Pepper is not an athlete. I doubt he ever will be. He has always been very thin, has poor muscle tone, poor coordination, and a greater-than-normal fear of getting hurt. We got him his first bike when he was four. He jumped on it and was instsntly paralyzed by fear. The training wheels weren't firmly on the ground, and the slight wobble of the bike terrified Pepper. That bike stayed brand new in our garage until we adopted the girls, and then Sunny was more than happy to terrorize the neighborhood on it.
That bike birthday was four years ago now, and we haven't been able to coax Pepper onto a bike, even one with training wheels. He has tried a few times, but hasn't been able to get himself to even try to ride. He has burst into tears every time.
Fast forward to today. Pepper now has three seasons of cross country running experience. He has an official diagnosis of joint hyperlaxity (loose joints). We know that he has ADHD which makes him more emotionally volatile. He also has a year of karate under his belt (ha ha ha). These sporting activities, combined with a better understanding of his body and emotional functioning, have strengthened Pepper in every area of his life. I don't know what made him get his bike out today, but he did. He asked Matt to help him learn to ride. So Matt did the Daddy thing and spent an hour running alongside the bike.
The afternoon was not without frustration. It was not without tears and wailing. It was not without outbursts of anger ("My dumb legs just can't understand what to do!"). But it also was not without success. All it took was independently riding about 50 feet with Daddy running behind, and Pepper finally gained the confidence he needed. He did it! He rode his 2-wheeler with no training wheels! I held true to the promise I made him three years ago: When you ride your bike with no training wheels, I will buy you ice cream. Right after Pepper rode that beautiful stretch, I grabbed his hand and marched him across the street to the gas station, where he chose a Jolly Rancher push-up popsicle. Once the popsicle was gone, he went back outside to help Daddy do maintenance on the girls' bikes. A few minutes later, Matt noticed that Pepper was gone. He looked up, and there was Pepper, riding his bike down the sidewalk ALL BY HIMSELF! He came running inside, screaming with delight, to tell me what he had done! He proceeded to babble on and on about how much he loves riding a bike, and all the fun he's going to have now that he doesn't have to be afraid of the bike anymore.
So today I jump for joy and burst with pride and the accomplishment of my timid, scrawny, adorable son. This was a huge victory--and a major milestone--for him. I am so very proud of this boy!