August 08, 2007

Two Wheelin'

I have been bothered recently by the fact that my son, Lil Man, now 7-years old, does not know how to ride a two wheel bike without training wheels. I am more bothered by the fact that he has NO desire to learn how to ride. Period. None. I tried just taking off the training wheels and let's just say it ended in curse words and tears.

He is the type of kid who will only do something that interests him. Bike riding has never interested him. Ever. He learns at his own pace - when he wants to. And no amount of prodding/pushing/bribing will sway him either way. I should trust in this with him.

But, I can't. I want him to be like the other boys - riding around everywhere. I don't want him to be teased anymore than he already will be for being such a "different" boy. By different I mean, he is a product of DH and my genes and that makes him a SUPREME FREAK with a bad temper, a flare for the arts, an uncanny knack for organization and cleanliness and the ability to curse anyone else under the table. Strange indeed. But I love his ways. He is silly and smart and OUT THERE, people. The things he says KILL ME!!

And I did not learn to ride at an early age. I was about 9 or 10 and my father decided it was high time I learn to ride SANS training wheels. After a LOT of unsuccessful trips up and down the street with my father losing patience with the arch of his back hunkered over the back end of my bike, righting it every time I dumped it over - finally exploded and spewed something to the effect of I was hopeless and promptly took my bike by the handle bars and seat and THREW it into the side yard. Ouch. Devastating? Yep. But, the push I needed. I was gonna show him and learned how to ride on my own the next day. Yes, I ran full board into a pricker bush - but it was worth the look of shock on his face the next day he drove in from work.

I don't want to do this to Lil Man.

So, imagine my dilemma when I heard that there is a woman in the area (read psychologist) who ACTUALLY TEACHES KIDS TO RIDE A BIKE! One of Lil Man's friends Moms confessed she had done it last year fearing the ridicule her son would face being Lil Man's age then. She told me it took the woman 3 times coming out and now he is an excellent rider.

I have pondered it long and hard. I don't care how much it costs. There would be no screaming, no cussing, no tears. As a professional, she would know how best to help him. I thought it was a win-win. Until I brought it up to DH.

"I'm thinking of calling that Bike Riding Teacher for Lil Man."

"What? Why would you DO that?"

"Because I have tried unsuccessfully to teach him and I don't want to damage him anymore than we do on a daily basis - I think she can help."

DH is very quiet. Too quiet. "Uh huh. And what exactly do we TELL him when he gets older? That he was such a reject we HIRED a shrink to teach him to RIDE A BIKE?!?!?"

"oh. huh. I hadn't thought that far. Yes, that could be worse, huh?"

So, tell me internet - what do you think about this kooky idea?


At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Susan said...

Here's what I think: I think that is the silliest, craziest, most ridiculous thing I have ever heard...she has some racket going...and I WANT HER NUMBER. Please send it to me. :)

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Miss Ann Thrope said...

I didn't learn to ride a bike til I was 9 or 10. I don't remember ever being ridiculed. Course, I didn't have a bike til I was 9 or 10.

I say leave him be. He's his own man and I think if he was worried about what the other kids would say, he'd be working at it.

I think this is your problem not his. He doesn't appear to worry about being ridiculed. You do.

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Sharpie said...

Miss Ann Thrope - of course I care if if he is ridiculed - that's my job. He will care when it happens - he will actually fall apart - I already KNOW this - so I am trying to stop it before it starts. It's also my job to expose/prod/push him into doing things he may not think he wants to do - only to realize that he was really glad I did. Again - that's a mother's job.

I have to expose him to other things outside his comfort zone - how else will he grow?

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Not a Granny said...

My son didn't want to ride his bike without the traning wheels either.

As I recall, we took them off and put them back on several times. Not A Grampy finally raised them up so high they weren't doing any good at all.

At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Susan said...

Just to be clear---when I said I wanted her number, it was not for advice on the racket she has going (because, as I re-read my previous comment, I realize that may be the unintentional implication), it was because I truly NEED her number to get these stinking training wheels off Miss H's bike!

She (Miss H) no longer physically needs the training wheels--we have, gradually, and without her knowledge or consent, raised them so high they no longer touch the ground. She is riding the bike without acutally using them, she just doesn't know that she is---but, Oh, Man! is she ever attached to them psychologically.

I know exactly how you feel, Sharpie. I feel it too, every time she goes for a ride with a friend. Thankfully, no one has made a comment to her yet, but I know it is coming, and I, too, want to prevent this particular sting.

I rarely respond to other commenters, but, probably because this post hits home for me, I have to say you are exactly right about it being your/our job/jobs as parents to know our own children and anticipate for them. Lil' Man may well not be worried about ridicule, not because he doesn't care, but because he doesn't yet know that he could be ridiculed. And, only you can know how he is likely to react.

There are things we can do nothing about, but there are things we can, and I commend you (Sharpie) for knowing that and doing your best to help.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Sharpie said...

Susan - I knew what you meant in the first post - and believe me I know what you mean in your second.

I make no apologies for trying to save my kids from as much heartache as I can. I know that there will be things I can't change and things that they will be picked on for - we all have been the subject of ridicule - but I will do whatever I can to make in minimal.

At 12:10 AM, Anonymous sherry said...

Amen to you, my Big Sister Who Knows More Than She Should. It absolutely IS your job to do whatever you see fit to bring your kids up HAPPY and HEALTHY. And, I think you're doing a most fantabulous job, if I may throw in my two cents.

I miss you TONS!!! Talk to you soon!

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Michele said...

I am late to the party, but I agree with Susan and Sherry and you. I think it is our job to try to make things easy for our kids to some extent. Not "helicopter parenting" but sort of behind the scenes "for their own good" stuff. Like raising their training wheels without them knowing it, which worked for my sister, and when one "fell off" it was mysteriously "unfixable" so she rode with just one until that one also mysteriously "fell off".

If Lil Man wants to go to the Bike Whisperer, then what is the harm? You are a great Mom Sharpie. That I know just from reading you.

PS - My father cursed and hollered alot trying to teach me to drive stick shift (and he is a pretty gentle and easy going guy). One night I wanted to go to my best friends and he said I could take the car, but I had to take the his stick shift car and not my mother's cushy automatic. When I balked he said "If you really want to go, you will figure it out." And I did.


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