After Noah learned to ride his bike sans training wheels, and after the trip to the toy store and the coveted Ninjago Lego Set Of Six Hundred Eighty Four Infernal Fucking Pieces Are You Kidding Me was procured and assembled, Noah calmly asked us to put his training wheels back on.
Uh. Well, see, the point was...
"I'M NEVER RIDING MY BIKE AGAIN," he shrieked, before I even finished the sentence. He may have stomped up the stairs and slammed his bedroom door, but I can't specifically recall if that was over the training wheel thing or any of the MILLIONS of hideous injustices his six-year-old self is forced to endure on a daily basis, including but not limited to:
1) not being allowed to watch TV
2) being told he really shouldn't wear that sweater, it's 80 degrees outside
3) YOU HAVE TO EAT ACTUAL FOOD SOMETIMES
4) AND GO TO BED
5) being told to bend over all the way to the ground to pick up the thing that he just dropped, I mean, MY GOD, he's tall for his age. It's like, three whole feet away, down there. YOU DO IT, MOM.
He stuck to his stubborn little guns for a couple days before we could lure him back outside for more bike-riding practice. It went well, but I think he protested for longer than he actually spent on the bike. He didn't fall, he got better at getting going by himself and staying in a straight line.
He still couldn't wait to get back inside. Sweet, sweet inside! With Legos and soft places to sit! Heaven on Earth for the Inside Kid.
So I don't know what came over him yesterday, just like I never, ever know what triggers a change in Noah, in his brain or just in his heart. Because if I could figure it out I would bottle that shit up in a spray bottle and keep it in my purse. Maybe sell it on infomercials. It's Noah's Amazing Rigidity Anti-Starch! Penetrates the Toughest Quirks! Long-Lasting Flexibility In Every Spritz!
All I know is that he got on his bike and rode back and forth, up and down our sidewalk. Up the hill, down the -- HOLY SHIT THAT'S FAST -- hill. I sat on the yard with the baby and cringed through my cheerleading, because HOLY SHIT THAT'S FAST.
I don't know how to parent Noah, sometimes. Blah blah advocate cheerleading decision-making research good mother all that blah. Yes. In a big-picture, theoretical sort of way, I know how one should parent a child like Noah. I think we're getting the big-picture stuff right. I think we're doing a good job. I hope. Mostly. 70/30. I'd take that.
No, I struggle more with the little details. The day-to-day life with a kid who turns on a dime minute-by-minute. Who is hyper and quirky and boisterous and stubborn and sweet and infuriating. Who tests and challenges and misbehaves and pushes, like any kid, but also like one who is perpetually turned up to 11.
I yell and scold too much, I'm afraid. I push back against behaviors I should lean gently into. I lose my temper, or at least let my annoyance get the better of me and show through. It drips into my voice and body language. I get irritated over things he cannot help, and get angry over the things he can, and some days I can't tell the difference. "DSTSS," Jason and I have taken to hissing at each other, when we see the other making too big of a deal out of something, of being too hard on him, or just fighting a losing battle of wills.
DSTSS. Don't sweat the small stuff. It's the small stuff I suck at, though.
Noah rode his bike again, some more, better. He went down the hill super-fast and scared the living daylights out of his overly-nervous, fellow-Inside-Kid mother.
And after each run, he'd stop, and let out a whooping cheer for himself at the top of his lungs.
"I AM SO SUPER AWESOME!"