as kid and sometimes I wonder how I made it this far, so in my most practiced and patient parent voice, I ask if he is ok and if anything hurts.

“Mom, I had my seatbelt on.”, he assures me.

“WHAT?”, I internally scream.  Oh boy! LOL. After I pause to contain myself and shoot Tommy a look of let’s get him into the house right now because the kid has been through enough tonight, I know what’s coming next and Conor isn’t the only one in trouble on this blistering cold night. But alas, I’ll just stick to this story today. No need for more Mom bashing. :-)

We all know accidents can happen fast.  Conor walked out to the car two minutes before me and Tommy arrived home one minute later. So in the time it took Tommy to walk into the house and me to open the front door to leave, a minute had passed. One minute is all it took Conor to back into our garage and kick the wall off its hinges and take out the right-hand side of the garage door. One minute to put the car in reverse and slam into the garage, to figure out how to move the car into D for drive and then, to put the car perfectly back into park. 1 minute.

Sure the garage is a disaster and it’s going to cost a good chunk of change to fix. BUT, my five-year old is alive and well, he thankfully did remember to put on his seatbelt and equally important, didn’t run over anyone: dog, brother, sister, or himself. This could have been a lot worse and I am so thankful that we came out of this with just minor injuries (ego, garage, car) and perhaps a reinforced reason to never leave my keys in the car and for Conor, a reminder that he needs to be 16 to drive!


Burban Momma

About burbanmomma

In 2014, after 3 years of staying home to help raise our children, I headed back into the workforce doing what I love – promoting live entertainment. Currently the Director of Concert & Event Marketing at the Citi Performing Arts Center, I oversee all marketing efforts for concerts, broadway touring shows and unique community events such as ArtWeek Boston. Before this I was with Feld Entertainment for 10+ years as an Event Marketing and Sales Director overseeing Boston and San Francisco, promoting Disney On Ice, Disney Live, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, and Monster Jam. On top of this, I am a Mom to 3 amazing young children and partner to a fantastic guy – all who I love wholeheartedly! In addition to my paying job and being a Mom, I also volunteer at our children’s preschool heading up their Development Committee, manage the scholarship program for the parenting non-profit group LexFUN!, and also volunteer at Conor’s elementary school through the Big Backyard program. Certainly no day is dull in the Pattom world! xoxo – Burban Momma
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4 Responses to DON’T Let the 5-Year Old Drive the Bus!

  1. Barbara Clemens says:

    Scares me to even think about it! Although I must admit he’s an amazing 5 year old.

  2. Teri says:

    When we lived in Marlborough — I went outside once to all the kids in my minivan, the music was blaring, the car was on and Wyatt was in the drivers seat with his foot on the accelerator. Vroom, vroom, vroom. I figure that they had been doing this for no less than 15 mins or more! I think they burned about 1/4 tank of gas in their escapades. (ok, so maybe it was more than 15 mins) They were having the time of their lives. In our case, the keys were not left in the car, the kids absconded with the keys off the mudroom wall and expertly opened the car doors, inserted and turned said key. Luckily the emergency brake was on — but they did not engage the gears, thank god. Shit happens, luckily it wasn’t bad — but I’m sure he learned more in that few minutes alone than anything you had to say to him afterward!! My kids might not have — I lost my shit in all the rush of adrenaline and I’m sure, to this day, all they remember is taht mommy was mad and a raving lunatic.!! Hang in there — these will be great stories to pull out some day!

    • burbanmomma says:

      Thx T! I think we were about to blow our gaskets and then something in his eyes said – he already scared himself enough…so I’m glad for once I kept my cool! LOL!…as he fell asleep on the couch soon there after without even eating dinner that night!

  3. leahklein says:

    Oh My Goodness! I couldn’t even just write that in short form. I always have had that fear (when we were little our car rolled into the street (almost fully) and I have memories of my mom scrambling to get in the car and pull the brake. She then taught us where the brakes were after that. I almost never leave the keys in the car but as the kids get older I still worry sometimes. Glad everyone is safe and impressed that you were able to keep such a level head. Ahh parenthood!

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