‘Well, I’ll eat it,’ said Alice, ‘and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either way I’ll get into the garden, and I don’t care which happens!’
It seems that my daughter is having a Wonderland experience with her bike. She outgrew the gliding bike, so we purchased a bike that should have been the right size. It was too big. We then got a smaller bike that should have been too small, but it was good. Now it is too small, so we go back to the bigger one.
As I prepared to bike to work around noon in the 90+ degree heat, my son freaked out. It turned out that he really wanted another ride on daddy’s bike! He is becoming very skilled on his balance bike, and he loves sitting in the bike seat and going for rides. Not today, however. Too hot and I had to work.
Saturday was too nice to put off getting the bike out and riding. Variable weather, allergies, and illness have all been excuses, but really it was lethargy. That was soon replaced by euphoria of being out and moving. There were lots of walkers, joggers, and bikers on the path, and my son enjoyed both the ride and the playground by the pond that was our midpoint destination. It is an easy ride from the house and can serve as motivation as I start to stretch my legs more and more.
Of course next time I’ll bring water, a lock, a backpack with essentials. This time, I just had to get out and on the trail.
Wednesday is my daughter’s birthday. She will go to school, flanked by her mother and grandmother who will stay to parent help for the day, bearing lettuce seedlings to give to her classmates, and bouncing from the excitement. On the weekend, she will have a get together with her friends.
Tuesday night, however, was an assembly of quite a different nature, an assembly of toys. I tackled the doll house first, and it went together pretty easily. The directions were shrunk down to fit a small piece of paper and were nearly unreadable to my aging eyes, but the design made sense. There were a few wooden dowels that were easy to poke out and then stress the joints, so I glued them up. Other than that, there were no hiccups. I love the ability to rearrange doors, windows, and walls in this house.
Next came the bike which offered more challenge as I am not well versed in bike maintenance. I did manage it with the help of a few youtube videos. I still have to adjust the seat and handlebars to her height, and then I have to adjust the brakes to the handlebar height.
Oddly enough, there was only one piece left over that I have no idea where it belongs. I know it came from the bike, but what it does there, I have no idea. I will send a pic to the bike store and ask them. I am really excited to see how much my daughter enjoys her new toys.
Monday is one of my normal days off from work; it is a day filled with taking my daughter to school, being with my son, picking my daughter back up, and then spending the afternoon together. Many holidays also fall on Mondays, and on these days, I am able to have a much more relaxed day with the two kids. My wife often has to work on Monday holidays, so the three of us take life at its own pace. Patriots Day, the excuse Boston has for shutting things down during the marathon, is one of these occasions. I decided not to even try to brave crowds anywhere including downtown and to just hang around the home area. In the morning, we took my daughter’s scooter and her old balance bike with seat lowered to my son’s level down to the tennis and basketball courts at the end of our street. My daughter has never been too confident on the scooter let alone the balance bike, and I thought the smooth surface might help her get back in the saddle from the winter’s hiatus. Sure enough, she was gliding around the basketball court and even learned how to use the back brake. My son mostly walked with the balance bike between his legs, but I did get a few glides in with his feet up on the rests while I held the bike. He really liked that. For a first time out, he was enjoying it. In the afternoon, we hopped across the street to the lawn in front of the school and played baseball and soccer as much as a four year-old and a two year-old can when they don’t have much exposure to either sport. Basically we had fun, and my daughter turns out to be a decent low ball hitter.
When we returned to the house, I got the kids a snack and water to hydrate, and then I checked FaceBook. There went my innocence for the day. My daughter asked what was wrong, and I told her there was an accident near my school. I let her know that people were doing everything they could to help. As the rest of the day unfolded, I heard from my friends and colleagues. So far as I write this on Monday night, I have not heard of anyone I know injured. Several friends were nearby. One, who I saw just one day ago, was at the finish line medical tent and provided emergency care. His is just one of the many stories I have read about people who did the right, courageous, and necessary things in the wake of this event.
I will be working one block from that location on Tuesday, if indeed school is on. When I lived in St. Louis, I felt safe from this type of thing. Boston seems to in the thick of it. I don’t necessarily fear for my family’s safety, but we are much more exposed to it here. As a child, I remember the nuclear war drills we had to do as if ducking under our desks would make any difference at all. It still gave us a feeling of being prepared. At my schools, as in all schools nationwide, we are practicing what to do if an armed intruder attacks. There is no preparation for what happened today; there is only response. I pray that the response is measured and thoughtful and backed by solid evidence. If not, we are handing a world to our children that is not only marred by acts of terror but also by irresponsible reactions that only inspire more violence.
For a while, my daughter has wanted a bike, and on Saturday my wife and I gave her some choices as we selected one. It is ordered and on its way for her birthday. The bike will work for her and for her brother when he grows into it, but it has her bell, her spoke beads, and her basket. With her experience on the balance bike, we were hoping she would be ready for a regular bike sans training wheels; however, we got some just in case and because she was none too stable on the balance bike. I imagine there are going to be many instances of pushing my daughter off for something she is ready for while my heart rides in my mouth. This will just be a more literal version of that.
Sunday morning, I put my son in the child seat of my bike and set out for a quick ride. He had never taken a bike ride before, and at one and a half, that was far too long to go without a bike ride. I hit the bike path and did a 20 or 30 minute round trip because I haven’t been riding recently, either. I didn’t want to overdo it for me or for him.
I felt good, and I even managed to work in a stretching routine after the ride. My son, clearly, was not overwhelmed as he was fast asleep when we got back. I transferred him to his crib after taking off his bike helmet and shoes. So much for the excitement of a new experience.