Monday, May 2, 2011


There are several major milestones in the life of a child and a parent.

- Learning to walk

- Being potty trained

- The first day of school

- Losing the first tooth

- Learning to ride a bike

Considering the long and difficult process that many of those were for my youngest, I should have known that the bike-riding thing would be tough.

L has one of those tiny bikes, made for toddlers who decide they are too cool for tricycles. She's not shown a whole lot of interest in it and she's still fairly small, so we never worried about buying her anything bigger. A couple months ago, we decided that it was time that she learn to ride a 2-wheeler. She is seven, after all, and she said she was ready. I took off her training wheels and we went to work. After 20 minutes of her screeching in my ear in dramatic terror, I gave up.

Obviously, we weren't ready.

I did refuse to put the training wheel back on, figuring that it would be an incentive to her to learn. K learned when she was 5, but she also had the motivation of a street full of kids who could all ride. She simply couldn't keep up with them using her training wheels, so she had to learn so she wouldn't keep getting left behind. She also didn't spend the whole practice session shrieking in my ear.

Recently, my parents got new cruiser bikes - very cool things that they're bringing with them on their trip to NC in a few weeks and if L wanted to ride with them, she knew she needed to learn 2-wheeling. She begged me to put her training wheel back on, but I had conveniently thrown them away and I told her she wouldn't be able to go fast enough anyway. She HAD to learn.

This morning, she routed me out of bed asking me to teach her to ride her bike. I sent K and L down to the little park up the street to get started while I got dressed. Then for the next 30 minutes, we went round and round the walkway with L going a few feet, then swerving into the grass. We were both frustrated, but at least she wasn't shrieking. After one particularly snarky, grumpy complaint from her, I left her sitting in the grass while she she cried in a temper and I walked back to the big swing and waited her out. Even while I sat and thought out elaborate punishments for her attitude, I had to admire her tenacity in trying to outsit me. She finally had to admit defeat and she picked herself and her bike up and started trying again.

We decided that her bike was a little too addicted to the grass (and she needed to have enough room to learn to ride before having to worry so much about steering), so we went back closer to home where the nice wide street slopes gently down to the cul-de-sac. And what do you know, that kid CAN ride her bike! She proudly rode it up and down the street, learning quickly to get it started and stopped and to steer it around the manhole covers.

She still needs a little work steering it around curves, but she and her sister have been riding their bikes all day, so it won't be much longer. I guess she's proven that she can do it and I need to invest in a bigger bike and helmet for her.

If you'd like to check it out, I made a video of her riding just a few minutes after she figured out that she could do it. It's at

1 comment:

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