Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Quinn Can Bike

Quinn learned how to ride a bike last week.  He did it with very little help and no training wheels.
He's six, and when I asked him recently on a nice day if he'd like to learn to ride a bike this summer he shrugged and said, "Okay."  He's been reluctant to try in the past, but he's great on a scooter so I knew he'd have the balance for it.

The things Quinn is good at he is very good at.  He reads at at least a sixth grade level, his geography is better than that of most adults I know (myself included some days), he's gotten off to a strong start on piano....

Quinn at his first piano recital two weeks ago

The problem is that when something doesn't come easily, or at least doesn't present a clear path to success, he gets droopy and depressed about it.  On the rare occasions Quinn has a meltdown or can't be reasoned with I have to remind myself that he's acting his age.  Most people use that phrase to suggest to someone they need act more mature, but Quinn has always seemed much older than he is, so when he reverts to childish behavior I have to remember he really is just a child and let him be.

He was initially worried about failing on the bike.  However, his sisters have so much fun biking around the neighborhood, and I know he'd rather bike with us to school in the fall than keep riding in the trailer, that I wasn't too surprised that despite his concerns he decided to give it a go.  And like with most things, once Quinn got it in his head he was determined.

One of the girls' old bikes seemed the right size, so we started out by my running him up and down the alley a few times while he pedaled and laughed but I tired quickly and declared it was time for bed.  The next day Ian removed the pedals so that maybe Quinn could get used to pushing himself along and practicing just the balance part of it, but Quinn hated that for several reasons and the next day Ian put the pedals back on.

So I didn't think Quinn had had all that much time on the bike when he asked me last Sunday if he could practice in the alley.  I told him to go ahead and get the bike out of the garage and put on his new helmet and I'd find my running shoes and meet him in a minute.  By the time I got out there he was zipping past me in the alley all by himself.

And that was that.

He's still a tad wobbly and he has trouble starting off, but the boy can ride a bike!  Now he goes around the block again and again.  He's had a couple of minor wipe outs, but he's been brave about them.  He's a dignified little fellow.

The plan is to work on endurance for the fall so he can handle the hills and ruts on the mile and a half route to school.  And of course there is the bike decorating contest on 4th of July.  (Although the coaster category worked out so well for him last year he might consider going that way again.)  Many possibilities have suddenly opened up now that my youngest child is six.

In the scheme of things I know six does not sound old.  Six is adorable and sweet and I love my little guy at six, but age six on your last baby is impossibly grown up.

Quinn is still small enough to just fit in my lap, he still wraps his arms around my neck at every opportunity, and he's still my baby on some level forever.  He told me when I tucked him in the other night and teased him about growing up too fast, that I could call him my baby for as long as I liked, but that he was going to keep growing.

As we wind up the last few days of school and I realize my kids will be heading into sixth, fourth, and first grades next year, I'm trying not to feel panicked about how quickly it's all going.  I confront reminders of their tinier selves around every corner anymore and it's hitting me hard lately.  I'm not sure why.

And they're feeling it, too.  I hug them tightly as if I can compress them back into babies, and they let me, saying they want to stay with me forever.  I'm fascinated and excited about the people they are becoming, but it's hard to say goodbye to the people they've been.  I want to laugh and cry at the same time because it's so bittersweet.

My kids they way they are.
My kids the way I tend to still think of them.
For some reason right now we're all aware of the changes.  I don't know if it's the time of year or just the particular stages they're in, but it's palpable lately, and it's a lot to take in and celebrate and mourn and simply adjust to.

And in some ways it feels like it can all be summed up in the fact that now Quinn can bike.
Sometimes even when all is good the love still hurts.


  1. First off, congratulations, Quinn, that's a big milestone. :o)

    Because Ellie is still so tiny and young, I'm not feeling the pressure. Lil's still little (only second grade, which is definitely big kid, but not middle school--ulp!), Ellie still needs me quite a bit, and I'm still in the trenches looking for that light at the end of the tunnel. The funny thing is, Ellie is my child who has NEVER wanted to be a "baby". She was crawling by four months and running by 10. She has always wanted to keep up. She was my last so I wanted her, no, NEEDED her to be that tiny cuddly baby and for her that was an impossibility. It still is.

    1. Four months!? Ack! I thought it was bad with Mona crawling at six months and walking at eight. Isn't that amazing how they are who they are right from the start? I had a doctor once tell me she loved when her kids got to be around four or five years old and they were finally developing individual personalities and I was flummoxed. What was she talking about? Mine were all different in the womb.

  2. There is so much that has gone by with a blur; but I remember clearly the first time each of my 6 kids "got it" and peddled off away from me on his/her bicycle. Absolutely thrilling, every time...

  3. And I'm sitting across from the one kid who I feared would be too cautious to learn to ride; he was 7 when he took off on 2 wheels. Today, he turns 16; this summer, he'll solo in a glider. I swear, it goes so fast.

  4. You know I totally relate to this one. Despite his declarations that he is a "man" now, my heart melted this this morning when I work up to his little chubby face asleep on my pillow---yes, he's still coming in a some point in the early morning.

    I'm uber impressed by the bike riding. Liam is a whiz on his scooter and skateboard but is hesitant on his bike even with the training wheels. It's on our "bucket list" for the summer, but I'm not sure if it will happen. With him, it definitely has to be self motivated. I think if his big brothers get involved we might have better progress. He always wants to please them :)

  5. Oh and I'm over half way through the book and loving it. You set up the relationships between the characters really well prior to the "incident."--sorry don't want to give anything away to other readers.

    1. Thanks! When I started writing it I was curious to see if I could create convincing people. Such a fun challenge!

    2. Maddie, Zander and Laona are really well done, but so are Kenny, Zander's family and of course the kids. Even silent Jonnie. I'm just entering the post-accident section and are already hooked and want to know how / if the relationships weather the storm. I like your chapter breaks and titles too.

    3. Finished late last night. Loved it. You were right about the tears. You should be very proud.

    4. Another good sign is that I'm still thinking about the characters.

    5. Thank you, Peg! You made my day.

  6. I am pretty sure that 6 is perfection...true perfection. The end of the school year is a time of reflection, our real New Year's Eve as parents.

  7. This post is so sweet, and also a bit sad because you see your children grow up before your eyes. You feel so blessed to watch them thrive, be healthy, and become fine people yet at the same time, it tugs at your heart because once upon time, they were little babies, you know?

    Go Quinn for achieving bike riding!

  8. I love this post, thank you for sharing. Your kids are incredibly sweet!

  9. So beautiful and so poignant. I go through similar emotions constantly, and my oldest is only two-and-a-half. How ever will I survive SIX, for any one of them?

    At the same time, I have to admit to craving a time when they are a bit more independent from me, at least occasionally...

  10. Oh, that last line. So true. Ouch. Yay for Quinn - our own Quinn is a terror on a bike and the little-boyness of it makes me smile.