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.