When I was a little girl, there was a little boy my age who lived on my street, whom I could. not. stand. In second grade, his family moved next door to mine. It was the worst. Not only was he in my class at school, but he now lived right next door. One day, I realized that he was in a higher math group than I was. In my 7-year-old mind, this was completely wrong, because there was no way he was smarter than I was. Better at playground sports, sure. Everyone was better at playground sports, but not smarter. That, I just wouldn’t believe. So one morning, when our teacher called his math group, I went, too. The teacher told me this wasn’t my group and I replied, “I can do it.” That afternoon, she called my mother to talk about it and said that she was inclined to let me stay there and see how I did. I stayed there permanently.
I’m not sure if this is where my girls get their determination or not, but I sure do like seeing it. Sapphire has spent her entire life trying to keep up with her big sister. But given the age difference (5 1/2 years), there are some things that her sister can do that she is okay with not being able to do yet, like riding a 2-wheel bike. Late last fall, Sapphire started asking her dad and me to take the training wheels off her bike, so we brought out the next-size-up bike that used to be Emerald’s and which doesn’t training wheels. We think Sapphire is just about big enough for this one anyway. I would hold onto the seat in the back and Sapphire would pedal and steer. We’d do this for a few runs up and down the cul-de-sac, and then she’d go back to riding her bike with training wheels on her own. She seemed fine to take it slow.
Then, just after Christmas, a new family moved in across the street from us. They have an almost-6-year-old little girl, S, and a 7-year-old little boy. S can ride a 2-wheel bike without training wheels. Sapphire began to ask more to have the training wheels taken off. She didn’t want help with the other bike, she wanted the training wheels off this bike, so Jim took them off. The first day without them, Jim and I took turns holding onto the back of the seat to help her balance. The second day, as I was starting to go with her, Sapphire said, “That’s okay, Mom. I can do it.” I asked her if she was sure she didn’t want help. She said she could put her feet down if she thought she was going to fall. I backed away and watched.
She used her feet to “walk” the bike around getting the feel for her balance. Then, she’d pedal, start to tip over, and put her feet back down. The weather soon turned too cold to play outside much, but every chance she got, she would ride her bike by herself. After just a few days of this, she started to be able to pedal continuously for a short stretch. Yesterday, she got it completely and she was so proud. I think she’s even more proud because she did it all by herself. We’re proud of her, too!
One of my favorite things about being a parent is seeing these little beings grow and develop their own big personalities, and seeing the joy on their faces when they accomplish a milestone all. by. themselves.