The Texture Of Things


May 6th, 2008

This week, the tot has gone from not pedaling her trike to pedaling her trike everywhere. She has had this trike for over a year – what the hell happened this week that triggered the change?

In the beginning I thought she didn’t pedal because she didn’t get how it worked and/or her legs were too short to reach. In some ways that was true, but she grew and still she didn’t pedal.

A couple of weeks ago, HG chased us outside, put the tot on her trike (complete with parent handle bar), and we went for a walk around the neighborhood. The tot was clearly excited, so I blew off the fact that she cannot steer. She just does not get it, which surprised me since she knows left from right. Watching her that day, I thought the missing piece of that puzzle seemed to be hand-eye coordination.

The next week, I took her with me to a local camping and hiking store so that I could buy into the hysteria. We were just barely through the door when the tot saw the bicycles and insisted on riding one. I took her to a miniature bike (12″ wheel, with training wheels), and she climbed on. She desparately wanted to ride this bike, but she could barely get the pedals to turn. She simply didn’t have enough mass or strength to make it move, so I pushed her around the aisle, much to her delight. In that moment, I thought maybe the missing piece was not hand-eye, but power, and perhaps the struggle for forward motion interfered with her ability to steer.

BTW, she had her first in-store, public crying tantrum fit when I told her (for the fiftieth time, as we were leaving) that no, we were not taking the bike home with us, but maybe she’ll get one for her birthday. She really wanted that bike. She still reminds me of it any time we talk about bikes.

So then yesterday, actually, the day before yesterday, I took her for a short walk and on the way up the driveway, she started pedaling – really pedaling. What she figured out that day escapes me. Was it the coordination or simply the knowledge that she can do it – she can make her body do it?

Whatever it was, yesterday something clicked in both her head and body. We were at the Occupational Therapy Center for an evaluation (more on that in another post), and at the start of the session, she was encouraged to play in the indoor playground. One of the things they offer there is a path and a huge choice of wheeled things to ride on. The tot hopped on and tooled through the place like she’s been doing it for a year. First a strange two-footed pedaling device, then a trike, then a two-wheeler with training wheels. What’s more is she steered. Accurately. Without crashing.

WTF? Where is my daughter and what have you done with the pod?

We got home, and she started up on her trike like she’s preparing for a cross-county ride. The transformation is amazing and awesome, but weird.

I foresee a lot of outdoor time this summer, don’t you?

At the very least, this experience is a good reminder that whenever I get frustrated with the tot being stuck at a level of competence in something, or when I completely give up and say something like “So she’ll go to college in pull ups – I’m fine with that”, she bursts through it. Her pace is not my pace, and I need to remember that. She’ll get it, by and by.

1 Comment »

  1. KLee says

    Offspring was that way with walking. She pushed up and held onto things early, and cruised around at the correct times, but she just WOULD! NOT! WALK! It was frustrating in that I could SEE she wanted to, but could not get it all together to do it. When she was about 16 months, she had tubes put in both ears and two days later she got up and ran. She skipped right over walking and flat out ran. We figured it must have been an inner-ear/balance thing that was stopping her before.

    I’m glad that the Tot is exploring, and trying new things. It sounds like she’s trying to have more control over the things around her. That’s good! For BOTH of you!

    May 8th, 2008 | #

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