After a few years of on-and-off attempts to ride a bike, Molly is finally doing it!
Molly got a ride-behind bike for her birthday and got a little experience pedaling with me around the neighborhood and even across town. And then she got inspired to try riding on her own. I was a little skeptical this was going to work, but Molly was determined to make it work.
Here are the results of a little trial and error on Alpine Road. Here is footage of literally the first time Molly really rode her bike on her own. 😄
I was so excited, I kept saying stuff like “Molly, I’m so proud of you. This morning you couldn’t ride a bike, and now you can!” or “This is the start of a whole new thing for you!”. And Molly basically told me to calm down. “Dad, every day hundreds or kids learn to ride a bike.” 😂 But you could tell she was proud.
Here’s some footage from a week later once she’s really got it down.
Molly and I had the morning together while Claire finished up a sleepover at a friend’s house. I asked Molly what she wanted to do, and we ended up combining the top two things on her wishlist: going for a bike ride and going over the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge in downtown Austin.
In a hilarious turn of events not well captured in photographs, Molly ended up riding her bike right past an active film set on the bridge. The crew yelled, “We’ve got a biker! Heads up!” Molly was not the only such biker, but she was the funniest by far.
Here is our route for Molly’s ride.
Molly is really motivated to ride her bike but is so far frustrated with the process and thinks the training wheels aren’t working right.
Also, isn’t she adorable on that bike?
Molly is interested in biking and doing pretty well with the training wheels. We’ve been going to the Town Lake trail and letting Molly ride her bike while Claire and I walk. Claire has more or less given up on biking for now. I’m waiting for some sort of peer pressure to kick in and inspire her, but she may be driving before she can bike!
Claire has been learning to ride a bike for about 4 years now. Or at least, we have been trying to get her to ride for that long, and she reluctantly tries for a while until we run out of time or she outgrows her bike. We have asked various nannies to give it a try over the summers, with no luck. We’re making one more push this summer on Claire’s bike #3.
So on Sunday morning, we hit the track at the local middle school where everyone around here goes to learn to ride a bike. I had gotten Claire a new (used) bike that actually fits her current size, and she was at least willing to give it a spin. No training wheels any more for Claire; they just don’t make them for her size bike.
It turns out that riding a bike and teaching someone to ride a bike are very different skills, and you don’t automatically know how to teach someone to ride a bike when you become a dad. Strange, right? I figured we’d just go for a modest victory, at least some small progress. So I ran along with Claire and held her bike steady by the seat as she peddled along the flat sidewalk. I told to peddle faster since it’s easier to balance that way. We got up to a good speed, and then I let go for a couple of seconds without telling her. Then I caught on to her seat again before she had crashed and told her she had done it: she had balanced on her own for two seconds! Claire was very proud. We did it again, and she asked me not to tell her when I was letting go so she didn’t get nervous. She did three seconds this time before she started to wobble, and I caught her seat again. The last thing we needed right now was a bloody knee or broken arm, so we called it good there for now.
Meanwhile, poor Molly was trying out her inherited little bike with the training wheels. She asked us not to tell anyone that her bike had training wheels so they would still think she was cool. I don’t think the two joggers and one dog walker nearby thought any less of her for her training wheels, but we did not mention it to them to honor Molly’s wishes.
While I was running with Claire, Molly managed to crash her bike on the grass. But she was unscathed, slightly amused, and ready to keep going. I had her pose for a picture (above). Then Molly got to ride around the 1/4 mile jogging track once with her little bike. Molly enjoyed riding her bike more than Claire did. With her attitude, she might learn to ride on her own before her older sister. A little sibling rivalry might spark Claire’s interest in biking?
But Claire is making progress with her three seconds of self-powered riding and should be proud for just getting out there and trying it.
Today, Molly took it upon herself to try out Claire’s old bike that has been siting around unused in the back yard. She convinced me to help her clean it up and pump up the tires. Molly got around alright with the training wheels. She may be bypassing her big sister soon, who has so far shown very little interest in biking.
