Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Milestone in the Making

This is how Birdie's feet fit on the scooter--
 in Kindergarten!  Imagine how they look now!
This afternoon we had a major breakthrough in the land of the Crazy Train.  After Birdie concluded her performance of the first annual K Lane Big Top Circus (which I can't even describe in words, so don't ask), she and the rest of the neighborhood kids began to play in the front common yard.  Eventually the playing turned to riding, and all the kids went to retrieve their "wheels".  A couple of kids came out with their Razor scooters, several more brought their bikes (sans training wheels), and Birdie dragged out her 3-wheeled Dora the Explorer scooter.  She's had this thing since she was four-- and it shows!

It quickly became apparent to Birdie that she was going to be left in the dust by her friends if she continued to ride the "baby scooter", so she brought out her little-used bike.  Now, the girls have had these particular bikes since the spring of 2010.  Hubby bought them just before Spring Break when the girls were in Kindergarten, thinking he'd teach Princess and Birdie to ride the bikes during their week off from school.  Maybe then we could go on a family bike ride together!  Weeeeelllll....

You know what they say about the best laid plans.

Dad helping Princess make adjustments to her ride.
Birdie, having fun seconds before going splat!

Princess, we soon discovered, loved the tassels, crescent moons, and training wheels on her beautiful new bike, but would not ride said bike if it meant wearing a helmet.  Period.  We wouldn't want to muss a perfectly good up-do with a helmet!  Birdie, on the other hand, was very gung-ho about learning to ride... right up until she forgot her new bike had hand brakes instead of pedal brakes, like the old one.  The splat that followed was pretty much a deal breaker for the riding lessons, and the bike got zero play for over a year.  Boy, she really showed that bike who's boss, huh?  It was also the beginning of the reign of Little Miss Safety Pants, who firmly believed no risk is a good risk.  (I think she may have actually developed her fear of heights from the fall off her bike, if you can believe it-- but that is a story for another day.) 

Anyway, over the last few weeks, Birdie and Princess have started dragging their bikes out of the garage once again, much to my surprise.  They usually roll the bikes to the front of the house, where they pedal around on the sidewalk surrounding the common yard on our street.  Today, when Birdie brought out her bike, she made a lap or two, as usual, but then stopped when she noticed the other children (some much, much smaller than her) cutting through the grass on their 2-wheelers.  She looked at her 2 + 2-wheeler thoughtfully.  Next thing you know, Birdie is asking her dad to "take the training wheels of my bike, PLEEEEEASE!!"

And off came the training wheels...

My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief.  Who is this impostor, and what did she do with Safety Pants Birdie?  My husband, after a pause to make sure he had heard what he heard, gave a very enthusiastic "sure!"  He actually-- for real-- looked like a kid in a candy store.  Visions of family bike rides dancing in his head, maybe?

Birdie and her dad spent the next hour trying find her balance...

Getting the feel for two wheels.
See the discarded scooter back there?  How could she balance on that?!
She looked very Quasi Modo when she doubled over to reach the handlebars.

Dad's a great helper!
It's hard to tell who is having more fun!
Notice the tongue, which is either a rudder or balance.

And even though Birdie only went a few yards balanced on her own, she finished her first ride sans training wheels feeling proud and accomplished.  More importantly, she finished her ride less fearful and even more excited about the next time she can practice on two wheels.  To hear her tell it, she's just a few short practices away from going pro.

Soooooo... Hubby may get a Daddy/Daughter bike ride some day, after all!  I'm not optimistic enough just yet to say "family" bike ride-- we are still trying to find Princess a bike helmet that doesn't muss hair and comes complete with an attached tiara.  Wish me luck.

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