On navigating sidewalks and crossing the road

One of the many reasons that Willy and I grew to love our community after we bought the house was the fact that the elementary school was within walking distance. The walk is a little over a kilometre, so the lils are technically eligible to ride the bus for the first few years, but we wanted to walk.  So we walk. The walks haven’t always been fast or easy, and on more than one occasion I have walked or biked home with a teary lil person, upset that it wasn’t cold enough or yucky enough for me to have brought the car. For the most part, however, the walks have been great.   I love that we can talk about anything and everything, and that it is just the three of us, or as been happening more and more lately, just the two of them lost in conversation with each other.

The majority of our route is on a busy street, so I am thankful for the sidewalk that is set well back from the street.  As much as I feel safe on the walk, there are times when I get frustrated by some of the people who we encounter.  The teens and adults who don’t realize that they need to share the sidewalk, and walk single file as we pass them, so we end up in the snowbank; the cars that think it’s OK to park on the sidewalk every day, forcing us to squeeze around the back of their car through the exhaust or walk on the busy street to get around them; the people who don’t reign in their big dogs, allowing their behaviour to fuel my lils fear of big dogs…

I take a deep breath and try to explain to the lils that others just might not be aware that they are being rude, inconsiderate, or that big dogs jumping on lil people can be scary.  Instead we focus on the good people, the friendly neighbours, the daycare “families” that are bursting with energy, the family at the street who we look forward to greeting every morning – even though we don’t know their names, classmates that we walk with when we time it right, and our always smiling crossing guard.  Each of these are important parts of our walk.

Lately I have been troubled by the cars that are leaving the ‘hood in the morning.  We cross seven streets in the course of our walk, and most days at least one car comes out from those side streets and turns right onto the busy street. They do it without looking, ignore the stop signs, and are oblivious to the fact that we are waiting to cross.  We have the right of way, but they take it, never seeing us waiting at the corner.  The lils know that they can’t safely cross these streets without me, so even if Woo arrives before Goose and I, he waits.

Woo is always seeking a little bit of independence on the way home. Goose is slow and tired at the end of the day, so he likes to scoot ahead.  Most days I make him wait for us at each street, but I see this as a safe way to teach him to cross safely, so today I let him go farther. He was allowed to go one block ahead, provided that he was careful and obvious in looking all around before crossing one intersection.  He did it flawlessly several times. I was close behind, watching and feeling that he was doing well.

At about the third intersection, a car pulled up as he landed on the corner. Both stopped, and Woo waited.  The driver waved him on, so Woo checked one more time and crossed.  I guess he was walking too slowly, or the driver forgot that there was a small child crossing in front of him, but just as Woo got in front of his car, he started rolling forward. Woo noticed and jumped out of the way, and jumped out of the way, so the car just kept on driving.

I ran up to Woo, who was predictably full of questions.  He was curious about why a driver would be so unsafe, but not terribly upset, or frightened.  I was, and still am both. I can’t wrap my head around why he thought this was OK.  He chose to let Woo go, then apparently changed his mind and decided to roll his very large vehicle towards my son. Woo wasn’t close to the edge of the cross walk, he was right in front of the car!  I wish that I had been closer, but I am not sure that I could have been able to do anything differently.  Thankfully nothing happened to him, but I’ll be keeping him a little closer for the next little while. I need to reassure myself that the rest of the driver’s will watch out for a little boy, learning to cross the road on his own.

Category: life, Lils, Parenting | 2 comments

  • SL says:

    Oh my heart is in my throat! :’(

    That’s really awful! It makes no sense at all that a grown-up would behave that way.

    It makes me want to never let the Things do anything… away from me. I know that is not the answer, but I have a feeling you know what I mean.

    I am very glad that Woo is safe.

  • smothermother says:

    How scary! When the jellybean walks across the street (with me) he sticks his arm straight up in the air so that cars can see him. Something he learned at school when they did bus safety for the bused kids. Might help Woo be a little more visible?


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