My daughter loves to ride her bike. Nearly every day she begs me to take her out riding. I feel like a bad mommy but I only take her out riding a couple times a week. Its not that I don't want to take her out nor that I don't want her to ride her bike. My greatest wish is that she spend as much time as possible out of doors pursuing physical activity and exploration. It's that a bike ride is never just a bike ride.
See, this is how our bike rides start out:
Sophie excitedly pedaling in front of me. Helmet, elbow and knee pads donned. Her baby doll in the seat behind her. We chatter away as we decide which way to go. Whether we'll head towards the elementary school across the street or around the neighborhood.
She's pretty good on there, knows how to pedal and steer and brake, but we live on a busy road and I worry, so I stay close behind her, on foot. Generally, we'll sing songs and talk about what we see on our ride. The plants and animals that inhabit our neighborhood. We'll meander our way through the smaller streets behind our house. Carefully crossing at intersections. Navigating the gentle hills.
And then it happens. She jumps off the bike to pick a flower (dandelion) and runs ahead. I holler out to her that she needs to come back for her bike. And she does. For a minute. But then she's off again. To look at an unusual mailbox that she's seen a dozen times before on bike rides or walks. She comes back again for her bike, but it is short-lived. Finally, she abandons the bike altogether and this is what I see for the rest of our outing:
What you don't see, because I am the documentarian of our life, is me pulling the bike. Again. And this is why I am beginning to hate bike rides. Every time she promises me that she will ride her bike the whole way, that I won't wind up dragging it the last mile home. And every time she gets off and abandons it and I'm left with sore toes from all the times I accidentally run over them with the blasted training wheels as I chase after her pulling that bike next to me.
My girl is Lucy with the football. And I? Am a gullible blockhead.