Monday, June 30, 2014

Baby E's New Milestone!

I thought this day would never come! You know how sometimes your kids can't do something for what seems the longest time, and then they surprise you and finally "get it"? Love those moments, they are like precious pearls from deep down in the sea. So guess what? Baby E is finally riding her big girl bike without training wheels!

I thought it would take us months. She just seemed so scared by the entire concept. 

Here is the back story. She has been riding her wooden balance bike since she was two (here is our review from eons ago). She was still riding it comfortably with the seat all the way up when she was 5. At that point we decided we should get her a 16" 'big girl bike' and we found a great one on Craigslist for a steal of $40 - it's almost identical to this one. It doesn't have the bells and whistles, but it had training wheels that we thought we needed. 

So last fall she tried the big bike and it just seemed too BIG. She barely reached the ground with her toes, though the pedals were placed just right for her height. With training wheels this bike seemed really cumbersome and not very easily maneuverable. So she kept riding her balance bike as it is so light and easy for her to handle. Spring rolled around and I was afraid she would just keep riding her wooden bike even though it's time to pass it on to Baby T. 

A few weeks ago she said she wanted to learn to ride the big bike. So I hauled it outside for her on several occasions to let her ride with training wheels. She hated it! The loud rattling of the training wheels made her nervous. So I promised her we would buy knee and elbow pads so she could try it out without the training wheels, so we essentially skipped them altogether. 

I first got her this set of knee and elbow pads, which turned out to be great quality but huge and better suited for teenagers who are into BMX (duh, the name should have rang a bell). Then I ordered this set and it turned out to be perfect for her. It will later be passed on to her brother along with her helmet

The day finally arrived! She was all decked out in her helmet and pads, ready to ride. With Baby T in the stroller, we set out down our street. She kept walking the bike down the street, afraid to get her feet on the pedals. I had to set Baby T on the lawn, buckled into his stroller so he doesn't run away while I alleviated Baby E's fears by running down the street and holding the bike in the back. This gave her a confidence boost and some security and she finally got the feet on the pedals. She insisted that I do not let go!

After three brief runs up and down the street I asked "Do you want to try it yourself?" She said no. I said that I can't keep running, I'm exhausted, and her brother can't sit there and watch all day. So I got the stroller and we started walking toward our playground. She was walking the bike. I kept nagging for her to put the feet on the pedals. She said she is scared. So I remembered a song she loves from a Russian Christian Kids CD that she loves to listen to, the chorus is along the lines of "you can do anything if you simply believe". So we started singing it with her. I stopped nagging and giving her pointers. We just walked slowly and I let her process it herself. 

A minute later, just like that, she accumulated some walking speed, picked up her feet, placed them on the pedals, and the look on her face was priceless! She was checking to see if I was watching, how could I miss it?! I immediately remembered when I first learned to ride my bike, I was about 7. Baby E is 5. She beat me. 

I firmly believe that riding the balance bike for three years was what made this transition so easy. She did not need to learn to balance, she just needed to master those pedals and that's much easier to learn than two things at once. 

The next day she learned to turn and now I look at her and it seems like she's been riding that big bike for years! So proud of my not-so-little girl! I'm learning to let go a little, watching her ride the bike reminds me that soon enough a day will come when I'll have to let her go. 

What's your experience with 'big bike' transition for your kids? Did your children ever try a balance bike before switching to one with pedals and no training wheels? 

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  1. Just want to say this is one of the best eco blogs I've explored. And a very nice job by the web developer(s). Kudos!

    1. Thanks Allan! Love your Amazon green store and all the great products there :)

  2. What a cute way to motivate her! It probably want the best way to do it, but I let go of the bike and just kept running next to him when my son learned to ride. We didn't do a balance bike--i wish we had!

    1. I tried that too, the holding and then letting go, got exhausted pretty fast! I don't know if I could do it more than 5 times in a row :) It definitely does seem easier for both parent and child to start with a balance bike.


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