There are certain moments in the lives of your children that bring you indescribable joy when they are reached, such as walking for the first time, speaking their first word, or learning to tie their shoes, just to name a few. As the title implies, Elaina hit one of those milestones last weekend by learning to ride her bicycle without training wheels. As a parent, it both lets you know that you did something right and that your child is developing on schedule. I am so proud of her. And of course, as much as she denies it, Gabriella wants to be just like her big sister and tried it too (she is almost there).
I have been slowly working on getting the girls off their training wheels, but given that our cul-de-sac is on a significant slope, it is a tough spot to learn. My neighbor suggested that I take them to a track, so that if they fall, they will land on something at least a little softer than pavement. Since we have five tracks on Fort Huachuca, I chose the one out in the middle of nowhere that no one uses for the girls to practice on.
That was amazing advice. While the track is not a whole lot better, the scrapes on their hands were significantly less than the ones the would get in the cul-de-sac. Plus it was flat, so they were not having difficulties pedaling uphill or flying downhill.
Once we got there, I took Elaina’s training wheels off her bike and she starting practicing; Gabriella kept hers on and just pedaled around the track. Surprisingly, it took Elaina only about 30 minutes to get it. With me providing the push-start, she quickly went from three-second rides, to five seconds, then to ten seconds without realizing that I was no longer running alongside her.
She still encountered a few mishaps, but those mainly involved her not keeping the bike straight (at least she was keeping it upright). She kept pedaling though and the falls became fewer and farther between.
Once she started riding by herself, I got a little too comfortable with her riding on her own. While she was speeding along, she fell pretty hard on the other side of the track. I carried her and her bike back to the car and we called it a day. The next day we bought some new gloves at the local bike shop to aid them in their falls.
Once she mastered riding, starting became the issue. This angered her much more than learning to balance and ride.
And there were a few times she just had to walk away for a minute or two.
She eventually got the hang of it though and then did not want to leave the track.
I took Gabriella’s training wheels off the third day we went to the track, but she still has a little bit of a balancing problem (hence the lack of videos of her riding). She was doing pretty good though, so I figure she will get it after a few more visits to the track. Since the girls are thoroughly enjoying bike riding now and there are plenty of places on Fort Huachuca to ride, I started looking for a bike as well. While the local bike shop will be indefinitely out of the bike models that I wanted, they called me about an hour after my visit stating that someone came in wanting to sell a slightly older but better model of the bike I was looking to purchase. Pretty amazing coincidence. Looks like we will be riding without training wheels as a family really soon.
While I could not be more proud of Elaina for being brave and finally ditching the training wheels, even just thinking about it brings a tear to my eye, just like every other milestone her and Gabriella have reached. Whether it is a perfect spelling test for Elaina or Gabriella learning her three-dimensional shapes, every moment is just one more part of them growing up, moments that make me smile and cry at the same time. About a month ago, one of my friends and his wife had their first child, a daughter. I told him the same thing that I told my former brother-in-law when he had his first daughter: “She is going to grow up too fast. Everyone is going to tell you that, as I am, and you are going to ignore all of us. Try not to. Because before you know it, she will be crawling, then walking, then talking, and you will wonder what happened and where all the time went.” My girls are growing up fast, too fast, and there is nothing that I can do about it.
Thanks for checking in on us.