ride sally ride

Brooklynn has been riding her bike for the past two years with training wheels. She’s comfortable with them on and rides pretty quickly, but the entire time, she’s been aware that the training wheels are something big kids don’t have. She also hasn’t learned to lean into turns and when she pedals hard up hills, she sometimes lifts the back wheel off the ground leaning entirely onto the small training wheel.

Last month, we told her that maybe this summer would be the year she learned to ride a bike without them. And she immediately demanded that we take the training wheels off. She was FIVE! No balance aides required. Because she’s five. Of course a birthday automatically imparts the ability to balance on two wheels.

I took them off, and since her bike seat was set too high for her to reach the ground, I held on while she climbed up. The first trip to the corner and back I held on tight and kept her upright. I imagine it felt to her much like having the training wheels on. The bike stayed stable and vertical regardless of her body position. The next trip, she informed me that I didn’t have to hold on so much. So I didn’t.

Two seconds later, she was yelling at me because I almost let her fall and how could I do that!? She’s just a little kid.

The training wheels went back on.

We’ve been looking at the strider bikes for Maddi, the kind where there aren’t any pedals and kids learn to balance by walking with their feet and gliding. Brooklynn wanted nothing to do with it, because that was for little kids. She has a pedal bike, don’t you know. But after visiting a store with them and letting the girls ride around the small strider bikes, Brooklynn admitted that maybe it would be ok to try it.

I lowered her bike seat all the way and took off the pedals. She could just reach the ground enough to push along and she started by basically walking. Our bike and walk outings went from a few miles around the hills of the neighborhood to around the block and back home. And little by little, we started to see improvements. She would glide the last 10 feet down the driveway. She would almost come to a complete stop before she put her foot down to catch herself.

Last night, we watched her glide down a slight hill on the sidewalk for almost 100 feet without touching her feet. Her balance wasn’t perfect, and it really looked like she could use someplace to put her feet. Maybe it was time.

I put the pedals back on, and she was immediately more concerned with pedaling and braking than balancing. I helped her by holding on, but it did not go well. She put her bike away, told me I didn’t do a good job for her, and went inside.

Brooklynn will quit on things if she doesn’t immediately succeed. It’s one of the things we are a little worried about her with as she starts school this fall. Rhiannon told her to try one more time. To just push along like she knows how, and if she felt good about it, maybe put her feet on the pedals. And if she still felt good, maybe pedal once around.

She got back on the bike. One more time, she told us. But that was it. And then…

I had to kick her off the bike to get ready for bed. She told me that she’s going to ride all afternoon today.

I’ve never been so proud.

puddle splashing

Puddle splasher

After a pretty dry spring, we’ve finally been getting some rain lately. Tonight, after reassuring Brooklynn that the tornado watch did not mean we should move all the toys from the playroom into the basement shower for safekeeping, I got the girls outside in some nice rain.

If small puddles on the sidewalk are good, then the deeper water in the gutter is better, and that makes the fast moving water on the hill the best. Not to worry, Maddi only brought about a half inch of water in the bottom of each of her boots inside with her.

project family kickoff – all pink edition

Baby3G

It’s a little hard to tell from the profile along, but the title should have given it away. We are adding a little bit more pink to the family. I’m going to start building a man fortress now to ward off the future onslaught of princess toys and prom dresses.

I’d also like to announce, that for the time being, we have a name. Baby 3G has officially joined the family, as about a week ago, I felt her kicking for the first time. Welcome, little girl. You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.

upwards and onwards

It’s hard not compare the children. As much as I try to recognize them for their own unique traits, I reference a lot of my experience to Maddi back to what Brooklynn was like at a similar age. And the more I reference back, the more I find myself thinking, Brooklynn would not have been doing that.

The Climber

At the playground near our house, there are a few tall ladders. Brooklynn was cautious around high things that could lead to falls. Maddi is not. I was with Brooklynn at a different part of the playground for a couple minutes and realized that Maddi was no longer on the little kid section of slides. And I couldn’t see her.

My initial thought was that she had headed up the sidewalk toward the street, so I briskly walked around to the street side of the equipment and scanned the edge of the road. No Maddi. As I turned back to the mulched play area, there she was, on the chain ladder about three times as tall as herself. She was one rung from the top and trying to figure out what to do since the hand holds were different than the rest of the way up.

I walked over and showed her the handles on the sides of the platform. Away she went.

Unlike Brooklynn, Maddi does not like assistance when she climbs. Into cars. Up ladders. Over the edge of the bath. No, do not touch her. If you do, that constitutes a violation of her do-it-myself attitude and she has to start all over. And then you also get scolded by a toddler, “No Daddy! Mah-SEFF!” If you are really fortunate, she will continue to mutter her version of myself to, well, herself, as is to ward off any unwanted assistance.

Keep that free spirit, Maddi. Just don’t look down.