Saturday, May 31, 2008

Goodbye Training Wheels!

Today, my son reached an important milestone in a child's life, he rode his bicycle without the training wheels on. It was timed nicely, as he celebrated his seventh birthday yesterday.

Twice before in the last week or so I had taken him to the parking lot of his elementary school to practice riding without the training wheels in a relatively safe area. He was very nervous and wobbled from side to side as he pedalled. When he would pick up enough speed, I would let go of the bottom of his seat and for a few seconds he was riding on his own. But then he would look back and panic when he realized I had let go of him, and his feet would come off the pedals and scrape the pavement.

"Don't let go Daddy!" he would plead to me.

"But that defeats the whole reason we're here," I replied. "You were riding the bike on your own. You can do it."

On the second practice run, I tried a different tactic: deception. When he was pedalling, I would let go of the seat but I kept my hand close enough so that my son thought I was still holding on. Still, his performance on the second day was not noticeably better than the first.

This morning I took him to the school again for a third practice. After a few shaky starts, he got to a point where I felt confident enough to let go and then I just stood there and watched as he kept on going. After about ten seconds, he stopped as he realized I was no longer there.

"Why did you let go?" he asked me.

"Because you don't need me to hold on anymore. You were riding on your own. You can do it!" I exclaimed. I think it finally sunk in for him that he really knew how to ride his bicycle without the training wheels and that it gave a boost to his confidence.

After a couple of more times of holding on to get him started, I told him to start pedalling on his own. He had some trouble with this and had many false starts, but he started to get it and was eventually riding completely on his own. Then it was time to go home and share the good news with his mom.


tina FCD said...

Isn't it funny how much fun we have teaching kids new things. Riding a bike, writing, reading...etc. Before you know it, you will be teaching him how to drive a car. :)

Tommykey said...

Actually, I'm looking forward to the day my son can mow the lawn!

Anonymous said...

Good memories. Enjoy it while you have this time. Turn around and they're suddenly all grown up on you.

Stardust said...

We took our oldest son to the school playground to learn to ride his bike, too. Funny how he always seem to "aim" right for one of the several trash cans sitting around.

It's funny how kids are similar when learning to do stuff like learning to ride a bike. Our kids all did the "don't let go" thing and my husband did the same thing as you with the pretending to hold on tactic.

It was the same thing with them learning to swim. "Don't let go of me!" they would cry when holding them up in the water. We would gradually let our grip looser and looser and finally they were doing it on their own. They had first those arm floaties, then didn't like those after awhile and just went for it alone.

Brian is right, enjoy it while you have this time with them. It goes by so fast and before you know it they are getting married...our middle son just got married on the 25th. All the training wheel stuff, the learning to swim, etc all came back as he stood there with his new wife.

Anonymous said...

Be careful. Those 'I don't need to hold on anymore' moments come quicker and quicker. Before you know it, he'll be heading for college. I don't mean you should shelter him too tightly ro be too protective, merely that you should treasure these moments.