A Summer of Last-Minute Firsts

Tue, 08 September 2009, 10:25 pm

I look forward to every season in Rochester. As we entered the summer – a season that we cherish because it is so short around here, we set 2 simple goals for Mason and Anna.

  1. Tie your shoes by yourself
  2. Learn to ride your bike

As June turned to July (the coldest on record), we were still waiting for some kind of progress on both fronts. Tying shoes was always put off for something easier, like wearing Crocs or going barefoot. When they had to wear sneakers it was straight to the velcro. As for biking, it was like feeding the children ipecac syrup. One teaspoon of bike ride suggestion induced 20 minutes of whiny, complaint-barf.

As we turned the corner into August something happened. It was as if the kids realized their time to be little kids was getting shorter and shorter. Some kind of magic desire welled up inside of them to accomplish their goals. One day, Tricia simply told the children to sit down and tie their shoes. It wasn’t like we hadn’t shown them how to do it many times before. This time was different. Mason nailed the knot on the second try. Not to be outdone, Anna furrowed her brow and set out to tie both of her shoes. Within 5 minutes she had done just that!

Excited, they both untied and tied their shoes 3 more times that morning. With a little coaxing and the promise of a Seabreeze trip if they accomplished their other summer goal, they went directly outside and patiently tried biking with me for the first time. This time it was Anna who took the lead. 20 months younger and gifted with a natural sense of balance, Anna let me run behind her…and run…and run until I was able to let go.

anna_bike
Look mom, I’m riding!

Mason just wasn’t going to have his sister doing better than him. So, with a little extra motivation, Mason got his first assisted start that night too!
mason_bike
Mason on his own for the first time!

They say that you never forget how to ride a bike. Well, Mason wanted to make sure of it. The very next night as I setup to assist Anna with her starting, I turned around to see Mason riding down the street on his own.

To the Persistent Come the Rewards
Tricia and I were absolutely thrilled to see the kids accomplish what they had set out to do for the summer. Coming in just under the wire, we took them to Seabreeze for the last Friday of summer. It was a BEAUTIFUL, sunny and warm September day. For the first time, Mason was above the 48″ height limit necessary to ride the adult rides.

With his newfound biking confidence, Mason attacked rides that he cried bloody murder over just a year ago. I took him on the Bear Trax (kiddie coaster) to which he scoffed that it was too easy.
mason_beartrax
Mason had a blast. He insisted on sitting in the front by himself

In fact, 3 years ago they were so scared on the kiddie coaster that they vowed they would never ride it again.
scared-coaster
Mason and Anna ride Bear Trax in 2006. Anna still won’t go on it :(

So, I proceeded to take him on the Log Flume and then to the vaunted Jack Rabbit. He was a bit scared on that, but didn’t quit and cry like he once would have…

So now, here we are. It’s the end of summer, and the kids are going back to school. Time for some new goals and new learning. They are growing up in the blink of an eye. 2nd and 1st grade wow!

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