“It’s the only way I can turn corners,” demanded my adamant 4 year old. He made this statement after he learned how to ride his bike for the first time.
It was the summer before he started kindergarten. He was 4 years old. We got him a bike with training wheels figuring he’d use those for a bit. That wasn’t going to happen in his world. He thought he was too old to learn how to ride a bike at 4. In his mind, he should have done it sooner. We just brushed it off as him perseverating on something new. He had taught himself how to read at 3, so who was I to tell him he couldn’t do it?
He complained about the training wheels after about five minutes. So, up went one wheel. One wobbly ride later the more heated complaints started. His bike was broken because it was wobbly, and he couldn’t stop properly. The bike couldn’t turn corners. And it was broken because in his mind, “It just was!” Off came the training wheels. He got right back on with a very determined look. He took off all on his own, but corners were especially difficult. They caused some major meltdowns. The only thing in his mind that helped him turn corners, only right ones, was if he lifted up his pinky finger from the handle bar. It had to be his right hand pinky finger. The left one was no good. It looked like he was ready for royal high tea.
My four year old was determined to ride straight and take corners…no matter what. In his head, only one thing was going to work. We eventually all laughed once he figured it out himself that his pinky wasn’t doing the work.
We’re taking one little step at a time and really working hard as a family to enjoy the “quirkiness” that comes with our son’s way of thinking. To be honest, sometimes it’s very hard to say that I wouldn’t want it any other way. But during the tough times, I think about those warm summer days with his right pinky high in the air, and it makes me smile enough to smooth over some of the new bumps we are facing. We see how amazing he is, and when he’s ready, I really hope he will, too!
P.S. This is a very true story. My son is 9 years old and has Asperger’s Syndrome.