That was the question for the last four and a half years. For Christmas of 2006, Patrick really wanted to upgrade Kendall from her tricycle and get her a two-wheeler bike. Patrick was disappointed that when she saw her big present on Christmas morning, she passed right by it to go look at everything else. In fact, Berkeley at just 20 months was more excited about the bike than Kendall was.
We convinced her to try it out a few days later, but she wasn’t a big fan. She only ever hopped on it a handful of times and we didn’t want to FORCE her to ride it. In her defense, we didn’t have any sidewalks in our neighborhood in Charlotte and since our driveway was a little sloped, it wasn’t the easiest place to learn.
We offered to take her to a parking lot somewhere to learn, but she declined. Again and again and again. A couple years ago, we bought the girls scooters and they took to those quickly. Whenever we’d offer to teach Kendall how to ride her bike, she’d say, “Naaaaaaaah. I’ll just ride my scooter.” Every time I’d see a little four year old kid out there riding a bike, I’d think, “Man, I’m a lame mom. My daughter is [insert age here—five, then six, then seven] and I still haven’t taught her how to ride!”
Well, I guess Patrick was feeling lame too, cuz for Christmas this year, he got new bikes for Kendall and Berkeley.
Kendall had clearly outgrown the one she got four years before, so if we were going to do this, it had to be a bike that FIT. Once again, Kendall was not that excited about a new bike. Even though it has been winter, we’ve had plenty of nice days since Christmas where she could have learned to ride, but she just didn’t WANT to. Berkeley wasn’t all that thrilled either. A month or so ago, we rode the bikes to the park (with the training wheels) and it was a nightmare. One or both of the girls were crying multiple times throughout the excursion. Seriously? Who knew it was going to be this difficult?
Yesterday, after the soccer games were over for the day, I decided that we had to pull off the band-aid. I wasn’t going to give them the choice—we were going to take off the training wheels and figure it out once and for all. . . whether they WANTED to or not. Patrick and I went out to take off the tiny wheels and we were able to get both of Kendall’s wheels off but only one of Berkeley’s. The darn thing was stuck, so we said we’d just take Kendall’s bike to the park and Berkeley could ride her scooter this time. Wouldn’t ya know it, Kendall was upset and said Berkeley was lucky! Kendall said she was nervous and didn’t want to fall and hurt herself. I told her that it wasn’t going to be as hard as she was imagining it and that when she figures it out, she is going to love it so much that she’s going to wish she didn’t wait so long to learn!
Patrick headed off to the park with K & B while I stayed back with Emery to mix up the pizza dough for dinner. Twenty minutes later, the two of us walked to the park while we let the dough rise at home. In that 20 minutes, Patrick had coached Kendall and she was riding completely by herself like she’d been doing it for years. With a HUGE grin on her face, she told me that I WAS RIGHT—she LOVED it and wished she had learned a long time ago! She said she didn’t even fall once while she was learning. I watched her ride around and around and around the park. I was a proud mom. She didn’t want to leave and made me promise we would come back to the park on Monday after school so she could ride some more.
Phew—she figured it out just 9 days before her eighth birthday. It sounds so much better to say she learned to ride her bike when she was seven instead of when she was eight!
In other bike news, not only did K & B get bikes for Christmas, but Patrick surprised me by getting the two of US bikes too! (Excuse the scary Christmas morning pic!)
For our date on Friday night, we decided to go out on them for the first time TOGETHER. The plan was to bike to a restaurant (about two miles away), eat, then bike home. Unfortunately, Patrick got a flat tire on the way there, so we had to walk his bike most of the way to the restaurant. After dinner, we walked it over to a bike repair shop so we wouldn’t have to walk it all the way home. Of course, it was pitch dark by the time it was fixed. I was wearing ALL black and since there are NO street lights between there and home, it was freaking me out that I couldn’t see anything (and no one could see ME). I was having visions of running off the curb into the road or into a telephone pole! Patrick didn’t mind that he couldn’t see, but apparently I’m a wimp. We ended up walking the bikes most of the way home! In spite of that, it was a fun date, and I’m looking forward to our next time out on our bikes! Won’t that be fun when the WHOLE family can ride?