Big news in the Anderson household...
JAMES CAN RIDE HIS BIKE WITHOUT TRAINING WHEELS!!!
(Here he is riding to the mailbox... it got cold,
so I loaned him my jacket. E.T. anyone?)
We're all so excited! I especially am! This teaching James how to ride sans help has been... well, hellish. Mostly I am impatient and expect immediate success. I also tend to think that the drill sergeant method is the best way to booster a child's confidence. This may or may not be true... yeah, it probably isn't. But I swear it's the only thing that works with James (case in point: potty training).
We started the bike training with Derek at the helm. But that lasted all of five minutes before I took over. I thought Derek was being too soft, ha. So I kicked it into drill sergeant mode, which quickly escalated into mommy-swears-too-much mode, which resulted in Derek taking over again. Then I got the smart (no sarcasm, it really was smart) idea to try riding on the road. Our road isn't very busy being in a little subdivision and all, and trying to stay inside the confines of a tiny sidewalk whilst learning and mastering all the rest seemed a bit much. So we moved it to the black top. And that seemed to help (though asphalt is much rougher to scrape against, ow). Then we made it into a game. Derek would hold onto James, James would peddle and try to ride, and I would run in front of him. It was a chase game, and it made things a whole lot more fun. The faster I would move my feet, the faster James would peddle, and having me in front of him helped him keep his eyes on the prize (instead of looking to the side and tipping over). It was the first time bike training was fun for him. Progress.
Days passed, and rainy days as well as Easter and the family fun that accompanied it came and went. Then we tried again. And again. And again. The biggest hurdle was getting James over his fear of falling. Fear of failure (and just fear in general) is an issue with him. Finally I tried to get him to start on his own, to get peddling at his own speed. This helped him be less afraid, as he wasn't moving so quickly. Then he saw our neighbor friend Audrey who had just learned a week or so to ride unassisted, and that bolstered his confidence as well. We saw how she wiggled as she rode, and he tried to mimic her strategy.
In the end, he figured things out. He would go for quite a stretch without stopping. Then he would go even while aware that we were not holding on. And today... HE RODE CONFIDENTLY BY HIMSELF!!
Watching him ride and seeing the joy he felt doing it (finally!) made it all worth it. He was having fun! He was proud of himself!! I think that is possibly the best moment for a parent, to see your child believe in him/herself. Oh James, you're a rock star!
Star quote of the day... James had just finished riding for a long stretch (we rode to the mailbox and back, which is no small feat). He was beaming. And he said emphatically, "I'm SO PROUD of myself!!" :) Oh, baby... we're proud of you, too. We really, really are.