There comes a point in every parent's life, when they realize that someone could be secretly video taping them. Has that happened to you yet? You're out in public with your child and they are making you crazy for one reason or another, and you just... can't... seem... to get control of the situation. And this image pops into your brain of your neighbour shaking his head while he gets the video camera, and then the video hitting YouTube, and suddenly you're on the news trying to explain why you were making your child cry hysterically while "teaching" him to ride a bike.
Not that I've ever felt that, or thought that. Oh no, I've never wailed in frustration in the middle of the street, panting and sweaty from running, and frustrated, "BEN!!! JUST!!! BALANCE!!! WHY CAN'T YOU BALANCE?!?!" I've never reduced my seven-year-old to tears by telling him that I learned to ride a bike when I was four, and that everyone can do this, so he certainly CAN do it, and "STOP SAYING YOU CAN'T!!"
Actually, wait. Yeah. I did do that.
Luckily, at that moment the image of me on the news tearfully pleading with the public to stop sending me hate mail popped into my head. So Ben and I took a break. I told him it was okay, and it wasn't his fault, and that Mommy was sorry for making him cry and I would find a better way for him to learn to ride a bike.
Then I went straight inside and typed "how to teach your kid to ride a bike without training wheels" into google. (Ah google, how I love you.) I found this page right off the top. Scroll down to the part about the undersized bike approach. (We'd tried the running, obviously. And in case you're judging me, or this somehow ends up on the news, let me tell you: Ben has the worst sense of balance. Pushing him on that bike is exactly what I imagine pushing a corpse on a bike would be like. And we needed immediate results to redeem the situation. We had no time for gradually raising the training wheels.)
Also luckily, Sammy has the perfect bike for this approach. So after a bit more research, including a YouTube video on how to remove pedals, they have EVERYTHING on there, and then after some tinkering... Ben was ready to try coasting down the driveway on Sam's tiny, and now pedal-less bike. And it worked! Fabulously! And he had so much fun!
Well, not at first. At first he could barely "coast" a foot or two, and he got a bit frustrated, but after a few tries he got a few feet further, and that was it. He was hooked, and Mommy got to sit in a lawn chair cheering him on. And within a few days of practice, involving Sam with sidewalk chalk marking off how far he went on each attempt, Ben could push off from the top of our driveway and balance all the way to the bottom without touching his feet to the ground. And today was the day we put him back on his bike to try balancing and pedalling at the same time.
Check it out:
(Ang, I promise I don't run like that when I'm running. Promise. Also, the sports bra is ordered and in the mail. Postal workers, don't fail me now!)