Lillian on Christmas day, riding her new bike
Lillian likes the idea of riding a bike. She likes to find her shoes and put on her helmet. She proudly rolls her bike down the driveway, and that's mostly where the bonhomie ends. If I actually make her get on her bike, she starts crying. If I coax her to pedal, she starts to scream.
If you ask her what the problem is, she'll tell you any number of things: the wind is blowing too hard, and she's afraid it will blow her over; a car might come and run her over; the garbage truck will come and hit her (this is a surprisingly strong phobia); she'll forget how to break so she can't go very fast; and so forth.
I got tired of the dramatics, so I told her she couldn't ride her bike until she was over it. We waited a few months and on Friday, she begged and begged to go for a ride. We got on shoes and helmet, marched the bike to the end of the driveway. She got on and biked about 3 houses down, then started freaking out. I told her that she just needed to bike down to the for sale sign a few more houses away, and then she could turn around. That done, she got back to her original 3-houses-down-freak-out spot. She got off her bike, crying that she couldn't do it anymore. I told her that she could get back on her bike and take it home, push it home, or we could just leave it there and someone might steal it, but I wasn't going to take it home. Oh the tears. The stamping of the feet. The hysterics.
My neighbor peeked out of his house to see if I was torturing her. She was screaming so much, she wet her pants, which caused more screaming. She cut such a pitiful picture, I took her home and put her in her bed, and I did, in fact, push her bike home.
We tried to give her a "brave necklace" (courtesy my lovely sister-in-law Chantel), and that worked wonders for a while, but it doesn't work for bike riding.
I guess we'll be walking to kindergarten.