Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Training Wheels

Isn't it funny how, as mothers, little things can become our report cards. When we moved up here, one of the reasons that I verbalised for our move was so that my daughter could learn how to ride a bike. (The others were to be closer to family and in a place that wasn't going to build a busway at my daughter's school's back gate OR a bus tunnel directly between home and school).

I know, I know, all you need is a bike, smooth ground and a willing child, and I sort of had some of all three in the big smoke. Bike was a wonderful pink 4th birthday present, ground was smooth in places and child was willing except when being extremely cautious. Her main drawback, however, was an overprotective mother. The first long word that my sweet child learned to mimic from me was "careful" - I look at myself some days and cringe.

In my defence, I will also mention heavy traffic, pollution, steep and cracked footpaths and fear of faceless strangers stealing her away. Up here, however, it is still unfolding, this whole cycling saga - because of a lot of little reasons, but I am afraid I must look to my report card and see an "F" beside "passing on cycling ability in a confident manner"...

When we first got up here, both she and I said "beauty" at the prospect of cycling away our free time amidst the delights of our new flat neighbourhood - but it didn't eventuate. One reason was the failure to take advantage of or make spare time - and the other is all my fault (again). Because I thought she was ready for the next step by wobbling on her wheels I took them off - and she wasn't - and she point blank refused to ride the bike...

So now we have new training wheels - ones that can be adjusted - and she is very, very keen again to go cycling so we do. We go to the shops, we go to the beach, we explore the neighbourhood. Last weekend, we put the wheels up one notch - and while very tentative at first, she has found she CAN ride with them up that bit higher and not touching the ground. I think that soon they will be more a hindrance than a help and she will be ready - but until I get the green light this time I will hold myself between pushing too hard and not pushing at all.

Darn, its hard being a perfect parent...

7 comments:

strauss said...

Perfect parent hey. I wish I were. It will be nice when my kids are old enough for us to ride to teh store together, but like you I am a bit worried, I am happy to walk while the kids ride ahead on the footpath, where I can keep an eye on them. The adjustable trainer wheels are a great idea though - will keep them in mind.

stephanie said...

It sounds like you're doing a great job to me!

jen said...

What worked for me, and of course I blogged it, was broken trainer wheels. Of course he'd been riding for a while, and wasn't new to the 2 wheel bike thing.

Now he's just got to learn to get going without relying on the trainer wheels.

Jay said...

The concept of "careful" is not exactly the worst thing you can instill in your child! Yes, to be too scared to do anything is bad, but caution is good.

My aunt is on the bad side of overprotective...her son is 14 and still won't get on a bike.

scribbit said...

It can depend on the child too. We had one who was so shaky and still isn't the most graceful bike rider and then another who got it in five minutes. Another had no interest, didn't want to get hurt.

But I laugh and agree that it's hard being the perfect parent.

jeanie said...

Thanks for the link, Jen - and the feedback all others.

Over the weekend she got a puncture and the training wheels went up another 1/2 cm - she is doing well now!

Babysteps said...

I tend to hover too much, and say "careful" too much. Like you, sometimes I cringe at myself! But it's such an instinct, isn't it? And really, these babes do get themselves into some potentially scary situations (ie, when the baby decided to try to crawl on top of the television!).