Wow — what a busy month of December! There was the normal Christmas craziness, as well as a busy few weeks at work (that still haven’t let up — I’m working on a big project that takes a lot of time and will keep me quite occupied well into January). But I’m happy to report that we all had a wonderful Christmas. The Big Sis visited Santa on the 15th and asked for a huge play castle and a plush Ariel doll (that she’s wanted for a long time), and whaddya know — the jolly ol’ elf delivered on Christmas morning! The Big Sis excitedly came into our bedroom that morning and told us all about the play castle that was set up in the living room, and we feigned surprise and then expressed great wonder when she took us out into the living room to show us. The Little Sis received several baby dolls (her favorite!), a play tunnel, and a sheep pillow (among many other goodies), though she was just as happy playing with The Big Sis’ presents as well as the wrapping paper and boxes (what a cliche!).
But the big news is that a couple days before Christmas, The Big Sis learned how to ride her bike without training wheels! I didn’t realize how big this milestone would feel before it happened, but it’s quite huge. I should note that she hadn’t shown much interest in her bike, even over the summer, and we never really did push it. About a week before Christmas, she wanted to get out the bike and asked to take the training wheels off, and we figured why not give it a try. Breaking my back, I tried teaching her about balance, steering, and pedaling on the bike as we made out way up and down the sidewalk, and she was making progress each time, but she was scared of the cracks and bumps on the sidewalk.
A couple days before Christmas, I decided to take her down a couple blocks to the walking track near our house. There’s a good flat stretch there, as well as a nice wide space for her to use…and wouldn’t you know she pretty much took right off. I ran right along with her in case she had balance issues (wrecking my plantar fasciitis foot again), but it turned out not to be necessary, and the next time out she was able to ride without me alongside her. The first couple of successful outs, she still needed help with getting started, but as of tonight, she’s mastered that and now just needs to get a better feel for using the brakes (and then more advanced skills like biking uphill). We tried biking on the sidewalk on the way home, but she was having too much trouble keeping a straight course on the narrow sidewalk, so we’ll stick to the trail for now, but I’m confident she’s going to master that soon as well. I am so unbelievably proud of her. I’ve made the process seem pretty easy, but it really wasn’t — she really, really wanted to do this and was super hard on herself when she’d falter, often collapsing on the ground in frustration. I kept up the encouragement, even when she was in tears, and ultimately her intense determination is what allowed her to succeed. What a wonderful little girl we have.