Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Day I Never Thought Would Come

Today is a red letter day. It is a day I have long wished for and honestly thought would never come. Today Jonathan called to me upstairs and told me to come outside. The excitement in his voice made the invitation irresistible. I walked outside and this is what I saw: 
I know. Most of you are thinking, "hey what is the big deal? It is a kid riding a bike." You are right. That is exactly what it is. It is my 7 1/2 year old daughter riding her bike --- for the first time ever --- and liking it. 

Jon and I have struggled with this task of teaching our girls to ride a bike. They basically have had no interest. Add to that the time consuming task of teaching and running with them in hot Las Vegas weather and having other little kids or pregnancies to deal with and well... it just hasn't gotten done. We have tried. We have attempted to teach both Sabrina and Ann Marie every fall and spring for about 2 years now. But they have been too scared and totally unmotivated to learn. 

Jon finally did a bunch of internet research to figure out how to remove the pedals from a bike. He took them off Ann Marie's bike and let Sabrina hop on and find her balance going down the slight incline of our street. After about 15 minutes he put her back on her bike and within minutes she was pedaling her way up and down the street. 

I know this seems like no big deal to many of you with bike riding kids. But, honestly, I had pretty much given up hope on the dream that my kids would be bike riders. I grew up with brothers and we rode bikes all the time. These girls were just as content to take their scooters out as a bike. 

Still seeing my 3 year old niece Stella riding her bike in California a few weeks ago just made me cringe again to think my kids would be the ones who got all grown up and never learned to ride a bike. I could just see some guy asking them out on a date to go on a bike ride and them having to turn him down. Silly. I know. But it is where I was, until today's tiny miracle. 

SO Hip Hip HOORAY!!!! Way to go Saby! I am sure Annie will not be far behind her now.


Rachel H said...

That's awesome! Actually I totally relate- we have had the SAME problem with our now 7 yr old daughter (she's still using her training wheels!) and her 4 yr old brother- he's not even close.

Our issues with the whole thing are a lot like yours.. trying to teach them but not really spending enough time to "get it" and it has been sad for both of us- esp. like you said when you see another neighbor kid biking around like it's totally natural.

Yay! It gives me hope to see that we're not the only family in the world with kids who aren't biking right away. And it WILL come eventually. =)

Tara L. said...

I was almost 8 when I learned to ride a bike too, and I turned out ok. Great job Sabrina!

Noorda Notebook said...

that's so great! go sabrina! and i know how that is wondering if your kids will EVER do something - brennan and coop both took forever to walk. neither had any interest until about 16 months.

now they're walking and sabrina's going without training wheels.

hooray for our kids.

Lisa said...

That is so exciting!

Jonathan Waite said...

Rachel -- i had spent SOO much time trying to teach her to NO avail.

Here's what you do:
get a bike that's shorter than normal. the kid has to be able to touch the ground flat footed while seated. Then find a slightly inclined street. have the child coast down the street with the feet as "training wheels". you can remove the pedals to make it easier, but if not that's ok. then play the game of seeing how long s/he can go with the feet up. This causes the child to take control in finding how to balance the bike on their own. no joke, she was up and running in about an hour's time and I didn't have to run behind her holding the seat because she was in control (w/ the feet).

tclybb said...

I"m so glad to hear that other kids are older when learning to ride a bike. My son is 7 years old and still has no interest. He enjoys riding his bike with the training wheels, but if we even mantion taking them off, forget about it. Good Job!!

Sarah S. said...

Yeah! Way to go Sabrina! I am so sorry we missed it- I think we were napping! I hope we see her riding her bike up and down the street all the time now.

Kathryn said...

My oh my! A GREAT BIG BRAVO to Sabrina on her achievement. Good job, sweety! You look like an old pro.

If the sparkle of determination & self-confidence in Annie's eyes is any indication, I will expect to see some pics of her peddling along with her sister in VERY short order.

Perhaps as a result of being the third daughter, like Lauren, I had more gumption & gusto than my older sisters and was actually riding a 26" bike at age 4 1/2! With 5 children and "counting", my parents could only afford 1 bicycle at that time so the bigger one made the most sense. My older sisters were aged 9 and 6. What my folks failed to realize is that I was too impatient (and competitive) to wait to grow into it!

