6.12.2011

we feel invicible... then we learn our vunerability

NO HANDS
the boys are totally stoked about their new levels of comfort going NO HANDS

the school year is coming to a close..
we are trying to get as many post school bicycle rides in as we can
it is not just me that is into these rides
the kids are into these rides

the boys are into it to the point where they ask why we are not riding when we do not ride
or they ask where the bikes are when the bikes are not being loaded into the car in the morning

riding is not an option every day
for adults and children there are excuses why we do not ride our bikes every day
some excuses better than others
I try not to give into the excuses

the post school bike ride that takes us across town only takes a few more minutes than the car drive across town
there has not been any point to point measures with a stop watch
but really... if we do not make too many stops we could be within a few minutes

this week past it was hot
there was the thought about getting to the pool after school

there was talk about getting to the pool after school
but with soccer tryouts... soccer practices... kids karate... and whatever else was thrown upon us along with the standard amount of homework it just did not happen
so... as the week progressed we dealt with this without any trips to the pool

Friday came along and I knew that there was a plan for an "alley party"
the kids love the parties in the alley
it is not the food on the grill but the gathering of the kids from the block
so... knowing that this was what the kids wanted I put that in as a plan

when morning came on Friday I thought about the heat and our options
I thought about the invite from down the block for an alley party
I thought about what the kids would want to do and I thought about what I would want to do

tried to get an idea of timing

there was a measure as to whether or not it would make sense to ride the bikes

rather than taking the easy way out and running through the events of the day without involving the kids a
nd their bikes I went ahead and loaded the bikes in the car as the kids finished their breakfast

when afternoon came I got on my bike and pedaled across town rather than getting in my car and pushing the gas pedal across town


when I got to school I was not exactly the first parent to get their kids
not the last... but definitely not the first
the boys each were on their bikes with their helmets on and ready to move
there was mention of heading to the park... I told them that we were going to the pool

there was a mixture of excitement and hesitation
their was hope to go to the park after school
there had been promises of meeting friends at the park after school
I told them that we were going to the pool

the boys were excited to be on their bikes
we had gone to the park the day prior

on these brutally hot day the park can be pretty vacant

on the bike and taking the standard route for home
taking a slightly longer way around rather than the fast straight road down and the long grind up
it is a pretty nice route

lots of sidewalk and not so many stops

the rides home can posses some basic brotherly conflict
the first would be... who goes first
Dean is older and faster... which has Grant claiming that he never gets to go first
rather than have them race dangerously down the sidewalk I intervene

Grant's pace is pretty good
we do not need to scream at race pace down the sidewalk

so... when we find ourselves in a situation where the boys are racing and fighting to go first I intervene
there is sometimes a debate about the route home
but more often than that is the argument of who leads

the discussion starts off nonverbal

I try to be fair
they each get to lead
there is always more to be discussed when Dean gets to lead
Grant always claims that Dean always gets to lead

when Grant gets to lead and Dean gives me a little emotion I tell him that Grant is leading and you can pass him at the bridge

what is it... Calvert Street Bridge? Duke Ellington Bridge?
down through Cleveland Park there can be a few people... an alleyway... and a few stops at the corner before the sidewalk headed down Connecticut Avenue
these sidewalks are a slight grade downhill

the boys move pretty good
the sidewalks are usually occupied by post National Zoo tourists walking four abreast

the boys pass quickly and politely with an on your left
the boys are focused
the people and their cell phones are spacing out

well... on this Day Dean was leading
on a few corners Grant tried to take the lead but Dean held his ground
at the crosswalk leading to the bridge I checked that everything was free and clear and gave the kids the okay as we approached the crosswalk rolling

Dean accelerated
Grant tried match his speed
in fact... I think Grant may have been attempting a power play
trying to make the pass at the bridge just as I allow Dean to do to him when Grant leads

well...
I am not sure how it happened
onto the bridge out of the saddle Grant's foot came off the pedal and he was off the bike and wiping out
it was more of a slide than a slam

I saw the whole thing
in his shadow unable to do anything but watched I felt that it was a clean crash
not an wrist breaker
just a painful skid and slide

it looked painful and Grant expressed that it was painful
off the bike and into my arms
a passerby offered assistance but I waved him on
thanking him but letting him know that that we were alright

sure enough... a major raspberry
as much blood as tears
right on the knee cap

not letting too much time pass I pushed for Grant to get on the bike
trying to let him know that he wanted to use his knee before it stiffened up
promising him that he could ride to the park up ahead and park the bike and I could ride home to get the car if if felt he could not ride any further

there was resistance
there were more tears
Grant is tough and I knew it hurt
this sort of injury would have most adults crying and refusing to get back on the bike

Grant accepted rationalization about bending the knee before it stiffens up and the promise that I would let him stop at the park while I rode home to get the car
the first pedal strokes were less than easy for him
there was more refusal and more motivational words from dad
Tony Robbins I am not... but I love my son and his best interest is my best interest so I speak from the heart

a few slow rotation of the cranks
maybe some one legged pushes
then some forward momentum
Dean was gone... Grant was looking to stop

not just manipulation... but modern hover parent reality
we need to catch up with your brother
we need to travel as a team
we must catch up with your brother

no discussion... lets move

we pedal a few city blocks
Grant warms up to the motion
at the park my attention turns to Dean
telling him not to go so far ahead.... but to think about sticking together
to think about looping back

assuring him that stopping and waiting was also a good option
but he will have to learn when the right time to wait is and when the right time to turn around is

at the park we had another discussion

Grant was ready to throw down the bike
at this point he was rolling okay... not pretty got... but alright
we were mobile
I wanted to stay mobile

I was fine with the boys staying at the park with the bike
but I thought we were cutting into our swim time
the boys wanted to go to the alley party... the boys wanted to go to the pool
riding home and getting the car then loading up the bike and heading home would take longer than just riding home

it was not an easy sell
but I made the sale
we rode home

once home there was the effort to maintain momentum
it is tough to keep the kids from being distracted

after constant prodding both boys were in their swim trunks and we were out the door
this time into the car

we got more than an hour in the pool where we went off the diving board... did a few laps... tested our lungs and our fitness with our distance in one breath

as per usual it was not easy to get the kids to get out of the pool
sure they wanted to go to the alley party
but they did not want to move

after more motivational speaking and parental manipulation the kids were in the car and we were off to grill some hot dogs and sausage with some folks from up and down the block


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