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Riding on trikes with boys

Submitted by on Wednesday, 3 June 2009 No Comment

tricycleIt occurred to me this week that I had a set of conflicting goals: Get Big Guy to school on time and get Boots out of the stroller.

I’d served Boots his eviction notice about a month ago, after we’d survived plane changes at huge airports on our own: The stroller is going bye-bye when you turn 4, I said.

He really was getting too old for it to be such a crutch, though admittedly it was as much a crutch for me as for him. The stroller comes in handy as a place to stash Big Guy’s backpack as he zips on his scooter or bike.

That’s where the conflict came in: If Big Guy was riding, no way was Boots going to walk. And Boots just wasn’t efficient enough on any means of locomotion to get Big Guy to school before lunch.

Turns out, the conflict was resolved in a matter of days and long before his birthday, once Boots decided he was ready. And once I decided to find time for him to do it.

Boots had mastered pedaling the trike at a far younger age than Big Guy did – that tends to happen when you’re trying to catch up to an older sibling. But then he gave up. He was happy to toodle up and down the sidewalk in front of the house, but he had no ambitions beyond that. Why should he when he had his mom-powered chariot?

Contrast that to Big Guy – I know, I know, don’t compare your kids – who wanted nothing to do with the stroller once he figured out there were modes of transportation that Mom didn’t control. He was triking around the neighborhood for an hour at a time by the time he was 3 1/2.

Boots had shown signs recently of wanting to venture further than two houses away, but he always wanted to try in the mornings. You know, the time of day when you rush around with your hair on fire, packing lunches before jetting out the door after a quick scan to make sure everyone is fully clothed.

“I’m going to ride my trike,” he’d say every day.

“No, we don’t have time in the morning. We can try it at lunch for a few days and then try it in the morning,” I said.

“I’m going to ride my trike.”

“Why don’t you try your scooter?” I’d ask, knowing I could easily carry it if he decided to give up.


Then Big Guy would appear with his scooter. “OK,  I’ll ride my scooter,” Boots would agree.

The lunch-time pick up was an adventure in pain for both of us. I’d told Boots he had to learn, but that meant giving him time. Lots of time. Way more time than I’d planned.

The first day, we left a half hour early for pick-up time. The walk normally takes 15-minutes. We still were late. Not “retrieve your kid from the principal’s office” tardy, but late enough that Big Guy greeted us with “what took you so long.”

What took us so long was all the time it took for Boots to crash into flower beds – sorry about that, folks. And to veer off the sidewalk after steering hard right. That, along with his long-standing elephant fixation, could be a hint of future political leanings. And to talk Boots into trying again after either event triggered a round of “I can’t do it!”

The second day, though, we were right on time. Boots was in Mario mode, speeding down the sidewalk with nary a bobble. He was invincible! He would win the race! He would even catch up to Big Guy on the ride home!

OK, so maybe not, but it was amazing progress in little time.

Stroller, you’ve served us well, but your days are numbered.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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