We have a torture device in the garage. Or so one would assume based on the screams A. emits when that door creaks upward. Slowly, if I’m feeling maniacal. Slower, if my voice goes deeper and I ask her “Hey, kid, wanna take a bike ride?”
OH, the humanity!
No exaggeration: every day for a month when we picked her up from the sitter’s, she’d talk about her fourth birthday coming up! when! she was! going to get! a new! big kid! bike! You really could hear the exclamation points in her statements as she jumped up and down, right before she asked “Is it my birthday yet?”
Right: so we unveiled the new bike in June, right after cake. She loved it immediately; she wanted to sit on it, wear her helmet in the car and to the store. But, I guess, what we found out: she was more in love with the idea of the bike.
Her little sister wanted to ride on the new, shiny pink contraption with its training wheels and its snow-white tires.
“No! It’s MY bike!”
But she refused to sit on it.
We coaxed her on the seat, even held on to her as we glided her down our driveway at a dangerous 0.5 miles per hour. She gripped the handlebars like we’d pushed her solo off a zipline. I let her sit alone in the driveway while I helped her sister on her tricycle and — of course — for some reason, or no reason, perhaps, she tipped over.
Complete slow motion; the kind of fall you see coming, you know you should leap to intervene. The kind you feel your eyebrows react to before you remind yourself it’s not funny, stop laughing; no, really, go pick the bike off your child.
A. was not amused.
That was early June, and she’s not touched the bike since.
I’m scared she’ll never get back on — and worse, as her more daring sister climbs on and tries to reach the pedals to propel herself, A. runs screaming in the opposite direction like V. just pulled out a hand grenade. “Get her off the bike! She’s goin’ to falll!”
Ah, yes — someday I will admire her caution. Now, not so much.