I’ve never been a good driver, but recently my style has come into its own.
I don’t feel the need for speed. I prefer a gentle meander. Sometimes when I am passenger-ing with Natalie she’ll say “God, I wish that bloody person wasn’t driving up my arse. Can’t they just f**k off?” She drags me out of my daydream with a jolt. I was thinking about unicorns. I do my best to sound outraged: “God, yeah. Some people. Idiot.” I return to pondering what colour unicorns come in.
Spatial awareness is not my forte either. Natalie has tried to teach me to hug the outside white line as a guide, but I can’t help gravitating towards the middle one. Despite the shimmering rattling trucks hurtling in the opposite direction, it feels safer.
And I’m really not keen on right-hand turns. Why turn into all those fast-moving vehicles when a few judiciously chosen left hand turns will achieve the same result?
But yesterday as I was slowly, carefully conquering the Ross Road roundabout at Lennox Head, I realised all my bad driving was in preparation for this moment. This moment when getting from A to B means nothing. There is no B and A can wait. Because this drive is all about BABY SLEEP DRIVING.
And when it comes to Baby Sleep Driving I’m a pro. I give all other cars a wide birth so that I am the master of my own (slow) speed. I trundle with purpose. It’s as if all those years of purposeless trundling have suddenly been vindicated. I’m driving slowly BECAUSE I HAVE A BABY IN THE CAR. I contemplate getting one of those car stickers. “Baby on Board. Bad Driver at Wheel!”
Approaching the Ross Road roundabout I challenge myself on how little I can move the steering wheel and still make it around without crashing. It’s quite a skill, actually. To make a right turn at the roundabout, from the off ramp you drive straight on until you almost hit the opposite side, then you veer gently to the right and drive in another straight line until you almost hit that side and then same again until you eventually turn left. It helps to think of it more of a square than a circle. If you like, you can do some yogic breathing at the same time. Or think about unicorns. The baby will not have moved and you are a genius. To be successful takes determination, bad driving, and a disregard for other drivers; skills I had mastered long ago.
Another key to Baby Sleep Driving is judgment. You have to have good judgement in order to know when to turn around and when to keep going. You can’t keep turning around as this is a high risk activity for waking, however you don’t want to end up an hour away from home when natural waking occurs. Good judgement relies on experience (how long the baby normally sleep drives for) and paying attention. The baby will stir. When this happens, put your foot on it (the accelerator, not the baby). Gravity will force her head back onto the car seat and sleep will resume. However, there are limited opportunities for rapid acceleration, due to other vehicles on the road. And, this will only work so many times before, you know, the child is awake and this whole drive is turning a bit Luna Park. It’s time to go home then.
Above all, Baby Sleep Driving takes patience. I am a patient person. It comes with the territory of being a daydreamer. After all these years, I think I can finally say that I am a GOOD DRIVER, a good Baby Sleep Driver.