Monday, January 12, 2009

A Small Milestone

My three and a half year old son (Tank) came to me a few weeks ago and begged to have his training wheels removed. Thinking he was too young, I put him on his big brother's "blue-bike" and let him make a few attempts. Tank, at three, is actually heavier than Little Bear (who turns six in March), and only a few inches shorter, so the "big" blue-bike is all of one inch taller than the "little" one. (Both bikes are blue, the smaller one has racing flames on it, so they've dubbed it the "fire-bike.") Tank wasn't quite ready for me to let go, but he was surprisingly good. I didn't remove the wheels from the fire-bike at that time, but decided to let him try again -- soon.

Last week, one of the training wheels came loose on the fire-bike; Tank went down pretty hard, but shook it off (hence the nick-name). He brought the bike home and laid it in the driveway in front of my wife's van for me to fix. (Daddys can fix anything you know.) Seeing the bike in the driveway reminded me of our "escapade" a few weeks ago, so I let the bike lay there for a few days. (Long enough for poor little Tank to be dying to ride his bike again.) Saturday (while my wife was out shopping) I took off his other training wheel, put him on the fire-bike, and told him to pedal. Guess what he did?

If you thought, "Sat still and cried his eyes out," you were right. He remembered the previous attempt -- as well as going down hard last week. Not to be deterred by a few tears (Momma was shopping, remember -- he couldn't "tell on me" until later) I told him I wouldn't let him go, but he had to pedal. After several bent-over jogs up and down the street (holding onto the bottom of his seat), I thought he was almost able to ride on his own (there'd been very few forays into the grass). So first thing, we sat down for a few minutes -- I don't jog very well bent over and needed to catch my breath. While I was resting, I had Little Bear take the fire-bike, told him to ride up & down the street, and called Tank to come sit with me to watch. He complained the whole time, but dutifully got right back on the bike when I was ready.

As we headed down the street once again, I did let go, but kept jogging behind him -- and he did fine. We turned around (I helped) and he went back up the street -- this time I ran right next to him. He was concerned, but started getting excited when he realized he could ride with no training wheels. We turned the last time and started back down the street (with me still running alongside) when my wife started up the road. Without him knowing, I signaled to her to stop and (as she waited) told Tank to "pedal to Mommy" and show her "how good he was doing with no training wheels."

In case you don't know, there is something built-into 99.999% of all men: we must show off in plain view of females. As a child, the female of most import is Mom, but Grandmas, Aunts, friends, neighbors, and siblings follow close behind. Tank falls in the 99.999% category -- as soon as he saw his Mommy flashing the headlights of the mini-van at him, he needed no more help. At least, no more help riding -- he doesn't stop well yet. He didn't let that deter him though -- he crashed into the neighbor's mailbox, jumped up, and told his mother what he'd just done. At every opportunity since, he's been telling friends and family of his latest accomplishment, and begging to ride some more.

P.S. Sorry for spilling the beans guys, but ladies -- if you want your man to get something done, word your request in a manner that feeds his ego, then make a big deal out of what he's accomplished for you -- preferably in front of other females that are important to him.

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