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"Riding My Tricycle", Beat-Box Style

Continuing Maddie’s obsession with
all things Elmo, Brian and I downloaded (legally!) a CD of
Elmo’s greatest hits. Maddie and I have spent several
enjoyable (for one of us) hours dancing around to such
chart-toppers as “Elmo You Can Drive My Car” and
“Imagination”. Maddie loves to watch Sesame Street and
see the actual song performed live in front of her as she sings
along with gusto.

Not all of Elmo’s songs are on the CD (darn it), and one of
Maddie’s favorites that didn’t make the cut is
“Riding My Tricycle”. Fortunately, they seem to show
that “video” every other day on Sesame Street, so
we’ve got it Tivo’d for posterity and Maddie has tried
hard to memorize it in short spurts.

During this same time period,
Madeleine’s discovered three-wheeled vehicles for her own
self. She’s begun venturing onto the big wheels in our church
nursery, and can almost reach the pedals and move the thing
herself. Her excitement at figuring out steering and making herself
go is pretty darn cute.

So imagine the look on my daughter’s face during vacation
when I opened my friend’s shed and uncovered a real, metal,
vintage Red Ryder tricycle, complete with streamers on the
handlebars and a shiny silver bell. Toss aside the pint-sized porch
swing, the beach toys galore, heck, the whole beach itself: Maddie
pointed to the trike and said, “I want that.”

This was Madeleine’s first foray into tricycle world –
all the other wheels she’d driven were the reclining kind,
and this was the old-fashioned, upright, put-some-muscle-into-it
type. But we got it out (Carefully! Don’t scratch the vintage
paint!) and set Maddie up in the cobble-stoned side yard for a good

I’d forgotten up to that point that Madeleine’s a
stickler for authenticity, and wouldn’t feel right riding the
red trike without the accompanying song. No worries, though –
she was happy to supply it herself. So there was my two-year-old,
practically standing up on the pedal in an effort to get it to
move, shouting out the opening bars of “Riding My
Tricycle” – which, luckily enough, were the first three
words of the song. I could see, in my daughter’s mind, that
she was riding right next to her best friend Elmo as the soundtrack
of their Good Time played behind them. The wind blew in her hair,
the sun shone in her eyes, and the trike flew forward.

And then the movie hit its first glitch – Maddie’s legs
aren’t really long enough to reach the pedal when it’s
all the way forward and the tricycle came rolling to a stop.
Undeterred, Maddie started again. But here’s the best part of
this whole thing: my daughter is physically incapable of starting
her little fantasy moment anywhere except at the beginning, so
every time the trike came to a stop she had to start the song over

And this is what it sounded like:

“Riding my tric- Riding my – Riding my- Riding my
– R-R-R-Riding my tricycle feeling – Riding my
tric-Riding my – Riding my tricycle – Riding my
tricycle –“

You get the picture.

I don’ think we heard the entire first verse but once every
five minutes or so. Add to that the fact that she couldn’t
really steer and keep her feet on the pedals, which meant you had
to walk hunched over behind her, helping it move without looking
like you’re helping (“Don’t help! I do it
myself!”), and it was a long long long play time.

I couldn’t say no, though: my kid looked too dang cute, and
she was so clearly in love with the trike. I think it was hands
down her favorite part of vacation, and what she cried over most
when we left. On the last day when I told her I needed to go pack,
I saw her eyeing the trike speculatively, as if measuring it to fit
inside her duffel bag.

Guess what’s going on her Christmas list? And I never thought
I’d say this, but I can only hope that by the time she gets
it, her legs are long enough that I can hear the whole song all the
way through.

See the video below – alas, not the best “mix”
she ever did, but all I managed to get on film.


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