Saturday, 21 May 2016

In his own time

For his fourth birthday, we gave LittleBear a bicycle. A lovely green bicycle. It was quite tricky to wrap, but with plenty of sellotape, I got there in the end.

Can you guess what it is yet?

LittleBear was delighted with it, had one go at riding it, and then stoically ignored it. We had borrowed a lovely little red balance bike from the Piglet family, and he was already so proficient at riding it, that he didn't seem to see the point in battling to learn a new skill. Why struggle and fall and get frustrated when he can zoom along at high speed on a balance bike?

And thus it went for six months. Every now and then I'd point to the pristine bicycle in the porch and suggest he might like to try and LittleBear would say "Not today Mummy. I want to go on my balance bike". Despite, rationally, being fairly certain he'd eventually learn to ride a bike, I was beginning to wonder after 6 months whether it would be this bike, or whether he'd outgrow it before deciding to ride it.

Yesterday, however, we went to visit the Piglet family. And Piglet and her boy told LittleBear that when Piglet's boy first got his pedal bike, he didn't want to ride it either, as he was faster on his balance bike. And then he had a go on his pedal bike and within a week was faster on it than on the balance bike.

A week? A week?! That sounds like a challenge to LittleBear's ears...

Today LittleBear couldn't be reined in from going out on his bicycle. And within half an hour he was zooming manically around our (empty) communal car park. He was starting and stopping without assistance. He insisted on being timed to see how long he could ride for (7 minutes and 10 seconds without repetition, hesitation or deviation) and you'd never have known he hadn't been riding a pedal bicycle for months, never mind a week.

As ever, all I needed to do was wait for LittleBear to tackle a new challenge when he was ready to do so.

Which leads me neatly on to dinner time. Where I offered LittleBear a choice between sausages and "chicken fingers" (breaded goujons of chicken fried in butter*). That would be sausages, his absolutely favourite thing and chicken, the foodstuff he has been known to reluctantly nibble the corner of before declaring it to be "yucky". I suspect you can see where I'm going with this. He chose chicken. With the declaration "as long as you cook it the same way as last time, because that was the yummiest thing ever". And he proceeded to not just eat the four goujons I gave him, but he came back for seconds. My world has been rocked to its very foundations.

And I feel just a teeny tiny bit better about the probability that all the things I worry about can and do change, I just need to let LittleBear come to things in his own time. Now I need to try and remember this feeling next time I start fretting. Or "tomorrow" as I like to call it.

* Minor confession. I do hammer the chicken flat before egging and breadcrumbing it. And then fry it in a lot of butter, which renders it only vaguely similar to chicken, and much more like a buttery, crunchy stick of artery-clogging tastiness.

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