After being banished into a dark corner of the basement for almost 2 years, L's bicycle was allowed to surface into the daylight. It was a cherished 5th birthday present for him, and it came complete with training wheels. When he first got it, he could only sit on it with his tip-toes touching the ground. He loved it and rode it a few times that spring, but it didn't get much action that summer.
Last year we suggested to L that he take it out without training wheels. He was 6 and most of his friends were riding their two-wheelers with ease. However, he wouldn't go anywhere near it, had a fit every time we brought the subject up. So last summer was a summer without a bike. He was just terrified of losing those training wheels.
This year, we brought up the subject again. And we met up with a lot of resistance yet again! I was lamenting the fact that he would not be able to have that sort of fun with all his best friends. They're all very confident on their bikes now - I didn't want him to feel left out. For his birthday this year, we got him a scooter, which he has been racing after his friends with. Amazing how fast he gets going on that. But perhaps it just wasn't cutting it.
On Tuesday, he suddenly told Ian that he wanted to learn to ride without the training wheels. So Ian sprung into action. He went down to the basement, brought up the bike and his wrench, loaded up the van with L and off they went, heading to the empty school lot. About 10 minutes later they returned - L came in saying "Dad forgot the wrench" (yup, figures - there it was on the garage floor). And then he refused to get back in the van! Great!! He said that he would only learn if he could practice on the driveway. Well, that wasn't going to work, as there wasn't enough room to manoeuver. Another mini-tantrum, which is very uncharacteristic of him. Then he suggested that he could try riding on the sidewalk across the street. It was an easy compromise. The sidewalk was bumpy, but not busy, so it would do.
I watched as they crossed the street. L got on his helmet and then sat on the bike. Wow, what a difference 2 years makes! Even at the highest seat setting, L's legs were bent, and as he pedalled he couldn't straighten out his knees! The other thing I couldn't get past was his dad, who was holding onto the seat trying to keep the balance, while wearing his -- dress shoes ?!? Okay, I guess he had to seize the moment, but it was freakin' hilarious watching him try to keep up with L pedalling. Such a Dad thing to do.
Anyhow, down they go along the sidewalk and around the corner. Then I don't see them anymore. About 30 seconds later they come back around my way -- and it's L on his own, with Ian chasing him. And that was it! L had figured out how to ride without his training wheels in less than a minute!
Now all he wants to do every day is come home and ride his bike. We've also promised him a new bike, complete with gears because after all, he is a little giant now. Turns out he wanted to practice close to home in case he fell and got injured - much easier access to the band-aids than if he were away in the van.
One thing I'm learning about my son is that you can't push him to do anything he really doesn't want to do. He's a stubborn one. But when he's ready, that's it. That's just the way he is.
"I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like "