Thursday, August 10, 2006
Push! Push! Puuuuuuuusssshhhhhhhh!
No, I wasn't coaching my two-year-old son in Lamaze and natural childbirth this evening. I was trying, desperately and wildly unsuccessfully, to convince him that there is more to do on a tricycle than sit and look cute. He was happy to wear his helmet and pads, happy to sit properly, happy to watch for cars... and completely unresponsive to any and all of my efforts to explain the role that his feet can play in forward motion, bikewise.

But the evening was not a loss. For one thing, we wandered around the corner and discovered a lovely old-fashioned Norman Rockwellian gaggle of children riding their bikes and giggling and being all cute and summerlike. I didn't realize that kids these days actually could go out and play without an accompanying new story which ends with, "...and she was only two blocks from her home at the time." Emily was instantly best friends with the other two girls in the flock, and after chatting with the mother-in-charge for a while I decided I was comfortable enough to let her stay outside and play without me watching while the strangers came and abducted her and sold her on the black market. Or when she pedals her bike under the nearest speeding 16-wheeler. Or when she starts telling embarrassing stories about her mom. Or whatever horrible thing is supposed to have happened.

Because none of that happened. Instead she went and had fun and ate popsicles, and in the evening there was a lemminglike progression of children and moms through the neighborhood, dropping the right number of children off at respective homes until the census balanced. I even got the right kid at my house.

And while she played, Jacob and I inched back home. I was able to catch a wave on the nearest tectonic plate, so it only took 3 million years to make it two blocks. He's got the lightbulb over his head, I know he understands bicycles (which, in Jacob's world, contains every vehicle from his three-wheeled plastic contraption to the biggest, meanest Harley ever to grace New "Live Free or Die on a Motorcycle Because Helmets Are Optional" Hampshire) as a mode of transportation. That little lightbulb just isn't *on* quite yet.