This summer, when we are not talking about the new house or the move, we are talking about biking. Specifically, we are talking about the girls biking. As I have documented here on this blog, I was certain Frances would graduate from college still unable and unwilling to ride a bike. Still, a small part of me also believed that this could be the summer that she leaped over the hurdle, because this was the summer that Fi was learning to bike.
Fi (who is two years younger) started riding around on Frances’ unused bike. (Someone had to pay attention to it.) Then Frances insisted that all that lay between her and the Tour de France was a new bike. It turns out that the real reason for her biking fail had been the shitty little princess bike. Done and done. Still, as Fi began to get the hang of it, Frances just biked and cried, but mostly cried.
At some point I completely lost my shit and blamed the entire debacle on M: This was a dad’s job, especially when the dad was an excellent biker and the mum still rode into trees with regularity.
We let the girls continue to practice (and cry) in our driveway, and at some point the shame and panic kicked in when Frances saw her younger sister speed off down the street. We said nothing. We just looked away and pretended like we had something in our eyes. But she saw it and before we knew it she was off. She still cries. A lot. And there’s a lot more involved in her biking, including a ridiculous pair of gloves she insists she needs to wear for gripping.
The only remaining non-biker is Sidney. She just doesn’t know she’s not a biker yet. She’s been zooming around the driveway on a Chicco Red Bullet, a bike without pedals that teaches her how to balance. In her mind, she bikes too. (In fact, some people get confused when a three year old whizzes by on what seems like a regular bike. One kid at the park said to his mother: “She must be a midget!”)
But she cannot bike. And this week when we returned to Van Cortlandt Park to ride the loop, she thought she’d be riding too, until Fi and Frances took off and left her and her little red bullet sputtering to catch up. As hard as she tried she could not get the combination of her stumpy little legs and the pedal-less red bullet to get her anywhere.
At which point she completely lost her mind. M got to revel in the glory of the two biking girls while I tried to reason with an angry and seemingly demented preschooler.
Enter the ice cream truck…