Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘Cycling

M is for Mistakes

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I’d gone to collect Pudding from school one day, but she wasn’t in the classroom, nor could I see her in the playground.  Her teacher saw me, and gestured for me to come over.  Together we peeped round a corner down the side of the school where Pudding felt that nobody could see her.  She was sitting on a training bike (a bike without pedals- the rider propels along using their feet on the ground).

Actually, no, she wasn’t.  Given that the bikes at her school are designed for preschoolers, and Pudding is our five year-old floating around in the body of an eight year-old, she was awkwardly straddling above the seat.  But the fact that she was even touching a bike was a big deal.  After I wrote last year about our attempt to teach Pudding to ride a bike, we’d tried several more times, but with even less success.  When we moved, we bought her a training bike for her size, but it just confused her further.  Now she won’t sit on either of her bikes, and all my attempts at bribery rewarding have only resulted in meltdowns.

So it came as something of a surprise to see her trying at school.  But not that much of a surprise.  Remember I said that Pudding believed she was unobserved?  This was key, because if there is one thing Pudding hates more than not being able to do something, it is having others witness her mistakes.  Pudding doesn’t like mistakes.  If something can’t be done according to her idea of right, it is better not to attempt it.  Or at least, forbidding anybody else from seeing you make a mistake.

I can appreciate Pudding’s reticence.  Nobody likes making mistakes.  I don’t know if she has yet perceived that things come harder for her than others.  I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know that she will have to try and fail many, many times more than most to do things that come naturally to everyone else.  It makes perfect sense that she is more content sticking to the things that she has mastered- finding comfort in the repetition that has brought her success in some areas, and avoiding those things that are too challenging.

I get it, because parenting is harder for me than I ever expected.  When I look around at others, they seem to have it all figured out, while I’m still learning.  But then, I’ve also learned that there isn’t a right and wrong way to do things.  Sometimes the mistakes I make with one child are the exact right thing to do with my other one.  At times, it is the timing that is wrong, and I only find out when I try, and make a mistake.  Maybe another time I’ll try and be successful.

Like Pudding, I’m going to try and fail many, many more times at doing something that comes naturally to most other people.  Mistakes and Motherhood are synonymous, so I’m making every effort to show my kids that I make mistakes too, very often, and they help me to learn.  They also help me to laugh at myself for thinking something this complicated could ever be easy, or this easy could be so complicated.  I don’t mind having witnesses for that.

So M is for Mistakes, and Motherhood.  Both are as natural as riding a bike- it just takes some of us a little more practice than others.  I could still use a helmet and knee-pads on some days though.

 

This post is the letter ‘M’ in my A-Z series.  You can read the rest by clicking >>here<<.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

February 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm

As Easy As…

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…riding a bike.

Last week at our fortnightly OT session, there was a young girl of about 10 in the waiting room.  She was tall, and beautiful with big almond-shaped eyes, and long hair that she nervously twirled with her fingers.  She was also uncoordinated, and perpetually in motion.  She had the hesitancy of someone speaking a foreign language, and seemed to be present, but elsewhere at the same time.  Just like an older version of Pudding.

As I studied the girl, her mother watched mine.  After the girls both left for their respective appointments, the mother and I began to talk.  They were with the military, and had been stationed at a base in England when her daughter was the same age as mine.  We chatted for a while about England, and local resources.  The mother mentioned that they were there because her daughter was still unable to ride a bicycle.

Pudding got a bike for Christmas from her grandparents.  She liked it immediately, but only to sit on, and put Ernie in the doll carrier.  She has vehemently declined any attempts to get her to ride it.  We weren’t too concerned.  Both Spectrummy Daddy and I were 8 before we rode without training wheels (stabilizers).  Pudding’s balance and coordination is far away from being up to riding a bike.  All in good time.  The lady immediately contradicted me.  She had waited and waited, but the balance and coordination never came.  Her daughter hadn’t cared in the early years when she was uninterested in her peers, but at around 8 she had made a couple of friends.  They could ride their bikes with ease, and she was miserable at being unable to join in.  She urged me to start right away.

She makes a valid point.  Balance and coordination probably won’t just magically appear, but will require lots of practice and repetition.  Pudding has never even rode a tricycle.  My parents bought one for her when she was around Cubby’s age.  She was content to ride on it as we pushed her along, but her feet just slipped off the pedals.  By the time our belongings arrived back from their trip to the Panama Canal, she had comically outgrown her trike.  Her grandparents bought her a bike for Christmas, but aside from ringing the bell, and putting Ernie in the carrier, she hasn’t shown any interest in it.  Of course, it is winter, so we haven’t been able to get outside for a while.  The ice has almost entirely melted away, it is significantly warmer now than it has been in weeks, so I resolved to give it a try.  We waited until the weekend so Daddy would be around too.

It was tough.  Even with training wheels, it was hard to get her to balance on the seat.  Her lack of body awareness means she can’t tell if her feet are on the pedals or not.  She doesn’t have the motor planning skills to propel forward, and when she turned backwards, the coaster brakes would cause her to stop abruptly, which scared her.  We didn’t even get around to steering.  And a helmet is a sensory nightmare too.  Whoever said it was easy to ride a bike has obviously not though about all the tiny, but crucial steps that need to be mastered.  They obviously have a brain that can process all these things simultaneously.

I find it incredibly hard to keep going when something is so hard for her.  I’m more than tempted to scrap the idea, and revisit when she has better body-awareness and strength.  But as Spectrummy Daddy wisely reminded me, we don’t give up.  It might take a while.  It might need to be broken into the smallest of steps.  We can master our frustration and learn patience, and Pudding can learn to ride her bike, one day.  The look of determination on her face is all the proof I need.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

February 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm