Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bike Camp Part VI

My nerves about the new bike were alleviated when upon rolling Daniel's new shiny silver bike into the camp the camp director looked at it and got a huge smile on her face and said "SWEET BIKE". They were very impressed. I had done well! It wasn't a model on their list, so I was nervous, but it seemed to meet the criteria. Phew!

We put it aside and he gets on a bike. Soon enough he switches to a two wheeler. It has a big handle on the back so the spotters can grab it easily and help guide them. They can also be running and easily help them balance. You can purchase the handles and attach them to your own bikes. I inquired about this and they said I could NOT because Daniel's bike wouldn't accommodate it. It is an adult sized bike and the construction won't allow it. Great. That's a strike for me.

So Daniel is riding while they are holding the handle. When they start letting go and running behind he would sort of make these diving turns. He would turn SO sharply and it would look like he was about to wipe out, but he would adjust it (and his spotter would help). Then he would SCREAM at the top of his lungs like someone was doing this TO him, when in fact he was doing it to HIMSELF. This continued on for a while. The directors were called out onto the floor. Daniel was upset. Oh boy. Here we go. Here is a picture that I titled "the Daniel conference," He's right in the middle of it, by the way.

Then they are headed over to the doors where I'm looking in. I here "mom, we need some help". She says she has seen this before (I told you they've seen everything). They thought he was doing it for a few reasons 1. He is testing the new found skill/boundary. Seeing what will happen. 2. He is getting some sort of sensory pressure when he does this. It, at the same time, thrills him, and scares the crap out of him (hence the screaming!) They, to their credit, wanted my advice. I believe I told them to tell him why he shouldn't do that and keep trying. I believed he'd work it out. And, he did. The screaming was a change from the constant singing of the last few days! I couldn't believe I was thinking this but I wanted Monster in the Mirror back! FAST! We left that day with him having ridden a bike on his own. I mean really. Day 4 he did it on his own. When that child sets his mind to something, he achieves it!

Day 5, Friday. He starts off inside. Pretty quickly they move him out to the parking lot. I am getting anxious because I am realizing after this session we are ON OUR OWN. I need to know what the heck I'm doing to help him. They told me to "where your running shoes" on this day so I could run with him. Excuse me? I am so out of shape. I may not be over weight, but in terms of stamina, I can barely make it to the corner in a jog.

Daniel is, as expected, also feeling anxious. This is a big deal. He was having an inner struggle, as was I. I needed these people! Daniel was getting really upset and Troy the spotter was standing next to me as another guy was running around the parking lot with Daniel. Sometimes they switch off so they can take a breather! Daniel was crabbing and yelling and generally unhappy. I don't know if it's because he was outside and thus far he'd been inside or the fact that it was 90 degrees in the shade. But he was pissed. I find this amazing, but Troy said, "we need to get him singing again". I was astounded! He was right! We do that all the time when he gets really edgy and unhappy. We get him on a song or something we know will "flip that switch" and turn it around. So I said, "yes, that is exactly what you need to do!" I mean really, I am so impressed with this guy. I wish I could contact him and tell him how incredible he is. In the craziness I don't think I ever did that. So Troy says, "he needs to sing Monster in the Mirror". Another volunteer said, "well get out there and get him singing it". Troy says, "I don't know the song." EVERY volunteer there laughed and said, "come ON you HAVE to know the song you have heard it for 75 minutes a day for 4 days!" I told him he didn't have to know all of it, that he could sing one line and he'll start in. So, bless his heart, Troy ran back out there, and started jogging next to Daniel. I couldn't hear what happened, but by the time they came by me again, Daniel was smiling ear to ear, with Troy running beside him, singing wubba wubba wubba , woo woo woo, that Monster in the Mirror it just might be YOU! I mean, how wonderful that an early college age kid would be that in tune to him and instinctively know what he needed. It brings tears to my eyes thinking of that again. BLESS you Troy! I hope you are out there working with kids, 'cause you should be!

At the end of the camp everyone went back inside. They had a little ceremony and gave the kids certificates and a bag of treats and a calendar. All of which Daniel was VERY excited about. He should be one proud kid, and he was. He looked in the mirror and faced that monster who was stopping him and he conquered it, because sometimes that Monster in the Mirror, it just might be YOU! In case you can't quite get the tune in your head. Here it is for you. If you were a Sesame Street fan, I guarantee you'll remember it and it will bring a smile to your face!

There will be one more part to this series, because, though it seems to be the end. It's the beginning of a lot more work. You need to be ready for that if you decide to go down this road! So look for part VII. I know I said I wouldn't go that far, but we have to be flexible, right? :)

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