Thursday, May 17, 2007


Remember childhood? Remember the joy and freedom that riding your bike all day in the summers gave you? Oh, the places you'll go! Sure, sure - there was the occasional wipe-out and scabby knees occasionally - like the time you tried you jump your heavy-ass purple bike with the white banana seat and tall neon-orange flag from the ramp the kid down the street built for his skateboard, but hey! that's all just part of the game and the fun.

Well, tonight my little Nicholas has entered that world: he rode a 2-wheeler bike all by himself without training wheels and without parental support (i.e. mom holding onto the back of the seat to hold him up and simultaneously running alongside, putting a terrible kink in her back). Tonight, he mastered it. And oh! what a moment!

He's been riding his Razor scooter for months. Balancing on those 2 tiny wheels and careening down hills like he was born to (and making me gasp, hold my breath, and shut my eyes in fear for him and what I was certain would result in an spectacular crash more than once. It's never happened.) So I knew riding a bike should be no big thang. Except it was. For some reason, the bike freaked him out the way the scooter never did. He was willing to straddle the bike and gently coast down along the sidewalk in front of our house, trying to pick up his feet. Only he'd never go fast enough to really balance. Except on the scooter, of course. So tonight I took the kids and the damn dog for a walk after dinner. Nicholas rode his scooter, Lauren and I walked. I was talking up the fun of being able to ride a bike and how cool it would be to be able to ride a bike this summer, yadda yadda, and once we got home he brought out the bike and decided to try it. Again. And he did the same old thing. Again. But this time, instead of me trying to run alongside, holding him up, I told him to put his feet on the pedals and get ready to push off. I held him in place, upright, and when he gave the signal, I pushed him as he pedaled. For some unknown reason, it worked this time. It clicked. He simply started riding the bike like it was no big deal. Except it was! He was riding! By himself! Pedaling and not falling! I was, frankly, stunned.

I started applauding and cheering and making a general spectacle of myself. I was so proud of him! He was pretty proud of himself, too. And so we spent the next hour geeking out and letting him practice riding. He practiced braking and turning. He practiced pushing off all by himself. And once he got started it all came quite naturally. I let him ride in the street so he wouldn't have to worry so much about trying to stay on the more narrow sidewalk. That worked well. By the end he was able to push off by himself, ride the 1/2 block to the stop sign, turn around without falling, and ride back to our driveway and stop using the brakes. I call that a huge success.

yay! My kid has his first set of wheels. Let the freedom begin! This is going to be a great summer.

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