On your bike.

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve had time to sit down at the computer and do more than check the weather (and various gossip sites, of course.) I’m woefully behind on my email and, also, my blog. It’s been what, a few days? *gasp*

We’ve been busy around here. We haven’t been doing anything important, I mean, there’s no cure for cancer here at our house, but busy all the same. The weather is nice and here in suburbia it means that the children all play outside. (Well, you have to kick them off of the XBox first, but then they play outside.) And while our children are now old enough to go out and really get into some playing, they are not yet old enough to just shove out the door and wander the neighborhood. So that means they need parental supervision. And, hello, I’m the parent.

We did cross a major childhood milestone on Sunday – my daughter learned to ride her bike without training wheels! And my son, too – sort of. We’ve tried several times in the past to get them riding. We took off the training wheels amidst their cries of protest. We stood at intervals along the street and had them ride from one parent to another. We kept them doing it even when they wanted to go inside. We tried and tried. And we failed several times. They would walk their bikes to park them around back, holding their heads down, while we tried to tell them how much fun it is to ride a bike. I don’t think they believed us. So we left the bikes parked for several months. We even pondered putting the training wheels back on. But we didn’t give in. We knew, just knew, those kids would ride eventually. We were just hoping that it would be before they turned 12.

Well, this past Sunday we mentioned, again, that we would take them to the store and let them pick out whatever kind of bike they want if they would just learn to ride. My daughter finally thought that was a good idea and she strapped on her helmet. (As an aside, who the heck promises their child they can pick out whatever bike they want? I can see her pick now, a big purple Bratz bike with a matching gaudy helmet. Oh man…) My son was not as enthusiastic, but we kind of made him come out and try. “Just try,” we said, “and you’ll see it’s not that hard!”

It took my daughter about three times going back and forth before she just took off and went. Once she figured it out, she was off like a shot. She even talked our neighbor into going around the block with her. And now she lives to ride.

My son, on the other hand, didn’t like it one bit. He did ride a couple of times with me running alongside, but he didn’t like the feel of going fast. He’s much more of a leisurely stroll kind of guy and careening down the road on a piece of metal that he doesn’t know how to stop just isn’t his idea of fun. (And the brakes, well, he knows the concept, but the practice just eludes him.) We made him come back out last night to try again, and he did a little better. He even emerged from a crash with his hands held high in the air in triumph after a successful ride down the street. So maybe after nightly practices he’ll have it by next week. Maybe.

And before you get worried about the poor boy who is being forced (forced!) outside to ride his bike, know that he will never willingly try anything like this. As an example, he was once scared to death of water. But after repeated exposure and a lot of convincing, he finally went into the pool. And now we can’t keep him out of it. But, um, he still doesn’t really know how to swim, so maybe that’s not the best example.

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