Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Guess what? Ahoy! Benjamin bikes! He's a biker! He bikes!

I've been trying to teach Benjamin how to ride a bike for quite some time. He figured out the tricycle pretty fast but lacked the patience required to learn how to ride a bike. Or a scooter. Or even to pump on a swing.

You'd think that those sorts of things would be attractive to my active little boy, but you'd be wrong because my little boy was too active to sit still long enough to learn how to do any of them!

He couldn't sit on a swing long enough to learn how to pump his legs (though he did manage to figure it out this past summer). Whenever I'd try to get him to try he'd sit for all of five seconds before popping back off the swing so he could run around.

We had the same issue with his scooter (though he did manage to figure that out earlier this year on a warm winter day). Whenever I'd try to get him to try he'd furiously pound his pumping leg against the sidewalk for five or six steps, then throw his scooter aside and start running around.

Likewise, I could not get him to sit on a bike for more than a few seconds at a time before he'd hop off and start running around like wild.

(Spoiler alert: While he was working with Benjamin today, Garrett wondered aloud how Benjamin hadn't learned to ride without training wheels "yet," but this is why—I honestly couldn't get him to sit still long enough to sit on a bike).


It was frustrating because very clearly he is a child who needs this sort of outlet, but he pushed against learning anything. He seemed to lack the coordination, the balance, the determination, the desire to learn any of it. It wasn't quite as frustrating as trying to teach him to eat was (hello, NICU days) because this wasn't a matter of his survival, but it was still rather frustrating because it was a matter of my survival (or at least my sanity).

Learning to swing was a marvelous thing for him.

Learning to ride his scooter was even better (I can't tell you how many "scooter walks" we've gone on recently (he scooters (and Zoë scooters) and I push Alexander in the stroller)).

Learning to ride his bike would make this a childhood trifecta! His summers could be carefree and glorious if he would just sit. on. his. bike. long enough to learn how to pedal.


Frankly (and as I suspected), learning to ride his scooter was key to learning how to ride his bike. He had to master the art of balancing, the art of steering, and the ever-tricky art of balancing and steering at the same time when he learned how to ride his scooter. Developing a little bit of tenacity didn't hurt him, either.

He went from limping along for a few measly feet before casting his scooter aside to zooming around the block. And he loved this newfound speed and freedom.

When I pulled out his bike this afternoon, he just hopped right on and applied what he already knew—balancing and steering—and went scooting around the church parking lot on his bike—hallelujah! I'd been trying to get him to do that for years—so I retrieved his pedals (which I'd taken off, you know, years ago when I first started trying to teach him how to ride a bike) and put them back on his bike.

Learning to pedal (while steering and balancing) was a little tricky, but he made some excellent strides this afternoon. Here he is trying to make his way across the parking lot:



Here's a video of Zoë because she wanted me to film her, too (and she's honestly doing a fabulous job pedaling her tricycle—something all my kids have struggled to learn so far):



And here's a video of Benjamin attempting aloop around the island—he'd made it one whole length and had looped around to do the other side when Andrew's cousin Garrett rode up:



Garrett recently graduated from BYU-I and is living with Aunt Linda and Uncle Trevor (his parents) right now. They can see the church parking lot from their kitchen window and when Garrett came home from work they sent him over to assist me. He pointed out that Benjamin's bike was ill-fitting (and it was) and helped raise the seat and then started teaching Benjamin how to get started on his own (he can't quite do that part yet and still requires a bit of a push).

It was so helpful to have another pair of hands around (and a much more knowledgeable pair at that)! Alexander, as you can imagine, was afraid I was abandoning him every time I would run behind Benjamin's bike to get him started. So as I was running alongside Benjamin, Alexander was screaming and running after me (or throwing himself on the ground for a good cry). Or I'd try holding Alexander while also holding up Benjamin on his bike. Or Zoë would be trying to run Alexander over on her tricycle. Or...

It was exhausting (and I'm sure rather comical to watch)!

But I'm pleased to announce that he's more or less got the hang of it!

That's three kids down, two to go!

Andrew and I have this agreement (of sorts) that I teach the kids how to do things like (1) eat when they're first born, (2) read, (3) swim, (4) ride bikes, and he gets to teach the kids how to drive and how to do calculus.

The work is a little front-heavy on my end, but it's sure to pay off in the end!

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