I've been trying to figure out how to write this blog. I have finally decided it has to be in a series. So this will be part one. . . .
The summer of 2007 we were still working on refining Zachary's bike skills. He was 7 then. Riding a bike was something he was unsure of. He is very cautious. He is not a kid who enjoys "danger". (this totally comes from me) A few years earlier we saw a kid learning to ride and he stopped himself by falling ONTO THE GRASS. Zachary turned and announced to me, "I will never ride a bike if that's what you do." Good grief. So, needless to say, he wasn't interested in learning until later than most kids. His older brother wasn't doing it. There wasn't much motivation.
We had finally begun the process of learning to ride a two wheeler in 2006 and had just started getting somewhere when the season ended. We are in Michigan so it isn't like you have all year to ride a bike. So when summer rolled around again in 2008 we started back on it. Since Zachary wasn't determined to ride, it took a while. Not to mention the fact that it drove Daniel crazy whenever we would practice. He HATED us going back and forth, up and down the street. I think it was sort of pointless to him. He would always ask, "where is Zachary going?" and really the answer is "nowhere" he is just riding, practicing. I knew this would drive him crazy. I understand. He needs there to be a purpose. You have to be going somewhere? Don't you? So inevitably Daniel would be standing out front, upset because Zachary was simply riding up and down the street. This went on for years. It started with training wheels and then continued into the two wheeler. Then when Todd and I are suddenly running behind him. Forget about it. He was officially peeved.
Then that magical day came and Zachary was off and, well, biking. He was getting pretty stable so I asked him one day if he wanted to go on a ride around the neighborhood. He agreed. I got on a bike and we went for a very pleasant ride around the neighborhood. I thought this would be helpful for Zachary to not have his brother yelling in the driveway while he was trying to practice, so we went off, out of site. My husband, Todd, stayed home with Daniel for those of you who think I left Daniel in the driveway alone!
So Zachary and I had a lovely ride. He was VERY proud of himself. As he should have been. That's a big accomplishment after all! After that day you just don't go back. Once you learn you always know how. Fabulous!
I will never forget coming back from that ride. Daniel was sitting smack dab in the middle of the driveway. He had that determined, sort of ticked off look that he gets. I was hoping he was there to greet us?!? No, not quite. When we rode in Daniel stood up and stomped his way down the driveway and announced, "I am going to ride a bike, right now." Ok, let me give you all some perspective. We had been encouraging Daniel to ride a bike for, oh, 5 years at this point and he had ZERO interest. This is how it goes with him. Feast or famine. He saw his little brother do it (Daniel was 10 at this point and Zachary 7) and he thinks, wait a minute, I want to do that. Even though Daniel has autism he knows when it isn't "right" that Zachary is doing something like this before him. He really thought he was going to get on a two wheel bike right then and ride off into the sunset and that would be it. Had he not noticed the year or so that Zachary had been practicing and trying to learn and he was yelling in the driveway? He didn't connect that all of that lead up to this night. He thought you could just get on and go. . . I felt like I was in sort of dream, some alternative universe?! And by gosh, he tried to get on a bike! I ran inside to get Todd, knowing there was no way I could hold him up and a bike. He weighed over 100 pounds at the time! Then we need a helmet. . . is there one to fit him?! We are scrambling around while he is getting more and more annoyed that you were not somehow prepared for this giant shift to occur at any moment. . .
Todd came out and we tried to steady him. No surprise here, it just wasn't working. He was tipping and unstable and he cried and yelled and we all went inside. This was the end to a lovely first long bike ride with my seven year old. As usual, it went from an achievement for Zachary and turned into me realizing that my new priority was going to be figuring out how in the world we would get Daniel on a bike. The focus immediately shifts to Daniel. He finally had the will, and as usual I had to find the way.
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