The Kid loves riding his balance bike. Particularly he loves riding it down hills, going at, what I would call, significant speed. The first time he rode down our dirt driveway towards the creek and causeway, I was not at all prepared for his enthusiastic approach. I assumed he’d drag his feet on the dirt to slow his pace. But no, as he rounded the corner, his legs came up and he shot off down the 50 metre slope.
All I could do was watch (and pinch the end of my nose. Really hard. No I’m not sure why, but it somehow felt better than screaming out to him to STOP, YOU’RE GOING TO DIE, which I thought in itself might have broken his concentration and caused a fall). My mind started working overtime figuring out how I’d run the half a kilometre back home, carrying him, to get the car to take him to hospital, The Kid with a broken arm, or collar bone, or leg, definitely lots of blood. I also managed in those few seconds to wonder at the irony – on a 100 acre property with snakes, a tractor, a ride-on mower, chain saws, dams, etc., The Kid was going to have his first serious accident.. on a bike, with no pedals.
But wouldn’t you know it, at the bottom of the hill, he just veered off the dirt road onto the grass, slowing down enough so that when he bumped into the fence he didn’t even fall off the bike. I ran down the road cheering, ya-hoo’ing, clapping and fist-pumping the air. Thankfully The Kid didn’t seem to notice the hysteria in my voice. He just thought I was proud of him.
Boys will be boys, isn’t that what they say? I realised, that moment could mark the beginning of a lifetime of holding my breath while he experiments with his limits.
The Kid has now done that hill plenty of times. And he’s scared the living daylights out of his father (I’ve never seen Hubs run so fast except on the sporting field, seriously), his Grandmother, his Auntie and a few others. Thankfully his Grandfather hasn’t yet witnessed the Casey Stoner stunt, as I fear he wouldn’t cope. I kept meaning to video it, and kept forgetting, until…
Poor little man. It was quite a stack. But to reassure you, in case you’re concerned, there was no serious injury sustained during the filming of this video. Just a few scrapes, scratches, bruises and a sore chin. Thank god for the helmet.
Hubs and I thought it was really important that The Kid get straight “back on the horse”, or in the bike saddle, as it were, and continue riding so that his confidence wasn’t shattered. And to his credit, after a big hug from Daddy and a cuddle with Mummy, a kiss, a dust-off and 36 seconds, he was off again.
Speaking of getting back in the saddle, I had my first horse-riding lesson in about 20 years the other day. With The Horse Whisperer’s Daughter. I loved it. I used to ride quite frequently as a youngster, but teenage-adult city life just seemed to make that impractical. And by the way, it’s ridiculously more expensive in the city.
I was pleasantly surprised how well my body remembered so much of what to do. It must be like riding a bike. You never forget how to balance on a bike do you? Or how to push those pedals and steer yourself? It seems getting back on a horse is a similar experience. Sure, I’ve lost some confidence but my legs, my arms and my hands all kicked back into action. And I’m pleased to report that I didn’t fall off. Although there was one moment when Bobby, the horse got a little excited as we came into a corner of the arena and started to speed up, to a point where I didn’t feeling comfortable anymore. So I stopped him and we slowed things down a little. I didn’t want anyone taking any video of me being thrown from a horse as I rounded a corner. And then watching it and laughing at it.
It was an hour’s lesson and I have to admit, it was tiring; all those transitions from sitting trot to canter, from canter to sitting trot. For the next three days I walked like I’d just got off a horse. No really, I did. My legs were bowed and I couldn’t sit down and cross my legs without physically lifting one leg over the other. Muscle memory intact but muscle fitness? Zero. Looks like I’ve got a bit of work to do.
Driving in the ute with his Grandfather last week, to take the bins to the end of the driveway, The Kid said, ‘Pappa, did you know? When you get to a corner, you must slow down. Otherwise you might skid and fall’.
I think he’s learned his lesson.
As for me, I’m going back next week for another one.