I spent a lot of time last night weeding out my gazillion beach photos in preparation for the posts I am in the process of writing about our trip to South Carolina. Some pretty cool stuff happened during those 8+ days and I’m excited to share it. But we are starting the 3 weeks of all day togetherness before school starts on August 30th, and the Roc is home all day, so my computer time is extremely limited, as in non existent unless he is asleep. So the first post I’m working on didn’t get any attention today, minus the words, thought fragments, and phrases floating around in my head. The Roc is now in bed, and the plan I had since I opened my eyes this morning was to put those thoughts, fragments, and phrases together as soon as I said good night and closed the door. But I have to write about what happened today, because it deserves a post of it’s own, and it’s been a long time coming.
The Roc and I stayed busy today weeding the gardens and running errands, and when we found some plants on sale I just had to bring them home, knowing that we could kill some time in the yard potting, digging in the dirt, and planting. The Roc was willing to help, for a little while, and then he wanted his little toy lawn mowers. As I wrestled them from the netting of his soccer goal I spied his bike, brand new and dusty sitting behind the real lawn mower. After I handed over the teeny, tiny toy lawn mowers to the too tall for them Roc I stepped back into the garage and pulled out his Spider-man bike. The big Christmas gift of 2009. The bike that when asked if he would like to learn to ride he has always answered, “Not today, maybe another time.” The bike that I have moved around in the garage all spring and summer, waiting for the right day. I’ve been wondering when the right time would be to pull it out. I didn’t want to push.
I pushed the tricycle. I literally had to push it by the big handle in the back, but I pushed it too. Too soon, too fast, too impatient was I when I tried to teach the Roc how to peddle his first tricycle when he was 4 years old. I was frustrated with his level of frustration and I know that I sighed too much, and he must have felt my annoyance at his inability to master peddling, not to mention steering. He screamed and refused to get on the tricycle for awhile and I had to back track and take things really slow, first teaching him to steer and then trying to teach peddling, which he never quite mastered. So for months I have wondered what it was going to take to teach the Roc to ride his new little bike.
I decided to give the tiniest of nudges, to see if today would be the “another time” he has spoken of for months. I carried the bike down our short drive and placed it on the sidewalk in front of him and casually asked him if he would like to ride it today. I was astounded by his enthusiasm when he said “Yes, I would!” and tried to climb on. I ran for his bike helmet and inside for some scissors to release the zip tied tags, and after he donned the matching Spider-man helmet we haltingly headed off down the sidewalk. Back and forth down our street we crept, me coaching and encouraging, him frustrated while trying to figure out how exactly to move his feet, how to make the bike GO. I felt his irritation building, swirling through his chest like a geyser about to erupt, but instead of feeling riled up like I did 2 years ago, I stayed calm and let him take his time. Let him screech his frustration and stomp his little feet on the peddles. I lightly pushed the bike to keep him going, but I didn’t push.
Slowly he got it. I watched him stare at his feet for 45 minutes and I felt him figure out when to push down on the peddles. I watched the slow smile start on his face as he said “I’m driving it now. I can probably do it myself.”
We wound through the paths in our neighborhood and he got better and better, faster and faster. 45 minutes later, I could barely keep up with him and had to run down the trail and quickly turn around to get a shot of him coming towards me.
Today turned out to be the perfect “another time” for the Roc. I now know what we will be doing tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that!