Saturday, April 02, 2016

B is for bicycle

About two weeks before turning five, Xena expressed a very strong desire to get rid of the training wheels on her bicycle. So Viv and I said, "Hell, yeah!" and proceeded to carry out her wish. With her off-the-charts body weight and stick-figure legs, riding a bike, even with a parent handle or training wheels had always been a struggle for her. So we were quite thrilled at this progression.

I was amazed at how everything she said to Viv and me when training to ride was a reflection of everything I had said to my dad when I was a kid. "Don't let go! I will fall!" for a few days followed by "Don't hold! I can do it!"

(Of course, I never had a kiddy bike or training wheels. I started off at a relatively older age, straightaway on my red adult-sized Avon bicycle, which I used to take for a spin every weekend, all by myself. In a state like Bihar, where dad was posted at that time. But that's a story for another day.)

So last week, she was able to ride her bike without any sort of assistance for a considerable distance. It was a proud moment for us. And it made me think what a long way our little baby has come. And then a bell went off in my head -- photo post! I thought it might be fun to document in chronological order, Xena's vehicular journey -- from the humble ride-on toys to the tricycle to the scooter to the bike.

It all started in March 2012, when she got this ride-on toy for her 1st birthday. 

Of course, her main point of interest in the toy was the nose which made a funny musical sound if you pressed it. In fact, I think that if I close my eyes and concentrate, I can still hear it. 

Soon, she got quite good at riding on it. 

And she could even do the repairs by herself. Daughter of two engineers, after all. 

After six months, she had put together her own helmet, by taking apart a shape-sorter toy. 

Safety is important, you see. She wouldn't take off her helmet even for putting on hairclips.

By the next month, she had gotten herself another helmet. You can never be too safe when it comes to riding. 

By the end of 2012, she was a pro at riding this thing.

She also tried her hand at this tricycle we found abandoned at the playground, that everyone took turns to ride. You can call it the village bicycle. 

Just before she turned two, I got her this lamb with wheels that flipped up, converting it into a rocking toy, She loved it, but as you can see, we still had to pull her along.  

At school, they used these two-seater bikes and of course, it was impossible for her to move the pedals, especially with someone sitting at the back. But her teachers reported that she tried real hard. 

Just after her 2nd birthday, she had a Hello Kitty scooter, complete with a helmet. This scooter never left the house. We simply started referring to it as the 'indoor scooter'. 

Meanwhile, the lion ride was still around and she'd take it for an occasional spin around the house. This was June 2013. 

She also tried at hand at other bicycle-resembling objects, such as my exercise bike. She was 2.5 years old in this picture.

In August of 2013, I bought her a second-hand trike with a parent handle just to see how she handled it. She could pose with it very nicely...

...but when it came to pushing the pedals, her legs didn't have the required strength, so I had to push her using the parent handle at the back. 

Rocking lamb was also still around, but she was approaching 3, and as you can see, she was getting a little big for it. 

Viv and I gifted her a proper 'outdoor' scooter for her 3rd birthday, and soon she got quite good at it. 

She would zoom away and I'd be running after her!

She even did 'stunts' on her scooter. She called this the 'flamingo on a scooter' pose. Sheesh.

By the age of 3.5, she was able to ride the school trikes well. 

In June 2015, right after her fourth birthday, we rented a bike with training wheels at the beach. 

She was comfortable on it, and even showed consideration for other road users by stopping at crossings. And we knew that she was ready to get her own bike. 

We checked out bikes at several shops, and while her criterion was a simple "Daddy, Mama, this bike matches my clothes. Let's buy it!", Viv had some stringent requirments. 

Finally, in August 2015, we found the bike that Viv approved of. The shop had this in 'ghastly pink' and 'ghastly green' and to the shop-owner's surprise, Xena chose 'ghastly green'. I was not a fan of either colour, but the ghastly green would surely make her more visible when biking in the late evenings, so we went with it. I was secretly happy that she had not picked up anything in pink when she declared that the helmet would be pink. Sigh. Fine. 

September 2015 -- Xena at the beach with her bike

We took the bike everywhere we went, but Xena still didn't have enough strength or energy to ride it for more than a few minutes. This is the face she'd make to tell me she couldn't pedal anymore.

Notice the skipping rope in the basket? Yup, that was for me to tie to her handlebar and drag her back home after she got too tired to continue riding. 

And finally, we get to the present day, where she zips about on her bike so fast, Viv dons his marathon T-shirt and runs after her, while I run after both of them with my camera. 

Way to go, baby, way to go!


poornakatha said...

Each time I read Xena posts, I am amazed by what you (both) have achieved.

Way to go Sayesha as well!

R said...

And i second Poornakatha's thoughts. way to go, bahinnn!

Arun said...

That's a great photo essay! Way to go! and pedal away, Xena!

Sayesha said...

poornakatha, R and Arun,
Thank you! :)