Monday, September 3, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Opposite of the plan

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Yesterday, after some bribery and encouragement, I took Maddy and Teddy out to the parking lot for a maiden voyage on their fully reassembled bikes. Holding onto the back of their seats, I did what so many have described before, chanting "pedal!" as they gained speed before letting go. And though there were a couple of stumbles, 20 minutes later they were both biking around the parking lot with am amused looking Grey documenting the whole scene, including a very winded Cristy

As all of this was happening, some of the neighbors came out to watch, commenting on how quickly Maddy and Teddy have learned to ride. I had to laugh as what they were witnessing could easily be misinterpreted for the how the whole experience actually played out, with them missing all the moments over the past 2 months that had all gone completely opposite to plan.

Like the fact that I never intended to use training wheels, yet quickly threw that idea out the window after a week being on modified balance bikes (seats lowered and no pedals) as they were bored from pushing themselves around and didn't know how to get themselves moving. 

Followed by the fact we would go on to spend the rest of July and most of August on training wheels, with both kids picking up speed and Teddy getting off his training wheels for the most part, but both resisting the idea of removing said training wheels as they figured out that was what was keeping them balanced. 

How it took Maddy basically breaking her training wheels from all the leaning, followed by a night of serious argument with Grey after I asked if we could somehow fix the problem (we couldn't and he's still convinced I shouldn't be allowed to make future bike-related purchases), that lead to a fit of anger on my part resulting in removing the training wheels all together as well as pedals and lowering the seats again. 

And how over the next week following that ugly night, where I didn't see a way forward, both Teddy and Maddy would put it all together, mastering balancing on their modified balance bikes and then going on to riding them like it was second nature.

All of this has been a bit heady for me given that I thrive on plans. I like mapping out how to attack situations, making small modifications as needed but generally sticking to the skeleton that was laid out. Despite this, my life so far has gone no where near what was planned and I've often found that when I buck "going with the flow" I tend to lose. The problem is that a lack of structure is stressful for me and it's not where I tend to thrive. But what I'm reminded of is that too much structure and rigidity is also harmful. That we as humans learn best through failed experiments, finding roads and options we rarely would considered unless pushed.

We still have a way to go with biking before I can send Maddy and Teddy off on the trail with Grey (that's my current pipe-dream). Teddy is doing well with getting himself started on the flat, but gravel trails are a bit more difficult. Maddy still is more cautious and needs to gain confidence with speed; hills are going to be hard for her. Yet watching them both today on the school playground blacktop, zipping around the courtyard, I was reminded that oftentimes the best things come in ways that I could never have planned.

Something I need to hold fast to for this coming week.


  1. Gah! I had my whole reply typed, it was long too and clicked on "sign out".
    Long post short: Yay! Great successes!
    It took learning and hindsight on our part for helping our 6 year old to learn to ride a bike. He mastered it this summer. And our girl (3yr) is learning much faster and easier.

  2. Oh, this is great. Lessons for the twins, for you, and for us. Accepting that we can't plan everything, and that some of life's greatest joys come when we just let go.

  3. I'm lolling at this: "a very winded Cristy."

    Yay for Teddy and Maddy for their successes, and for your planning and tenacity.

    I hope you have a good week ahead of you.

  4. I love the images in this post. Yay for the twins (& for you!)! I don't think I learned to ride a bike until I was about 7. Long may they pedal!


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