Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

Surviving The Bike-A-Thon

I know I didn’t write anything on
Friday, and you were all waiting to hear how the bike-a-thon went.
Unfortunately, it didn’t go just absolutely superbly, and I
wasn’t really in the mood to blog about it, so sorry to leave
you hanging.

But here’s the story.

Thursday morning Maddie was excited to get
to school for her bike-a-thon, but she also began expressing
nervousness, until she finally said, “Can I still go to
school if I don’t ride in the bike-a-thon?” I got her
to talk it out, and she admitted she was nervous about riding
around all the other kids: several friends had said they have bikes
“faster than the wind”, and Maddie was worried about
being hit or run over.

We drove to the school and scouted out the track, seeing that there
was a huge width for people to ride on, and plenty of room for all.
So Maddie agreed to ride – er, scoot – and was once
more excited and ready to go.

At the appointed hour, Maddie lined up on her scooter with the rest
of her class, cheerful and excited. The proverbial starting gun
fired and everyone was off, with Maddie dead last at her
slow-but-steady turtle pace. At the first turn a kid wiped out and
a pile-up occurred, but by the time Maddie got there she simply
sedately scooted around it and went on. I thought she was focused
but enjoying herself.

As Maddie came around to finish the second lap, I was happily
chatting with other moms and taking plenty of video. A friend of
mine said, “I think Maddie’s crying!” and I
looked closely and sure enough, tears were streaming down her face,
even as she plodded determinedly on, eyes focused firmly on the
ground. “Maddie, are you ok honey?” I called out, and
when she saw she could leave she came tearing over to me, leaving
her scooter in the dust. She leapt into my arms and clung to me,
sobbing. “I’m so scared someone’s going to hurt
me! Everyone’s falling! I’m too scared!”

Everyone was falling, it was true, and a couple boys were out there
without training wheels so they were going incredibly fast. And
there was a patch with a bit of gravel strewn about which made for
some hard going. But all the other kids jumped up and kept going.
Maddie, though, was almost frozen with fear and afraid to move.

The teacher suggested she walk instead, and Maddie refused. She
finally agreed to walk when I said Cora and I would walk with her,
and we set out holding hands three across as four and
five-year-olds whizzed by us. I wasn’t concerned about Maddie
fulfilling her pledge at this point: I simply wanted her to not let
her fear completely paralyze her. Luckily, her friend Elise also
fell and wanted to walk, and soon the two girls were walking hand
in hand and happily chatting by themselves. Cora and I went back to
our spot on the sidelines and resumed our jobs as cheerleaders.

About five minutes before it was over, Maddie’s teacher
suggested the girls get back on their bikes for the last little
bit. Maddie was less than enthusiastic, but agreed to if the
teacher walked with her. So she got on her bike – not scooter
this time, since the bike made her feel less vulnerable – and
went at a snail’s pace for a couple of laps, the teacher
never leaving her side and always encouraging her.

When the bike-a-thon was over, Maddie joined in for a group picture
and laughed and played with her friends for a few minutes. I gushed
over her, telling her how great she was to have done something in
spite of her fear, and how wonderfully she problem-solved by
walking around when riding worried her. I thought she was in a good

I picked her up a couple hours later, though, and it was clear
Maddie wasn’t happy. She didn’t want to call Daddy and
tell him about the race, and her feelings finally came out:
she’d let her sponsors down, she’d let her class down,
she’d failed. Other kids rode twenty-seven laps, and Maddie
did less than ten. And I know that no matter what I say or do,
these are feelings she’ll have to reconcile on her own.

She hasn’t said too much about the bike-a-thon this weekend,
and I’m hoping it’s getting a rosy glow in her memory.
I’m careful as I tell the story to others in front of her,
acknowledging the difficulty while highlighting the triumphant
finish. I wish there was something I could do, but know there
isn’t. What would any of us give to save our children these
painful life lessons, even as we know that these lessons –
how to handle failure and fear, and even more important, how to
move on from it – are the most important ones for them to
learn. There’s no magic fix-it kit I can carry in my Mommy
Purse that’ll put a band-aid over this.

But I do wish there was.


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.