Friday, May 11, 2012

Riding and Falling

Naomi will be turning eight next week, which is hard enough to believe. Even harder to believe is that we haven't taught her how to ride a bike yet. What kind of parents are we? Lazy? overprotective? way too busy?...maybe some of all three. Anyway, this chore has topped my priority list for this summer. So when gorgeous weather aligned with Matt's day off today we declared this evening "Bike Night."

I told the kids to hurry with the nightly clean up because we were going to go ride bikes at a nearby church parking lot. Toby entered panic mode and followed me around asking me, "And will I get to go too?!" and reminding me, "Bring my bike! And my red helmet! I want to have my bike and my red helmet!" I actually had to strap him into his booster seat just to get the bags packed: water bottles, knee pads, elbow pads, helmets, band-aids, antibiotic ointment, paper towels. Yeah, maybe I'm a little overprotective, but you can't take five kids to play in a parking lot and not expect to see blood.

Naomi began to grow nervous as weunpacked, but after a few turns on her scooter and a reassuring pep talk (just disregard all those band-aids Mommy packed, OK) she was ready to get suited up for her first ride.

After Naomi's successful first run, even Hannah got a turn on the two-wheeler, and she did alright. It's hard to say whether the highlight of my night was watching both Naomi and Hannah successfully take their first assisted bike rides or just enjoying Toby's dorkiness. But we all had a great night...until we didn't.

First Emma, the only girl not wearing knee pads, tripped over her three-wheeled scooter and scraped a knee. Mom was quick to the rescue with her first aid kit. Five minutes later (as Matt was napping in the back of his Camry--a little tuckered from running with the girls' bikes) Emma wiped out again, skinning the same knee, on the other side of the parking lot. I was holding Elijah when she went down so I woke Matt and passed Elijah to him, then grabbed the first aid kit and set off on Naomi's bike to help Emma. She stopped her tears to giggle as I pulled up making loud "weee-ooohh, weee-oohh" siren noises. I slapped another band-aid on her, made her sign some discharge papers, and charged her a hundred dollars. We laughed, and all was well again for about a minute.

As I rode back to the van Naomi decided to race me on her scooter. I, of course, had to show her that a scooter was no match for a bike. We were having the time of our lives, until Naomi tripped and went sliding across the pavement. Thankfully, she still had her elbow and knee pads on or it would have been much worse. The force of her slide pushed one elbow and one knee pad off and left her with a bleeding scrape on each. At least I had the first aid kit in hand. "This sure is a busy night for the ambulance service," I remarked, and that brought a smile back to her face.

I was so busy dressing wounds then, that I hardly noticed Matt dropping Elijah into his car seat and pulling Toby from the front seat of the Camry. Apparently Toby had snuck in an opened back door and climbed into the front seat, stepping on both Matt's cell-phone and ipad in the process, then breaking a knob off the dashboard. Sensing that Daddy than pleased, he decided to make himself useful by "helping" Elijah, who was crying at having been set down. Unfortunately, he didn't realize that Elijah wasn't strapped into the car seat. I didn't witness any of this. I only heard an awful scream and looked up from Naomi's knee to see Elijah face-down on the cement and Toby running away from him as fast as he could go.

Amazingly, Elijah was not hurt, save for a pink spot on his cheek. No blood, no brain injuries, he's fine, but I know it could have been much worse. I wish I would have seen what had happened, because Toby is usually quite careful with his brother. In five months, this is the first time any of my kids have done something that could have really harmed Elijah. We decided it was time to head home then.

Tonight at bedtime Naomi said, "Well, we still had fun. It was worth a few scrapes." I have to agree and call it an overall success since, at least, no one was injured while bike riding. After tonight Naomi may decide that bike riding is safer than scooter riding, and I think she'll be ready for lesson two by next week.

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