This week my girl graduated to a 'big girl' bike. It is quite typical of her style, she does everything well before I think she is going to. She taught herself to walk at the same time that she was learning to stand unaided. There was no pulling up and side-stepping along things (like most babies do) and there was no waiting until she had perfected the whole standing bit first. She would stand, wobble a bit, then take as many steps as she could before she fell over. Mr 2-at-the-time and I couldn't believe it the first time she did it. It has been like that with everything ever since. If she sees it, she is determined to teach herself how to do it. I don't know why I expected riding a bike to be any different.
So last week I took her to the shops to buy a balance bike, thinking it would be a good place to start. However, while we were there she noticed the girls bikes, and it didn't matter that she could barely reach the floor while sitting on them, she was determined. Before we had even left the store she had worked out how to pedal and simply refused to get off. There was not going to be any balance bikes for my girl, she made that clear. She was going to do it like the big kids.
I am always amazed at how different my children are, both special in their own ways. Mr 4 jumped onto a friends bike - without training wheels last week, and rode it first time. We were all so excited that we quickly took the training wheels off his bike, but when he realised it was harder to turn he got frustrated and upset and begged us to put them back on. My little monkey likes things the way he likes them, and there is simply no point pushing him otherwise. I think I probably used to push him a lot when he was younger, simply because I knew he was capable. As he has grown though, I've learned that pushing or encouraging him too much simply makes him upset and frustrated, and it is probably detrimental to his self-confidence. Whereas if I let him do things when he is good and ready, it increases his self-esteem and self-confidence, and is always incredibly proud of himself. So for now, the training wheels stay on - even if I know he can probably ride without them. He is happy, he is loving his bike, and that is all that is important.