I just took this picture of the girls’ bikes because I think they capture their personalities pretty well. Claire’s bike says, “I am a cute, dignified girl.” And Molly’s says, “I can do it too!”
|The girls hang out with trusty Grammy as we head off for some errands|
Merry Christmas 2010! As usual with a big event like this, a quick summary is going to have to suffice, or I will be here typing all day. There was a lot going on this Christmas, but this account is focused on the girls from my perspective.
Molly wanted to show off for her grandparents and continued to take great strides in her standing and walking. She took a couple of steps several different times over the weekend. She’s not quite walking as such, but she is getting mighty close, and all the grandparents (and parents) were so proud!
|Claire wraps herself up as a gift|
Big sister Claire is now an old Christmas pro. Like Molly, Claire was also thrilled to have all four grandparents in town again, less than a month after her big birthday party. She had been anticipating Christmas for a couple of weeks, and was especially eager to find out what would show up in her stocking on Christmas morning. She did end up receiving a much anticipated candy cane, as well as a Magic School Bus chapter book called The Search for the Missing Bones. This book has a lot more works and and a lot fewer pictures than any of her books so far. Apparently Santa thinks Claire is getting close to reading age. Everyone received a different “Mr. Men” or “Little Miss” book, such as Mr. Funny or Mr. Loud (perhaps to fit our personalities?), which all we generally donated to Claire for further reading.
|The new bike, compliments of Santa|
I don’t think Claire 100% realized that she should expect a big actual present from Saint Nick too. Well, the good man came through and brought Claire a beautiful pink bike — a real, heavy, rubber and metal bike with training wheels. Claire has officially outgrown the Big Wheel, although I am sure Molly will happily inherit it soon enough. We went outside into the blustery cold to try out the bike. Claire gave it some spins back and forth on the side patio. After getting used to the pedal brakes, she was off and rolling pretty well. Molly watched eagerly from the door window. Soon Claire requested that we try it out on the front street where she would have more room to open things up a bit more. Kit and I headed out there with her to the street. After one ride of maybe 30 feet, she hopped off her bike quickly. I thought wanted to she turn it around and come back, but instead she sprinted for the front door saying, “It’s toooo coooold!” That was it for the bike until a warmer day.
|Molly meets Astronaut Claire|
Among other highlights, Claire also received a microphone for her singing, a Barbie (her first), a Leapster 2 educational game system, Melody Harp from me and Kit (which she summarily ignored without opening the box, but which I believe she will one day enjoy), and a full astronaut suit from her Uncle Tim. Pretty soon Claire was exploring around the house pretending it was outer space, and everyone had a turn trying on the crazy helmet.
|Reading “A Butterfly Christmas”|
Of course, we all wanted Claire to understand that giving is an important part of the whole gift exchange too. Claire (and Grammy) gave me and mom beautifully framed pictures of her and Molly, which Claire designed decorated herself. I remembered about two days before Christmas that Claire should give something special to her grandparents too, so in a panic I picked up a you-decorate-a-butterfly kit at Target with three butterflies. Late on Christmas eve, had to drag a grumpy Claire upstairs to begrudgingly decorate these butterflies. This was going to be the worst, most uninspired kid present ever! But Claire rallied under the promise that she could keep one of the butterflies, and before long we had three nicely decorated butterflies: a blue one and a pink one for the sets of grandparents, and a purple one for Claire to keep. They were named Butterfly, Pretty Butterfly, and Pretty Pretty Pretty Butterfly, I think. Then I asked if she could do a picture or a story or something — anything — to go with the butterflies. She started out slowly but then worked into a groove. She dictated a story of three butterflies — a blue one, a pink one, and a purple one — while she drew an illustration of the story. We eventually ran out of room on both sides of the paper, so I re-typed it on the computer where it would actually fit and be more legible. We called the story “A Butterfly Christmas”. With Kit’s inspired wrapping, we ended up with a good present just in the nick of time.
(Well, so much for a quick summary, but this was the best I could do.)