IT seems like yesterday that I wrote this post on my old blog about 6 year old Noah getting on his two wheel bike for the first time and taking off. I remember crying a few tears because it was such a neat thing to watch. I have always maintained that the summer between kindergarten and first grade is one of the biggest summers of growth. It's amazing how many things Noah learned the summer of 2008.
This time it's a little different. Since I held Aaron back last year, he should be going in to first grade this year but he's not. Nevertheless, this is THAT summer for him, since he is of that age. He is definitely becoming more of a grade school kid than a little kid in attitude and we have been working on that A LOT. But he is also hitting a whole bunch of milestones the same as Noah did in this comparable summer. Through the workbooks that I have both of the boys do every morning, his handwriting has gone from "babyish" that it was in May to much more mature, with correct pencil grip and sufficient pressure. HUGE improvement. He was already reading way advanced for his age, so that continues.
And then we hit another MAJOR one in the last couple of days.
Aaron has never been a super confident bike rider. With training wheels, he would always go really slow and tentative. When he went to Safe City (a week long safety class put on by the fire department last week) he was one of the only kids who still had training wheels on his bike. He asked me to take his off. I figured that since he was already not a confident rider anyway, it wouldn't hurt to have him just learn without the trainers. Neither Steve nor I had trainers and we learned just fine.
So I took them off. I also lowered the seat all the way down, so that he could put his feet down whenever he wanted. We also had a lengthy discussion with Noah that both Steve and I had been taught to ride a bike from our older siblings and he could he be a big part if this. He balked at every mention of it. But we noticed that during Aaron's first attempts Noah sat at the front window watching, while pretending to NOT watch.
After Aaron's first two runs, he screamed (as his way ALL THE TIME lately) threw his bike down, and stormed off. I didn't react though because Aaron's personality is such that I knew he would come back a try again. Which he did. Again and again. All day.
And for the entire day on Sunday, it was a series of try, scream, yell, throw the bike down, declare it the worst thing ever, and then repeat an hour later.
I got home from work on Monday night and wondered if it was just because he was having trouble staying on the sidewalk. So Steve and I decided to take the boys over to the parking lot nearby and see if he could get going that way. He was SO CLOSE. He could glide but he would not keep his feet on the pedals to keep going.
After Steve and I begged, pleaded, scolded, guided him to keep his feet on the pedals, he still refused. Then we brought Noah over and asked Aaron to watch Noah. We put Noah through a series of drills of riding. The minute he was done, Aaron turned around, pushed off, put his feet on the pedals and TOOK OFF! YAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!
And yes, I shed some tears this time too.
He was very excited that he could ride. And we were too. After watching him wipe out (happily, no less) we realized the problem. He will only go in circles instead of riding straight. And he will only turn to the left but not the right. Oh well. Let's have this celebration and worry about THAT another day.
Tuesday morning dawned and Aaron was out the door before he even got dressed, wanting to ride some more. So I packed the first aid kit again, pried Noah's Pokemon cards out of his hands for a little while, and we headed over to the parking lot again. This time was actually a little more frustrating for Aaron because he knew he had ridden the day before, but now it wasn't working for him. He started by just walking the bike along with his feet on the ground.
Then, he graduated to pushing off with one foot while gliding with the other.
When we got the the parking lot, much as he did the day before, he took off, going in circles.
And of course wiping out when the circle got too sharp. I tried to get him to follow the yellow lines in the lot, but he was getting frustrated again so we headed home.
After trying a little bit more, I got yet another idea. I had lowered the seat but I hadn't lowered the handle bars. Maybe that was the problem.
So after lunch and a little rest we headed outside to try again. I lowered the handle bars and set him off to try again.
Yup, he took off!!
He still wobbles and goes off into the grass a lot. But for a little boy who never really got the hang of riding before, he is now riding a two wheeler 72 hours later. As I write this Wednesday morning at 9 AM, he has already been outside twice riding. He has permission to ride on the sidewalk between our house and the neighbor's fire hydrant three houses down unless I am outside with him.
I was very happy that Noah had such a huge part of this process. He is not always a willing participant when it comes to anything supporting his little brother. So the fact that I can say "Noah, YOU were the only one that could teach Aaron how to ride a bike" is definitely a boost for him as well.
We still have a month until school starts. Who knows what will be achieved in that month. Both boys have swimming lessons so who knows.They are also going golfing with my parents for the first time as well. We are going camping for the first time this coming weekend. SO many adventures lie ahead. The stores may be stocking backpacks and school supplies, but we're not looking. There's a whole lot of summer left for us!