Sunday, July 6, 2008

The movie experience

After a long week, and with the threat of thunderstorms looming, we took it a little easy Sunday and took the boys to see "Wall-E." It was Littlest's first movie in a while, and we were wondering how he was going to handle it. Like most things in his life, he might have been a little to excited -- he wanted to watch the movie, but he didn't want to sit still. He found things funny and amusing, but at times when the movie wasn't quiet or amusing, then would squeal with delight. Finally, I took him from our seats, and we walked around, seeing some of the last 20 minutes of the movie and some of the rest of the multiplex.

Eldest wasn't the calmest person at a movie at Littlest's age, either -- I pulled him out of "Curious George" after we ran out of Junior Mints early, and he even got a little bored with "Cars" at the show, and that's his favorite movie. And if you are going to have a happily loud child at a movie, better it be a G-rated children's movie than something serious that adults are there to see (which we wouldn't take the kids now anyway, they are beyond not paying attention and falling asleep at a show).

"Wall-E" was really good, by the way. There were many trailers for upcoming kids movies, so I doubt this will be our last theater trip this summer.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Go Fourth!

It's the Fourth of July and I got to see fireworks tonight. In fact, I got to see the whole Salt Lake Valley's fireworks — I worked tonight and watched them from our office's top-floor balcony.

Aside from working, it was a good holiday. The neighborhood parade/party was fun — what the Fourth of July felt like it should be before adulthood and Summerfest morphed the holiday for me (not that Independence Day at Summerfest wasn't fun). Patriotism and flag-waving notwithstanding, it's a kids' holiday, meant to highlight the summer in a blast of heat, music, food and fireworks. And the boys today had a blast, especially Eldest, who rocked on his bike during the parade, running into only one understanding neighbor and riding the whole parade.

Yeah, I had to work, and it turned too hot to do much else outside the rest of the afternoon, but at least we celebrated for those couple hours at the parade. And that was holiday enough.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

All Huffy

Eldest reached another milestone of his young life today: He officially can ride a two-wheeled bicycle.

We took his training wheels off in May, partly because one fell off, partly because he saw some of his classmates riding without them and wanted to give it a shot. He started out really well, and we thought he was getting the hang of it -- he'd pedal a couple times after I let go before stopping or falling -- but he seemed to start regressing. The goal, we told him, was to ride his bike in the neighborhood July 4 parade. Between the heat, my working more nights and his sudden apprehension, I didn't think he was going to make it.

But on Sunday night, we had a breakthrough, and it was a minor a change as just how I was holding him as he rode. Before, I'd hold the bottom of his seat, maybe a handlebar, let him get the balance, then let go. He'd go a few times then inexplicably stop pedaling. I think he knew when I wasn't there and purposely stopped. He was the change: I put my hand on his back instead of the seat when he started riding. He picked up the balance by himself and started riding better and better after I let go. Maybe he didn't realize I had let go, or maybe he realized he could ride without me, but either way, he made progress.

And then came tonight. We were practicing in the church parking lot across the street from us, and I pointed to a curb about 75 yards away. I told him to try riding all the way there without me, and he said he couldn't. I pointed out that the parade route would be much longer than that, and if he couldn't make it there, he'd never be able to finish the parade. That inspired him, because he got on and rode to the curb. Then he rode back. Then he rode some more. Then he started riding and figured out how to steer. Then he wanted to ride more and more and more. Finally, he was able to get on his bike and go, which was the last hill to conquer.

Then he didn't want to come back inside but keep riding. Did I mention yet it was 100degrees this evening in SLC? I know there are going to be some shaky moments (he still has to get better as starting on his own rather than me holding the bike while he gets on), but I'm so impressed and so proud of him. I didn't figure out a two-wheeler until I was maybe 8, he got it down at 4 1/2. And the best part, once he got comfortable, he looked so natural riding, and most importantly, he was clearly having fun.