Yup, those are training wheels…. Those are training wheels NOT on my 7 year old’s bike. I took them off this morning. He cried.
You see, they were on his “backup” bike. He got a new bike last year, and it had more than one gear, which made it impossible to put training wheels on. I told him then, “pretty soon, you’ll be too big for the yellow bike, and you’ll have to learn how to ride a two-wheeler just like all the other kids”. So he simply refused to get on the new bike, and instead carried on dragging his ass around with the training wheel bike. sigh.
There are a bunch of reasons that he’s been on training wheels all this time. Originally, he grew so big, so fast, that balance and coordination were non-existent. Also, the super crazy growth meant super pathetic leg strength. Then it came down to me being lazy. I did not have the time or the energy or the PATIENCE to take him out and teach him. When I did try, the whole experience invariably boiled down to me shouting and swearing, and him doing the walk of shame back to the house while I carried the bike and threatened to beat him with it. Doesn’t that sound like fun!?
Not long ago I was whining to my mother about it. What she had to say was interesting;
“Why are you trying to teach him? A mother has only so much patience! I didn’t teach you kids how to ride! . Honestly, I don’t know who taught you, maybe your Dad, maybe one of the neighbor kids, but it sure wasn’t me, so why do you think it has to be you?”
I gave that some serious thought, and came up with a possible solution. My son happens to adore his uncles, and in particular, my brother in law is not only fit enough to run alongside a bike for more than a few feet, he has the patience of a saint. I dangled that over my son’s head to see if it interested him. For a fleeting moment he seemed inspired- until he had to get on the “big bike” that is. His uncle ran back and forth and around and around, all the while holding the bike up while the little shit was whining and refusing to pedal and asking to get off. “I just want to ride my yellow bike with the training wheels!”.
Of course, the term “Infinite Patience” isn’t entirely accurate. Uncle wasn’t going to carry on trying if Nephew refused to make any effort at all. Besides that, the man works full time and has 3 kids of his own at home! Unsurprisingly, he hasn’t made it over here since then.
Stubborn Kid 1 Mom 0…. ZERO.
The day before yesterday, I had an Idea. Our front sidewalk is sloped towards the curb, and the pavement in the street slopes back up to the center of the culdesac we live on. I grabbed some scrap wood and made a little ramp down from the curb. I thought just maybe if I could get him to try coasting down with no training wheels…. just maybe… Actually, it worked pretty well! Nearly right away, I discovered he had enough balance to coast about 10 feet with his feet off the ground! What he didn’t realize, was that it meant that the training wheels were coming off the “backup bike”, and the “Kid Gloves” were getting thrown the Fu*k DOWN! I was going to teach him how to ride, come hell or high water.
SO…. It’s been 3 days, about an hour a day, we go out front with all the kids in the neighborhood watching and offering encouragement. I’ve tried everything from pep-talks to bribery to actually kicking him once (he bailed on purpose and nearly tore my arm off), and no matter whether he cries, we don’t get to stop until he actually tries. More than once now, he’s actually ridden a way on his own, he doesn’t get far before he realizes I’m not holding on and freaks out at me. I figure he’ll be riding on his own in as little as a week- If I don’t end up in jail for beating him out in the street! (ha ha)
I believe there is a strong possibility that my mother did in fact teach me how to ride a bike, although we both seem to have blocked out the memory due to extreme trauma!