Sunday, August 12, 2012

I am SO proud!

Charlie never learned to ride his bike without stabilisers at the 'normal' time - when he was five or six - because he just didn't have enough puff to pedal constantly pre-Fontan.
He's probably only been on a bike (with stabilisers) about ten times in his whole life - and it was a lot of hard work for him to not get very far.  Nine out of ten times he'd pedal a few feet and then we'd have to shove him along until he got his breath back, so we didn't really push the issue.
Since his Fontan, he doesn't really get breathless any more, and his balance has really improved (not sure why - maybe higher oxygen saturations?) but his old bike (with stabilisers) was too small, and he's been happy just tootling along on his scooter.
However, it's been in the back of my mind that he's nearly nine now, and he really ought to learn how to ride properly - you can't even buy bikes with stablisers on to fit him any more.
So, I cashed in all my Tesco vouchers a month or so ago, and bought him a new BMX bike, without stabilisers.  We wheeled him up and down the drive a couple of times on the day we got it, but the weather has been so vile he hasn't had a chance to have a go properly.
If I am being completely honest, I thought it would take a LONG time for Chas to get the hang of it. He's often been a bit uncoordinated physically - purely because he hasn't been able to practise and learn lots of physical stuff at the age most children do, because he'd get out of breath.
For example, until he had his Fontan, he couldn't hop properly, and his balance on a scooter was a bit iffy. Even once he'd had his op and was able to run about, his running style at first was very flappy-armed and gangly, much like a toddler first learning to run.
He got the hang of it pretty quickly, and runs like a champ now, but we really didn't know how he'd get on with his bike.
An added complication is his warfarin - falling off a bike repeatedly is NOT ideal if you are on anti-coagulation drugs.
Our fab next-door neighbour helped Charlie adjust the saddle and handlebars yesterday, and tweaked the brakes a bit, so we were all set.
Crash helmet, knee pads and sticking plasters at the ready, we headed up to the park this afternoon.
Pete started out by trotting alongside, holding the handlebars, but that didn't really work, as Chas kept keeling over sideways into Pete.
When I learned, my Dad ran behind holding onto the saddle, but that was a bit tricky because Pete's 6'4", and Charlie's saddle is pretty low, so he settled on holding onto Charlie's shoulders, so he could keep him balanced, while Chas took control of the steering.
And then the miracle happened - within five minutes Pete was able to let go of Charlie's shoulders and run alongside, and within ten minutes, Charlie was off like a rocket, and we were able to stand beside the path and just watch him go back and forth.
He got the hang of braking and starting himself off with no trouble too.

Oh ME of little faith!!  I can honestly say it was one of my proudest moments - watching my eight-year-old joining the ranks of all the other eight-year-olds, taking his first step into independent transportation!  It was even more wonderful to see how proud Chas was of himself - I don't think he could believe he'd got the hang of it either!
Next on the list - swimming!  He starts swimming lessons tomorrow - so let's hope it doesn't take too long to crack that either!
Well done Charlie-Barley - you truly are a superstar.

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