Where a dad of two great kids (one on the autism spectrum) muses about life.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
No More Training Wheels
Sweet Pea is 6 now. Last year she briefly expressed the wish to take her training wheels off of her bicycle, so we tried it. It didn't work out so well (despite putting extra knee, wrist, and elbow pads on her, lot's of encouragement, etc.), so we put them back on.
This year she decided that she wanted to try again. So about 6 weeks ago I lowered her seat all the way down, and helped her glide down the incline on the cul-de-sac next to our home, with her feet out to the sides to keep her balance/keep her from falling. We did that for two weeks, then I bribed her to put her feet up on the pedals while I started her off and had her glide down the incline.
Well, one thing's led to another, and after two trips to a local parking lot with an ever so slight incline to it, I can say that those training wheels are off for good.
Sweet Pea still doesn't have quite enough control for a trail or a sidewalk, but she can start herself, turn, and control her bike better every time. Her confidence (fashion sense?) is such that she refuses the extra protective pads, and her competitive nature on the last outing had her complaining that Buddy Boy was pedaling faster than she was.
Buddy Boy, for his part, was being a great older brother. He demonstrated various things to her (like how to keep your pedals level while you're turning so they don't catch the pavement and dump you on the ground) and did a good job of keeping far enough away from her so that she didn't feel like she was going to crash into him. I also took the time with Buddy Boy in the parking lot to work on such skills as looking before you turn, signaling, and pedaling while standing up.
I must admit to feeling a bit of a pang during our last outing. My baby girl is growing up, and we'll never raise a baby again. Soon she will tire completely of her parents, and be primarily involved with her peers instead of us. While I have some inner trepidation that Buddy Boy will not be able to live independently, I also fear that Sweet Pea will grow up too fast, and leave too soon. She already pushes limits constantly, considers herself the center of the universe, and can pout and throw a fit like the hardest core 'tweens around.
Meanwhile, summer carries on, with the kids going to day camps and us going to festivals and carnivals. Life is good. Soon we will depart on our annual vacation (holiday). It's really a shame that kids don't realize how good they have it. What I wouldn't give to have a summer filled with playing outside, going to camp, ice cream, and no school or work.
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.