It's hard to overstate just how emphatic this child is that he should be the one behind the wheel of my car. It's my own fault. One day I thought it would be cute to let him hold my keys and use the automatic lock button to lock the doors as we walked into the house.
Little did I know then that what I heard as a mere, innocent "beep" was actually the call of the Siren to Ethan, beckoning him to dash mommy's sanity against the rocks.
Since then, I spend a lot of time searching for my keys. Early onset Alzheimers, you ask? No. Early onset boy/car infatuation, more like. Now that he can climb furniture like a monkey, and move various pieces of other furniture (chairs, etc) to facilitate said extreme toddler sport, the only place I can really safely deposit my keys is on the mantel. Given that I forget to do that a lot of the time, I often find myself reaching for invisible keys off of the diningroom table or the table in the foyer. Invisible because my stealth monkey, erm, child, has lifted and absconded with them. Maybe they are between the cushions of the couch, or in his bin 'o Thomases, and once I found them in my laundry basket, but they are rarely where I left them if I dont' leave them at practically ceiling level.
Once my neighbor knocked on my door and asked if our car was having electrical troubles because the alarm kept randomly beeping at odd intervals. Imagine my pride and unabashed glee at telling her, no, the car's electrical system was fine; it was just my toddler standing in the living room window, randomly hitting the "lock" button on my key ring and listening to the pretty music of the Nissan. I have found that since enabling my son to become a public nuisance and noise polluter, I am getting better at putting the keys on the mantel.
While I can admit that my Murano is sloppy second option to Husband's Audi in Ethan's eyes, it is more readily available to him, as it's the car that transports him the vast majority of the time. Therefore, he apparently thinks he's got a better chance with it than the Audi. We've managed to convince Ethan that "daddy's car is sleeping" when he gets home from work, and that he cannot disturb the Audi because it needs its rest to drive Daddy to work in the morning. My car, however, gets no such break because it is always "waking up" to take us places.
It is only in the past few days that the need to beep the locks has blossomed into a dire need to actually be the one behind the wheel. Again, my fault. One day while waiting for Husband to arrive home, Ethan and I were wandering around outside and he innocently (as if) asked to sit in mommy's seat in the car. Foolishly unaware of what lay ahead, I obliged and hoisted Ethan into the driver's seat.
What transpired can only be described as magical. Well, I could describe it a lot of other ways, but from the 2.5 year old's point of view--magic. He found the radio. He found the wipers. And the lights. And the horn.
When I was a little girl, I used to sneak into my father's car in the evenings and mess with all the dials and knobs. I would set the volume on the radio to high, I'd turn on the wipers, I'd put the seat all the way back, and anything else I could think of to give dear old dad a big fat "GOOD MORNING!!!!!" when he left for work in the morning, while the rest of us were still asleep. This, apparently is my payback.
Since that trip to the front seat, Ethan is a boy obsessed and spends much of his day telling me that he NEEDS to drive momma's car. Phrases like, "No, I drive!" and "I need to drive Mama's car," and "I can drive, Mama," spill forth from his mouth any time transportation is required. And the tantrum that ensues upon being rudely relegated to his car seat is unprecedented. The indignation and look of abject betrayal plastered all over his face (predominantly in the protruding lower lip and the furiously knit brows) would be amusing if he weren't so genuinely hurt (okay, though, it's still a little amusing).
It matters not how much I try to explain to him that his legs are too short to reach the gas and breaks, and that he doesn't know how to work the transmission, or you know, read, he truly believes that his life's purpose right now is to drive my car.
Poor kiddo. He's got a long 14 years ahead of him. And so do I.