Training Wheels

I impulse-bought Evan a bike yesterday at Goodwill. It was outside the doors on the sidewalk and he fell instantly in love. After we got inside, Caroline melted down because I wouldn’t let her climb the display of Halloween knick-knacks while Evan stood quietly and angelically next to me declaring “I not naughty, Mommy! I a good boy!” I felt like it was $7 well spent in the scheme of positive reinforcement.

Evan is totally convinced he’s going to take off on his little bike at any second, despite the fact that he’s never ridden one before. He’s barely mastered forward pedaling on his tricycle, but that hasn’t stopped him from hopping right up on a two-wheeler and hurling himself at the floor repeatedly. Don’t worry, he keeps breaking his fall with his face.

I spent most of the day hunched over with one hand on the back of his seat and one clutching the handlebars, trying to help him steer and balance and move forward at the same time while shouting “NOT BACKWARDS. BACKWARDS MEANS STOPPING!”

It was sort of like getting kicked in the face with a metaphor for motherhood, sore back and all.

I put training wheels on the little blue bike last night after he went to sleep so today is another metaphor for motherhood, only this time it’s about letting go to see what he’s capable of on his own.

I only wish I still had a 3-year-old’s exuberance for falling on my face instead of the fear of failing I carry around as a grown up. What if I can’t do it? What if I look foolish? What if I get a boo-boo on my knee or my elbow or my heart? I’m too old for training wheels but I’m still unsteady enough to wish I wasn’t. All I can do is keep moving forward and learn as I go.

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6 Responses to “Training Wheels”

  1. Audrey says:

    Weee! I have been actively thinking about taking the training wheels off Ev’s bike. He’s so good at riding. If E has trouble, try having other kids over that do know how to ride. I found that after he saw other kids on his bike he seemed to ‘get’ the mechanics of it better and within a day or two became instantly expert at it. But yeah, it is kind of frustrating in that “how do I show him how to do this!!??” way when you see them trying to balance sans training wheels.

  2. barbra says:

    OOOH, fun!!! I plan to get Knox a balance bike for his second birthday next month. If the training wheels don’t work, try taking the pedals off the bike and let him propel himself with his feet on the ground. Eventually he will start coasting and will learn to balance that way. Then throw in pedaling. It’s my plan anyway, don’t know how well it will work for my little guy.

  3. cakeburnette says:

    I think it is more, “I cannot fall and hurt myself and not be able to take care of my kids.” Which means we’ll continue to hold back, but we will also be able to be there to pick THEM up after falls.

  4. Kimberly says:

    Thanks for this. It’s giving me a lot to think about as I put on my own figurative training wheels. Too bad they don’t make helmets for hearts.

  5. nicole says:

    the balance bike is the way to go. i bought one for my son (who is 3) and one month later… SERIOUSLY… one month later he was riding a regular bike.

    take those training wheels off and toss ’em. i promise you will thank me later. and, take the pedals off too. give him a few weeks to learn the balance and then stick the pedals back on.

    bam. instant bike rider ;)

    • bebehblog says:

      Thanks! The training wheels don’t fit quite right anyway so we’re going to try it. I figure it’s impossible to mess up a $7 bike :)

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