A Bike Ride (Ruth’s SOLS 10/31)

All five of us went for a bike ride tonight. Five bikes; four people. The little guy rides on a seat on the back of my bike. This will be his third summer riding on the back of my bike. I love having him close.

Sometimes we chat. He tells me what he’s thinking. He talks about the things he’s noticing. He rambles on about electricity.

Sometimes we’re silent. He seems to just take it all in. I can see his shadow with his too-big head thanks to the helmet and I imagine his content smile. I steal glimpses and smile at the Scooby-Doo sunglasses wrapped around his head.

Sometimes he encourages me: Faster Momma, Faster!  Other times it seems more like he chastises me: Aren’t we going farther? But usually he simply adores me: I love you as big as the sky.

Tonight, as I lifted him into his seat and adjusted the straps to make up for his growth over the winter months, I realized he is nearly the same age as Stephanie was when she came home to us. He is only a month younger. Steph wouldn’t have fit in the bike seat. She was nearly twice the size as Sam. He just started wearing 4T; she was growing into size 7.  He barely comes to my waist, she neared my shoulders. I can pick him up, swing him around, and plop him on my shoulders. She barely fit on my lap.

Too often the size of a child influences the way we respond to them. Steph is still big for her age. She and Hannah share clothes. (In fact, they may share flip-flops with me this summer!) Her build comes in handy since she can out-run, out-jump, out-shoot almost anyone her age (and she very-much likes to be first), but it also can hinder, since people think she’s older than she really is.

Who would have thought the bike ride this afternoon would be a reminder to me to treat children according to their developmental needs — not according to how I think they should act based on their size.?