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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Winter break

Restful, rejuvenating, relaxing, recharging. This school break was sorely needed, for all of us. Staying at home, sleeping in, getting crafty and snuggling under the blankets indulging in family movie nights.

Holidays are gratefully embraced but we never escape needing to make adjustments. Our middle girl desperately wanted to learn how to ride her bike and as we are blessed enough to live only a few blocks from the centre of town it's an easy ride to the best park in town. Here lies the problem though, our big girl can't ride her bike. You'd think that was just part and parcel of every childhood, but not in our case. Another reminder that our family is different.

For her 6th birthday we bought her a top of the line bicycle. Training wheels were a must have of course. A good friend's son had learnt to ride his bike after intensive OT but that wasn't going to be possible for us. Our hopes were almost instantly dashed as her core strength and balance just weren't built for riding a bike. Being on a larger frame bike meant her centre of gravity is too high & she is terrified.

These holidays, with our middle girl's enthusiasm we weren't going to let the momentum get away from us. There's no way our Miss I can be hauled around in our bike trailer much longer (though it's a great intensive workout!). So, the question was, how do we 'adjust' a simple family bike ride.

We needed a bike that was going to handle towing a growing child (initially an additional 30kg/67lb) so my Bear bought me a 27 gear duchie and I've got to say, it rides like a dream! I haven't had a new bike since I was 10 & my Papa tricked me into thinking my bike had been stolen when he was really trading it in to get me a gorgeous pink BMX!  I get a little thrill every time I think about my new bike -nick named Cloud.  I wanted my big girl to experience that same freedom that comes from riding around the block and into town.

We needed SOMETHING for our big girl to ride. After chatting to the local bike shop owner we ruled out a tandem bike as he said they require excellent communication. That's not our forte! So we bought a half bike! It's going to take some getting used to but at least we have a chance at doing some of those 'typical' family activities.

In one way it's devastating to think that a simple childhood right of passage is a possibility that our girl won't have. On the other, I'm delighted that my girls will grow up with an alternative bicycle experience - just like their mama who learnt to ride a unicycle thanks to her bike purchasing Papa!

She was brimming with pride when she realised she could ride without fear!
It's a bit of a mess to park at the shops but someone always stops us to have a chat about our crazy bike set up!
Our holidays have brought our little family closer than ever as we forge our own identity, albeit with a few 'adjustments'.

My middle girl riding into town for the first time.

PS First day back at school and we're already looking at half days to help our big girl cope. It's not easy to juggle work and to be there 24/7 for a child with a disability.

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