Baby's First Double Ear Infection!
Dee, When Your Allergies Act Up, Take Out Your Nose Ring.

Go, Ninja

Noah's IEP meeting went very well, by the way. (The plot points! They are dangling!) Of COURSE it went very well. I always get myself so needlessly lathered up about these meetings ahead of time -- a peril of being overly-informed about other people's horror stories, probably -- and then we show up and remember that oh. Right. These people actually give a shit. About their jobs and their students and that whole "making a difference in the life of a child" thing. 

I'd gotten a somewhat...strange phone call from the school psychologist the week before that knocked me a bit off my axis, and then a conversation with a classmate's mother at a birthday party set me even more on edge. Because this same psychologist was causing problems for them and everything about their IEP was contested and a struggle and the whole thing sounded crazy combative and stressful. Just like another mother had described their experience this year to me a few weeks before, at another party. Sternly-worded letters! Hired advocates! Parents storming out of meetings! Peace negotiations all blown to hell!

I think I need to stop attending so many birthday parties. Or find something else to talk with people about. Hey, did anybody else see The Hunger Games

I really do love Noah's school. And his teachers. They are doing an amazing job, and sometimes it blows my mind to stop and realize how far Noah has come. Our IEP meeting was calm, collaborative and about as low pressure as it gets. I think first grade is going to be just fine, for all of us. 


One of Noah's playmates learned to ride his bike without training wheels a few months ago. He's a year younger than Noah, and his new skill triggered a bit of competitive peer pressure throughout the neighborhood, and we watched training wheels disappear left and right, it seemed. But Noah, of course, did not care. Did not want. Did not even want to hear the mere suggestion of taking his training wheels off. 

So we did what we always end up doing. We bribed him. Take the training wheels off and learn to ride your bike from corner to corner by yourself, and we'll take you to the toy store and buy some Legos. 

"Ninjago Legos? Like in a big box? The kind that cost too many dollars?" 

Whatever Lego set you want, dude. 


I figured he'd live with this lofty goal in a strictly figurative, hypothetical sense for awhile. That we'd float the idea out there and he'd think about it some more, no pressure, until he really felt good and ready to make an attempt.

Instead, he demanded that the training wheels come off his bike that very instant. LET'S DO THIS THING.

While Jason took care of the wheels I tried to have a talk with Noah about how he would need to practice, that it might take awhile for him to figure it out, and that he would need to stick with it even if he thought it was too hard.

His perfectionistic streak can be vicious, unfortunately -- it even came up during his IEP meeting. "Noah needs to take more risks," his teachers said. "If he's not 100% confident that he'll be good at something, he refuses to try, or he starts and quits immediately."

Getting Noah on a bike in the first place was an epic struggle, and it's never really been one of his favorite activities. Even with the training wheels, he's prone to crashes and falls, or frustration over not going as fast as the other kids who fly down the hill with no fear. 

"I'm a tiny little bit scared," Noah said. "But that's okay, right?"

Definitely. And me too.

I watched for awhile. He was wobbly and positively insistent that Jason not let him go, at all, no no no no. After each run Jason needed to coax him into trying again, and again. About what I expected, honestly.

Don't Let Go from amalah on Vimeo.

I went inside and started loading the dishwasher. Maybe he'll get it by the weekend, I thought. It's spring break so we'll have plenty of time to practice, and as long as we can avoid a bad fall or something like...

Jason came in about 10 minutes later. "Well, he did it! Where are my keys?"

"SHUT UP," I said. I ran back outside. 

"I DID IT, MOM!" he hollered. 

He grudgingly agreed to a single demonstration -- dammit, woman, that toy store isn't going to stay open ALL NIGHT, you know -- but did let me get in some hugs and a couple "I'm so proud of you's" before he climbed in the car, chattering happily away about Sensei Wu and Lord Garmadon mini-figures or maybe he should pick some more Star Wars Legos? No, ninjas. Definitely ninjas. Ninjas are the coolest ever. 




Yay for Noah!!!



Can Jason come over and teach Michael? Because Michael keeps adamantly refusing to do that. AND learn to tie his shoes. And he is a year older than Noah.


Go Noah! My kids are obsessed with Ninjago (the tv show is surprisingly not that bad - who knew?) and they are great bribery tools.


Go, Noah, go! I so love posts like these.


You tell Noah HE is the coolest ever. My 8 yr old won't take the training wheels off her bike, sadly. OK Damn, yes, they only ride their bikes like twice a year because I'm lazy, summer is hot, also I am lazy and very very busy. Ask Daddy to go. Because I'm busy.


