The other day, we went outside to play, as is our norm. Fiona asked if I could take the training wheels off her bike, and I was just like- yeah, sure thing honey, figuring she’d fall a few times and then we could put them back on and you know, keep on being a preschooler forever.
So we took off the training wheels, and she kind of wobble walked the bike down the sidewalk a ways, then came back. Then we did the whole “mum holds onto the bike and runs down the street like a hunched-over lunatic to keep it balanced but still tries to step back and let child completely wipe out from time to time just so she understands balance and the consequences of a lack thereof” thing. And after a few laps of that, she asked me to put the training wheels back on, “so I can go super fast again, Mama.”
And I thought well, that was fun. I think she’ll definitely be ready by next summer.
Then yesterday afternoon, she came to me again and asked me to take the training wheels off. I may have sighed heavily, saying something along the lines of “I’m not doing this every single time we come out to ride bikes, you know.” and I know I added “Fine, but I am not running up and down the street today. You’re on your own this time.”
So she took off again, wobbling down the road, as I sat and chatted with a neighbor. After receiving some tips from the aforementioned neighbor’s husband, and a bit more practice, Fiona really started to get the hang of the whole balancing thing.
By the time Nate got home from work, the kid was riding unassisted all the way to the corner. And back.
And so of course this morning, she’d barely finished her bowl of Cheerios before she was asking to go outside and ride.
The thing I was most proud of wasn’t even how quickly she picked it up. It was her attitude. She decided she wanted to ride a bike without training wheels, and so she made it happen. When she fell down (and she did fall down), she’d pick herself back up, get right back on there, and go at it again. Once she fell face first into the big rock at the end of our sidewalk, and all I heard was a muffled “Oh, dear.” coming up from the patch of marigolds. And she stood up and took off again. She ran right into a tree down the street, and she picked herself up again, and as she came pedaling toward me with a big grin on her face, she said “Oh, man. That tree was really hard. It really bonked me.”
And as she stood over her bike at the end of the evening, she looked up at me and said “I’m so proud of myself, Mama!”
You should be, baby. And I’m proud of you too.