Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pedal to the Metal

We were at Grandma and Grandpa's house for a short visit this last weekend.  I knew it was going to be short.  We planned to leave their house early on Sunday morning so that we would be home in time to watch the Super Bowl.

It usually takes Haley several days to get comfortable at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

She didn't have several days.

I whispered into her ear a couple of times that if she wanted to ride Grandpa's tractor she had better go and ask him.  I knew she wanted to.  Whenever we go to their house she wants to. 

It's a big deal.

Finally I got her to come with me and walk up to Grandpa.  I asked her to repeat after me.  I tried to get her to ask him if she could ride the tractor.  This weekend she was the quietest she had ever been around them.

I think she left her voice in the Yukon.

I ended up asking him myself and then asking Haley to agree with me.

That was when Grandpa reminded me that it was really getting hard to have her ride on his lap because of her long legs.  I had forgotten all about that.  He said "I don't know what we we're going to do."  I reminded him that we had talked about Grandma riding with her.  He said he would try it one more time, but if it didn't work that we would have to talk about it.

He told Haley that he needed to get the tractor ready and then he would bring it around to the house.

We got her shoes and jacket on.  We put on a pair of gloves.  We saw the tractor come around the corner and Haley headed out the door.  Grandpa stopped the tractor.  He got off and put a pair of sound attenuating earmuffs on her.

Grandpa helped her up into the seat.  He adjusted it up for her.  I remembered that he had mentioned that the seat needed a certain amount of weight on it or it would trip the safety switch.  It looked like she weighted it down enough.  He sat on the wheel well on the brake side and tried to explain to her that she could push on the gas pedal with her foot.

She just sat there.

I grabbed my coat and put my shoes on and headed out the door.

I walked around to the gas pedal side of the tractor and lifted her foot up.  I placed it on the pedal.  I pushed her foot just a little bit and the tractor moved forward a few inches.  She took her foot off.  I looked at her face.  She seemed to understand that she had done that. 

I put her foot back on the pedal and pushed her foot again.  She smiled when the tractor responded.  I told her to try it again.  She lifted her foot to the pedal and rested it there. 

Nothing happened.

I told her to push and I motioned with  my hands to push down.  She pushed her hand in the air, just like I had.

I walked up and pushed her foot again.

This time she got it and the tractor moved about two feet before she lifted her foot off again. 

By this time the tractor was almost onto the grass.  Grandpa told her to put her foot on the back pedal.  She didn't move.  I walked up and lifted her foot onto the back pedal and stepped back.  She pushed and the tractor went about four feet backward.  After that Haley was able to make the tractor go back and forth several times. 

Grandpa steered.

Eventually she was able to make the tractor go down the driveway and back with me walking along side.  Every once in a while I would have to remind her to push or to move her foot to the correct pedal, but she was doing it. 

She even lifted her foot off of the pedal when her Grandpa said "Stop."  I let him be in charge of that. 

I was so impressed and so proud.

She still would not hold on to the steering wheel and so consequently wouldn't steer, but I am so happy that we found a way that she can still ride the tractor with her Grandpa.

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