Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bike Ride

Well, that blows the whole plan out of the water.

So yesterday, we decided:  Today is the day that my little girl is going to learn to ride a bike.

She's been wanting to take her training wheels off Puddin' (her bike), but is afraid to ride fast, and I wasn't sure if she could go fast enough to stay up.  But she's bigger and stronger now, and she really wants it.  Ok fine. 

My son got a monkey bike for Christmas.  Like this one:
So Sonja decided one day to try riding it.  It's short and pretty much not intimidating at all.  After just a few minutes, she had figured it out and could ride in the house.  The next day, she figured out how to ride on the sidewalk and liked to ride the monkey bike.  But still couldn't ride a "2 wheeler."  This, I pointed out, is silly, because monkey bike is a two-wheeler. 

Back to the story of yesterday.

We got the bike out of the garage, took off the training wheels, and I walked the bike up the driveway.  I was prepared for a back-breaking afternoon of running behind her, holding up the seat and encouraging her not to give up, even if she had fallen.  She noticed the gate was open and the cat was walking out, and ran up to shut the gate.  ?  "Um, I can't get the bike out if you shut the gate.  Just let kitty go, it's fine."  She walked back and took the bike, and I took the gate and opened it all the way.

There were two cars parked in the driveway.  My experience with my own bike and my son learning to ride told me that the skinny (3 feet maybe?) space between the car and the fence would be a squeeze, so I simply suggested that she go ahead and walk the bike out to the sidewalk and we'd walk down to the school and try to ride.  She sat on the bike.  And...rode it up the driveway.

Just like that.

I just stared at her and smiled.  I don't think she had even realized what she did.  Later, I asked her what was going through her mind when she did that.  Was she thinking she would just try it?  What?  She said she just didn't know.  Nothing.  She just did it.

And then she rode the 3 blocks to the school and rode all around, turning left and right, circling the handball courts and basketball hoops.  She rode the whole time and then rode home.  It had only taken her 2 stops to perfectly master the footbrakes.  She never got nervous and never fell.

I just sat in the sun, watching and smiling.

The clank of the chains against the tetherball poles is such a peaceful sound on a Friday afternoon.

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