Sunday, August 12, 2007

Boys, Bumps & Bikes

The Boy is growing up. I guess I still think of him as someone who wants Batman pyjamas and Spiderman shaped snacks, but little by little he's eliminating those icons of boyhood with items that are "cool". We were looking together for a skateboard online, and I was quoting him the specs of the ones we could afford. I later overheard him telling a friend, with a sad resignation in his voice, "I have to get the Spongebob one".

A few weeks ago, the kid couldn't even ride a scooter. I have to hand it to him, he practiced for hours in the driveway, a few feet of coasting at a time. He was out there regardless of whether the sun was beating down on his fair face or whether rain was dripping off his hair into his eyes. And - he mastered it.

The next thing was the daily harangue to take the training wheels off his bicycle. I told him it had to wait for a weekend, when I would have time to come out and help him learn to ride it, relating serious stories of the dangers involved - learning to steer, falling down, collisions, injuries, crashing into solid objects. He was unmoved. Alas, he had outgrown his bike and it was in bad shape so taking the training wheels off didn't make a difference, the bike was unrideable. Not one to be easily defeated, he opted to try the girl neighbor's pink bike. The kid rode it easily on the first try, he didn't fall once. I guess all that practice on the scooter had already honed his balance.

Now he has a new bike - larger and more manly in red and black. He is obsessed with riding his bike the way he was obsessed with mastering the scooter. He rides the bike every moment he can, thinking up ways to go faster, looking for objects to run over and plotting tricks and risky maneuvers with which to frighten his mother.

I am nervously biting my nails and biding my time over this one. I know the obsession with the bike will cool and eventually his bike-riding will be just one of many things he likes to do. I know that his skill on the bike will increase and so far, I have managed to keep him from ditching his helmet (although I have my doubts about its future, it has Power Rangers on it).

I wonder if one day The Boy will be grown up enough that I won't worry about his high interest level in dangerous activities.

I doubt it.

I think I'm going to need a lifetime enrollment at the nail salon.


glenniah said...

This reminds me of my son as a 5 year old. I had waited anxiously for the time when he would learn to ride a bicycle. I planned to hold the seat as he pedalled along letting go as my son got up enough speed. I imagined his surprise as he realized he was riding on his own. Alas my dreams did not come into fruition. He was at a friends' home one day and he picked up his friends little bike and rode it. Just like that. I was proud but quite disappointed.
Now he is all grown up and recently brought a motor bike. I cannot share my feelings about that. Except to say he really admired the way I hopped onto the motor bike, me his old mother. I know I wont be on it if he ever gets a licence and is able to ride on the streets. What is it about boys, they go from one project to the other, with little thoughts of parents and their fears. Even when they grow up they are still 'boys'.

Andrea said...

They say that the only difference between a boy and a man is the price tag on their toys.