In the annuls of Adventures In Twin Parenting, perhaps the most difficult task we've been faced with thus far has been this: teaching them to ride a bike.
I know what you're thinking. You don't have to say it. (But since I know you're still thinking it, I'll say it for you. "You think that's hard? Just wait until they're driving, or dating, or going to school"..etc, etc.) Please note I said, "Thus Far". Consider if you will, that includes pregnancy, twinfancy, and all toddler hood endeavors. THIS takes the cake.
The problem we've always faced is that neither of the girls cares one bit for getting from point A to B on anything other than the 2 feet God gave 'em. They'd rather walk, run, skip, or trot, and have always put their noses up at any other mode of personal transportation. In infancy, they disliked their swing. In toddler hood, they outgrew all their ride-alongs long before they actually "rode along" to anything. In preschool years, they avoided the Cozy Coup, then put the cabash on the tricycles.
We keep running into the same problem: their disinterest in riding bikes has always meant that they outgrow whatever device we have for them before they ever learn to ride it. We are currently on bike number 3 for them. Bike 1 was a 12 inch, then we upgraded to a 16 inch, and are now at a 21 inch.
And herein is our particular quandary: what do you do when your daughters' legs are too long for a bike that is more age (and ability-level) appropriate for her, neccesitating a larger bike clearly meant for kids who already know how to ride a bike?
Training wheels aren't meant for this size bike. At all. So we're attempting to teach turning skills (tricky for kids who've never cared about steering wheels) and balance to two very disinterested little ladies.
We're methodically plodding away, despite their moans of disapproval. "Again? I have to get on it again?" In short? Yes. You do. Let's go.
We each take a child. The helmet-clad lass is than lassoed with a large beach towel around her chest, which effectively holds her up on the bike. She pedals while her assigned parent attempts to walk beside the bike, holding tight to the towel as they travel.
It's not small feat either, let me tell you. There is no balance here. None. That Caedance stays up is more thanks to my holding fast to that towel than to her own inner equilibrium. Right now, anyways. Every once in awhile, we'll hit a stretch of maybe 8 feet where she'll get it. But in a blink it's gone, and I'm left tug-tug-tugging away on the towel again; hand cramping, lower leg scraped up from being bumped by the pedal, and just mostly praying my hand doesn't spontaneously open and drop the towel all together. How much would she like riding the bike then, I ask you?
But as I said, we're plugging away at it. Last night we took a quick run around the block. As has become custom, I was Caedance's Bike Runner/Towel Holding Coach. She had a few good runs where she had gotten her balance and was progressing at more or less a normal rate. I was proud of her.
Head straight forward, she said, "Look mom! Look at me!"
I wanted to say something like, "Look at you? Hon, I'm holding you up. I'm right here. I see you because I'm actually here with you. Right now. No need to ask me to look."
But I didn't.
I realized that she didn't want her Bike Runner Coach to see what she was doing; she wanted her Mommy to watch. Mom. Look at me. See me. See what I'm doing.
And I saw. Eyes wide open, I saw my little girl who's struggling to succeed at this activity that she couldn't care less about. But she trying. Not because she wants to, but because she sees it's important to her dad and to me. She sees that and so she's giving it her all. Right here. As I run beside her.
"Mom, look at me! Watch me!"
"I see you, heart. You're perfect."
In everything they do: I see.
I see you, my precious daughters. Your accomplishments do not go unnoticed by me. Ever.
I see you. Always.
And I'm so proud.