I can just see the whole scene going down at the hospital. "How's my passenger, Doctor?"
"Well, Mrs. Meehan, you prevented your passenger from flying through the window with your arm spasm which is good. But you karate chopped their head off which is really, umm, not good."
Why do I do this wild arm-flinging, and more importantly, is there any way to stop it? I mentioned this on Facebook today and had many people comment how they do this out of a habit that started back in the days when there were no car seats, or even seat belts. I can understand that. I remember, as a kid, just lying around in the back of our neon orange Pinto station wagon. I can see where the MomArm Seat Beat was necessary. In fact, I distinctly remember when gates were first installed at toll booths. My dad was scared the arm was going to come down and crush the car before he had the chance to drive through the toll, so he whipped the coins at the basket and gunned it like he'd just heard, "Gentlemen, start your engines." My sister and I were flung to the back of the car where we were plastered against the rear door, looking much like the bugs on the windshield. But my kids have always been in car seats, so what's my excuse?
On Facebook, it was 99% moms who admitted doing this. I don't know if it's because I only have a couple male friends on Facebook, or if guys simply don't do this. Maybe men think it's the passenger's job to hold on. Or perhaps, they just can't concentrate on both driving and saving their passenger from going airborne. Maybe moms just have more practice honing their puma-like reflexes by wrestling diapers on toddlers, catching cups of milk in midair as they're knocked off the table, and maneuvering over Legos and Barbie shoes like a cadet hopping through tires in an obstacle course.
I guess I'll have to resign myself to karate chopping anyone in the passenger seat whenever I have to stop quickly. It's just one of those mom things, like licking your finger to wipe dirt off your kid's face, or holding out your hand for your child to spit their gum into it.