Monday, May 1

Mission ACCOMPLISHED

I've had an embarrassing little secret for the last few years...my kid does not know how to ride his bike. Oh, okay, I'll be honest. Neither of my kids knows how to ride their bikes.

The 'situation' started out pretty normal-like when Eric was around 5. Both kids had small two-wheeler bikes with training wheels and although we have no place for them to ride at home, I would haul the bikes into the back of the van and trek us down to the nearest park to practice. After about 15-20 minutes of riding up and down the bike paths, the kids would get distracted by the playground and the biking would be finished. This continued for 2 summers or so and the training wheels never came off.

Then last summer, finally John and I got desperate and we bought the kids brand new 'big-kid' bikes without training wheels, new bike helmets and the whole she-bang in order to get the kids all excited. It actually worked for the first 15 minutes or so until they realized that the bikes were really too tall making it harder for them to balance, therefore not getting us any closer to our goal. John and I fretted all summer long about it, but every attempt to lure the kids back to the bike paths was met with fierce resistance. The addition of scooters to the family toy bin didn't help matters either.

Fast forward until this spring as John and I once again revisited our particular failure as parents to produce children with adequate balancing skills for this universal ability of bike riding. Our fondest dreams of packing the bikes for our family camping trips this summer seemed in jeopardy. But being the persistent mom that I am, I wrapped up a 'macho-looking' new helmet for Eric's upcoming birthday, told him how much he deserved an early birthday present and presented it to him with a lot of grandeur. Then I announced that since dad was going out of town on a business trip and the weather was too good to waste, we were going on a bike-riding lesson. Neither of the two were overly thrilled with the prospect, but the promise of visiting the playground if they humored mom for a few runs down the bike path changed their attitudes. Caroline even got into the spirit of things complaining that it wasn't fair that she didn't have a new helmet. I quickly agreed that we would run right out and get her one at the first chance.

I am so pleased to report that our little escapade had the desired effect. Without John even being present, I returned home with not one, but two children who can ride their bikes! Eric needed only a steadying hand as he pedaled off for the first time, and he was out of sight for practically the next two hours. Caroline needed a safety net for about 20 minutes until she got her confidence up, but that was okay since I don't have kickboxing on the weekends and needed a run anyway. I could barely get the two of them off the bikes for the rest of the evening. And just to cement their new skill in place, I kept the bikes in the back of the van so they could ride for another hour tonight.

Now that we have successfully gotten over this hurdle, I just need to find a remedy for the sore butts they both have. But nothing can wipe the grin off my face since I can say that my boy learned to ride his bike before his 10th birthday. I just won't add it was 2 days before...

4 of Your THINKS:

mrsbeaver said...

Congratulations to Eric and Caroline!!! And their proud parents. Think of the fun they will have now. We had one kid who never played with his ride on toys as a toddler/pre-schooler, and were suddenly hit with the realization our 7yo didn't know how to pedal!!! We bought him a bike with training wheels, set it up on the porch with catalogs under the training wheels(making a stationary bike) so he could get the hang of pedaling. It worked and I was so relieved! Couldn't believe I let my child slip through this develpomental milestone without noticing!! So I like to tell the kids "There's nothing you *can't* do, only things you haven't learned *yet*" and those are sometimes my fault. It's tough being a parent!

Anonymous said...

Eric and Caroline must be on top of the world right now. It's so nice they learned to ride and I'm sure you will not be able to keep them off their bikes all summer long. Congratulations to all of you!

I remember when Ryan and Lauren were 10 and 12 visiting us in FL over the summer. That's the summer they learned to ride and whenever we needed them, we knew just where to look. We have such fond memories of those nice family bike rides on those summer nights years ago.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I forgot... You must be on top of the world with them too! :o)

- Debbie Stewart

mary ellen said...

Michael just learned how to ride a few months ago and he turns 8 tomorrow. I remember when Kyle learned and he was 9/10 years old. Some kids learn really early, some kids late. If you don't have a good place to ride it makes it much harder. With our big driveway now I think the others will learn much sooner. Tell Eric he looks like a pro!