… but when they do, they’re in for good!
We actually had a decent day in terms of weather today. I was so shocked. In fact, we went to the Children’s Museum this morning, and I dressed the kids in their winter coats and hats. I didn’t exactly make them zipper up when we left at one.
In fact, when they woke up from their naps (yep, we still nap) it was nice enough to go outside. We decided – we meaning “me” of course – to go on a bike ride around the neighborhood.
Little Miss put on her “spring coat” and headed outside. Mister Man went outside while I was putting on my shoes, so I didn’t notice until I was outside that he didn’t have on a coat and just his cotton sweater. Daddy insisted it was warm in the sun and that he was fine.
That was when I saw Mister Man trying to pedal out of the garage on his old tricycle. Nuh-uh. Dude is old enough to ride his bike.
Once he got his helmet on – see, I’m not that bad a mom – he started pedaling down the driveway, straight for the street. The boy is freaked out about the street and absolutely will NOT go in it without holding my hand and looking both ways. As he gets near the end of the driveway, he bails and tries to jump off backwards. Fortunately, I was close enough to catch him, as him landing on the ground and the bike going into the street would be enough to end our little jaunt.
That’s when I realized that I really ought to explain how brakes work on a bike. I show how he can pedal backwards or squeeze the handbrake. And reinforce pedaling backwards as I think on it further.
We go around the corner right by the end of our driveway, and he goes to fast and turns too sharply and tries to bail again. Fortunately, I catch him before his bottom actually leaves the seat and explain that he needs to go more slowly around corners and again mention the brakes.
Now he seems to get it a bit and heads off, pedaling furiously. We’ve left Daddy and Little Miss in our dust, and I mention this to him. I ask if he wants to see how far behind us they are. He immediately turns around while pedaling as I start shouting “Brake! Brake! Stop first!” to no avail. Predictably, he runs into the grass, falls down, and overturns the bike. *sigh*
Mister Man: Mommy, I fell down and I hurt myself. And I landed in the grass and now I have mud. It didn’t hurt too badly though. But now I have to go home. I have germs on my hands from the mud.
So many places I could address, and I scroll through them all in my head as fast as I can before responding. Immediate issues first:
Sweetie, you didn’t get any more germs on your hands than you had already. We don’t need to stop. Let’s get back on your bike. And next time you want to look at Sophia, brake first.
Phew, it worked! He climbed back aboard and started pedaling again. Then he wanted to look at Sophia, so he tried to brake. While his pedals were at the top and bottom. And couldn’t figure out how to go backwards from that point. And freaks out that his brakes are broken (ha ha). And tried to bail again. I am so not teaching him to drive when he’s 15.
I explain that he really needs to try to brake when the pedals are on the midpoints not when they’re at the top and bottom. He tries again, and it works. He starts pedaling again and five feet later brakes. Great, you’ve got it!
The pedaling five feet and braking continues until Little Miss catches up to us and predictably bangs into the back of his bike. We discuss the etiquette of not bumping into people. She passes us. We continue with the braking every five feet. Yep, he’s definitely got the braking thing under control now.
We have now made it about one quarter of the way around our neighborhood, and he hops off his bike after braking. I ask what he’s doing, and he explains that he needs to get off his bike right now. I’m groaning, thinking that I am going to have to push the bike all the way back home. Nope, he simply saw an unclaimed newspaper in the driveway and had to go run it up to the front door to deliver it. All together now: awwww.
The longest bike ride of my life finally ends with Mister Man deciding that the wind is yucky and makes him go to slow and that it’s COLD out. Oh yeah, and then he wants to know why Daddy wouldn’t put a coat on him. But at least he knows how to use his brakes now. Do brakes on kids’ bikes like that wear out?