You Big Meanie

August 12, 2009

Bicycling, Day 2: Sonny is a little more confident that I am not going to let him drop to the ground, so he was a little happier on his bicycle today. Not that he did any pedaling or anything. It was just me, pushing him around, and really, that’s going to get old in the next ten or fifteen years. Hopefully today I’ll get him to push down on the pedals a little.

Running around my suburban street pushing my son on a bicycle — and getting a little more exercise than I had intended — an interesting conundrum occurred to me. A paradox, if you will. It is this:

Fact #1: If Sonny falls off his bicycle, he is never going to get on it again. He doesn’t see the point of this two-wheeled thing we keep pushing him onto, and if the only thing a bicycle can bring him is pain, then WHY WOULD HE WANT TO RIDE ONE? I would feel the same confusion if some Authority told me I had to jump off the roof of my house. “You’ll love it,” the Authority will say. “You’ll feel the wind in your hair! You’ll feel this weightless sensation!” “But… then I’ll hit the ground!” I’d say. “Seriously, feeling the wind in my hair is really not that important to me.”

Learning to ride a bicycle conveys more important and lasting benefits than jumping off a roof, of course, but Sonny does not yet understand that.

Fact #2: All kids fall off their bicycles. Which means Sonny is going to hurt himself doing this, and will then want to give up, and what am I supposed to say to him then?

Not sure how to solve this problem. Right now I am doing the only logical thing, which is ignoring it entirely.

Anyway! And now we change the subject entirely to the kids who were bullying Peanut at her day camp the other day. Bullying! How the word strikes seething anger into the hearts of parents! Who would do such a thing? Who would dare push around my adorable little girl and make her cry at the movie theater?

“They made you cry?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said sadly.

“What did they do?”

“They wouldn’t share their food with me.”

(Pause.) “…um.”

“And I was really hungry!”

“Peanut, but it was their food. It would have been NICE if they’d shared it, but they didn’t have to.”

“But I was really hungry.

These bigger kids — which probably means they were eight — also told her she smells like the ocean, which is a little more abstract than the insults I remember when I was my daughter’s age. I’m not saying I’m taking sides against Peanut, but I think I’ve got to beef up her mental defenses a little. If she thinks this is bullying, she is in for one hell of a shock when she gets to middle school.

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