Wow, I was all set to tell you "don't worry, my daughter didn't learn to ride w/o training wheels until last week, and she's 8 1/2" and he up and di it! BTW, BEST TRICK EVER is to tell kids they have to squeeze the handlebars as hard as they can. When they ask why, just tell them it's what someone else told you was the best way to learn to ride a two wheeler. (Because that's true, I really don't know why it works!)


Good boy! My eldest was 10 before she plucked up courage to learn to ride a bike.


Um, 8 1/2." as in years old, and the end of my intended quote, not 8 12/ " as in inches tall LOL


It's so incredible to see how far he's come in the past few years! I'm really happy for you and Noah both.


Hahaha, love it! "Remember, don't you DARE let go..."


Excellent. My daughter was a few years older when she first rode without training wheels.

Dawn @ thedalaimama

Awesome! Congrats NOAH. Ah..the power of Ninjago (it is all the rage at our house)

My own Noah just got a new bike for his 6th birthday and he is reluctant to try without training wheels. He too is a bit of a perfectionist and things often come easy to him. We'll be working this week to get him to go sans training wheels. I have hope he'll be able to master it.


I so love this kid. Go Noah!


I love that he's wearing his karate uniform as he conquers the bike.


Hooray for Noah! My 10 year old decided last weekend to pull out the bike he got half a lifetime ago and try riding it again. I still haven't been able to convince him that he needs to remove the training wheels so he can actually learn to ride. He is not a fan of 'fast' by any means and his bike is much too fast sans training wheels.


I confess, it's been a while since I've watched the videos you post. (Nothing personal, I just read at work a lot!) But I'm happily stunned at how far Noah's come. He sounds like a totally big, giant kid. So awesome.


hehe, I love the '...don't you DARE let go...'

Good on you, Noah.


All choked up. And something is in my eyes.


"If he's not 100% confident that he'll be good at something, he refuses to try, or he starts and quits immediately" - this rings a bell, except that it is how i would describe myself. I'm 29. Here's to getting my motivation to do some new things from your awesome little boy. because if he can do it, so can i.


Way to go Noah! That's AWESOME! He totes deserves those Legos!

Barb S.

Congrats to Noah!

For those other commenters whose kids are still struggling here is what worked very well for my son with lousy balance:

We took off the pedals and lowered the seat so his feet were flat footed on the ground.

We then had him move along by pushing with his feet. As he got more confident, he was encouraged to try the "no feet trick" where he would put his feet up and glide.

Once he had that down well (well balanced and steering well), we put the pedals back on and encouraged him to try to use them.

This "no feet trick" worked very well also for our friend's son with autism who at 10 was very frustrated with his inability to ride a bike.

Hope that helps someone reading this!


Gah, Noah! Congrats dude! I love the karate outfit, too. My sister and I learned to ride bikes in our bathing suits because we never took them off. Ezra running back and forth in front of them is hilarious.

Amy @ A Little Nosh

He sounded so grown up when he said "Don't you DARE let go." LOL


I love the conversational "This is going to be awful, if you let go" You know, just in case you didn't catch my oh so subtle meanings before. Awesome kiddo and also awesome, kiddo.


That. is. so. awesome!


With the caveat that once they become teenagers I will be VERY grateful at their ability to resist peer pressure, it's so hard to watch when the other kids are able/not afraid to do things that my kids can't/won't. We had a conversation about bicycles just a couple of days ago that resulted in my 5-year-old bursting into tears after I merely SUGGESTED that he might want to learn how to ride a big kid bike like some of his friends do. I backed right off, but am still wondering where the heck THAT came from.


Yay Noah! He is awesome. What a beautiful family.


Noah has it all over the (other) ninjas.


Go Noah! I was 7 or 8 before I learned, so I clearly remember the fear of the letting go. Awesome!


Yay for Noah! So excited for him and for you. It is amazing how Noah can inspire me. Like Sara above I am 29 and I hate to do things that I know I won't be perfect at from the very beginning. I always have hated it and that is probably why I can't ride a bike. But my sister gave me hers recently and I'm going to learn. And then when I'm done I'm buying me some legos! Also, I love that Ezra is running around with a helmet on. I know he was probably riding a bike but it seems like it was a safety precaution for the running.


This is all kinds of awesome.


