training wheels

At this point, I have told you many times that Caroline does things when Caroline is ready. We really thought last year would be the year we took the training wheels off her bike, but she never seemed ready, was completely not interested or motivated to take them off, and when we brought it up she panicked. This was going to be ONE OF THOSE THINGS. She believed she couldn't do it and there was no talking her out of it.

With Spring technically upon us, though snow still covers much of our yard, the kids asked for their bikes this weekend. Having dealt many times with a girl as lethally stubborn as her father and mother combined, I jumped at the opportunity to get those trainers off the bike. I knew taking them off before she could hop on, ride away, and decide she absolutely couldn't do it without them would be the key because as I said, we have experience with Caroline doing things on Caroline's time. I didn't want to give her a chance to get comfortable with those training wheels again and make room for fear of failing.

I didn't ask her, I simply got the tools and handed them to Steve and we took them off. There was no conversation, just "today is the day." She wasn't nervous, she was impatient, "when will you be DONE?" Mommy seems to be learning a bit too along the way here.

It was a very rocky start. She couldn't balance at all, her body control was completely absent and each time I released her seat, she immediately turned toward her right until she fell over. Every time. She realized she was on her own, that I had let go, and panicked. She cried. She screamed. She repeatedly said, "OHHH, Ratsadoodley!" (what?) She wanted the training wheels back. We knew we couldn't give in.

I gave her a few pep talks, we talked about having strong arms to keep the wheel straight, and we said some affirmations aloud. "I can do anything!" I told her not to just say it, but to really believe it. Steve and I stood at opposite ends of the street so she could ride between us; see a goal and reach it.

Reach it, she did. This was the end of that hour long session.

On Sunday, she was begging to get back out there on her bike. She wasn't afraid, just frustrated when she hit the curb, or fell over, or ended up with her handlebar digging into her shoulder or stomach. There was more of that "ratsadoodlely" business. She got a few cuts and scrapes and I told her that I spent entire summers with skinned knees and elbows and that was how I knew I had been having fun. It was bound to happen, don't be afraid of it, cuts and scrapes heal and we have Princess Band-Aids in the cabinet. She kept at it, she started getting braver, feeling more confident, and by the end of that hour, she was riding and turning and falling far less.

It's going to be a wonderful spring/summer. How long until little brother asks for his wheels to go away too?

Did you hear her tell Steve "I should be on America's Funniest Videos."  HA!!


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