Stained Glass, A Strong-Willed Breakthrough, and Learning to ride a bike in a week (theoretically)

It’s been a pretty intense week, with Julianna in iCanBike camp in a nearby town. I’ve had to pull her and Nicholas from school early every day so we could make the half-hour drive to the camp. They begin with this gizmo, which is sort of barrel-shaped, so it’s narrower and less stable than training wheels, but follows the same principle.Arm and Bike 010

Bike Gizmo

As you can see, she does fine with this–her side walker doesn’t even have to hold the pole. But she’s slow. Very, very slow. She’s spent most of the week on this bike.

Step two is a special tandem bike:


She’s a stinker. Forced to pedal faster, she mostly put her feet down on the ground, until her instructor finally realized you have to be very firm with her, lest she run right over you. I gave them twenty minutes the first day to try to learn this on their own, and then I intervened, because this is too intense a week for us to waste the time coddling her.

Step three is a real bike, with the pole on the back for support:

Full Deal


They had us buy a bike for her, which will be fitted out with one of these poles today. Many of the kids graduated yesterday to riding outside on the parking lot; these kids (and young adults, in some cases) will probably actually achieve the goal of bike independence in one week. Julianna? Not so much. But they don’t want us putting training wheels on her new bike; we are just going to have to run with her whenever she rides, until she either learns or another similar camp is offered. I know: as if we need any more to do…

Speaking of more to do… Nicholas and I butt heads every so often about the horrific state of his drawers and his closet. I lose my cool really quickly trying to teach him over and over again how to hang clothes on hangars and fold the ones that go in the drawers. I takes so darned long, I end up doing half of it myself because I can’t stand the waste of time. Last night, I had a breakthrough. I brought my flute upstairs and I practiced for over an hour while he rehung every piece of clothing in his closet, and dealt with this, the contents of his drawers:

(not one of which came out of the drawer folded when he dumped them on the floor for sorting, I might add)

We got rid of about half of it. Fewer clothes= easier cleanup. And while he sorted and folded, I spent forty minutes getting comfortable with my newly-repadded flute while playing Moyse Daily Exercises…


….and then some Piazzola Tango Etudes.


“Mom, why are you so loud when you warm up?” Nicholas asked.

“I’m loud when I go up high. That’s just the way it is,” I said, “and tonight, you’re going to have to put up with it.”

Over an hour, I practiced last night. And he did the entire job himself, because I had something to keep me busy in the room where I could supervise. And I didn’t come anywhere near losing my temper, because I had something useful to do with my time while he was learning this important lesson in self-care.

This is a huge breakthrough, people. I’m telling you, this is entering my permanent repertoire of parenting solutions.

Finally, a beautiful picture I took from my position as choir director at church on Wednesday night. I love these windows.

Stained Glass