But she wants to play with the other kids so badly. So, we decided to get a bike that is big enough for her--with very sturdy training wheels. She was so happy about buying the bike, and even enjoyed helping Daddy put the training wheels on. It was even fun to sit on the bike in the house.
|This is definitely the bike I want!|
|We have to "pay the lady."|
|Get those training wheels just right.|
|OH yes! I am amazing on my new bike!|
|Everyone wears a helmet, even Daddy.|
So, we went out and vowed not to go back in the house until Claire could pedal. Claire would sit on the bike and lock both knees. Coaxing didn't work, so I resorted to a little brute force by poking her in the back of the knee to get her to bend it while I moved her other foot around on the pedal.
Then she countered with the floppy noodle effect. She would simply go limp and slide onto the ground. So, I rolled her on her back, grabbed both feet and began working them in a bicycling motion. She couldn't get away from it.
Then I'd pick her up and put her on the bike while I used my hands on her legs to make them go in the right motion. In spite of my aching back, we made it to the end of our street. By then I was exhausted from doing ALL the work while Claire sat comfortably on her bike and pouted.
I gave up. It didn't seem like she would ever be able to figure this out. Her legs went in every direction except the right one. Her arms twitched. She would either push both feet at once or none at all. I was at a loss. So...I sat down on the road and told Claire I was tired. She would have to pedal home. Well, we sat for a long time because she wasn't going to do it. But, time was in my favor. It was lunch time. I explained that there was no food on the road. She could not eat unless she pedaled back to the house. She wasn't happy, but I finally saw some effort to figure it out. Enough effort that I got off the ground to help again. As soon as I got near her, she stopped trying. She had pedaled almost 3 feet before I got up. But once I was standing, she wanted me to push her.
I must confess that I didn't keep a sweet tone or loving eyes or any of the other requirements for bonding that all the adoption training courses demand. My voice was angry and my words said so. My eyes made it clear that I was not happy with the way things were unfolding. But--anger can be very motivational. She started pedaling. A few feet and then she stopped. But, as I walked close, she would pedal away, keeping just ahead of me. When we got almost back to the mailbox, I had her turn around and see how far she had come. Then I launched into the hurrays and happys like never before. She smiled.
Yup. She smiled. That ugly face went away. She said, "Eat the lunch," and pedaled the rest of the way home.
After a nice lunch with a few pieces of "choc-oh-li" to celebrate, I suggested we go back out and ride again. I really wanted to build on that success. She said "no" in no uncertain terms. I still had one trick up my sleeve. I explained that we needed to take a video to post on the computer so her friends could see her ride. (She had just watched a video of Cora riding a small toy earlier in the day.) That got her. Out we went. She pedaled off while I filmed. (I had never used this camera before, so I apologize for the video quality.) She didn't want to stop! She was having fun! In spite of herself, she had learned to pedal and she liked it!
She kept going around the block, and I followed, providing a little push when it was hilly and shedding a few tears of joy. This little girl who isn't supposed to be alive, is riding her bicycle and clapping her hands and making it clear that God defies all the human expectations and writes the story according to His plan!