Saturday, April 25, 2009

Damn that Norman Rockwell.

Today I had plans. Had noticed that most of Roman's fellow kindergartners are riding bikes without training wheels, while Roman was still using his. As it was a gorgeous day, thought it'd be a good day to start practicing without them. I imagined the whole thing - going up and down our sidewalk, holding on to the bike and letting go, probably a couple spills until he took off down the sidewalk on his own. Big grins, "I'm so proud of you!," and then into the kitchen for a popsicle that we'd have on the deck. Perfect, right? Like a Norman Rockwell painting.

Right. Things started out okay, although Roman is cautious by nature and was very nervous. He strapped on knee & elbow pads, as well as helmet. He actually is good at balancing until he thinks about what he's doing, then the minute he wobbles he freaks out and causes himself to fall. After four or five (forced) spills and one accidental one where he scraped the back of his calf, Roman threw his bike down, kicked it multiple times, yelled at me about how he's no good at it and will NEVER ride his bike again.

By this time I was pretty frustrated with his constant whining that had preceded this tantrum, and I said "fine, we'll stop. I'm going inside." Then the tears started. Roman just fell apart, sobbing about the bike riding. I finally got out of him that he expected to do it right the first or second time and he didn't want to keep practicing. If he couldn't do it right, right away, then he didn't want to do it. We have encountered this behavior many times before; he has this perfectionist streak and a very quick "I quit" attitude. He also whines and asks for help before he even actually tries anything.

So, I did let him sob it out in his room, told him we'd have a popsicle for snack in a couple hours, and he went off to color and I took a nap. Perhaps we'll try again another day - with much lower expectations.

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