Thursday, May 27, 2010


We have a birthday tradition in our family. Everyone writes a prediction for the birthday guy or gal's next year. Usually these predictions are funny. For instance, I observed Sasha's ability to side-arm lots of food off her high chair tray and predicted that she would represent America in the 2024 Olympic Games on the discus squad. Sometimes, though, they are more serious. On Martin's 5th birthday, I predicted that he would learn to ride a bike that summer. I was wrong.

Sometimes I find it hard to watch other children pick up childhood games and sports so easily. I'm a little jealous when I see little leagues of soccer and softball players. Periodically, we try a sport to see if Martin is both interested and able. Nothing has really worked yet. Because Martin loves the local pool, we tried swimming lessons. We were kindly told that it wasn't working. We tried T-ball and the only thing Martin liked about it was the t-shirt. We've received a few flyers about this summer's possibilities. I can't say that I'm eager to try again. I'm not the type who anxiously awaits the opportunity to sit out in the hot son to watch a less-funny version of the Bad News Bears without the Bizet soundtrack. The thought of schlepping out to the field only to watch your child be sad and unable seems infinitely worse.

Last night, we visited a local park with a small, asphalt track. Two kids were riding bikes on the track. Martin was really interested. We asked him if he'd like to go tonight. He agreed. Once there, he put on a helmet and pedalled away from us. We were astounded. Last summer, Martin seemed very uncertain when we tried to help him learn to ride. We would talk him through the motions, using our hands to guide his legs. It never took. Tonight, he just did it. I don't know how.

Although he rode about as slow as one possibly can, Martin was visibly happy and proud. The swimming lesson and T-ball traumas seemed like ancient history. Martin just turned 6 a few weeks ago. I predicted that he would learn to ride a bike this summer. I was wrong again. It's not quite summer yet.


  1. Riding a bike is a major milestone for anyone. Congratulations to Martin!

    Timing is everything? We see that with our girls, too. One was ready (read VERY motivated) earlier than expected and did it practically with no help, and the other had to be dragged kicking and screaming to learn so she could ride with her peers. Some days parenting feels like a crapshoot.

  2. Congratulations to Martin! My 22 year old does not ride (yet). They say kids on the spectrum can shine at individual sports like swimming, cross country, golf. My kids did not read that book. The sports they excel in are all on the computer.

  3. That's so special! Congratulations on the awesome milestone!

  4. That's good news about the bike! Do you have a Y nearby? Ours has a SPLASH! program, where kids with special needs can swim with a 1-on-1 instructor. Martin gives me hope that my 5 year old can someday succeed at riding a bike. He just had a birthday, but maybe I'll make the prediction for next year!

  5. that's so awesome! Jaden is the same day, show no interest in a certain activity/sport...then suddenly, become a pro at it