I had a summer goal: my husband and I were going to teach our kids how to ride a 2-wheel bike before school started. The other day I realized that school was fast approaching and I better get to bike riding!
I envisioned a television sitcom moment where we’d all go out (happily together) and my husband would hold onto each kid and eventually he’d let go and they’d keep riding. I could picture the sun setting in front of them and everyone was smiling.
So much for that! My daughter did ok. She’s older and has been practicing a bit more, but (as normally expected) my husband would let go and her bike would start to fall over and now I was picturing her getting all scrapped up and swearing to never ride a bike again. Luckily, she enjoyed it and we grabbed her before any accidents occurred.
Then I approached my son, I told him it was his turn. I might have failed to mention that my husband and I had an event to attend that afternoon and so we only had about an hour before the babysitter came over, so I was on a bit of a time schedule, which didn’t add to my stress level.
When I told my son it was his turn, he started crying, “NO mommy, I don’t want to.” I couldn’t figure it out why this wasn’t turning out like the TV show. My husband tried to put him on the bike and the crying turned to a full on tantrum. Now it really wasn’t the TV show. We had my son go inside to take a break and calm down. I decided I would try a reward trick and offered him some chocolate pudding if he’d try riding. I wasn’t going to be a mommy who bribed but I was getting desperate, mostly because I’d set my expectation so high. I sat down next to him and we talked about the pudding. I knew I had struck a cord. Finally he tried to go outside again and the tantrum started in again. Another trip back inside and his crying about being scared finally turned into a discussion with me on the stairs. I tried to relate to him, understand him, soothe him, negotiate and encourage – I felt like I was doing my best to follow all the advice from the parenting books while trying to stay calm, even in the face of anxiety.
Finally my son agreed to try. My husband and daughter had already gone inside, so it was just the two of us in the driveway. He climbed on and started to pedal while still making me swear I wouldn’t let go. I’m not sure if he was actually pedaling or if I was just pushing him, but it didn’t matter, he was on the bike!
And then completely out of the blue, my TV show came to life, he was looking straight ahead and said “Thank you mommy, I’m not scared anymore.” I couldn’t believe it, I teared up and almost let go. All on his own, he had thanked me for supporting him. It really challenged me to make sure to say thank you, especially when it’s least expected.
Who is someone you could thank personally for taking that extra time to help you?