Saturday, October 3, 2009


No, we're not really settling down here in Doha for the long haul, but we are getting settled enough to do some of those important things that involve a stable situation.

Teaching your child to ride a bike.
Can you imagine not knowing how to ride a bike? Well, I guess it is not the end of the world if you don't know how. I remember when I got my first bike. It was my seventh birthday. Yeah, I know, it seems a little late. I'm not sure what my parents were thinking. Maybe I didn't care. Maybe they didn't care. Who knows? Well, I do remember my dad out in the cul-de-sac pushing me on my pink bike with the banana seat. I didn't do the training wheel thing. I guess it would have been kind of dorky. A seven year old with training wheels and a banana seat? Yep, I did get made fun of by my older brothers and their brood. But I lived and I'm still breathing.

I realize now that it takes a lot more to teach your child to ride bike than just putting a kid and a bike together. I think there are several key factors involved.

  1. Motivation- If your kid doesn't care, then why should you? But you still do. Atticus never cared about riding a bike until he saw other kids riding around on theirs. Especially other boys. We did put in a few comments like, "Atticus, you're pretty fast. Of course, once you get those training wheels off you'll go a lot faster." It helped.

  2. An involved parent- Fortunately, Jonathan is very involved lately. Atticus has the motivation and will ask us if we can walk to the bridge. We take walks around our compound and the kids ride their bikes with training wheels alongside us. Then comes the question,"Dad, I want to take my training wheels off." That's when you really need an involved parent. A patient one and a strong one that can give them a good boost.

  3. Environment-Some places are not good for riding bikes. Istanbul is a good example. Apartment living, bad traffic, rainy weather all make it hard to learn to ride a bike. If you don't have a car to pack up the bike and go to a big park, then you are basically out of luck. Also, in the States it could be hard. If you live on a busy street then you really don't want your kid going out there to ride their bike. If you live on a hilly street you dread taking your kid out because they never like to come back up the hill after their descent. So if you are looking to buy a home to raise your kids in, take this factor into consideration. A quiet, level street is what you want.

  4. From the adventures of bunsy and her tumbleweeds

  5. Competition-There's nothing like competition for a boy riding a bike. Especially a little brother that isn't too far off in age. Sherman does not disappoint either. A sweet family here gave us a tiny bike they were done with that was just Sherman's size. So Sherman speeds around on this tiny bike saying things like "I'm faster than you!" to all the passers by. "I'm faster than a SR-71 Blackbird!" He really gets going. So fast that I can't even see his legs they are so blurry in their movement. He can keep up with Atticus too. Sometimes. Fortunately, getting beat doesn't get Sherman down. I'm so thankful we have him around to push Atticus along.

From the adventures of bunsy and her tumbleweeds

So yesterday was Atticus' big day. Jonathan donned his trusty plastic bag full of tools, took off Atticus' training wheels and went outside in the heat to face the music. He came back in a few minutes later to change from flip flops to tennis shoes. Went back out and they spent a good hour at it. Atticus was able to balance and ride for a long time. He rode around our entire compound. Jonathan ran alongside him the whole time. Why? Well, we aren't exactly in a position to pay for paint jobs or dents on neighbors cars that tend to fall in the expensive car category. Atticus did fall a few times. I stood there and watched. No, I didn't do any of those mother sounds. You know what I mean. The kind where you suck in breath, put your hand to your mouth, and then hope they didn't hear you. My biggest worry was that he wouldn't want to try anymore because of the falls. No parent wants a quitter. So parents out there, prepare yourself and your child for success! How? My four excellent points above, and whatever other wisdom you can glean from the many experienced parents out there. Good luck!

Now I just need some advice on how to potty train the babied third child.


Code Yellow Mom said...

Look at those boys go! Great pictures!

We brought little bikes in boxes with us last year and they didn't get put together until this spring and then Calvin thought his was too babyish and then we realized that Kiev sidewalks, parks and roads are probably much like Istanbul's. Not for bikes. Sigh. So I will have a 7+ year-old learning to ride next summer I guess. oh well.

I think I got my first bike for my 8th b-day...banana seat, too. Fun memories. Nothing like learning to ride...I got on a bike a couple years ago for the first time in forever and rode around with my sister. We were giggling the whole time because we felt like little kids again!

Code Yellow Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Code Yellow Mom said...

Sorry - accidentally removed my next comment. Which was to say that your #1, 2 and 4 ideas for learning to ride a bike work for potty training, too. :)

Sonja said...

Your pictures are looking SO good Christine!

Hooray for competition! Well, sometimes anyway. Only when it is helpful.

I always do the mother sounds. It's involuntary. But I have learned to quiet them a bit.