July 22, 2013

Biker Babes in Toyland

My kids have the need for speed. This is not surprising, given my penchant to let them jump off ledges, poke the growling animals, swing just a bit higher for that split-second weightless joy, and other childhood on-the-job training evolutions (legal disclaimer: within reason). One element of this is the ritual of learning to ride a bicycle.

Lady E. was a late convert to the two-wheeled life. We bought her this yellow-colored beauty when she was still a zygote, yet despite my best efforts she just did not get the hang of pedaling without the training wheels until early in 2013.
I tried doing practice laps with her in the safe confines of our neighborhood streets: pushing/launching, pep talks about balance, the virtue of being persistent after falling over—patiently teaching my ass off. But I think the prying eyes of her competitors in the ‘nabe had some kind of psych-out effect. Countermeasure: adapt and overcome! We changed training venues, going to a local park for these practice sessions. Then, after several furtive attempts and occasional exasperated tears, all of a sudden, whammo! SWOOSH! off she went, propelled into a new stage of her kid-hood. The promise of freedom that comes with mobility…it’s a powerful moment in anyone’s life.

Marina, quite naturally, wants to be like her demigod sister. She pedals around on her trike, furiously trying to keep up. She’s a gamer. The frustration is evident when she gets “crazy eyes”; eyes alight with a Rasputin-like intensity, followed by a later pummeling of her older sister to telegraph her displeasure if Elena trash-talks or flaunts her bicycle-driving superiority.

When we’re bored, or to clear the mechanism when there has been a crying session, or after a temper tantrum has subsided, I’ve been taking the girls on recon missions through the small residential roads near our house on my emasculating 50cc scooter. 

In turns, they perch on the front seat and grasp the mirrors, and we prowl around. It’s fun, and the glee on their faces is worth the fine that I will inevitably get from the cops here, who are – uhh – not the world’s most flexible when it comes to “no passengers” rules for this class of vehicle.

What the hell, it’s a small price to pay for instilling a love of speed and adventure, and the willingness to do something just a little dangerous (legal disclaimer: within reason).
My favorite Martian

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