Brakes.

Ella needs to learn how to use her brakes.  Literally and metaphorically.

On Thursday, Ella learned how to ride her bike.  It’s a 12″ Disney princess bike with a matching helmet and streamers out the handlebars.  Anyone that knows me knows that my kids don’t have things with “characters” or “brands” on them.  With the exception of Curious George (and I’m not sure why that’s okay but it is).  But I got the bike on clearance at Target in early March while we were in Kansas City.  It was super cheap and it fit her so why not, right?  Well, it’s been sitting in the garage with it’s white tires still very white.  She couldn’t figure out the forward motion of the bike and much preferred her trike because it was small and easy.  But on Thursday we decided to give it another shot.  And she got it.  I was so proud, much more so because I figured that teaching her to ride a bike was a dad thing and that my kids would have to learn from somebody else’s dad because I just wasn’t explaining it right.

So she’s super proud about riding the bike and tells everyone she knows.  We have ridden as far as Robyn’s but that’s about it.  I live at the top of a steep hill and Robyn lives 10 houses down at the bottom of the hill.  Tonight we went for a walk with some friends.  Ella and 4 year old Silas were on bikes.  Amelia and 2 year old Lydia were in the wagon.  Their mom and dad and I were walking.  Silas had his bike and he’s been riding for a while.  He’s even without training wheels.  The kids on bikes were in front of us and Ella starts going fast.  Really fast.  And still pedaling!  I start running (yikes) after her, yelling at her to use her brakes.  She looks around for me and goes down a driveway and into the street.  Now she’s going very, very fast down the middle of the street.  Ben takes off running too and passes me.  (He’s very tall with very long legs.)  He’s also telling Ella to use her brakes.  Ella veers off towards the curb, bumps it and falls into the grass.  Ben picks her up and rights the bike.  I slow to a fast walk so my heart doesn’t explode.  She has some tears but she’s mostly scared.  She has a scratched knee but is otherwise unscathed.  She got back on her bike and we finished our walk through the neighborhood.

What I didn’t see, apparently, was the 8 or so front doors that opened and people stepping out to make sure she was okay.  “Did she fall?”  “Does she have a helmet?”  and my favorite: “That hill is really too steep for bikes.”  Thanks for the footnote, yo.  And yes she did have a helmet.  So tomorrow I will be trying to teach her to brake.  I don’t know how to better explain it but there might be M&M’s involved.

In a metaphoric sense, I wish I could freeze time and keep my babies little.  Put the brakes on so to speak.  Ella is almost 4 but can navigate the computer through her favorite pre-reading website not to mention PBS Kids.  She has moved beyond letter recognition to word endings and sight words.  She is also embracing being a big sister.  She always has to some extent but she and Amelia are getting to be good friends and I love watching them together.  Unless one is shreiking at the other in which case I wonder why I ever had two kids. 

We have entered the “why?” stage.  It’s new.  Probably a week or so.  I used to teach preschool and I never had a problem with all the why questions.  I just kept answering them.  Didn’t bother me.  Until it was my kid.  Holy crapola.  I think she’s just making conversation or she knows she’s pushing a button with me.  She does it all. day.  Even to things that she knows the answer.  I never thought I’d be a “Because I said so…” mom but I am.  Every outing, every event, every anything takes for-ever. 

So maybe putting the brakes on my littles isn’t such a good idea.  I just might stick a hot poker in my ear than hear “why” for 14 hours a day.

Hey, kid, I have my own “whys” that need to be answered and I can’t think when you are yapping about yours.

And as a deep down footnote, I’m really embarassed that I couldn’t run fast enough to catch my own kid.  Now I really do need to do something about that.  But I’m sure it was hilarious to all the neighbors who may or may not have been taking bets on who would crash first…me or her.

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