My youngest is affectionately known as Roadrat. Now, I would never call him this to his face as calling him anything other than honey, sweetheart or his real name upsets him. But, to the rest of us, Roadrat it is – but only when he is out of earshot.
Why Roadrat? He loves to run and he is fast. When playing outside with the other kids, they will be on their bikes and plastic gizmos, chasing each other around our circle; Roadrat will be running after them and keeping up. At his school playday, my little JK’er was faster than the grade 1’s. After a run with him in the jogger, he jumps out to run home with me. Whenever I go to race, he is eyeing the scene carefully for a kids’ event.
My Roadrat has entered a new phase in his life. Gone are the days of Bob the Builder, The Wiggles, and Diego. Now, he is a crime-fighting, superhero-loving dude. First it was Mr. Incredible, who taught him how to run with arms pumping and legs turning over quickly. Then, it was Batman and Spiderman, equally brilliant in their abilities to get somewhere fast. Yesterday, Roadrat developed a new interest: Ironman. Today, my son became Ironman.
You see, yesterday, for the first time ever, he kicked a flutter board across the pool without any help. His face lit up when he realized “he was swimming alone” and his laughter filled the air. And, today, after a year of watching him try to ride his bike but only managing to get a few houses away and give up, Roadrat shocked us all.
The boys wanted to go to a park which is about a mile away. Skipper suggested riding bikes; I cringed but Roadrat was eager to put on his helmet. Sure enough, we got next door and he was ready to go home. So we did. Bikes were put away and helmets were taken off. The boys thought we would walk to the park instead but I had other plans. The tears started.
“You’re not going to the park unless you’re riding your bike,” I insisted. “Now you’re telling me that you don’t want to ride your bike so we’re not going.”
Skipper gave me the “that’s not fair, what about me?” look but knew enough to keep quiet.
“I’ll ride my bike, Mommy. I promise.”
Once the tears stopped, we tried again, and we made it to the park. It was the most tedious 30 minutes I’ve spent doing anything since, well, teaching Skipper to ride his bike. The boys ran around and chased each other like Superheroes for 45 minutes and they rode their bikes home, giving Roadrat (and Skipper) a 2 mile total ride for his first real time on his bike – amazing!
Tomorrow, Roadrat can brag about being able to run, swim and bike. That’s my little Ironman.