Today I took my girls out bike riding. This has become a terrifying event, and it really speaks to my courage and awesomeness as a mother that I keep doing this. I usually take them up to post where the bike paths are less crowded. I walk as the girls bike in front of me and Grace, my two year old, rolls along beside me in her little plastic scooter-car.
Sophia is a calm. capable. and speedy biker. Jojo is a speedy biker. You see the problem.
I thought I'd achieved something great when we got them German bikes and weaned them off training wheels. German bikes are a lot lower to the ground and it only took a day or two for them learn to bike by themselves.
But Jojo...she just doesn't seem to understand caution. It seems like her first instinct when coming across something unexpected like, a pedestrian on the path, a steep hill, a large branch in the middle of the road, whatever-- is to pedal faster. And she has this fatalistic tendency of being unable to look away from anything that is in her way. If she doesn't look away from it, then her whole body points in that direction and she ends up crashing into it at full speed.
This is why today as I walked behind Gracie's little, plastic, scooter car I would occasionally hurtle down the path screaming at the top of my lungs, "DON'T LOOK AT THE MAN IN THE HAT JOJO! JUST DON"T LOOK AT HIM!" I'm sure the guy felt horrible, like I thought he was some kind of creeper. Whatever. I basically saved his life.
Also, I am pretty sure Jojo's helmet has saved her life multiple times. I have been trying to get Gracie to wear a helmet too. She doesn't go very fast but based on the number of times Jojo has collided with her I think it is in her best interest to wear a helmet too.
There are definite benefits to biking though. There's Sophia's proud and confident smile as she pulls sharply to a stop in front of me. I feel like I have to pour any confidence building experiences I can into her because man, the world is good at destroying confidence is little girls.
And then there is Jojo--- yes she bikes half-hazardly, and wildly, and incredibly unsafely but I think that's the only thing she is allowed to do in that way. She screamed with joy all the way out and all the way back to the car and I let her because a) she was usually pretty far ahead of me which made it not so annoying and b) that kid needs to scream and be dangerous. Her eyes were so bright when we were done.