Driving and Signing

I’m always getting honked at while driving with Lilia.  This morning, I got honked at twice, by the same guy. 

See, Lilia sits in the back seat and she can be very chatty.  But the only way we can converse is if I look at her.  And it always takes her a few seconds to gather her thoughts and put them into signs.  She doesn’t quite understand that I can’t look back and drive at the same time.  So whenever the car is stopped at a light or when we’re stuck in the morning traffic jam, I turn around and look at what she’s saying.

You might think it would be easier to have her in the front seat. Although the back seat is safer, it’s not illegal to put an eight-year-old in the front seat here in Japan.  Rules concerning seating arrangements in cars and kids – even babies – are pretty lax.  But when my daughter is in the front, she sometimes kicks out with her spastic leg and hits the gear shift.  Sometimes it’s accidental, sometimes it’s because she’s mad at me.  Also, she invariably starts messing around with my cassette tapes (I know, I’m very retro), the important papers in the glove box, and the temperature controls.  (Heat in the summer!  A/C in the winter!) So I’d rather have her in the back, in her booster seat.

 If anyone has invented any sort of communication device for this situation, I’d like to know about it.


3 thoughts on “Driving and Signing

  1. When we lived in the States when my eldest daughter was born, one of the things given me at my baby shower was a mirror that attaches under the rear view mirror that lets you see a child in a car seat in the rear. Would something like that let you see Lilia signing to you?


  2. No advice, but I hope she’s sitting behind the passenger seat and not behind you — with what she can do to the gear shift, the glove box and the cassette tapes, I shudder to think of what she might do to the back of your head!!! 🙂

  3. I only put her behind me when she’s in a good mood because, yes, she has been known to throw books and such at my head!

    Thanks for the suggestion, Laura. I’ll look into it. The thing is, eye contact and facial expressions are very important in communicating with Lilia, so she needs to see my face. And it’s hard for me to respond. I have to take my hands off the steering wheel in order to sign!

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