Sunday, October 06, 2013

Training Wheels

I took them off all the bikes this week. They had already been twisted round out of the way for a long time, so it was time. It was a bittersweet moment. Teaching your kids to ride bikes is supposed to be one of those iconic parenting moments: running alongside and then letting go as they fly off under their own power.

I tried it with Duchess, several years ago, holding the handlebars and struggling to balance her. She made little progress and I got tired very quickly. I gave it up and never got back to it. They figured it out on their own, instead. Deux did it with a small bike last summer--starting with just walking and balancing and then gradually adding pedals. This year he moved up to a properly-sized bike and Duchess followed suit. Now the twins are practicing on the small bikes, walking, coasting, and slowly adding pedals. (No fancy pedal-removing bikes here--they just work around the pedals.) I am proud of them for being self-reliant and a little annoyed at myself for not being more involved.

It's been a few days of glorious sunshine after a week of downpours--the world all over green and fresh after the dry summer. It's supposed to rain again tomorrow, but bikes are the perfect thing for chancy weather--a quick dry with an old diaper and they are ready to go.

I found this note on my reading from December of 2009:
The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge. A book that made me wish that the Duchess was eleven, so I could give it to her right away. And then made me glad she was not, because like all fairy tales these days, it reminded me of how very quickly little girls grow up. A fairy tale by someone who knows how a fairy tale is supposed to go and gladly complies.
She is not eleven yet, but she is nine and I think it is time. For months I have been dropping hints and encouragement to broaden her reading horizons from series books, to little avail. And then I found her already deep into Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. I warned her it was sad, but she insisted on carrying on. If she's ready to listen to a suggestion, I think she might enjoy something a little lighter.If not . . . there are plenty of other good books on the shelf for her to find on her own.


Diary of an Autodidact said...

Good for you, letting her discover Roll of Thunder, which made a huge impression on me at around that age. It's one reason I am so passionate about racism.

I think we sort of taught our oldest to ride without training wheels. Or second (aka Hell on Wheels Girl) taught herself we weren't looking. Now she rides without hands, does drifts, and kicks the butts of random boys foolish enough to race her. The girls taught my older son without giving us advanced warning.

Life happens...

Wendy said...

I love the Little White Horse!

Teaching bike riding skills has been my second biggest parenting fail (after toilet training). They do seem to figure it out when they are ready!