The non-facebookers are probably unaware of my recent hijinks. I've gotten involved in the motivational poster/infographic biz. And by biz I mean completely without pay. I'll post something one of these days and try to include some of them. But this is NOT. THAT. POST.
On to the fun.
Yesterday while Leslie grocery shopped I took the kids outside to play. After climbing all over the "playground" they meandered out front and Emma said she wanted to play with chalk. So Lily wanted to play with chalk. This was great because the weather was great. We doodled on the driveway for a while before Emma asked me to get her new bike down.
Emma got a bike as a prize for being the biggest fundraiser last year for something at school. She REALLY wanted to win, and honestly we half-assed our participation at best, but the grandparents bought and we bought and the cousins and aunts and uncles bought...and ultimately she won because apparently our version of half-assed is like twice as good as everyone else's version. To them, it might have seemed as if we used our entire asses.
Anyway...she won first prize. So she was super excited because nobody (including her) had really thought she'd win anything, she just wanted to participate so that she qualified to play on some inflatable bounce housey thing at recess one day.
Anyway...the bike. It's been hanging in our garage ever since then. The garage...it's not clean. And there's really no place to put a bike, so it was hanging off the wall. And this leads me to my secret shame as a parent:
I never taught Emma how to ride her bike. If there is some sort of fatherhood bike-teaching DNA that I'm supposed to possess it somehow skipped a generation because I actually get nervous when Emma tries to get me to take her someplace level in order to learn how to ride her bike. What do I tell her? Balance harder?
Our cul-de-sac is not huge, and it's not flat, and our biggest struggle CONVENIENTLY learning to ride the bike, is that there's no straight stretch of road that doesn't immediately accelerate the bike at some function of the accelerational force of gravity (think 9.8 meters per second per second), minus wind resistance, minus friction, down the hill until she approaches light speed and is hit by a car. So that's out. And it was never convenient, and it was always too hot or too cold or to wet or too dry or I was too busy or whatever, until ultimately she turned 11 and was one of the few kids in her school who had never successfully ridden a bike without training wheels.
And while some father-daughter verson of "Cat's in the Cradle" played ...time is/was running out on the whole "teaching her how to ride the damn bike" thing. This bike had no training wheels, but at this point she wouldn't have allowed training wheels on the bike anyway...because now she's 11 and it's embarrassing to be 11 and have training wheels on your bike because your dad was too lazy to get motivated and teach you (my past teaching attempts involved phrases like..."okay, now pedal and don't fall").
So yesterday she took the bike down to the cul-de-sac. It was perfect because the neighbors were gone, and it's embarrassing to be an 11 year old attempting and failing to ride a bike while a 6 year old neighbor kid rides circles around you and asks why you aren't keeping up. She pushed off and just glided with her feet barely above the pavement.
I watched this with interest. "Em, you're essentially riding your bike right now. The only difference is you're not pedaling."
Lily too took an interest. She decided she wanted HER bike. After some tire pumping I got her bike out...and it was too small. But we had Emma's old bike, so I pumped up the tires on THAT bike (can you tell how big a priority bike riding is?) installed the training wheels, grabbed a helmet and took it down to the street to see...Emma...riding her bike.
I was so proud. I was SO excited for her. Really, I'm not kidding that it had been one of my most guilty feelings as her dad, not getting her on a bike enough...and here she was riding it. It was a little stop and go at first, but she got the hang of it. I shot a video and fired it off to Leslie who got a little emotional (not that I was immune from it).
And then Lily pushed herself around a little before I started helping her and by god my kids were bike riding. It seems so silly, but I know most of the people reading will get it. MY KIDS WERE OUT RIDING BIKES. I thought about posting something to Facebook later..."Just out in the cul-de-sac while the kids ride bikes." You know...just something casual...and then saying, "YEAH BITCHES!!! Drops mic and walks off stage." It really was an awesome and triumphant feeling. Not for me...cause I didn't do shit except watch my kids play together. Let me say it again...WATCH MY KIDS PLAY TOGETHER...GOD that feels good. Watch my kids play together. I feel like Dory when she starts gushing about her ability to remember the address on the back of the diver's mask in Nemo..."I don't get tired of saying it, I'll tell you again, 42 Wallaby Way Sydney."
And they played a good portion of the day together...slides, swings, chalk, bike riding...GOD it was awesome. Emma is like Lily's best therapy in terms of socialization. She WANTS to play with her. She WANTS to do what Emma's doing.
Anyway, on maybe the nicest day of the year so far, my kids played outside together and I just stood there and gushed and enjoyed it.