Monday, September 9, 2013

He'll Get It

I find it ironic that the phrase "It's like riding a bicycle!" conveys the ease of doing something. I mean, have you ever tried to teach someone to ride a bicycle?! The important nuance, though, is that the phrase refers to the ease of doing something already learned. The actual learning part - that's much tougher.

Earlier this spring, when Caroline learned to ride her bike without training wheels, it was the ultimate test of my parental patience. I admit - my patience isn't exactly legendary. In fact, it teeters on barely adequate much of the time, especially when it comes to teaching something that requires extra effort by the student even when it's HARD. And when you're eight years old, things are usually HARD.

This past weekend, John decided he was ready to give it a go. The training wheels were coming off, and he was ready to make the move to big man on two wheels.

Look Mom, no training wheels!
Given that John tends to be a little more naturally athletic than Caroline, I thought - this is going to be easy. And I was kind of right. With little more than four runs down the sidewalk with Mommy holding the seat, he was able to stay upright without any assistance as I ran alongside. Victory!!

Yeah... victory, kind of like Mission Accomplished. Too soon... too soon.

Given that it was 106 on our back deck according to our household thermometer, I couldn't manage too many more runs up and down the sidewalk, anyway. I told John I needed a break inside, and we could go out later. I had already promised Caroline a ride together on the trail, so John announced he was going with us. Ummmm... maybe a little more practice, buddy.

So out he went, determined to practice starting, going, and stopping on his own. He could ride on two wheels, for crying out loud. He had already done it, like four or five whole times for at least twenty yards at a time. He's got this thing.

About five minutes later, I looked out the front window to see John standing over his bicycle with a scrunched up face, tears of frustration, and angry clenched fists in the "I'm about to give up" pose. Turns out, starting on your own is a lot more difficult than when Mommy holds the bike upright as you push off. So out I went, ready to help out again.

Hold, push, start... and careen to the left because it isn't as easy as he thought it was. Stop, start over: hold, push, start... and careen to the left, this time out the driveway and into the street. Whoa whoa whoa... one more time, back on the sidewalk: hold, push, start... and again, careen to the left, back into the street, toward the neighbor's driveway... TOWARD THE NEIGHBOR'S CURB STOP JOHN STOP BRAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!!!!!!!!!

Uggggghhhhhh... the first crash is inevitable, and that means so are the first tears. And first scratched knee, first big bruise on the shin, and first realization that you are, in fact, vincible.

So we put the bike away, took a breather, and decided we'd try again another day. Maybe next time it will be more like riding a bicycle.

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