Wednesday, November 30, 2011

training wheels

i had forgotten. the click. the flash. the edison bulb moment.

different family members lent me their afternoons when i was young, attempting to teach me how to ride a bike. i did not learn well. patience was short on my end. i frustrated easily. if i couldn't master it the first time, i didn't even want to try again. i may have told you this before. the quilt of my childhood stories borrows from the same fabric in a new corner.
i cried. and screamed. and threw tantrums all over the oval of concrete that wrapped the island of cars in our condominium complex. i fell. and didn't want to keep trying. my ego was my saving grace as well as my downfall. because i was ashamed of failing. and yet i could not live with the idea that my best friend learned before i did. i was comfortable knowing that we were both incompetent. the first time i saw her ride in a circle around our building, i walked up to her mom and asked for the other bike. i got on. and i rode. and rode. and rode. and we screamed and clapped and i remember how i felt so proud of myself. because it clicked.

she has been playing with scissors. does not want help or instructions. yet her fingers would put the scissors on backwards, upside down. the paper would catch. it wouldn't cut. i would guide my hand and show her the snapping face of thumb and fingers, paper eating monster princess. the minute i tried to help her she would shake her hands free and tilt her head to the side. i don't wanna do it. no, no. i don't wanna do it. and she would walk away and find something else to occupy herself with. occupy drawing. occupy blocks. occupy anything but being told how to do something by one of us. so we offered help but let her walk away when she wanted. two days ago, the edison bulb lit itself. there are scraps of paper all over the floor. and she went from cutting jagged edges in the morning to this one is rectangle and this one is giraffe. look, mommy! i cut out a nose for the princess. and her hair. no, not that. that's just a square.

the edison bulb.


  1. ..and then the moment she discovers she can cut her fringe...or her baby brothers hair...

    how I remember those days with my own children. My daughter's waist long hair with the front cut off her friend who had just learned to cut...

  2. I hope you don't have a cat. When I learned to use scissors I decided to cut a little patch of hair from out cat's forehead. I'm still ashamed to this day! He got over it, though :-)

    It must be so fun watching this little person find her way.

  3. the joys of watching a child master lifes challenges....sweet discoveries

  4. I remember the day my son came home from first grade. He said "I can read." Huh? Just like that? When did it all click? I showed him some words and he sounded them out with his arms. Such a strange sight? I thought it was a miracle. Little miracles like that every day. Even now...old as I am...the Edison moments come.

  5. that is a fabulous photo. I was (and am) much like that, too. For me, for some reason, I didn't learn to drive a car until I was almost 20. It wasn't until then that I could be sure I wouldn't mess up.



use your kind words.