Last Thursday I was working hard on a business project for Desperate Hubby. When I picked the kids up from school that day I pretty much went straight into my office at home and stayed there until chore time. I took a break to feed the horses and dogs in the drizzling rain, then was right back in my chair at about 5:30. If I focused I could probably get my spreadsheets done that night.
At about 5:31 Batman presented himself at my office door. He wanted to go outside and ride his bike.
Batman owns two bikes. Both are cute little red machines, one has training wheels and he has ridden it for the last year and a half or so, very sporadically. The other is slightly larger, with no training wheels, and he got that one from his cousin a year ago for his birthday. He has never even tried to ride it.
I said no. Daddy would be home any minute and he was going to make dinner. I was busy, and there was no one to watch him outside.
Batman didn’t care.
“Why can’t I just go outside?”
I explained about the rain. I explained about the ensuing darkness. I explained about the mud.
Batman didn’t care.
He said he was going to just ride on the concrete not the mud. He would wear his helmet and his pads.
He was going to teach himself to ride without training wheels.
Ah, I thought, this shouldn’t last long. So I said fine, go outside and ride your bike.
I called in faithful Annabelle and asked her to please go out to the garage and watch her brother while he rode on the concrete parking pad, and to report if anything serious went wrong. They headed outside.
At about 6:15 I decided I had worked so hard on my project that I should probably have a glass of wine. When I walked into the kitchen I could see Batman outside the open garage door. He had fallen on the ground; he was not crying, but he was not riding either. Since it was nearly dark and raining harder than before I convinced him to come in the house and put off his self-taught riding lesson until the next afternoon.
Annabelle was very kind and promised him that as soon as they got home from school the next day she would go outside with him and help him. Annabelle, incidentally, rides with training wheels too.
Friday was a lovely day, and I had a fun and productive riding lesson with my two beloved mares at the trainer’s in Kuna. I was driving home, pulling the horse trailer (in DH’s truck) when I learned this little life detail: you can’t trust the computer on the truck to tell you when you are about to run out of diesel. ‘41 Miles to Empty’ apparently can also mean ‘Forty-one Feet to Empty.’ My drive home subsequently took far longer than I had planned, and by the time I pulled into the driveway at about 3:30 DH had already picked the kids up from their 3:00 school release and they were outside playing.
I immediately spied Batman’s shiny red and black helmet, bobbing quickly down the dirt road. How cute! was my first thought. My second thought was, Why didn’t his dad make him change out of his school uniform?
A moment later I realized something else. Batman was riding merrily along with no training wheels.
I unloaded the horses and put them away as my son rode in circles around me.
“I got it, mom! I got it!!” Clearly he did. In less than two hours practice, with no adult supervision, my five-year old boy child had taught himself to ride a bike.
Especially since this is the same kid who regularly refuses to get himself dressed in the morning because he says he doesn’t know how, and who often forgoes an afternoon snack because he is too lazy to wash his hands.
I watched him ride for another half hour or so. He crashed hard once, but shook it off as though it was nothing. This is from the kid who puts half a box of band aids over a hang nail and refuses to bathe because there’s a chance they might fall off in the water.
He kept on riding well into the evening, coming in the house only when it got dark. Saturday morning he was up and ready to go out to ride at 6:00 am (this from the kid who kicks and screams every single morning when he has to be at school by 8:00). I forced him to wait until it was fully light, at about 7:30, and he spent much of the rest of the day cruising happily around the property.
I have no idea where the child got the balance or the fortitude to learn what I think is a fairly complex skill all by himself. Anyone who has ever seen me run or ski or even walk for that matter knows it wasn’t from me. DH admits that it took him days if not weeks of help from his dad and older brother to learn to ride a bike.
I guess he’s a happy freak of nature.