Finn had a little surprise for Eamonn on Father's Day:
You would think that with a father who is a former professional cyclist, our boys would have easily picked up the whole two-wheel bike thing. Not so. Although once Declan got it, he really got it and now enjoys mountain biking over obstacles and all sorts of crazy stuff. In fact, yesterday while I was working with Finn on the playground at the school, Declan was riding down stairs. I've just ordered some pictures of him at a mountain biking camp and I'll scan and post them as soon as they arrive.
Anyway, Finn's road to bike riding has been even longer than Declan's, which we now know, of course, was a result of his sensory issues. Finn would even fall off his bike with training wheels! He just had no sense of his body in space and he would teeter diagonally off the bike. He did enjoy riding the Trail-gator, which is a contraption that hooks his bike to Eamonn's and made it like a tandem, but Eamonn did comment that Finn's balance wasn't the greatest and he would lean so much Eamonn thought Finn would pull me over if I ever tried to ride with Finn on the back. So I still haul Finn around in the trailer if we ever want to go somewhere on bikes and Eamonn isn't home.
So repeated attempts to teach Finn to ride the two-wheeler were unsuccessful. He was frustrated, we were frustrated. Everyone was frustrated. A few days ago, I started Googling (oh, how I love Google) to see if there were parents of other sensory kids who were having this same problem. Lo, and behold, there were. My hunt lead me to this online book which says if you follow their method, your child can learn to ride their back in a day, or even as little as an hour. I was hopeful, but skeptical. Because didn't we all believe in Thin Thighs in 30 Days at one point? And that never happened. So I didn't want to fall prey to some sort of Internet bicycling scam.
I downloaded the book. I read it. It made perfect sense. I followed what it said. And I'll be darned if it didn't work. It took about 2 1/2 hours of work (not in a row--we took a break for lunch in between) and some bribery (Webkinz were involved), but I was determined to have him learn so that he could surprise Eamonn, who had spent so much time running behind the bike, on Father's Day.
The "secret" behind this method is that you remove the pedals and lower the seat so the kid can put his feet flat on the ground. Then, in a flat place, the kid practices riding the bike around like a scooter, pushing himself around and getting a feel for the balance. There are games you play to help them with the balance and everything, and then you move from the scootering around to putting the pedals back on and riding. The best part is they do it all themselves--you don't run behind them or steady them at all (because let's face it--I was going to last about 2 minutes out there trying to run behind him). Now, you can tell at the start of the video that I'm helping Finn push off--we haven't mastered that part yet. He can start on a hill by himself with the momentum, just not on the flat yet. But he was very excited to have me record him so he could show Eamonn so I steadied him while he got started.
So today we will go back over to the school and work on starting by himself. I need to reread that part of the book. And if it works, I'm going to go back and give Thin Thighs in 30 Days another try.