Of Bicycles and Love

Dear Diary

One of my favourite films, which some might say is a sad indictment on me, a film that I watch whenever I'm in need of a pick me up, is French Kiss. Yes I know, you've never heard of it. It's not even that I've stolen all the copies available in the world....it's just that not many people seem to have the same affinity for it, shall we say, as I do. Anyway, there's a phrase in there....where Meg Ryan is hassling Kevin Kline about whether he believes in true love (yes it is that kind of film), and he says that he loved his mother. Her response is "...everybody loves their mother. Even people who hate their mothers love their mothers." And I have come to believe a similar thing about mothering and kids. Even people that constantly find their kids extremely annoying and frustrating love their kids. It's the baseline from which families start. It's like a default setting. Apart from those people that REALLY hate their kids (or their mothers for that matter).

It's certainly not something that gets reaffirmed all that often. Once a day usually for me. Every night when they go to bed, I tell my kids I love them. It's not even a verbalised love that stems from guilt for all the times I've yelled at them during the day. Well not all of it anyway. When they get older I'll probably be buying them bunches of flowers and diamond earrings.

And then there comes a time when the default love setting is just not quite enough to deal with events. A bigger more elastic heart is needed, lest tears should overflow.

Biking is pretty big in our household right now. As reward for sorting out her own toilet training, Holly was allowed to choose a bicycle. Considering her lack of height, I thought it might be a challenge to find a bike, but not so. There's heaps of bikes out there for tiny tots. We (rather she, a young woman of quite some decisiveness), eventually decided upon a balance bike. The idea with these is that kids learn balance first, and then go straight to learning about pedals, without those pesky training wheels. Finn has had a bit of a mental block about giving up his training wheels, so I was keen for Holly to try a different approach. The unexpected result of this of course, was that Finn took to the balance bike, like he'd always had one. Freewheeling madly down the drive, cornering, skidding, doing trick jumps off the raised garden beds. It became a bit of a fight as to who got to use the bike.

So I took the training wheels off Finn's bigger bike and told him his was now a balance bike. Genius me. He believed me for a while, coasting a bit down the gentle slope of our back lawn and even doing a bit of pedalling, but that lasted only as long as the first bifurcation of Finn and bike, when he realised he was a bit further above the ground, and hence hurt a bit more with the less than stylish dismount. He didn't like his balance bike, he wanted to ride Holly's balance bike.

This continued for a couple of days, and then he asked if we could go to the park, taking his big bike with him. We got to the park and he said he was too tired to ride, and I thought he'd psyched himself out. But I pushed him off to start and then told him to keep pedalling...he didn't realise that I was no longer holding him, and before he knew it he was 100m down the path. He kept saying "I couldn't realise I could do it by myself." And so it began.

It's very hard to get Finn off his bike now. Holly is spending more and more time on her balance bike as a consequence and is getting confident enough to do a small amount of gliding on gentle slopes.

I am so proud.
And I love my kids a little bit more than the default.