In order to sit on the seat, I had to build up a real head of steam & quickly climb up on the bar to "boost" my bum up. Once seated, my feet were about 6 inches from the peddles -- where the brakes were. No hands brakes on that bike. YIKES! Let's just say I had to learn to be VERY quick in my manoevers. I should also add that I have no doubt my parent's hearts were in their throats as they watched.

Amazingly enough, I don't remember ever falling until I actually grew into the bike size at around age 9 or 10. That said and not meaning to take the glow off your excitment, I did notice that the kids weren't wearing helmets. Perhaps a helmet to match the color of their bikes would make a nice reward.

I wish you safe & happy peddling, gals!

Lori said...

I completely understand as well. My son was almost 9 & still had no REAL desire to learn. I was determined to teach him so last year on 9/11, only 7 days before his 9th bday, I taught him to ride his bike. He is a history buff & wanted to mark the day w/ his own important memory. Congrats to Sabrina!!

Kathryn said...

Jonathon: Your solution is a good one and makes a lot of sense -- and obviously met with GREAT success. Confidence comes before balance.

So, KUDOS to you too, papa.

For the record: I would NEVER have allowed any of my youngsters to ride our "monster bike" at my age. The ability to have at least one foot easily touch the ground and steady the child is a good yardstick. Clearly, I was an accident looking for a place to happen. Fortunately, I never found that place:) -- until years later when the bike actually fit.

To be fair to my dear & loving parents, times were very different then - in many ways.

I received the following by e-mail yesterday. I prefer not to get these "chain-like" things and VERY RARELY share them but I thought this one made "some" good points. I hope it will cut & paste here without scrambling it up too badly. There's a very important message at the end which makes the reading worthwhile.

To be clear, I am NOT asking anyone to pass it along - just thought some might like reading it. Here goes: (unedited)


To Those of You Born 1930 - 1979

1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight. WHY?

Because we were always outside, playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers problem solvers and inventors problem solvers and inventors ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of them, CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with a pair of scissors, doesn't it?

The quote of the month is by Jay Leno:
"hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

For those that prefer to think that God is not watching over us...go ahead and delete this.
For the rest of us...pass this on.


I seem to be hogging your thread today, Stephanie. Apologies given.

Love from our home to yours,

Shanan said...

Yay Saby!!!

PletcherFamily said...

I think that is great! Good for her! Whatever the age, as long as she is having fun it is great news!!!

Mrs. Morty said...

Woohoo! I feel your pain. I have a six year old that still can't ride his bike.

Randall said...

Hooray! I had so much fun on my bike as a child and she cretainly will too!

Michelle said...

First I just wanted to say I came across your blog lately and my heart goes out to you and your family. Your strength really touches me after reading your story.

My niece didn't learn to ride a bike until she right after she turned 9, so that's a huge accomplishment to be proud of. Your daughter looks like she's having a wonderful time.

I would like to add you to my blog list if it's okay.

Have a blessed day.

DEANNA said...

We had the exact same problem with my oldest son. He grew so very fast from 4 to 7 that all the bikes were too small and he could not get comfortable on a bike. Not to mention the fact that he was awkward on the bike being 7 and the size of a 13 year old.

We finally trained him on grass at the park and just let it be and he finally just did it!

Yeah for you guys!!

Stephanie said...

For the record, my kids do have helmets and Sabrina was wearing one the whole time she learned to ride. She just didn't get it back on when Mom told her she had to come back outside and ride in a circle for a minute so she could take a photo for the blog.



Tim and Marcee said...

I can relate with you 100%!! My oldest is 8 1/2 and I just taught him to ride his 2-wheeler this past summer... mainly because he has been scared. He is very timmid. And it doesn't help that we live in a culdasac. It is hard to learn balance when you are always circling. Next summer, my 7and 6 year old are up!

e said...

three cheers for saby!!!!! I am so happy she DID it! I'm not surprised that she caught on fast. Did she blog about it too? :) Xxo.

Julie said...

Congratulations to your daughter for riding her bike! My oldest son is 6 1/2 and still has no interest, but my middle child, who will be 4 soon, already wants to.

