Saturday, March 20, 2021

In which Zoë learns to ride a bike (and Benjamin is simply awesome)

Was it really just Tuesday that Benjamin decided that he could, in fact, ride a bike? It feels like it's been a lifetime since then. He's spent hours and hours outside on his bike and it has been glorious. He's been around the block a few times (twice) so now he's basically a pro. He can stand up and ride, which he thinks is pretty exciting. And we took off his stunt pegs (he didn't like having them on but I only figured out how to remove them today) so now he loves his bike. Here he is, having a blast:

While we were outside today (for hours), Zoë started out riding her bike like normal around the cul-de-sac, while Alexander rode his tricycle, and Benjamin zoomed around on his bike.

And then our little neighbour came out with her balance bike and Zoë asked if we could take off her training wheels and pedals so that she could use her bike as a balance bike, so I helped her do that. After a few minutes she asked if she could put her pedals back on because she was "ready" and... turns out she was ready! 

She is still very much a beginner rider (Benjamin has been giving her all sorts of advice) and can't quite get started herself (or make it up the hill to ride in a circle), but I'm confident she'll get to that point soon. And I could just about cry tears of joy!

About a year before Benjamin was born, Lynn G. Robbins gave a talk in General Conference (April 2011) where he said the following:
A sweet and obedient child will enroll a father or mother only in Parenting 101. If you are blessed with a child who tests your patience to the nth degree, you will be enrolled in Parenting 505. Rather than wonder what you might have done wrong in the premortal life to be so deserving, you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and opportunity to become more godlike yourself.
I remarked on it at the time because I've always felt that my children were more the 505 sort than the 101 sort (though, to be fair, Alexander didn't walk until he was 18+ months old). I suppose that, because of its nature, parenting is challenging for everyone. And there are unique challenges (and blessings) that come with each child. But, honestly, in spite of all my joking about my children being difficult to manage when they were just Rachel and Miriam at 3 and 18 months, well...let's just say that I didn't realize what Parenting 505 really looked like until Benjamin came along. 

He's a sweet child—and biking has given him such a boost in confidence (he's been ending nearly every sentence today with, "I'm awesome!" and that's very true)—but teaching him things is so exhausting. 

Like, I just wanted to cry when Zoë simply felt ready to ride a bike, and was.

And when I was getting ready to potty train Alexander I was so nervous because potty training Benjamin had been a disastrous years-long affair (in fact, I hardly remember potty training Zoë because I was still working on Benjamin while potty training her and compared to him, she was easy). I was worried that it was, perhaps, a boy thing. But, as it turns out, it was simply a Ben thing. 

So I almost cried tears of joy when Alexander was just like, "Oh, we're not doing diapers anymore? Cool. I've got this."

Not that Alexander has never had an accident (because he has) and not that Zoë has never fallen off her bike (because she has)...just comparatively teaching them those things was a snap compared to teaching Benjamin those things.

And I think that's fine. Learning something is all the more valuable if you struggled to get there, right? I think so. It's the same thing with bravery, which can really only exist in the face of fear, or faith, which I think, to a large extent, can only exist in the face of doubt. It's the struggle that makes the experience worth it. 

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