Monday, October 29, 2007

It is only easy after you know how . .

Yesterday Ryan and I took the training wheels off the kids bikes. Beau was very excited about this. But, then again, Beau is pretty much excited about everything--at least until he learns more about it. Everything is awesome with Beau until he gets burned. Yeah, it's gonna be a tough life for him--you know, learning everything the hard way. And trust me, I speak from the perch of experience on this one. Been there done that and now I am chicken shit about everything and to which way from last Thursday.

So yeah, we took the training wheels off the kids bikes and Beau was excited and Carmella was most definitely not --and not just because she is, as general rule, suspicious of everything. I swear, she was either poisoned or was a spy in a past life because "trust no one" has pretty been her motto since birth. But you know that might be because I am her mom and really, who can blame her? Anyway, my point is that she was not excited specifically because she clearly recalls 2 years ago when I tried to take her training wheels off. It took all of 10 seconds on the bike and falling over to convince her that uhm, yeah. Mom? I'm not doing that and, by the way, I really don't like bikes and so long as those two little wheels are not attached to that big back wheel I will not be riding a bike. Ever.

Nevertheless, yesterday she did not argue or utter word as we took off her training wheels. I guess she had come to realize that maybe six was getting a bit old for training wheels and decided that she would suck it up. I did hear her trying to warn Beau of what was to come. He did not listen. At all.

Beau watched giddy with excitement as Ryan took his wheels off. He joyously asked if he could have the wheels to play with. Later, he would come to cling onto these in such a pathetic manner that we had to wrench them away and hide them.

Beau tried the bike first. And he fell right over.

We all laughed.

Beau laughed too. Because to Beau being funny pretty much trumps everything else. He may be the biggest pain in the ass ever but I gotta say the kid knows how to laugh at himself and that makes him completely charming. However Beau's ability to laugh at himself was pretty much shot after he found out that, seriously; we are not putting the training wheels back on. Then he didn't think that was so funny. At all.

And then instantly he was no longer so excited.

And that pretty much sucked for everyone because Beau is really good at throwing a tantrum. Apparently the same gene that allows him and the world to laugh with him also carries a similar trait of suffer and the world must suffer with you. So while the world may not stop or even give a rat's ass that Beau is upset; Beau does make it pretty damn miserable to be on the same planet when he is not the one laughing. So we did what we always do when we reach that point with Beau: lock him in his room.

Next it was Carmella's turn to try her bike. She had a little more success but was quickly frustrated and done trying. So when Carmella started melting Ryan lost his patience and sent her to her room too. And for the record we almost never have to punish Carmella but even on the rare occasions that we do she just sucks it up and sits there. Ryan told both kids they could stay in their rooms until they adjusted their attitudes.

After awhile I went in and we all had a discussion about how everything is hard the first time and then it does get easier. I explained to them that all we were asking is that they try. And if after a few days of trying to ride without training wheels and that if they still couldn't get it after giving it a try that Daddy would put the training wheels back on their bikes. I told them that I thought with just a little hard work they would get it and then it would be easy and they could be faster and riding a bike would be even more fun.

Carmella listened.

Beau did not and commenced the tantrum of the training wheels. This earned him more time in his room to adjust his attitude in the correct direction.

Carmella and I went out and worked on it.

Eventually Beau came out too.

All afternoon Ryan and I alternated between teaching them how to ride bikes and watching them lose their shit over not being able to do it. Carmella, on the few instances when we were trying to persuade Beau to give it another chance, went in the backyard and practiced in secret. She use to do this as a baby--not in the backyard but in her room when she was suppose to be taking a nap, which by the way she never did. With Carmella it went like this: we would be at playgroup and would reach the point in playgroup where all the mommies showed off their genius kid tricks. Whenever it was my turn Carmella would just blink and look at me like she had no idea what the hell I was talking about. I quit participating in the genius kid tricks until Beau came along--who was always willing to perform-- but then those were more in line with the stupid pet tricks. Anway, after playgroup and while she was suppose to be napping I would hear her in her room ordering her doll Bobby to do all the genius kid tricks I had wanted her to do at playgroup that day: Bobby say Daddy. Daddy! Okay, Bobby now clap your hands. Clap! See, even at a year old she thought I was an idiot. I may not be as smart as her but I can tell when I am being patronized.

Beau, on the other hand--who does absolutely nothing without an audience-- did not practice in secret. Instead he went and found his tricycle, saying he did not love his Bee bike anymore. But after a few spins on the "baby bike" he begged for his training wheels.

The rest of the afternoon we focused on Carmella and ignored Beau. A few times he did try the bike but would say he was scared and quit. But his quitting and failure only encouraged Carmella. After several hours in the driveway and cul-du-sac I suggested we drive up to the school and practice on the track. I also innocently suggested that we make a "movie" of the event. This quickly proved to be the absolutely most wrong idea ever to suggest to Carmella. Because the frustrated six year old learning to ride a bike instantly morphed into the frustrated diva actor/film maker.

No performance was the right performance. A million "do-overs" were necessary. She pounded her fists, cursed her bike--yelling things like "my bike is controling me!" and this is "all too hard!" And that she "just wanted to make a movie!" And even after it was clear that she had the hang of riding her bike she would not be satisfied until she made a perfect loop around the track. And even when we thought the loop perfect she did not deem it so. We finally left her on the track and waited by the car until she got the hint.

So here a few of the 20 or so clips I took. There were more but she made me delete them on the spot.
Take 1:

Let's try this again:


And again:

Getting better--"I can't get back on the road! The bike is controling me!":


And, by the way, all her hard work did pay off. After only one afternoon she is totally proficient. She even rode her bike to school today. Of course this was the biggest we are never doing this again ever mistake. Between Beau and his training wheels, me pushing him up the hill and keeping him out of the street, Lola tangling herself in Beau's bike or around my legs and thus tripping me and all while I scream at Carmella to slow down and wait for us--well, let's just say that is a little more parenting that I care to do before 7:30 in the morning. Not to mention walking proves faster.


  1. Yay, Carmella!! : )

    Only the first two photos appeared for me, but I'm sure the rest are lovely.

  2. They are videos. I am working on it. . .

  3. She'll be joining you in triathelons next. She's growing up SO fast. Lala is sad.

  4. Make sure that her helmet covers the top part of her looked a bit too big.

  5. This is hilarious! It totally reminded me of when I was first learning to ride my bike. I was 6, my little bro was 4 and he took his wheels off before I did. I insisted on riding with ONE training wheel, totally lopsided for an entire year. Finally my neighboorhood friends got tired of riding with such a loser. They would leave me all the time. Hence the birth of Dani the speedy bike chick.