Monday, April 29, 2013

Triking and Biking

Eli has always been very capable, physically, for his age - usually limited only by his short stature in his pursuits. He is a very active toddler, and he is very used to learning physical activites easily.

BUT - there's one thing Eli has wanted to do that he has been struggling with. Eli has been desperate to ride a bike like the "big boys" at his school.  He has tried to ride the tricycles at school using the "Fred Flintstone" method of pushing with his feet.  Unfortunately, this resulted in a pretty rough day at school when he flipped tricycle, and scraped his chin, hands, & knees. Undaunted, Eli has really tried - and I mean EVERY DAY- to learn to pedal his tiny trike at home, but his coordination hasn't been quite good enough to manage this feat. But each day after school, he'd race for his trike, get on and lose a long, desperate battle with the pedals - even when I tried to help him.

We admire Eli's determination and grit. So, we got Eli a push bike (a bike with no pedals that kids push along with their feet).  Unfortunately, the smallest push bike on the market - on the absolutely smallest setting - it STILL too big for Eli.  He tried to get on it after we put it together - and when he realized that it was too big, he had a meltdown.  Poor baby.  It's really hard for him to see his friends and playmates able to do something that he just hasn't learned yet. While we CAN get the push bike modified to make it even smaller - by a specialist bike shop that can cut down the seat post - this will have to wait until Patrick or I can make it to the shop this summer (since the shop closes earlier than we normally get out of school).

A little frustration is healthy.  Too much frustation - especially on almost daily basis - is overwhelming.  So, we put the trike and bike out of sight and re-introduced Eli to a scooter I'd found at a yard sale (a 3-wheeled, stable, toddler design). VERY thankfully, it is Eli's size now (it was too big when he first tried it).  He has figured out how to push one foot on the ground to make the scooter go - which he loves.  Then he put Rocky's leash over the top of the scooter, and got his favorite dog to pull him around a little at the park while I walked alongside. Dog and boy alike had a magnificent time!  Rocky is a large, geriatric, arthritic dog that loves attention - and Eli is a tiny boy that loves to "walk" Rocky. It was the perfect match. I was dying for my camera, which I'd left at home : (.  I will remember it next time!!! 

Skip ahead a few days...

The characters of Sesame Street, along with Eli's favorite character, ELMO - had to go and have an ENTIRE SHOW about how much fun bike riding can be.   Seriously.  Eli and I were subjected to an hour of how much fun Elmo has riding his trike, and how he wanted to teach his friend how to ride her trike...and on and on... Eli was exceptionally interested and engrossed in this episode.  But, of course, this reminded Eli about his bike. At the end of the show, he sighed and quietly (almost tearfully) asked "Eli ride bike?" I told him that he could try his tricycle for a few minutes if he wanted to.


Eli got on his trike. He put his feet on the pedals. He made funny noises as he pushed with both feet as hard as he could.  I got down beside him and showed/reminded him to push ONE foot at a time - like Elmo.

And a miracle happened.

Eli pedaled that tricycle down the short side of our front walk - all by himself.

It was only a few feet - but when Eli reached the corner - he didn't know whether to laugh or cry - but he was shouting "I ride bike! Like ELMO!" His little face was lit up with wonder and smiles.

I was so excited for him. He worked so hard to learn!  He practices a little each day now, and is able to get more and more consistent.  He still needs help steering, and he does have trouble reaching the pedals in certain positions with those little legs of his, but he is sooo proud!  And so are we! 

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