Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wheels, Wheels, Wheels

For as long as Benjamin could walk, he's been obsessed with bikes. When we'd visit parks, he'd spend the majority of the time checking out the other vehicles the kids brought to the park.

For Benjamin's 2nd birthday, he received a Strider balance bike. I totally thought we were hooking the kid up because then he'd totally be riding a regular bike without training wheels the next year and for his third birthday, real bike!

He left the thing for dead. Little sister won't so much get a hand-me-down but a brand new, cobweb covered balance bike if she wants it.

So about six months later and after I noticed an expressed interest in scooters, I bought him one of those. He shows marginal interest in it. He'll occasionally ride it to the park, but most of the time it's only about 1/2 block and then he wants to hop in the stroller or begs me to carry him. It does at least get honorable mention.

After seeing a video of my friend's son riding a two-wheeler who is two months younger than Benjamin, I felt terrible for giving him no pedal option. He's never owned a tricycle. He doesn't understand the concept of pedals. Did I totally miss the boat by forcing him into a balance bike option over a tricycle or training wheel bike? And now he's over it all completely?

I researched used bikes online because I'm tired of buying all these things he doesn't even use. One guy highly encouraged me to get him a balance bike. Thanks, dude. Solid advice. Hmph.

One of our neighbors has a kid a year older than Benjamin who has literally been riding a bike since he was two. Like, with two wheels. When he saw Benjamin half-effort riding his scooter on the trails behind our houses last fall, he commented how he needs to be on a bike by now because he can do it. Can and want are two entirely different things, neighbor.

I bought two bikes from a lady off OfferUp for $30 last Saturday. One bike was $20 but both were $30. I figured we could have friends over to ride bikes with him for that extra $10. They came with bells and training wheels and were perfect. I got them home and Benjamin mostly wanted to sit on them for a minute, have us push him and ring the bell. He doesn't appear to remotely care about driving the thing forward.

He's three. And like a quarter. I kind of thought he would be into these sorts of things by now. We own a balance bike, a scooter and two bikes with training wheels. We have two living kids and no rider. Claire sure wants to ride, but sister is still mastering walking at this point. Instead of my vision of Benjamin riding his bike to the park and me following along with little sister in the single stroller, I push both kids in the double stroller to the park every afternoon to play. It kind of makes me want to get a tricycle, too. Just so I don't miss the boat with Claire, too.

It's times like these where I know I need to let him be who he is, but also wonder where the line of parenting should be heavier encouragement or more hands-off. It's also times like these where I get all grief sad, thinking about Andrew and whether he'd be into riding a bike. And because he would be turning 5 in just 6 months, he'd probably be riding all over the place. Andrew is (would be) Andrew and Benjamin is Benjamin. It's impossible to compare him with his brother who should be older, but it's hard not to.


Mom in Limbo said... [Reply to comment]

It IS a tough line of letting them be who they are but also wanting to parent them toward what you think is good for them.

I'll just say two things: 1) Those kids who are riding two-wheelers at that young age are savants. That is REALLY young. My daughter learned to ride without training wheels at 6, and she was perfectly happy riding with training wheels before that. And 2) Kids go through so many phases, and they don't last. Think of his noninterest as a phase. It's unlikely that he'll never ride.

Good luck!

Sarah said... [Reply to comment]

We got Eleanor a balance bike a bit before her third birthday. She was not interested in that thing for at least six months. I even went back to trying to get her to ride a tricycle, which she also didn't care about. I think seeing her friends master their balance bikes got her interested. She eventually rode it a lot, and we got her a regular bike on her fifth birthday. It took her an hour to learn to ride it without training wheels. So I'm very pro-balance bike, but they do take a long time to learn to use.

I totally feel you on the comparison thing. We have some neighborhood kids who also learned to ride regular bikes at age 2. It's hard for me to watch given how uninterested my child is in any sort of sport. The older Eleanor gets, the more I am realizing that kids just are who they are. Certainly we should encourage them to try new things and to persevere, but we can't make them like things. I'm sure that as Benjamin gets older, you will figure out his talents and interests. They probably won't be what you would have chosen, but in a way, that makes it more wonderful. He's his own little person.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

I love that you hoarded strollers and now hoard bikes.

Finn isn't great with his balance bike - not sure if it's skill or desire, probably both, but it kinda makes me wish we went the pedal route.

Her and Her and Him said... [Reply to comment]

If it makes you feel better (I know...probably not but I thought I'd try) my son Josh was the exact same way. He loved all things that moved, except anything he had to make move himself. He had 2 tricycles, a scooter and a bicycle with training wheels and could have cared less until he was 4 (he may have started using the tricycle around 3 1/2 but that was near the end of the summer so didn't really count!). I felt as if I was failing him but he just didn't care. Finally our neighbor was learning how to ride a two wheeler and that was the inspiration to ride his training wheel bicycle. He got on and never got off! He still loves riding his bicycle and transitioned from training wheels very quickly too. All of this to say Benjamin will get there. Any my younger daughter, Emily, was all about the tricycle at 19 months and was riding the training wheel bicycle at 2 1/2. Hang in there and don't plan on putting that double stroller away for a little while yet ;)

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

Oh, sister, I feel ya here. You know it's about interest more than anything, but it's frustrating when you want him to have those particular interests!

We have a tricycle, too (my parents bought it for Zuzu) and she's so-so with it. Because our neighborhood is so hold and has so many big trees, the sidewalks tend to be pretty uneven. I haven't had her ride it to the park because I think she'd get pissed at the uneven places where her wheels would get stuck and I'd end up carrying a freaking tricycle! You have great sidewalks, the space to store it, and two living kids to give it a try, so you might as well pick up a used one and see how it goes.

As for the bikes, a year from now it may be a completely different story. Mason is kind of a phenom. Three years old is still so little for riding a bike! (I was five before I rode a bike precisely because I wasn't interested.)

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

G is 5 and does not give 2 shits about the trike, bike with training wheels, or the scooter we have purchased for her. Every other child that comes to visit adores all 3. Not her. She does like her jeeps passed down by cousins though. I'd be worried she was lazy if she went from point a to b without jumping, hopping, skipping, twirling, bounding, and whatever other adjectives/verbs (adverbs?!!! Why do I suck at English?!) you can use to describe movement that is not calm and safe walking, but this is not the case so I suppose this is just how G is.

ekiwi said... [Reply to comment]

We have a balance bike, trike, super crappy $5 yard sale bike with training wheels, expensive bad ass John Deere bike with tassels and bell. Q picks yardsale bike 100% of the time. Also, until about 3.5 she made Adam push her around on it. (They ride in the basement, so mommy has alone time... I would never have consented to the pushing). But she zooms around now basically on 2 wheels (one training wheel is gone). Rhys is just starting to "ride" aka peddle backwards on the trike. To each their own!

AlliFerg said... [Reply to comment]

You have to come to the Elmhurst Cycling Classic and show B how cool riding is!! Plus there is a free family fun ride so he'll see a bunch of big kids riding and that will help??