Learning To Ride a Bike

You know those memes about first kid, second kid, etc?

Here’s one:

People who take care of smaller people all day do like to utilize their intellect for something, and may well perform psychological experiments on the job.
Over the years I’ve observed children, I’m willing to admit to having made harsh and rash judgments about the intellectual capabilities of five year olds based on their ability to play checkers. None of my assessments are wrong, mind you, but they are harsh and rash.
Other times, I’ve simply been the observer of behavior and drawn my own conclusions — as with our kids learning to ride a bike.

Before we were married, FIL taught Bubba to ride his bike. It took some serious time and commitment over many glorious spring afternoons. This seemed to be a sort of rite of passage for him, and my in-laws were so excited! their first grandchild! learning to ride a bike! so big! I’m sure MIL has photos of this and would love to tell you all about it.
At the time, I taught kindergarten, and I thought, pfft, he’s supposed to learn how to ride a bike, not exactly brain surgery! so I didn’t really take the epic drama in, more the nod and smile.
We bought Bubba at least three bikes. We refused to buy a fourth bike, because he took his third bike apart, destroyed it, really, in order to ‘make modifications’ and that is not our fault, now is it?
He rode his third bike everywhere, right up to when he murdered it. Despite my well-meaning neighbor telling me to keep my kids where I could see them, I let him have free rein of the entire addition.
(I remember saying to my neighbor, “They’re 10 and 12: they’re not gonna be happy to play sidewalk chalk and hang out in the kiddie pool all day!”)

We moved to a house in the burbs and bought Sissy a bike. Tired of waiting for her father to put the training wheels on, she learned to ride it without any help from anyone. The Mister jokes that no one wants Daddy to teach anything, cause Daddy’s a mean teacher. He’s not wrong, but I think this was more about independence. Sissy was a tough chick, even at the ripe old age of six, and she was already maxed-out on stubbornness. She came in and announced to me, “I can ride a bike now.” So I went outside and watched as she rode up and down the driveway with ease. That’s how she does. She just does things. Fiercely independent.
Sissy never got into riding a bike, even after we got her the awesome purple bike she asked for. I rode her bike. Her sisters rode her bike. She preferred to walk.

moo, age 7, on sissy's cool purple bike

moo, age 7, on sissy’s purple bike

When Moo was two and Sassy was three, well, Sassy was already size 5/6 — I bought her a bike with training wheels already on it, and Moo a tricycle.
Well, Sassy wheeled around like a lil old lady on a Sunday drive. I walked faster than she rode her bicycle. My Gawd, the patience I had to have. She rode so slowly, she could barely get up the graduated ramps on the curb. I raised her training wheels bit by bit. Every time I raised them higher, she’d get on and say, “Ooh!” and stop when she tilted. She tottered along at a snail’s pace, smiling, with her princess helmet and her sparkly tassels glinting in the sun.
Meanwhile, Moo drove her tricycle like a bat out of Hell. Moo was one of those kids who needed a helmet to ride a tricycle. I’m not kidding. She’d spin around in the garage like Damien and I’d have to tell her to stop, my nerves just couldn’t take it.

When we went out, I’d try to convince Moo it’d be much nicer to ride in the wagon, but she’d have none of that. So I spent a lot of time chasing tricycling Moo. Y’all know I thought about tying a rope to the back of that tricycle, right? “Wait! Stop there! That’s far enough!” Meanwhile Sassy would be half a block behind us, grinning obliviously, stopping to wave. For years this went on.

One day, I watched as Moo, age four, picked up the bike of the girl across the street, hopped on it, and rode it. Just like that.
After that, Sassy asked me to take off her training wheels. Because if Moo could do it, she could, too. Sassy taught herself to ride in a short time, but like Sissy, she never loved it, and Moo took over her bike.

If you’re like me, these bicycle stories tell you a lot about their personalities, and ours, don’t they?

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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24 Responses to Learning To Ride a Bike

  1. Dan Antion says:

    As for telegraphing your personality, I like “None of my assessments are wrong, mind you, but they are harsh and rash.” That’s precious. Our daughter was like Moo. I have a picture of her on her tricycle and I set it to the song Gimme Some Wheels by Suzy Bogguss. Here’s the link to that song if you don’t already have it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK3AkEidUZs

    Liked by 1 person

  2. garym6059 says:

    Something in the water in Hoosier land or are we on some kind of telekenetic wavelength? I just covered a bit on learning to ride a bike myself yesterday LOL. Sounds like you have independent young women!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can ride a bike but am pretty slow and rubbish at it. Miss Hap took a while to learn and had the stabilisers on hers fro some time, but the day they came off, she managed to ride it and stay on! I thought she was going to inherit my sense of balance and co-ordination but thankfully she didn’t

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    They do. They’re all so different. But one thing most have in common is they don’t want to be one-upped by a younger sibling. Works well with potty-training too! (When the kids are close in age, and the oldest is reluctant, but the youngest is gung ho.)

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. jan says:

    Both of my children were very cautious and rode very slowly at first!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anxious Mom says:

    I’m cackling over here thinking about Moo riding her trike like a bat out of hell! 😀 Little Man is very timid and still can’t ride a bike at 7. Five seconds on it and he’s done. Baby Girl, though, that child climbed on top of a ride-on toy a couple nights there and stood on the seat proud as hell until she lost her balance and fell off. And then she did it again. She’s going to be my little daredevil (and likely rack up ER bills).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It always amazes me that such different personalities can spring from the same parents and household. I have three daughters, and all have distinctive personalities. Obviously I respect them all but some are more frightening than others ha ha ha

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Benson says:

    Nice story. Bikes are very much “in” right now. My two sons still ride bikes. When they were young they were heavily into BMX. They even built a ramp in the backyard for them and their buddies to perform their stunts on. Oh the money I spent. Both learned to ride a bike on their own. The first because he couldn’t go fast enough on foot and the second because of his older brother. The oldest was the wildest. He wore out 2 big wheels before he graduated to a 2 wheeler,his brother was more tame,he did ride in the little 5 at IU,that’s about as wild as he gets. You guys should all go cycling together. There are plenty of trails around. Moo could blaze your trail.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This was great. I taught myself to ride a bike. I got banged up pretty good but in the end it was worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. kirizar says:

    I’ve been having a one-sided conversation with my son about his predilections for destruction (in particular, anything electronic I’d like to keep working). This after retrieving my CD player and storing it in a locking office, just so I’d have one thing left to play old CDs on. (Still trying to find the MP3 player after the move.)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. markbialczak says:

    Yup. Their personalities. And you, Joey.

    I remember my first bike. I hated it. It had training wheels. I learned OK, but I never wanted to ride it. My parents asked me why, and I told them it was because they somehow found me some old clunker of a bike with solid rubber wheels. That thing felt every bump and pebble on the road! All the other kids were sailing along on their balloon-air bube tires and I would be thump-thump-thumping behind like Fred Flintstone on this solid-rubber-tired monstrosity. My father didn’t believe me, 5-year-old with a sob story, until he went outside and saw the other kids gliding and heard me coming from half a block away. I’m surprised that thing didn’t knock all my baby teeth out. For Christmas I got my balloon-tire bike.

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. reocochran says:

    I love this photo of Moo. Such a beautiful snd determined child. I think your comparing her to Damien made me laugh the most all day. I could picture this one boy on my preschool teaching years. We felt he was very wild bit also saw his intelligence and giftedness within him. Thanks for this gem of a share, Joey! 🙂


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