If you saw my Silent Sunday post, you’ll know that we no longer just have a toddler. We have a cycling toddler.
I’ll rephrase that. We have a toddler with a bike. We’re still quite a long way from having a cycling toddler.
DorkySon is pretty steady on his feet these days. He only does a face-plant every so often when he’s tired or overexcited, so we decided it was time to let him explore a whole new way of injuring himself – on a bike. On the Saturday that I was in London for the Save the Children conference, the two DorkyBoys headed off to the Harpenden Cycle shop and returned with a snazzy little blue number, along with a truly lovely multicoloured helmet.
Thank goodness for that helmet, which has already saved his wee noggin at least half a dozen times. The first time poor DorkySon climbed on the bike, at the top of a very gentle slope, he was full of smiles and big boy cockiness. By the bottom of the slope he was a wailing, grazed and very grumpy heap on the ground. We pulled the bike off him and persuaded him back on.
That was a couple of weeks ago now, and I think it’s fair to say that progress has been steady, but slow.
We are lucky to have a quiet park nearby, which has a few flat paths that are perfect for practicing on and a few slopes for end-of-lesson thrillseeking. The soundtrack to those lessons is usually provided DorkySon belting out his version of Elmo’s Tricycle Song: ‘Riding my bicycle, feeling so free, riding my bicycle, wheeee, lucky me!’
He usually follows up with some self-encouragement. ‘Go, GO, GOOOOO! It’s DorkySon! The fastest bike rider in town!’
Finally, he’ll look to us for some praise. ‘I’m getting really good at riding my bike, amn’t I Mummy?’
It is brilliant seeing him having so much fun – we have finally found an outdoor activity that he is even happy to do in the rain – but bless his heart, he’s being a wee bit premature in his confidence. He is good at riding his bike… as long as you take into account the fact that it usually takes several attempts to get on the thing. And he can’t steer yet. Or pedal. The one thing he has mastered is pulling the brakes, which he usually does without warning when I’m bent double pushing him along. My legs have taken quite a battering from those sharp wee pedals crashing into them every time we do an emergency stop.
A few days ago, when DorkySon was sitting on a bench having a ‘bike rest’, another wee boy came running up and asked to have a turn on his bike. To our surprise, DorkySon said yes. To our even greater surprise, this other boy, who was at least a year younger, hopped straight on and started pedalling round in a circle with great proficiency.
I am no pushy parent. He can take as long as he wants to master the art of cycling. But I hope – for the sake of my shins, my back and my nerves – that it happens sooner rather than later.
Just a quick note since you’re reading anyway to say thank you very much indeed for all your votes in the BritMums Brilliance in Blogging Awards. I’m absolutely thrilled to pieces to be a finalist in the Fresh Voice category. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your support, so thanks again!