My boys have been all about bikes lately. Bike bike bike bike bike, it’s what they would do all day if they could.
Isaac usually goes to the neighbours house and grabs their two wheeler (with training wheels). We only have one helmet and he would use theirs and Silas would cruise around on our trike. We do have bikes for the boys, they just didn’t have any training wheels on them yet (got them, a cozy coup car and a brand-new fax machine at a garage sale for $25…cuz I rock).
Silas enjoys the trike more, I think, because it’s a lot more stable and safe feeling. Yesterday my sister and her husband came over and brought us yet ANOTHER bike, Silas’ size, complete with training wheels. He told me today he’s excited to get rid of the trike so we’ll see *fingers crossed*
So this father’s day I took the kids outside and Isaac ran directly to the neighbour to get the bike…but it wasn’t there. He REALLY wanted to ride it. The whining began, the 4 year old misunderstanding of how the world actually works took hold and I was already annoyed.
I grabbed his two-wheeler and told him it’s time to try to learn.
I went back and forth between the boys, letting them ride two wheels, holding on to the handlebars as they peddled. Silas was VERY uneasy about me letting go anywhere but Isaac was ok with it. I found myself running, holding on to the back of his sweater…not really helping anything.
His bike felt wobbly to me, I didn’t know if he’d lose control and fall or freak out but I could tell he was doing it all on his own. I told him “I’m letting go” and I did!
And off he went.
He did a few rounds and then I think he lost a bit of his nerve because he told me he wanted to quit. I got down at his level and gave him the best pep talk I could muster. He decided to keep going….yessssss…if we did it on the grass. Brent suggested that, grass is harder to pedal in but much easier to fall upon…less wounds and scrapes full of dirt. (I still have a gross-looking elbow from a wipe out on a dirt road…not.fun.at.all).
The rest of the day was spent on him and together, me running along-side him (fabulous exercise) and him going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. It was one of the most rewarding days I’ve had in….ages and ages.
Letting go of that bike and just letting him do it himself, that is an intense feeling but it’s a metaphor for the rest of parenthood. Isaac is going to do MANY things without me and I will just have to let him do it. I will let go, despite the fact that he seems “wobbly” at it and I will watch him fail and succeed. I will be right there to pick him up and pull the grass out from his mouth after he crashes. I will be there cheering him on as he succeeds, guiding him through the scary stuff (like turning around…still working on that one). I will talk him into continuing when he loses his nerve.
It felt like the doors opening in to the next chapter of parenting. Showing me that this will all be ok and I will be able to do the scariest thing of all: Letting go.
I couldn’t have been more proud. Proud of my son, proud of myself. It’s an amazing thing to teach someone something big and scary and new to them. It felt so good to just spend time together, working towards something.
On the other hand…I’m a tad sad. I do try to embrace everything wonderful about autism but it’s hard to see Isaac finally passing his older brother. They ARE only 18 months apart and I even know a 13 year old who hasn’t learned to ride a bike yet. I don’t want Silas to feel left behind. Thus far, he’s nothing but supportive for his brother. phew.