Thursday, 17 May 2012

the open road

Stand back, I’m going to crow: Snooks can ride a bike – a two wheeler, unaided, round and round, straight lines, high speed, the lot. And here’s the thing. He more or less taught himself.

Not for the first time a mother remarked in the park yesterday what a tough little cookie our boy is. She was not, let me be clear, referring to acting tough – as in being aggressive to other children. No she meant he falls down, he rolls, he gets up and he carries on. I know all about it. I am very pleased and proud that he is so resilient and so not a cry-baby nor a tell-tale. I do I love it. But I must confess I could handle just a little more information from him about what happens when my back is turned – injuries either self-inflicted or received from others as I live in a state of news blackout. While other children give a running update on their accidents and injustices suffered at the hands of others (including Snooks) I hear nothing and so am forced always into the dock with no mitigating circumstances to bring in his defence. Guilty every time. And sometimes, just to add to the drama, he furnishes all with extra details of his own crimes insisting that he would do it again if he had the chance, demolishing any hopes for an appeal.

So I am left scratching my head as he quietly rubs his, wondering where he might have banged it, whether someone helped and could it amount to concussion.

The Engineer and I first became aware of his commando-level resilience when he suffered his second bout of tonsillitis, aged around 18 months which was only diagnosed after a week or so because he had made so little fuss. The GP could hardly believe we did not know he was ill, considering how painful it would have been. I looked at him then and knew I was going to have to watch him.

And I have watched him fall down a flight of stairs, fall in a river, run directly into a head height stone table, fly over the top of his scooter having hit a pot-hole in the pavement, be punched repeatedly by another child and just yesterday perform a somersault in the air after flying off a swing and land on his back, with very little comment at all.

And so I watched him climb onto his two wheeler bike having asked Daddy to remove the stabilisers and ride round and round the garden (not like a teddy bear) falling off and getting on again, time after time, until he got it. The Engineer and I did very little other than stand by and applaud. So well done my brave, determined, resilient little boy. You have many lessons yet to learn but you have just achieved one of the great landmarks of childhood and ain’t nobody can take it away from you. And it’s also just the best fun ever - just you, your wheels and the open road … and mum running behind with a helmet, a coat and a Rosary.

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