Monday, August 7th, 2006
Car Activity: Touch Bridge Overpasses
This activity is popular with my two-year-old and requires a sun roof. There is a truss bridge over a river near our home. When we drive over it, my wife explains to my daughter that water is below us. I ask myself, “Why tell her? She can’t see the river from her car seat.”
So one day while crossing the bridge, I opened our sun roof and drew my daughter’s attention to the steel beams overhead. They were an instant hit.
I soon took the idea further by pointing outâ€”every now and thenâ€”some of the seven overpasses over the highway we take to get pretty much anywhere in our area. “Here comes a bridge. Look up! There’s the bridge. Did you see the bridge?” It seems dry, but the kid enjoyed it.
Perhaps a week later, on one of our trips, I opened the sun roof and announced that we should try touching one of the bridge overpasses. There are few sights in the world more precious than your child smiling and leaning forward from her car seat with both arms outstretched in anticipation of touching an object impossibly out of reach.
Each time she failed she laughed. Unfortunately, I can easily wave my arm out the sun roof. I get self conscious doing it seven times on a 10 minute drive between home and a nearby town. You know, uhh, because I care what all the other drivers think of me.
Last week, I mixed things up a bit by closing the sun roof.
As we approached a bridge, I talked it up, including a 3-2-1 countdown. As we crossed underneath, she reached with all her might and I slammed my hand noisily into the closed sun roof. She screamed “Doesn’t work!” and laughed uncontrollably. We now do this bridge ritual 14 times on a roundtrip and each time she raises her arms, yells “Doesn’t work!” and laughs.
Bridge touching turns out to be a great mental exercise for me. How much can I say before and after slamming my hand into the car roof over and over again? “Oh, I thought we had it that time! Hey look, this next bridge is lower. We can do it this time! *bonk* Oh, so close! Let’s redouble our efforts. Ready? One. Two. Three. *bonk* Nooooo! We can do it on this next one. I know we can. Pull up your sleeves.”