When John was born, Matt's Grandma A gave us a present. Actually, she gave us several, but some presents are more Grandma A than others. Grandma A has a great sense of style, and finds the "just-right" baby clothes that I would never buy, since they aren't a t-shirt or a onesie. She is capable of wonderfully thoughtful presents, and goes out of her way to find something that people will love.
Because she is so gifted at gifting, it is all the more strange when she misfires. So along with the beautiful teddy bear with a real wind-up music box inside, the cunning little Size 0-3 Carter's jammies, and the bone china Peter Rabbit baby bowl set, Grandma A gave John a giant bank, about two feet tall, made of clear plastic, shaped like a beer bottle, emblazoned with the Minnesota Viking logo and full of cheese popcorn.
We ate the popcorn and put the bank in John's room. Over the years, we dropped our loose change into it. When Matt and John took it to the bank in April, there was about $400 in the bank, plus three coins from Turkmenistan.
John had decided he wanted to buy his first bike with the money. So he did, plus all the cool accoutrements -- helmet, gloves, water bottle. He couldn't wait to wear a helmet, while when I was growing up, I can't remember ever seeing a kid wear a bike helmet. I'm sure I would have shunned any who did, however.
We have no sidewalks where we are, and the road we live on is enough of a highway I will not let John ride on the road. We do have a long driveway, and a turnaround, but reallly, it's not the same. There's no place for John to ride his bike TO, and because of that it took him longer than I thought it would to learn how to ride.
On Tuesday, though, it clicked. He figured out how to steer. He figured out how to use the brakes. He can look up and around as he rides, instead of fixing his eyes on the three feet in front of his front tire. Between learning to ride a bike and learning to read, his world has expanded in beautiful ways in the last couple of months.
John still needs help getting started on the bike, though. He likes it if someone holds the seat as he gets the pedals just so, and then can give him a little shove off. In the last few weeks, I've offered to help with this, but my attempts have been rejected after one try. Matt has to be the one to help with the bike.
I was given an explanation this morning. Matt was heading to work. He woke me up to say he and John had had a discussion last night.
"What are you going to do tomorrow?" Matt asked John.
"I don't know...part of the day I'm going to practice my bike."
"That'll be great! Is Mom going to help you with that?"
"No. And could you tell her, I just don't like the way she pushes me on my bike. I will practice without her."
Matt said, "How does she push you? What don't you like about it?"
Some thought. "I don't know. She pushes me wrong. Can you tell her that, please?"
Matt did tell me. So today, I will watch John riding his bike, from the sidelines. Not pushing.