on wheels

Driving around on a Saturday, in between errands, David leaned toward the backseat and asked, “Do you want to try on a bike helmet.”

Without even looking at him, Alice calmly said, “Yeah.”

She is frustrated here because she couldn't ride one-handed, but was unwilling to give up her Goldfish.

It was about the 87th time he’d asked her in the space of a week. And since her response, up until then, had pretty consistently been a frantic refusal, he was surprised. He asked again, a little more hopefully. “Yeah? You want to go try on a bicycle helmet?”

“Yeah,” she said.

“The yellow one or the pink one?”

The yellow one, she told us, and, seizing opportunity, we parked in front of the bicycle shop that sells toddler-sized helmets in yellow.

A huge success. She wore it around the store and cried when she had to take it off for the drive back home.

You can almost make out a sixth grader in this picture. I almost can't handle it.

David rolled his bike out of the garage with the baby seat already attached. We fastened the harnessed and they set off, making it 20 or so feet past the driveway before she started crying, “Hold you! Hold you!”

And that means, “Hold me! Hold me!” so they turned right back.

When she was an infant, she was afraid of loud noises and new arms. The things that startle her now (like the things that make her laugh) are less predictable, more difficult to corner.

Now that days are getting longer again, David is often home with enough sunlight left to offer her a bike ride.

“Do you want to go for a bike ride?” he asks. “Yeah,” she says, and she runs to find her helmet. (Her “helmeet”).

Then she sees his bike and says, “No! Not that one.”

She points to her tricycle. “Ride that one.”

But we think she’ll come around. The other day, she agreed to sit in the bike seat, wearing her helmet while David walked his bicycle around the neighborhood like a carnival pony.



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