Thursday, 26 May 2011

Time To Take Off The Training Wheels

Oh my goodness...  My baby is riding his bike.  No training wheels, just Dayton's own leg power, focus, concentration and balance.  And lets face it, those of you that know us, this is a huge miracle!  My poor Dayton didn't stand a chance, inheriting my 'swag' (I don't call it clumsiness, I call it swag).

I'm constantly having to remind Dayton:  "Don't follow in my footsteps...  I run into walls, trip over air and suffer from swag."  I once had a friend who didn't think it was possible to fall up the stairs... then she met me.  Not only did I trip walking up the stairs, but I slammed my face on the wall going down.  It takes skill to get ran over by parked cars, trip over flat surfaces, get tangled up in a cordless phone and run into open doors and easy to see walls.  I'm pretty sure my guardian angel is thinking about switching careers.  I pray Dayton's stays put, because she's done a good job with him.

Anyway, my point in talking about me, is that my poor little guy has inherited these mad ninja skills of mine in pretending to hug the floor when falling down.  The poor kid is just as uncoordinated as I am.  He has no balance, just like me, and with his ADHD, he can't focus or concentrate on anything for long periods of time, so when I blog about his success, believe me, I'm celebrating.  And today is one of those days.

I had to downsize when I moved.  Going through marital  issues, I wanted a home that I could take care of on my own, and still afford to eat.  During my move, Glen decided to throw out Dayton's old bike, the one with the training wheels...  Ugh!!!  "Why did you throw it out?  What is he supposed to ride now?"
"It was too small for him anyway."
"Did you think of raising his seat?"
"Ummmm...  no..."
So this last Christmas, Glen got Dayton a brand new bike.  Sans the training wheels.  Dayton was over joyed to see a brand new bike, and asked "Where's the training wheels dad?"
"You're turning nine worm (yes, Glen's nick name for Dayton is worm...  I have a cute story about that one too), and it's time for you to learn how to ride a bike with no training wheels.  Mom will teach you how."  I'm thinking, jeez buddy, thanks for the vote of confidence!  The kid's got no balance, no coordination and no focus...  I have zero coordination.  It's the blind leading the blind here buddy.  How on earth am I going to teach him how to ride his bike?

Spring came.  I ask Dayton if he'd like to give it a go on his new bike.  "Yes!!!  Let's go mamma."  I struggle to get his bike out of storage, rummage through the closet to get to his helmet, and off we go to the playground which has a paved path all around the playground.
"OK Dayton, sit on the bike.  Put your foot on the higher of the two peddles and push.  Mamma's got your back babe.  I'm going to hold on to you the whole time."  Off we go...

We make it half way through the circle, and my back is killing me.  I call out to our neighbour's teenage kid who's walking the dog, and beg him to trade with me.  "I'll walk your dog every day this week, if you take a few minutes to teach Dayton how to ride his bike."
"Done!  Here's the bag to collect her doggy doo doo."  Awesome.  Just what the doctor ordered.  But I'm grateful for the help.

Dayton is struggling to keep his balance, peddle and focus all at the same time.  Things are not going well, and he's demanding to have his training wheels back.  Of course, Glen didn't think to get training wheels.  I'm not even sure if they make training wheels big enough for this bike.  I'm cursing his name right about now.  Our first day on the bike is a complete failure.  The good news is, the little dog didn't make a doggy doo doo for me to pick up!  I do try to find the silver lining in things.

On another day, I ask Dayton if he'd like to try to ride his bike again.  "No mamma, I got swag.  I want training wheels."
When Glen arrives after his day at work, I look at him and tell him to take Dayton out for a bike ride.  "I'm tired Lou, you take him out."
"Yeah, I don't think so.  You need to take him out, or you need to go to the store and get him training wheels.  I'm not arguing with Dayton to learn how to ride his bike.  Your brilliant idea, you go out and teach him."
"Ugh.  Fine.  I haven't had dinner, I'll teach him to ride his bike, you make supper."
"Done!"  We're having Kraft Dinner.  Have fun!"  (Glen hates Kraft Dinner, he's lucky I didn't put peas in it, he won't touch a pea).

