Bored Housewives Network

Getting through the day, one bonbon at a time.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bicycle! Bicycle!

My daughter Finn is eight. I know I've told you all this before, but have I told you that she is eight and she can't ride a bike? As the weather gets warmer bike season looms. I tried to teach her last summer. It did not go well. I am impatient and she is so over-the-top cautious that it's almost laughable... if you're not the one hunched over tiny handlebars, pushing a 60 pound child, that is.

She is tall for her age and insists on training wheels. My dad had to customize her bike to accomodate the extra wheels. Kind of like "Pimp My Ride" but totally uncool. She pedals so slowly that small pebbles actually send her sprawling due to lack of momentum. She howls and cries and screams up and down the street. People look at me like I'm a bad mother - just because I walk a little bit ahead of her and kind of, sort of try to look like I'm just out for a stroll and not with the wailing nightmare on wheels trailng a half-block behind me.

This whole bike-riding thing makes me a bad mother. You know at the end of one particularly bad "session" I actually threatened the poor child? I told her that if she didn't at least try to pedal down the block that I would give her bike to her 2nd grade nemesis, Kiana. I got really into it, embellishing my plan with gusto. I would invite Kiana over for grilled cheese sandwiches (Finn's favourite food) and then bring out the bike. I would hand it over to her and let her know that it is hers for the taking since Finn couldn't even be bothered to try to ride it. I am a monster. But she pedaled that bloody bike half-way down the block - until she encountered a hair-line crack in the cement. Game over.

So, yeah, summer's coming. My darling little contrarian has set her sights on a cool banana-seat bike she spied in a bike shop window. She wants streamers on the handle bars and a bell. I will buy it for her, because every kid should get excited about a new bike. And maybe this year she will figure it out. Maybe I will be able to teach her instead of terrorizing her. And we'll go on long rides together around the seawall - me looking over my shoulder smiling benignly and she grinning adoringly up at me, skinny little legs pumping, the wind in her hair (the little bits that stick out of her helmet, of course) ... Or, you know, maybe Big Sisters covers this sort of thing...


  • At 8:02 AM, Blogger landismom said…

    Oy, my daughter is only 6 & 1/2, but I'm afraid we're headed down this same path. We're definitely destined for a new bike this year.

  • At 11:08 AM, Blogger Tammy said…

    I learned how to ride a bike the old-fashioned way: through deceit and trickery. My father held on to the back of the seat and ran behind me, telling me to pedal fast and he'd keep holding on. He totally lied, of course, but by the time I realized it, I'd already gone 100 feet or so. Of course, at age six, I was younger and more gullible than Finn is, so YMMV.

  • At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was given a good (sounding) trick at a bbq last year (my kid is 3 - still on a trike).
    Step one: your kid has to want to get off the training wheels
    Step two: take the pedals off the bike, and lower the seat as much as possible.
    Step three: find a incline (not a hill).
    Step four: let your kid glide down the incline, holding her legs up. as she gets more comfy, raise the seat. Once she's comfy with that, put the pedals back on. Gliding with pedals, then gliding while pedaling. once she "pedals" past 3-4 houses, apparently you're home free.

  • At 8:02 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    I didn't learn how to ride until I was 25, so it's never too late to learn! I'm sure Finn (love that name by the way) will learn before then.

    (In case anyone is wondering what my problem was, I wanted to learn but at first no one taught me and later I was discouraged from learning because it was too dangerous...pfft.)

  • At 8:10 AM, Blogger Melissa said…

    ha! i love the grilled cheese / bike giveaway threat. that's hilarious. learing to ride a bike is such a huge rite of passage. i still remember my dad teaching me (same as doppelganger - he tricked me!). i remember there being lots of work and some frustration but it was all so worth it. i'll never forget the feeling of my first solo glide down the street and looking back and seeing my dad waving at me. yeeehaw! it was wonderful. finn will get there!! and i'm sure the new bike will motivate her, too. it sounds like a beauty. keep us posted.

  • At 8:10 AM, Blogger queen of the harpies said…

    I couldn’t teach The Boy to ride a bike. I don’t think he really got the hang of it until he went to visit my parents for a week the summer he was seven. He’s overly cautious as well. It was easier for him to learn with people he wanted to show off in front of.

    We’re teaching Mia this summer (she’s six) and it really won’t be a problem because she’s all kamikaze about everything. (The kid who refused, after her first birthday to sit in a high chair because that was for babies. And no booster either. So she spent three years falling off her chair instead.)

    Maybe it’s me though, with The Boy. My response to his “I could fall and hurt myself” was “You will. You totally will. Falling and hurting is part of bike-riding. But when you fall, you’ll notice it isn’t as bad as you thought and then you’ll get up and do it some more and eventually you won’t fall anymore.”

    I can’t imagine that was an inspiring speech.


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