It’s as easy as riding a bike  

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There are certain times throughout parenthood where you are faced with a scenario where you need to teach your child a skill, but may want to put it off as it is a tedious or painful task for you.

A prime example of this is when you teach your kids to ride a bike. They generally start riding bikes with the assistance of training wheels. These allow them to have a sense of freedom as they wobble side to side from one training wheel to another, never having to really master balancing the bike.

Your child knows the basics of riding a bike and they can ride for fun. You have that internal conversation with yourself whether you bite the bullet and teach them how to balance and ride, or is it easier (for both you and the child) to let them use training wheels until they are an adult? It’s one of those jobs that you know is going to back-breaking but eventually you have to dedicate the time to teach them a life long skill. This means you have to try to hold the bike seat whilst running alongside the child, all the while barking orders and trying to not let the bike fall over sending the kid (and/or you) over the handlebars. It’s not an exercise for those with weak backs as it is unnatural to twist your back, pulling and pushing on the bike frame, whilst running.

My son loved riding his bike as a toddler and insisted we remove his training wheels at two years of age. As you can imagine, his bike barely reached my knees, so running, twisting, bending and manipulating the bike was a nightmare. Thankfully he was so motivated that he picked it up quite quickly, whereas my daughter was seven before we could convince her she needed her training wheels removed.

Apart from having to manipulate your body into what resembles a yoga pose while running, it also takes a bit of deception to make the child think you are holding them, while intermittently letting go in the hope that they will start to balance the bike by themselves. Eventually they will get the knack and before you know it, your hard work has paid off. They will eventually have a skill that they can recall and use anytime in life – hence the saying, ‘it’s like riding a bike’.

There is immense relief once you have taught your child to ride a bike (assuming that is without injury to you, the child or the bike) and the effort seems worthwhile. So if there is a task you have been putting off with your child, embrace the challenge and give it a go – there’s no time like the present.

(Picture courtesy of digitalart, freedigitalphotos.net)

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Teacher’s Kids

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I have often wondered how kids whose parents are teachers at their school, feel about this arrangement. Of course it would be cool to have your parent at school any time you need a form signed or want canteen money, but from a social perspective I wonder whether it is difficult.

All my kids have friends whose parents teach at the school and I know from their experience it becomes awkward knowing what to call these teachers. They struggle with calling them by their title (Mr or Mrs) at school and then calling them by their first name in a social setting outside of school. It leaves them tending to not address them by any name for fear of either being too formal or too casual.

I think it is also a tad difficult for parents who teach at their kid’s school to make the same kind of connection with other parents as they are always held in a different regard – like anything said to them could end up being discussed with the school principal.

I have spoken with teachers who shop half an hour away from their home so that they don’t bump into kids from their school. Not only do they feel they are being stalked by the kids like they are paparazzi but they feel like the parents judge them by what is in their shopping trolley.

Of course I understand logistically it makes life easier if, as a teacher, you are positioned at your child’s school as then you get to see all their concerts, assemblies and carnivals, however maybe it is actually better for the child and the parent to go to different schools so that they can both have independent identities away from school.

What are your thoughts? I’m sure there are a lot of teachers out there that would have an opinion on this subject!

(Image courtesy of isosphere, freedigitalphotos.net)

FIRST DAY FAIL

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The kids went back to school this week after their long Summer break. The morning of the first day of school was a flurry of activity in our household, ensuring kids were wearing the correct uniform, had eaten breakfast and had packed their bags with all their labeled stationery, textbooks and workbooks.

As each of my kids backpacks seemed to weigh more than their body weight, I decided to drive my kids to school to help them get settled in their new classes.

As luck would have it, we arrived at school in torrential rain. Every other parent had managed to wrangle their kids into their car at the same time I had, so the traffic turning into our school snaked back a whole block. No parking spots were available once I actually reached the car park. After doing laps with increasing frustration, my eldest daughters opted to make a quick exit from the car to enter school. I barely managed to wish them well before the car door was slammed close and they ran through the pelting rain towards their classrooms and awaiting friends.

I finally managed to snag a parking spot and in torrential rain, tried to squeeze two children, 70 kilograms of textbooks and my oversized handbag under my compact umbrella.

We finally located the new classrooms, identified the new teachers and discovered which friends would be in this year’s class. Feeling relief that I had successfully managed (although somewhat saturated) to deliver my kids to school on time to start their new year of learning I left to consume a well-earned cup of coffee.

It was only later as I was idly scrolling through Facebook, that I noticed that I seemed to be the only parent that hadn’t memoralised the first day of school with a photo of my kids looking shiny and bright in their school uniforms. I was just glad to get all my kids the in car without a meltdown (mine not theirs) and then delivered to school on time, to even give a second thought to taking a photo.

I clearly missed the nostalgic photo opportunity clause in the parenting handbook. So my question to you is this – would it be weird if I took a day 3 photo? I mean what’s a few days between friends? I swear my kids haven’t grown in the last two days!

(Picture courtesy of digitalart, freedigitalphotos.net)

TABLES TURNED

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My regular readers will know that I recently took up playing basketball. This week my 12 year old daughter decided she needed to train me to help improve my skills. Ever diligent, she googled the dimensions for the key on a regulation size basketball court and then marked out the area on our driveway with masking tape.

She then patiently described the techniques required to assist me in shooting and set plays designed to beat the defense. As she took her teaching role very seriously, I was left thinking how strange it was to not be the one to be teaching and guiding her and that somehow the tables had turned. It was sweet that she wanted to donate her time to give me instruction, when she could have instead been relaxing inside.

Once she had finished with her instructions we played a very vigorous game of one on one basketball that left us both hot and sweaty. The noise of our competitive game roused my son’s interest in playing and then before long, my husband also joined in, in a battle of the sexes basketball game. For the record the girls won 😉

It is such a weird sensation having your child take on the parenting role. I’m sure my mother would concur as now I have taken on the responsibility of taking her to the doctor when she is unwell and I often try (somewhat unsuccessfully) to teach her how to use her smart phone. She has mastered making a phone call and is working on text messages!

I guess it is the circle of life and that we all go through the phase of teaching and caring for our kids and then at some point there is an equilibrium before the tables turn and our kids look after us. We have to just hope we have set them an example of patience and understanding, so that they display these traits when the time comes for them to care for and guide us!