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Sunday, June 26, 2016

The "Not So Great" Way To Teach Your Kid How To Ride a Bike

We have been having the same training wheel battle for months, Kim and I say Senia Mae is big enough to ride without any extra help and she begs to differ... literally begs and whines. I have gotten the tag along bike attached to mine, hoping that riding with me would give her confidence and help her balance. Just when I think it has given her enough boost, I decide it is time to try the old fashioned bike once again.

Today while we were in Grandma's pancake flat driveway, I brought out Senia Mae's 12" toddler bike. At six years old her legs are so tall and lanky that when she sits on the seat her knees practically hit the steering wheel. Standing ten feet away at the other end of the driveway I prompt her.

"Just push with your feet and balance with your legs out," I say as she fidgets with the glittery streamers dangling from the handlebars. "You don't even need to pedal if you're not ready." She juts her lower lip out in a pout, staring at me as if I am asking her to rearrange her underwear drawer. "Come on," I say. "It's no big deal. If you get scared or off balance just put your feet on the ground."

She shoves the bike with her feet, sticks one foot haphazardly on one pedal, and is barely moving before the bike leans to the left and she has to catch her self.

"See? That wasn't so bad. Lets try pedaling a couple of times now."

"Mama, I just can't get it. I keep falling over," she says.

"That's because you are not balancing. You can't do it standing still, the bike has to be moving."

"But I don't know how," she says and gets off the bike, walking towards the garage.

"Here, I'll show you," I said, and this was my fatal error. Not thinking that this was a small 12" toddler bike that sat lower than my knee, I plunked my butt down on the seat and gave the bike a push, letting my legs stretch out as the bike rolled forward. "See, its simple."

"Mama," she says.

"You can do it, too, Senia Mae."

"But Mama..."


"I think you gave the bike a flat tire." I looked down and the back tire was completely flat. When I got the pump out of the garage I couldn't even inflate it because the seal was also broken. I was in such a hurry to teach my daughter how to ride a bike that I didn't even think my 25 years post high school butt might pop the seal on a midget bike. My mistake. Instead of teaching my daughter the right way to ride a bike without training wheels, I had to run out to Walmart, hoping that I wouldn't have to explain that my big butt busted her tire.
By the time I had the tire fixed she had already moved on to something else. Maybe we'll have better luck next time!