Like another commenter said, I don't want to take away the "glow" of this milestone, but the first thing I noticed when I viewed your photos was that your girls weren't wearing helmets. Children under 10 are especially vulnerable to head injuries, and it only takes one fall onto pavement to have a serious trauma to the head. For a kid learning to ride a bike, these falls are common.

Anyway, I believe there's a reason that I was drawn to your blog today. I haven't checked it in a while, but I felt compelled to do so this morning. Please know that I do share in the joy of your daughter's bike riding milestone.

I realize that times have changed, and I fight these things as a parent. When I was growing up, we owned a lot of land, and my father had dirt bikes for my two older brothers. He finally broke down and bought me my own mini-bike, and I loved riding it with my brothers. Did I wear a helment? No. Did I survive? Yes. However, statistically, there have been a lot fewer deaths now that kids wear helmets.


Rich's said...

That IS exciting!! Congrats! How fun it is to watch them grow and learn and experience new and fun things. Yeah for the Waites!

Kathryn said...

Hi Stephanie:

Even before you replied, I felt a bit uneasy for mentioning the helmets.

Actually, I somehow "knew" you had helmets given your scooter comment.

I am sorry if I appeared insensitive. Please know that it was my clumsy attempt at a gentle reminder.


Carolyn said...

Go Sabrina! Just think of all you can do and places you can go now on your bike! You should teach Annie so she can come with you!

Love you!

The Tehvand Family said...

I know this is completely random, but I was giving the link to your blog from someone on OpenDiary. They sent me your link because we have a lot in common.

I, too, have a little girl who was born on April 19, 2007, and she passed away on June 11, 2008. She drown in our bathtub. The link to my diary on Open Diary is On the front page, there is a link to the entry in which I tell what happened. Most of the entries there on out are my way of coping with everything. I didn't have this blog yet when Emma died.

We also have the common factor in that we're both LDS. And what a comfort that has been in this situation. My husband, however, is not a member and he is really struggling with this.

My mind has been with Emma all day today (but then again, it usually is anyway) since today she would have turned 18 months, as would have your Camille. And it was one of those little daily miracles for me that someone sent me the link to your blog.

Anyway, please know that there is someone else out there that has a pretty good idea of what you and your family are going through.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Brad, Rebecca, Jacob said...

Way to go Sabrina...this is definitely something to blog (brag) about!

Laura said...

Thank you for posting this! We've totally been in the same situation with our son, who is 6 and 1/2, but I am in that place of wondering if he will ever ride a bike. He just has no interst at all! And we live on an inclined street also, so that scares him a little. I am going to try this method and see if that will help him! I know how you feel when you see much littler kids riding 2 wheelers! Bikes are so fun and such a great way to enjoy being outdoors! Way to go Sabrina!

Kathy said...

I'm cracking up here! I have three daughters who are all in their twenties. We bought our oldest a bike for her fifth birthday and went about teching her to ride it. We had mailboxes on our sidewalk and she was terrified of running into one. When she was eight we moved and had a nice clear sidewalk, not to mention lots of kids her age who were riding bikes all over the place. Soon the fears faded away and she was out there with all of them. Positive peer pressure, I guess.

chanel said...

my daughter sounds a lot like yours, kind of interested, but not enough to make a go of it- and its just fine with me! 7 1/2 seems good, gives me a year and a half- foof!
good daddy lookin up tips!

have been catching up and really loved these last few posts. you continue to be such an inspiration, and I love hearing the hope in your voice.

Heidi said...

Oh how fun! Congratulations, Sabrina! (Will she post about it on her blog, too?) :)

Cardalls said...

My oldest had no motivation to learn to ride his bike until there was a bike rodeo coming up in he was over 8 before he learned. My 2nd was 6 and a half so I get the riding bike issue. On the other hand my 3rd one wants to learn to ride his bike without training wheels now and he is 3! Different personalities!

Beth said...

How absolutely wonderful! My DD will be 10 (yes, TEN) next week and is positively terrified of her bike. We have given up for a few months - maybe it's time to try again!

Big big CONGRATS to Saby!!!