Wednesday, September 14, 2016


It will be an unusually busy set of days for Ed, as a team of factory heads is in town to discuss future product development for the company with which he is so intimately affiliated. I am, therefore, very happy to have the big Amazon box delivered before either of us scatters for the day.

You could call it my early Christmas present for Snowdrop, though honestly, I am not the only grandma out there who wants so much to provide her grandchild with the tools and toys of childhood. A bike belongs to those for sure.

In my own childhood, in the Polish village where I lived with my grandparents the first years (and nearly every summer) of my life, you had to bring with you from the city anything you would want to have there. That's a lot harder than clicking on Amazon and reaching for your credit card. Still, there was always a bicycle for me to ride and I made heavy use of it, even though there were no firm roads to navigate -- just packed tracks and meadow paths. I rode them all.

I don't think Snowdrop is quite at the age where she can take off and explore on her own (and the idea of her biking anywhere that's not a dedicated bike path terrifies me no end, as bicycles and cars are not a happy mix here), but I have been wondering for a while now how she would take to a balance bike -- a two wheeler that comes without pedals and that is designated for the 18 months - 5 years age range.

Well now, the little one is 20 months old and winter is fast approaching. If not now, then we'll have to wait until next spring.

And so I buy the bike and it comes this morning and Ed, who will probably assemble many kid bikes in his lifetime (and whose first youthful jobs were all about fixing bikes at New York City bike shops), mumbles -- well, if you had to buy a new one, I'll give you this much: it's really well designed.

And then we eat breakfast...

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And he takes off and I take off and the bike waits for Snowdrop's arrival after school.

Later, much later, I reflect on the bike and the girl: did she love it? I wouldn't quite go that far. But she tried it.

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And protested heavily when I wanted to leave it outside. It belongs to her world!

Predictably, she wants her animals to ride it.

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That's a tough request to honor, so we put it aside for now and she goes back to her three favorite activities -- having a book read to her (conveniently, I happen to have one about bikes...), playing with foods...

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... and throwing a ball.

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I'm happy that she does periodically come back to the bike and she definitely likes the feel of the helmet.

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(Dancing is with her "hat" on...)

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Growing confident is a process. She can decide for herself how far she wants to take bike riding this year.

In the late afternoon, she goes back again and again to her helmet.

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She has me ride her bike up and around the farmhouse. She giggles at the sight. I don't blame her: big gaga, little bike.

Late in the day, she and I take a walk into the fields to the east of us. We look over at the strips of flowers - the last of the crop for this season's markets.

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Snowdrop takes it in, like she does countless other experiences she confronts each day. Every walk is an opportunity and a lesson, sometimes in something so simple as in our walk today: avoiding mud, cars, and thistle.

She trusts the grownups in her life.

We go back. She solves puzzles and scribbles in my notebooks.

And finally, Ed is home and she is just tickled to see him.

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He has his weekly bike ride and he is late for it, but the little one coaxes him to a ball game and as you will have guessed -- he does not say no to her.

We are rewarded with a nearly 100% catching of his throws.

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With lots and lots of giggles throughout.

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I think about my childhood years. Not the really really young stuff (who can remember?), but elementary school. Tomboy years -- where catching ball and riding a skateboard gave me perhaps the day's finest moments.

Ed comes back late from his bike ride. I go out with a flashlight to find tomatoes in our patch for his supper. I notice that the moon, two days short of being full, shines brightly over us tonight. Over you as well, I hope.

1 comment:

  1. Bikes! Ball throwing! You're so right about childhood memories. Pretty soon there will be a basketball hoop too. (Love the "hat"... great that she's getting used to it from day one.)

    Hmmm... are there still girls' bikes and boys' bikes? I always insisted on having a boys' bike as well as boys' jeans, but maybe Snowdrop won't have to make that choice.


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