I'm headed out of town tomorrow morning and have 87.6 things left to accomplish, but I need to digress for a moment.
Those of you who have met my middle son have probably been impressed by him. He is impressive. He saves his less impressive behavior for the four of us who live with him. This is probably pretty typical for a 7 year old, but I have to admit that he can be pretty Jekyll and Hyde. So far I see little evidence of him growing out of this "phase," but I assume it will come eventually. I think he is far too rational a little being for it to continue indefinitely. He will eventually learn to master his temper and see that he can choose for life to be sweet.
An ongoing point this past year has been his bike riding. Though physically dextrous and wonderfully coordinated, he is small. So small. Almost the smallest child at our elementary school though there is a whole class of kindergartners behind him. He has a build like a little gymnast. He will be 8 in December but still wears a size 4T or 5T in pants, when I can find that rather elusive size. We have tried very hard not to make it a deal, but others sometimes do.
Last fall, we upgraded him to the next size bike in the garage with the idea that, at nearly 7, it was time to ride without training wheels. The Youngling was given the little bike and taught to ride. Padawan, on the other hand, let his two-wheeler sit for months in the garage, stubbornly refusing to try and getting angry at the suggestion. He got so good at scootering he could almost keep up with the bike-riding Jedi Knight. We tried retrofitting his bike for training wheels, which turned out to be rather disastrous.
And then, last Saturday, brain wave.
I didn't ride my blue Schwinn banana-seated beauty until I was 8, though I'd had the bike more than two years. It was too big and my short legs wouldn't reach the ground. I was terrified of falling. It wasn't until a weekend at my grandmother's house and cruising around on a very young cousin's bike (the ground easily accessible in case of tipping) that I felt comfortable.
On Saturday a neighbor up the street was getting rid of a tiny bike. Rather than remove the training wheels from the Youngling's bike, I asked if I might borrow the neighbor's for a few weeks.
Within ten minutes of the new bike at the house, a careful explanation of my reasoning to Padawan, as well as the story of my own experience, he was riding all over the street. On Wednesday he rode the tiny bike on a two mile round trip to 7-11 for Slurpees. Last night? He got out the big bike and cruised all over the place, sometimes with only one foot on a pedal, yelling, "This is so easy!"
And now he'll never forget.
Hopefully I won't forget to apply my own childhood experiences to my mothering so I have a little more empathy.
I wish this mothering thing were as easy as riding a bike . . .