No, do. Or do not. There is no try.
Unless you’re a five year old, then there is most certainly try. Kirk was grounded all weekend. Grounded from television and movies, grounded from video games, grounded from Star Wars. And he lost his blankie. His infraction? Refusal to try.
We bought Kirk a new big boy bike with training wheels for his 5th birthday. He was so excited about it; he rode it all over the store as we secretly picked out other presents and passed them back and forth behind his back. We brought it home and he rode it all over the neighborhood with his daddy and around the block on a walk with his mama and sister. And then he stopped. For some reason he got scared of it and we can’t figure it out. “I don’t know how.” So we told him he had to ride it every single night so he could learn and practice. But even then he’d freak out. “I can’t.” Both of us lost our tempers on several occasions.
I decided to try getting him used to the bike slowly. We explored how it rocks between the training wheels and how that lessens when he sits on it and his weight lowers them. We explored how the front and back brakes grab the front and back wheels. We explored how far you can turn the handle bars to the right and the left and how it will make the bike tip over if you go too far. We even explored standing on the front pegs while I anchored the bike. Kirk will sit on it and cheerfully put his feet on the pedals. But actually pedal the bike? “I can’t.” And then he said, “I quit.”
Mr. b realized that there must be something else going on and did a little bit of online child psychology research. Apparently there are several reasons why a child might refuse to try and the one that seems to make the most sense with Kirk is perfectionism. He’s good at riding his trike. He’s not an expert at riding his bike and doesn’t know all the ins and outs of it yet. So we put too much pressure on him and made it worse, which just sucks and makes us both feel horrible. But we also can’t let him win and had to figure out a way for him to earn back his privileges without making him ride the damn bike. So he had to try new food.
Trying new foods has always been a battle with Kirk. ALWAYS. It’s ridiculous how often we fight over him eating, or rather not eating. But this time it’s like he knew that this was the best compromise for all parties. Sunday supper, he ate a half a hamburger for the first time ever and had an entire ear of corn. And got his blankie and TV and video games and Star Wars back.
Now, thinking back on it, we’ve had this same issue with bikes before. When Kirk switched from the little sit-down scooter thingie to the Thomas big wheel, he was extremely reticent to learn how to pedal. I remember being so frustrated as he scooted with his feet instead of pedaling. And then when he switched from the big wheel to the tricycle it was the same thing. He was so good at the low to the ground pedaling and suddenly being upright on a trike was a major change. He liked the concept of the trike but was hesitant and rarely used it. Which drove me nuts. So I guess this isn’t new behavior. I just need to remember it for when the time comes to take the training wheels off. Hooboy that’s going to be tough.