Sunday, July 26, 2009

Slow and steady

My younger daughter, The Bug, is a study in how to march to the beat of a different drummer.

She walked at seven months and talked in full sentences before she was two years old. She had the entire soundtrack and most of the dance moves from Cats memorized before she turned five.
At the same time, she didn't potty train until she was nearly three years old, and she was approaching six years old before she finally gave up sucking her thumb. I worried about her delays with these sorts of milestones, but I also saw what she gained by waiting until she was completely ready: From the first time she sat on the potty until she was reliably dry all day was less than a week. Her thumb-sucking was a real worry for me: she was very dependent on that thumb to get to sleep at night, and used it, even at school to deal with stressful situations. We decided together that thumb-sucking would stop the day her first baby tooth fell out (I explained that thumb-sucking could damage her permanent teeth). The day her first tooth fell out, she stopped sucking her thumb. And never did it again. Ever. No tears, no arguments, no bargaining. And no relapses.

So I guess I shouldn't be surprised about her learning to ride a bike. The Bug will be nine in September, and to date has been terrified of her bicycle. Understand that she is nearly five feet tall, so getting a bike with training wheels has not been an options for her. She's had this beautiful 24" Trek mountain bike for nearly a year, and it has remained untouched.

Until today. Today, Daisy Mae got a new bike. Daisy immediately lobbied to go to the ice cream shop, about a mile and a half from the house. The Bug wanted to go too. I told her that she couldn't go on her scooter -- scooters were not street-legal like a bicycle is.

She walked outside, and with Daisy's encouragement, climbed aboard her as-yet-untouched bike.

And she rode. She rode all around the cul-de-sac. She rode to the main road and back. She practiced braking properly as she went around corners.

And less than two hours after she got on that bike and rode for the first time, Daisy and The Bug rode to the ice cream shop.

She takes her time, but once she sets her mind to do something, she does it right. As her mother, the fool who has ever rushed past the angels to dive into new things, knowing that I can catch up with practice later, I could probably take a page or two from her book. We don't all learn the same way, but we all end up where we need to be, in our own way and at our own pace.

Good job, Bug.


bhd said...

I'm in tears at this lovely story! Who knows what the unintended wonderful consequences of having a big sister will be for the Bug!

bhd said...

Oh, and the verification word was Frablio. What is that? A tall blond coffee drink?

Crabby McSlacker said...

Love this!!!

I think you can generalize this to so many things too, including health and fitness: we're all different and we learn and change and grow in our own way at our own pace.

Wow, though, she's pretty amazing!

Beanie said...

@Crabby: All very true. We all have to take life in our own way.

Daisy just got back from a week at "Boot Camp" (for teens) and is teaching me different push-ups. I am failing at the tricep ones. As in, collapsing in a heap on the floor. She rocks at them.

@BHD: I couldn't agree more. I thanked Daisy, sincerely, for her encouragement. And I paid for the ice cream.

Ellie Creek Ellis said...

this story makes me want to go back to when my girls were young and start all over again...

winter said...

SO cool!

Sue said...

I am back...and will have to sit down and get caught up on you..thanks for always sharing...

Anonymous said...

Ahh, fantastic post :) I'm pleased to have found your blog!

Also, thanks for the nice idea on thumb sucking. My just-turned-five year old is a thumb sucker - at night and in the car... we are so often telling her to stop - but maybe something like that will work for her... :)

Beanie said...

Coley: Welcome!

If you're going to try to lead up to an event as a trigger to stop the thumb-sucking, I recommend NOT bringing it up any other time. Tell her she can suck her thumb all she wants, so long as she doesn't disrupt school and she takes it out when she's speaking. But be clear that there's a practical reason why she has to stop and offer to help her at the tough times (like bed time). When it came time for Bug to stop, all she asked was "Will you hold my hand until I fall asleep, so I don't accidentally put my thumb in my mouth?" Pretty reasonable, really.

Good luck!