We live in a very small community, and so, of necessity, he has friends of all ages. The last few weeks, all of his younger friends, including a four year old, seem to be taking the training wheels off their bikes and riding around with no parent in sight. Watching this, we felt shamed into action. Our oldest always has been the one we had to push into things, after all. He'll sit on the fence and watch forever until there is no other choice. Maybe this training wheel thing is going to be the same way.
Last Saturday, we convinced him he didn't need to wait till seven as all the other kids were doing it (I know, I know, probably not the best way to approach this), and we took the training wheels off. Thus commenced a very slow, painful afternoon of almost no progress. We tried again a few days later with much the same result.
Yesterday, I sat at the kitchen table, racking my brain for some magical solution to his fear, the thing that seems to be holding him back, no matter how much we assure him we'll be right next to him if he starts to fall. I looked up at my bright little boy, working doggedly on a craft project, and it struck me suddenly that he was an amazing reader. He's a kindergartener, yet he came home with his first chapter book recently. And read it with almost no help. None of his younger friends sans training wheels can do this.
It's hard to admit your kid seems to be falling behind on something. You wonder about what you're doing wrong, and why he just can't seem to keep up. Getting obsessed over something in particular can make all the good things fall away. I think I need to ignore the younger boys who are sailing around base on their two wheelers, and focus instead on how well he's doing in school. We all have different strengths. Physical things have never really been his thing. He's not a climber, never pushes himself at the playground to do crazy things on the equipment. He just recently learned, with much help, to get up the curvy ladder to the top of the slide. Maybe he really does need to wait to take the training wheels off. Maybe seven will be his year. And that's really okay.
Ana is a restless soul who would love to keep moving around the world the rest of her life. This is probably why she married a submariner in the U.S Navy seven years ago. They have two energetic little boys, and currently live in the Bahamas. She blogs about life in paradise at Sunrise on the Water.
Pic is from Flikr.