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.