When Bo was 4, he was riding a bike without training wheels so we just thought our oldest son Brody would be the same. Right? Not so much... We had given him a little tricycle when he was 18 months old and he would sit on it and push it around with his feet, but never really pedaled. When he got to be 4 we thought he was just too big for that little bike and tried him on a big boy bike at Target. He was not interested at all. In fact, he would try for about 5 seconds and then move on to something else more interesting. I tried getting him to ride his friend's bike a couple times and I got the same result.
When he was 5 we decided he was ready for his own bike. We were sure that if we got him his very own bike that was his size and favorite color that he would jump on and start riding away (with training wheels of course). So his birthday came and we surprised him with his very own bike! He acted semi-excited and we took him outside to try it out. He got on and literally tried to ride for about 5 seconds and jumped off. We could not figure out what was going on. We tried and tried to get him back on and he wouldn't. We got to the point where we were pretty upset that he wouldn't even try and I told him that if he wasn't going to try to ride his bike that I was going to take it back. Of course I was SURE his response would be "no - I will try again, don't take my bike back!" Instead he said, "Okay, you can take it back." I was so confused. We tried a few times over the next week with the same response so we decided to take the bike back rather than let it sit and collect dust.
Not long after that I was reading a book to help me out with my younger son Wyatt who had recently been diagnosed with Autism. As I went through these checklists of sensory problems and disorders I started realizing that SO many of them sounded like Brody! Everything started to make sense instantly: He couldn't ride a bike because he didn't have the motor planning or coordination to do so - that is why he would immediately give up. He literally could not move his arms, legs, body, eyes, etc at the same time to pedal and maneuver a bike. Then it mentioned other things like his hypersensitive ears. He would cover his ears when he flushed the toilet and he would cry when the garage door went up or the blow dryer was on. That is not normal for a 5 year old boy. He could smell everything from a mile away, his clothes bothered him to the point of tantrum and he was a terribly picky eater. He was not interested in sports at all and couldn't catch a ball for the same reasons he could not ride a bike. He was not physically able to be "soft", and he slammed into walls, furniture and people on purpose (seeking sensory input..) The list goes on, but you get the picture. Brody had Sensory Processing Disorder. All of the sudden my heart ached for all of the times I had gotten mad at him for things that he literally COULD NOT CONTROL - including riding his bike.
After that we stopped pushing him but still tried to encourage him. I think it was when he was 6 or 7 we got him another bike. He was able to pedal around on the driveway with the training wheels now and that was great! He started enjoying riding more and more. (This is after a few years of biomedical treatment, dietary changes, nutritional supplementation, etc. etc. ) But he still wasn't ready to take off the training wheels.
When we moved away for Brain Balance, we moved on the airplane. There was no room for bikes. When Paige and my mother in law drove my car out last month they brought the bikes! He rode a little here and there, but it is hard in the parking lot because of cars and he usually preferred his scooter. (Easier) When we were at the sensory gym last month I got him to get on one of the bikes without training wheels and had him ride with me holding onto the bike. He was VERY wobbly and was quite nervous. He didn't last very long. When we went there again 2 weeks ago Bo tried to get him to try it and he didn't even want to. I figured that riding his bike was still a thing of the future.
Well, thanks to Brain Balance the future came only a week later! Drayton (Paige's husband) flew in about 16 hours before Bo. He had talked to Brody about maybe trying to take off his training wheels. Brody was excited so they got to work. I was in the house getting the other kids ready for bed when I realized what was going on. I went outside and found Brody riding down the road (Drayton running right beside him!) and he had NO TRAINING WHEELS! I couldn't believe it! I thought maybe it would take a few weeks or months of him practicing without the training wheels but with us holding the bike or staying right with him, but NO! He was riding away all by himself! In fact, Drayton said that he had already done it 2 or 3 times before I even got out there! I will not show that first video because I was much too excited and obnoxious. :) I asked Brody if I should send Papa the video to show him or if he wanted to surprise him when he got here. He said he wanted to surprise him and he was so excited so I waited!
Bo got in late so it was the next morning and we were getting ready to head out for the day. In the craziness I had almost forgotten but Brody hadn't. He came walking in the room and very casually said "I'm going to go ride my bike for a minute Papa". It didn't seem out of the ordinary to Bo, but I motioned to him that he should probably come with me and watch.
When we got outside this is what we saw!
Brody was SO excited that he could surprise his Papa and you could tell he was very proud of himself for this huge accomplishment. Bo was SO happy and surprised as well. In fact, he commented about how that made his day and his whole weekend. :)
Brody continued to ride his bike over the weekend and got better and better. In fact, he ended up on the golf cart path one day (with Drayton following on foot of course) and ended up crashing! I think Drayton may have played it down a bit and it still sounded terrible! He has a huge bruise on his calf but said he didn't even cry. He wasn't even scared at all to get right back on and keep riding. Nevertheless, I will be bringing his bike helmet back when I go home this weekend!
It is always exciting to see your children grow, learn and succeed. Always. However, for us this accomplishment was even sweeter because of the years of hard work that had been put into it. In fact, that is why we get so excited when our kids eat a grape, say a new word or sit still and eat a meal with the family. These simple things that a lot of people get for free, (like we did with Hazel) we have worked really hard for 4 years to get from the boys. So to us - the simple things are huge. :)