Saturday, April 21, 2007

Of bicycles and training wheels...

Child Number Two, who has just turned six, is growing up. FAST. As is her fashion, in an "all-of-a-sudden" kind of way.

This afternoon, after less than a week of riding her new two-wheeler WITH training wheels, she wanted those training wheels OFF. And she wanted them off IMMEDIATELY.

Child Number Two: I just saw a teeny-weeny THREE YEAR OLD go by on a big two-wheeler!! And guess what?? NO TRAINING WHEELS.

Father: Oh, I don't believe it. That can't possibly be true. Three year olds don't have enough of a sense of balance to ride a two-wheeler without training wheels.

Child Number Two: Yu-HUH. And the kid was THIS BIG. (indicates down near her own ankles) So I can ride without training wheels, too!! PLEEEEEASE canIcanIcanIcanI???!!

My husband and I had a quick, private powow on the subject. We were NOT confident about this situation at all. Our second daughter is tiny, but she has the willpower of a charging bull. And she's the kind of person who Wants It All... the trouble being, that she Wants It All, Yesterday. She sets extremely high standards for herself. She believes with all her heart that Everything Is Possible.

Hell, she's the one who famously said, as I applied a very large ice pack to the very large goose egg appearing on her forehead and checked her pupils for dilation:

"I can TOO fly, Mum... Just not UP."

Oh, she's determined, all right.

And because of all this, when things DON'T always turn out as perfectly as she plans, her levels of disappointment can be absolutely catastrophic. Borderline terminal, not only for her, but for all those around her, too. Man, when she gets Let Down, you'd better look out and run for cover. Because a tantrum's comin'. And It ain't pretty.

SO. When faced with the dilemma of whether or not we should remove the training wheels, we were in a bit of a panic. In the end, we decided to try and use "dissuasion and warning" as our plan of action. After all, we have never actually been successful at preventing her from trying anything in her short life-- we've only, to this point, been "just in time" to catch her (and/or avoid her being caught and subsequently incarcerated).

We warned her that she hadn't been riding her two-wheeler for very long, even WITH the training wheels. She really hadn't had enough time to begin figuring out the balance-thing yet. We warned that the bike was heavy, and would hurt if it fell on her. We warned her that it was higher than her trike, and it would hurt more when she fell off. We warned that she WOULD fall off many times before she would get the hang of it... that it would take time... she would have to learn to start, and stop, and turn, and... and... and...

And she still wanted the training wheels OFF. NOW.

So, my husband looked at me, picked up her helmet, packed a few band-aids in his pockets, and marched out the back door with the Mighty Six-Year-Old.

I sat down and wrote a blog entry about our eldest child, in order to take my mind off of what was transpiring down the road outside...

About twenty minutes later, the back door burst wide open. A small streak flew past, and up the stairs. My husband followed, looking ab-so-lute-ly EXHAUSTED. He deposited the child's helmet on the kitchen table, collapsed into a chair, and raked his fingers through his hair...

Mother: WELL???

Father: Yeah. She can ride the bike. She'll have perfected it by sometime tomorrow.

And according to Child Number Two, she didn't even fall. Not once. She was going WAY too fast for that.

Fast and Furious.

That's our baby.

1 comment:

rev. shawn said...

Been here ... done that ...

you are definitely NOT alone in your experiences ... having our MIDDLE child learn to ride her bike went frightenly similiar ... must be the middle child thing ...

Even down to the FAST & FURIOUS ... she still lives that way ...

Gotta love 'em ... otherwise you'd want to throttle 'em ...!!!!

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