Woot Woot! Great job Noah! Way to use your ninja skillz to score a sweet lego set from your parents. Love the concentration pucker in the last photo. :D


As a biker, teacher and long-time reader, this post made my day. Yea, Noah!


The ninjago app on my ipad is horrible. Legos are awesome as is ridding a bike dressed like a ninja.


I have a son with ADHD who has the same kind of perfectionist, not wanting to try new things, frustrated easy thing going on. And I whole heartedly believe in BRIBERY! It has taught him to read at $0.25 a book!


I'm with Liz. Is it dusty in here, or something?

kristen howerton

Hooray for bike riding and peaceful, productive IEP meetings!

Lynda M O

What a fab story of determination and desire meeting up and walking around the lake together hand-in-hand.

Atta Way, Noah !~!~ Stay the course, son.

nicolette @ momnivore's dilemma

wow. seeing noah take these leaps is huge.

i try to stay out of birthday parties for many a reason, but mainly they just annoy me.

thanks for sharing this. my boy with ASD is 4, and seeing Noah shed some many of his "issues" gives me hope...

Maricris @ SittingAround

Gret job, Noah! You deserve a ninja!


I was older than Noah when I learned to ride a bike without extra wheels and I was NOT a happy camper about it AT ALL. I think what prompted it was my younger sister learning before I did. I don't know why but I very vividly remember this whole ordeal..

Way to go Noah!


I was 9 when I first learned to ride without training wheels, so go Noah! In other news, I still can't figure out roller skates. An entire skating birthday party (for 30 year olds) this year, where my husband tried to teach me all night...and still, nothing. I can't figure out how to make the skates move. Oh, and I was 9 also when I finally learned how to tie my shoes - and still normally I get someone to tie them really tight for me and then I just slip the shoes on and off.


" a big box? The kind that cost too many dollars?" Exactly how I describe those Legos. Awesome prize, and way to go, Noah, for earning it.


a small hill -

i have taught 3 kids to ride a bike by learning on a bike they have slightly outgrown and giving them a little push down a small hill.

noah ROCKS!


Yeah!!! Go Noah!!!


"and remember, don't you *dare* let go..."

That kiddo is damn eloquent! And impressive at tackling goals to get Leggos. Awesome. :-)

Sue C

WooHooHoo! Go Noah!!!


I got winded just watching him run alongside Noah. My kids learned on the grassy incline of our yard. The boys finally got it at age 9 because I threw my hands up and said "learn when you want! I am done with this skill!!" and went inside to blog.

Two Eat For Ten

Yay! I just read this NPR article about a 23 year old who became a "master builder" for Lego... coolest job ever! Maybe you could use it to tell Noah about all the awesome jobs he could have in the future:


If you want to fully embrace the Ninja universe you can download the Ninjago theme song from iTunes (or watch the video on youtube). It's a pretty catchy little pop tune: "The Weekend Whip" by The Fold.

Laura in Michigan

Wait, did you say birthday parties? Remember when it was too stressful for Noah to go to birthday parties?? And now he goes to birthday parties AND rides a 2 wheeler!! Go Noah!!

Lisa Y

Thanks for writing about your positive experience at your IEP meeting! Too many people only hear the horror stories at birthday parties! Glad Noah has such a great team!


It might just be the photo not doing him justice, but I think that bike is too small for him. Usually, the leg should be "almost" fully extended when the pedal is down... it might actually make pedalling "fast" harder for him, as he can't fully push down. So, get him a new bike, maybe made out of Legos!!!


Just saw this and thought of YOU, of course:

The Mommy Psychologist

I'm so glad that your IEP meeting went well. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Sometimes school administrators have a difficult time working with parents so it sounds like you are in a great place! And congrats to the new bike rider!

Jennifer Moran

That's just totally awesome. Coincidentally, I just posted Lego Ninjago Party Supplies in my Etsy Shop!


Here we have balance bikes (wee wooden bikes with no pedals) the kids start riding at about 2 then they move on to real bikes. It really works. I do not lie, my son rode a bike without training wheels (as in to the farmers market about 2km from our house and back) before 3. Maybe its the whole small town thing, but most kids here ride bikes by 5, ie around a bmx track. The schools make them do a duathlon in their first year of school downhill on grass and then up a steep slope. Its crazy seeing 40 or so 5 yr olds tearing around a park. Get Ez a balance bike nad he will be away in months, I'm sure of it.
PS. Noah is a very articulate child. Thats cooler than bike riding in my book.

The comments to this entry are closed.