P got an early Christmas present from mom and dad this week. A new bicycle. Gone are the days of the trike or balance bike. He is breezing down the street on his new bike with training wheels. This new change in our family has helped me realize that not everyone progresses the same way when learning. I remember the day when we saw he wanted to do more and we thought, ‘why not try a trike‘ and now look at him, kids will always go their own ways when they feel ready.
When P would ride his trike, he could pedal well and get some speed. However, the balance bike was not computing in his brain. The idea to use his feet like pedals and propel himself forward didn’t register. He was basically sitting on the seat and walking it. Rob and I tried a variety of different ways to encourage him on the balance bike. A couple of weeks ago we were both frustrated that he wasn’t getting it. Rather than us be frustrated that he doesn’t get one concept, Rob and I decided to play to P’s strengths. We chatted and concluded that maybe a bigger bike with pedals is what he really needs to learn on instead of a balance bike.
During a family outing to REI and Performance Bicycle we tried on helmets and looked at bikes. P was thrilled when we asked him if he would like a new bike and helmet. He has hated wearing the helmet we have because of an incident. See, about a year ago, the chin straps were too tight and accidentally pinched some skin while closing the clasp. Since then he cringes or would have a meltdown about putting on a helmet. Wearing a helmet is a non-negotiable when it comes to safety. The staff at REI talked to us about proper fitting techniques and tried a couple of sizes. Maybe a new helmet that he was comfortable with would make riding the balance bike better. We tried the balance bike once more with the new helmet after being out shopping. It resulted in more of the same: frustrated parents and kid.
Rob and I had a discussion of getting him a bike for Christmas. This is a bike for the next couple of years, so we didn’t want to spend too much on it. We talked about a couple of second hand bike stores in the area and going to check them out. Our schedules have been hectic and trying to fit in a trip to other stores was going to be challenging.
The magical email came from Target. Pre-Black Friday deals had a bike for great price. There were two we knew he would love, but ultimately settled on this one. The reason this one won out? It has a carrying case for cars. I can’t tell you how many times we have gone for a ride and he wants to bring 4 cars and I have to carry them. Now his bike has a case just for them and he filled it up for his first ride.
P came home from a long weekend at his grandparents and the bike was waiting for him in his room. He beamed with excitement, “Is this for me?” “Yep, just for you,” I replied. He grabbed his new helmet and wanted to try out the new bike. Papaw and I took him around the block. Nerves set in and he struggled to get how the pedals move forward. The pedals were going backwards and hitting the brake. After a few tries, he got it. Our bumpy sidewalk presented new obstacles like rocks and some gravel, but he navigated them well.
Monday night he went for a ride around the block and was zooming. The pedals gave him less trouble and his frustration level was much lower. His speed however has picked up greatly. It was to the pace that I could jog along side him. Rob and I were so proud to watch him begin mastering this new bike and build confidence. He was able to save himself from falling a number of times, I think the balance bike did help correct if he was struggling.
While it’s scary to try something new and learn a new skill, this kid took to it instantly. He’s boosting his confidence and seeing growth. It is one of the best feelings as a parent.
When was the last time you tried something new? Tell me below in the comments.