Backseat reflections

This is not the #WASO post I intended to post this week but for the moment my original post needs to be put on hold but in doing so, it started me thinking about another topic which keeps rearing it’s head lately.

How many times have you set of on a journey or trip to the local supermarket, and found yourself drawn into a conversation you are unprepared for with one or more backseat passengers, AKA your children“.

If you are anything like me, sometimes you are able to successfully navigate the conversation while still maintaining control over your vehicle and your own emotions, but then there are times when you are completely caught off guard and struggle to find the words you are looking for.

Of course there are also the times when your child(ren) knock your socks off with a fleeting moment of self-awareness.

backseatRecently Buzzbee did exactly this on a car journey home after collecting him from Forest school.

Buzz: “Mummy, do you know. I think I might be quite funny”

Me: “I think you are. You make me laugh all the time”

Buzz: “I didn’t mean that kind of funny.   I know I am ‘funny’ and can make pretty girls laugh but I meant, I am weird” (this was one of those moments when I was glad that I was driving and he was sat in the backseat and couldn’t see my heart sinking and tears pricking my eyes)

Once I regained composure, I returned to the conversation.

Me: “I am curious. Why do you think you are weird”?

Buzz: “Don’t worry mummy I don’t think it is a bad thing. I know I am different to other children. I mean I sometimes think of things differently to other kids my age”

Me: “You are definitely one of a kind Buzz and life is never dull with you around but I am wondering what has made you suddenly think you are funny”

Part of me was a tiny bit afraid to hear his answer but ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’

Buzz: “Nothing really. It is just some of the other boys wanted to dig holes today, climb lots of trees and talk about WWE wrestlers, and they were happy with just doing this and I liked doing it with them but when we were digging I was imagining what amazing treasures I may find or wondering if I will find a prehistoric fossil in the mud. I love climbing trees but I wanted more – treehouses, forts, and ways to get things from the ground into the trees. Oh and when my friends are talking about wrestlers it is not enough. I want to be the wrestler and sometimes I get too rough”

Phew!!! The conversation continued and I would like to think I managed to respond and support him while he reflected on his day – at least I believe I had and by the time we arrived home he was happy to hop out of the car and go on with his afternoon as if we had never had the conversation.

Many years ago during our preparation course, the course leader attempted to prepare us for the unexpected backseat narrative/questioning and while at the time I didn’t see it was of huge importance and had ‘rose tinted’ glasses on about how we would have ‘cosy chats’ and positive ‘bonding times’ on our car journeys and that there would be nothing to it – I would be a ‘normal parent’ but there is nothing normal about some of the conversations I have had with each of my boys at several points over the years, but each and every one of these are important and offer an window into their internal world.


4 thoughts on “Backseat reflections

  1. I think most of the big conversations seem to come at unexpected times. Ours are usually in the shopping centre, generally asked at high volume. I learned from working with teens that side by side or back seat conversations are often the most productive. I thought your responses were fab and I loved the depth of colour and imagination that Buzz has in his world. He sees things that others would miss. I hope that imagination will get to be appreciated and run free for the world to see.

    • Thank you. The boys’ usual favourite time for a deep and meaningful is while we are walking Beedog across one of the local meadows and they are walking a few feet in front of me (talking into the wind). Buzz’s curiosity and imagination has always amazed us. Buzz hides his curiosity most of the time with anyone other than close family members but the staff at his forest school have not only gained his trust but they actively encourage him to let his curiosity guide him, in a safe environment and with appropriate support. Today I have collected him to be told he has begun stage one of his treetop ‘utopia’.

  2. Alice and Nicola are just coming up to their third birthday. Sometimes it is when they are talking to each other that gives Ella and I get the biggest insight into their lives.

    • Buzz is very reflective. As for Waxy, well I think the phrase goes ‘like getting blood out of a stone’. He will not volunteer stuff but often you know something needs says because of the leakage in his behaviour and usually I can manage to get the ball rolling without him feeling we are connecting.

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