Originally posted on Moms Magazine —
One of the biggest achievements in a child’s life is conquering the fear of something they believe they’re too scared to do. This includes, but is not limited to: walking, potty training, going to school and riding a bicycle. One of the biggest achievements in a parents’ life is conquering the fear to accept their child is actually doing something not only the child thought they’d be too scared or never do, but also that we as parents are too scared to have them do it. This includes, but is not limited to: walking, potty training, going to school and riding a bike! So when these achievements are made it’s probably impossible to decide who is more excited – or still fearful.
When it came to teaching my son to ride his bike, I was convinced this was going to be a long process that would include lots of bumps, scrapes and bruises and in the end, who even knew if he’d learn to ride. And that’s exactly how it played out. We purchased his lime green bike (his choice) with training wheels three summers ago, when he was 4 years old, and it was my dream he’d be up on two wheels by summer’s end. That dream quickly faded. If he rode the bike more than five times, I’m exaggerating.
The following summer we took him to a free bike-riding lesson for kids where they took the training wheels and pedals off with the guarantee he’d be up on two wheels riding by the end of the class. We definitely got what we paid for as we left without him even trying. To be fair, there were several kids who conquered their fears that day and rode off on two wheels; not ours.
Conquering the Fear
This summer, at age 7, I guess it was just his time. After several attempts of “practicing” he was just ready to get on his bike and ride. The pedals went back on and he got out of his own head and the next thing we know, he’s riding (and I was freaking out)! Once he was up he said to me, “Mommy, something just popped in my brain and I was ready to ride!” Gulp.
I’m not sure who was more proud – him or me? And he’s gaining so much confidence with every turn (once he can push off and get going). Here’s the irony, as he gains confidence, my fear increases. Is he going too fast? Will he know to get out of other people’s way? Will he be aware of his surroundings? And the big one – If he falls, will he get back up? For this last question I can tell you, yes he will and he did. Of course, that didn’t stop me from running to his rescue. But I was at the ready with bandages and Neosporin to clean him off, and a big hug encouraging him to shake it off and get back on.
Now we’re faced with a bigger problem – he’s outgrown his bike! It has been three years. So in celebration of this huge milestone and of conquering the fear (his, not mine – yet), we purchased him a new lime green bike (still his choice) – with 6 speeds, two handbrakes and a kickstand. This hasn’t totally allayed my fears but the overwhelming pride I see on his face when he gets on that bike helps make it a little better for me. And when he falls (which he has — several times) he quickly jumps up to let me know he’s okay and just keeps on riding. Can you imagine what I’ll be like when it’s time for him to drive a car!