Dayton does better this time.  Glen's face is all red from running behind him, and he's complaining of chest pains, but my baby does better!  I'm so proud of him.  He still hadn't mastered how to stop the bike and ran into trees and bushes to stop, but hey!!!  He's getting the hang of concentrating and focusing on where he's going!  Awesome!!!  He can't start peddling the bike unless he goes down a hill to start, but it's a start!!!  Dayton swears this is the last time he goes out with dad to ride his bike, and he hates the bike, but I had this feeling he's going to be just fine.  Here's a picture of Dayton on day two of learning how to ride his bike with his dad.

We tried riding the bike one more time...  Dayton was frustrated, but he did better.  He was able to peddle his bike non stop for half the loop around the playground, without me holding him on his bike!  It was awesome!  Slamming into a tree to stop, but hey, it's going to take practice, right?  I was so proud of him!  But to be honest, I started to get worried.  Would he ever learn how to ride the bike?  I had to slow down and remind myself that this was only his third attempt, with many days apart from the first attempt.  I needed to give it more time.  But with Dayton crying and having a melt down, should I push this to continue?  Not today.  We'll give him a break for a few days.

Today...  Dayton has been grounded for this week, due to an incident with a BB gun his six year old friend carries around outside.  I'll explain it another time, long story short, he grabbed the BB gun his buddy dropped and shot him in the head.  He swears the clip of the gun was missing, so he had no idea there was a BB in the gun because he doesn't know how to load the gun without the clip, but either way, he could have seriously hurt the little boy, and I'm done with his gun obsession.  While I understand that he was not at fault for loading the gun and that his intent was not to hurt his little friend, the damage has been done, and there must be a consequence to his actions...  He's no longer allowed to play with anyone that carries a gun onto the playground.

Anyways, he's grounded until Friday.  I made a decision I figured he would not like, but I made it just the same.  "Dayton, you're grounded and have to stay inside until Friday after school.  The only way you get to go outside is to ride your bike."
"Well, I guess I'm not going outside then."
"I guess not."

So when he got off the school bus today, I asked him if his aid put books in his back pack for home reading.  Of course the answer was still "No."
"All right then, mamma is going to figure out what to do for homework.  We'll do some writing."
"No mamma.  I do work at school with the rest of the kids."
"Yes babe, but you need some extra practice."

We get inside and I give him one hour with his Nintendo DSI, after which I explain we will do some work.  He plays with his DSI for the hour, and then I tell him it's time to do work.
"I thought you said I could ride my bike."
"Yes, I did say that.  So are you saying you will ride your bike instead?"
"Ugh...  Yes mamma..."
"Awesome, let's go."

He rode his bike.  I couldn't believe it.  I didn't need to hold him on his bike, he didn't need to go down the grassy hill to start it.  He struggled at first, but was adamant to push off on his own.  HE DID IT!!!  He rode the bike many times around the playground, pushing off all on his own!  I was even able to teach him how to stop his bike without running into the bushes or trees!  HE DID IT!!!  And after supper...  HE DID IT AGAIN!!!  Hooooooooraaaaay!!!  Way to go Dayton!!!  I screamed so loud, cheering him on, one of the neighbors offered me her pom poms...  Oooooops, maybe I carried it a bit too far.  But she has no idea how difficult this was for him to learn.  She doesn't know of Dayton's autism, his ADHD, or his global delays.  My baby is a gem!  And I am so very, very proud of my boy.

Look at him ride his bike today:

Now I just got to convince him that wearing a helmet is OK, and won't 'mush his brains.'  I keep telling him if he falls on his head, it will be much worse, but he just can't get past the sensory issue of something on his head.

Consider yourselves hugged,


1 comment:

  1. Great story !!! We are going through the "no training wheels" stage with our son who is nine as well. Very encouraging!

    Thank you for sharing