Where a dad of two great kids (one on the autism spectrum) muses about life.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Spring came to the middle of the US in full force this weekend. It was such a beautiful day that we had to go out to the park. It seemed our whole town was out there today.
We took the bikes with us for the first official ride of the season. Our park has a paved path that loops around the outside of the park. When I announced we were going to the park to ride bikes, Buddy Boy initially didn't want to go. Inertia is always a force to be overcome, and he was involved in watching some cartoon he had just turned on. But I just told him we were going in 5 minutes, and he didn't put up any resistance when it was time to go (probably mostly because he really does like to ride his bike).
I'm really glad that Buddy Boy has gotten the hang of riding a bike. I'm a somewhat dedicated amateur rider (not nearly as dedicated as I used to be), and riding serves as moving meditation to me. The rhythm of the wheels and the pedals, the wind in my face, and the motion all combine to make a sensory experience that soothes my soul. It's been something that I wanted to share with Buddy Boy, and it's a good feeling knowing that he likes it, too. Last year when he finally got the knack of riding without the training wheels he was so proud of himself he just glowed. He knew he had accomplished something hard. And it made me feel so good to see him so proud of himself.
While loading the bikes in the car, Buddy Boy tells me he wants to take his safety gear (elbow and knee pads). By the end of last season (his first season riding without training wheels) he was declining to wear the gear, having built up confidence in his riding ability. I sense a bit of anxiety on his part that he'll still be able to ride.
Liz is also a bit anxious about his riding ability. She remembers how long it took us to lose the training wheels, and knows that it was only towards the end of the season last year that he was really getting it. "Perhaps you should take him to an open parking lot first to practice?" I declined, knowing (hoping?) in my heart that riding his bike would be to Buddy Boy like, well, riding a bike (something never forgotten once learned).
It went just fine. One push to get him going up the first little hill, and he was off, followed close behind by Sweet Pea, who is always trying to keep up/beat her brother who is 2 years older than she. Buddy Boy quickly regained his confidence, even becoming a bit overconfident and running off the path almost into a bush. He was a little upset, but quickly recovered. He's done a lot better over the last year in terms of being able to regain his equilibrium.
After two times around the park the kids wanted to go play on the playground equipment. I got pushed into duty for one of their favorite games, where daddy plays the troll, and they try to escape (basically a game of "chase me"). I also spot another kid who is probably on the spectrum, there with his dad. I debate whether to approach to make conversation. I look in their direction, wondering if he's noticed us. He hasn't, and he moves on.
An hour later and its off to home again. It's great that Spring is coming, and it's great to be rolling along again.
Me- Joe, husband of a great wife, and dad to two great kids, who were both adopted at birth.
Liz- My ever understanding wife, who manages to wear many hats (mom, advocate, therapist, teacher) for our kids.
Buddy Boy- Born in 2000. Funny, intelligent, inventive, and autistic. Loves machines.
Sweet Pea- Born in 2002. Typical little sister. Competitive, outgoing, and smart. Loves anything pink.