We have successfully taught 3 children to ride a bike. And one learned by accident.
Well, I guess I can’t say that she learned entirely by accident. She 100% knew what she was doing! The rest of us, though, were completely gobsmacked when our youngest came up to me and said, “Hey, Mom! Look what I can do!”
That fourth kid, man. They’ll surprise you every time!
On your mark…
It’s not like Greg hasn’t offered to teach Lucy to ride her bike. It’s just that, in the chaos of this past summer and having lots of other things going on, we never quite got around to it. (And that right there, friends, is what will keep her therapist busy in years to come. Parents of many have lots of great intentions, but not always the best follow-through. Or maybe that’s just us. Anyway…)
She seemed perfectly happy riding her Razr scooter up and down the street and around the neighborhood. Originally, we thought she might want to learn to ride her bike to keep up with the bigger girls on the street, but no. She has her friend Jack, a little boy just her same age, and they are great buddies. Jack, though, is kind of a daredevil little guy and rides his bike like gangbusters all over the place! Nevertheless, he is patient and kind Lucy on her scooter and they are really quite the pair. And that just seemed like how it would be.
Until last Tuesday.
Last Tuesday, my two middle kiddos stayed home from school sick. I was stuck inside all dadgum day with them, only escaping to do school drop off and pick up for the other two. Admittedly, I was tired and my patience for the needs of anyone who wasn’t sick was pretty thin.
Poor Lucy, though. She wanted to play outside and none of her friends could play. So, I did what any self-respecting mom of many would do! I went to my oldest and threw myself on my sword.
“Adam. Please. Dinner is almost ready. Would you pleeeeeease take your sister outside and play with her, give her some loving attention, while I finish cooking?”
And bless his sweet big-brother-heart, he happily agreed. Off they went and it wasn’t long before I heard the sounds of basketball and laughter coming from the driveway.
Suddenly, though, it was a different sound I heard. The incredibly loud air pump had been turned on. I wasn’t sure what was happening, but figured that my sweet Adam was taking the opportunity to fill up whoever’s tires needed some extra air. Suspecting nothing, I stuck my head out to tell them that dinner would be ready in just a few minutes.
But it wasn’t everybody else’s tires he was filling up. It was Lucy’s bike he had propped up! And there was Lucy — wearing a helmet, ready to go!
“Lucy! Is Adam going to give you a riding lesson?” I asked.
“No, Mommy! Here, watch what I can do!” And with that, my 7 year old daughter bravely and confidently hopped on her training-wheel-less bicycle and rode circles…circles, I say!…all around our driveway.
And at that point, my eyeballs bugged out of my head and my jaw dropped to the concrete and I started laughing and crying and clapping all at the same time. Who was this child? My daughter couldn’t ride a bike! Or, could she?!
It was at this very moment that Greg drove up to the house on his way home from work. Imagine the look that was on his face when he saw our littlest bit riding around like she owned the place!
As it turns out, Lucy had been practicing on Jack’s bike in his driveway for quite some time, but never told anyone! Our independent little miss, our adventuresome, independent girl had taught herself how to ride a two-wheeler all on her very own.
And the winner is:
Now, most people would see one clear winner in this situation. I see it as a tie. Let me explain.
Winner Number One is (clearly and appropriately) Lucy!! Girlfriend has now reached a new level of kid-independence. She’s mobile and has wheels of her own. One short week after that initial ride, she is out there doing the “stand and coast” down the street with a gaggle of other kids, thrilling in her newfound mobility and freedom and speed.
Winner Number Two is good ol’ Mom and Dad! Yes, indeedy do! We have proudly achieved the status of “all children capable on 2 wheels!” And, even better for Greg, he didn’t have to run endless laps up and down the street, hanging on to a wobbly kid on a wobbly bike. For real, it kinda feels like we leveled up in the whole parenting game with this latest successfully achieved kid milestone (that we had absolutely no part in, if we’re being honest).
But the best part in all of this, though, is the confidence I’ve seen in Little Lu. All on her own and without any prompting from us, she made a goal, practiced a skill, and mastered it. And if she can do this at age 7 1/2, what other amazing things will she accomplish as she grows?!
I don’t know. But I can tell you for certain that I can’t wait to watch and see.