The boy is fully riding a two-wheeler!
He had been riding a push bike for well over a year and had it down. The idea is that the difficult aspects of learning to ride a bike are balance and steering, so a kid can figure those out first without bothering with pedals. Then, when it’s time to ride a two-wheeler, you don’t even need training wheels. At the suggestion of my friends Geoff and Karen who had their 4 year old twins riding without training wheels, we got him a 12″ bike for Christmas, and look!
(Excuse the music. I couldn’t help myself)
A bit of a shaky start, and then he just goes!
It was pretty incredible to watch the first time it happened. More than that, it just felt so BIG. I think that so far, the other achievements that we regard as milestones are all part of being a baby or a toddler. But riding a bike is a big kid thing, and it signifies another level of freedom and ability.
I also realized that this is now the first time that he can go faster than we can. Since, as I’ve mentioned before, history repeats itself, this worries me. When I was six, my parents took me riding at the local park. I rode ahead of them and climbed onto two parallel bars (part of the VitaCourse). Dangling from one, I swayed to and fro, and then spied two elderly women round the corner. I thought to myself, “I’ll show them what I can do!” and got on top of one of the bars. I used to spin around the bar, like on the school playground, and was just short enough that I missed the other bar. Unfortunately, I had grown. As I propelled my body forward, my forehead landed with a sickening thud on the second bar and I dropped to the ground unconscious, with a gash in my forehead and blood everywhere, which was the scene that my poor panicked parents saw as they rounded the corner. Obviously, I survived, albeit with a rather large scar, but I’d rather not have to relieve that particular incident.
As he rode around the asphalt, it also made me realize that this is the first major leap into childhood, and by extension, into independence and pulling away from his parents. It’s a bittersweet feeling when your child achieves something new. On one hand, you’re just so proud of him, but on the other you realize that it means he needs you just a little bit less. I know it’s not the last time this will happen, but it feels like it’s the first significant one. Or, as our friend John, father to teenagers, said, “This? This is nothing. It only gets worse.”