Riding her bike without stabilisers #MySundayPhoto

I have a strong memory of riding my bike for the first time without stabilisers. We were at our old house, so I was no older than 6. It was on the street outside, which was safe as this was a time with far fewer cars. And my dad was holding the bike as I tried to balance. I kept asking for reassurance that he was holding on, and he assured me he was. Only at this moment he wasn’t, and I was still keeping upright. I was cycling.

While I was happy to be cycling without stabilisers, I still remember that moment of being lied to by my father. Sure, you could say it was for my own good, but I think it’s telling that I still recall this deception decades later and it remains the dominating aspect of the memory. If this were the Pixar movie Inside Out, this would be a core memory – and a bittersweet one.

As I still carry this memory of being lied to with me, one thing has always been clear in my mind as a parent – I will never lie to my daughter. Sure I may be disingenuous at times (“Daddy, is Father Christmas real?”, “Well, I’ve never seen him” I reply), I do not lie – and with riding a bike I tell her when I am going to let go.

I recall growing up with stabilisers on my bike, so was always of the mind that our daughter will learn this way too. I ignored the balance bikes that most parents seem to favour these days. But I now realise this was probably a mistake. Learning to balance is the key aspect of cycling that she simply couldn’t master, and wasn’t going to be able to with stabilisers. I recently read that children learn to ride despite having stabilisers on their bikes, not because of them.

So, we recently thought screw this – and ditched them. And within a few sessions, our 5-year-old daughter had learned to balance – and ride her bike for real. This photo isn’t the moment she learned – that was series of incremental incidents that extended in length from split seconds upwards, and they likely first occurred with her mother – but it was the first one I captured.

And I explained to her I was going to stand back and take a photo before she set off.
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Photalife

Taking my daughter to her first comic shop (#MySundayPhoto)

An important part in any geek parent’s life – taking their kid to a comic shop for the first time. Continue reading Taking my daughter to her first comic shop (#MySundayPhoto)

Appreciating Autumn #MySundayPhoto

This photo is from a recent trip to Waddesdon Manor, a National Trust property in Buckinghamshire. It was a lovely autumn day, t-shirt weather as you can see from the picture.

My relatively newfound love of autumn is a classic case of  ‘You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone’.

I never paid much attention to autumn. It was a time of year when it began to get colder and darker. It was often wetter. The leaves fell off the trees. It was simply a transition from the glory of summer to the desolation of winter.

That was until we moved to New Zealand. There, most of the trees are evergreens. While in autumn (March to May just to confuse things more) it still became colder and darker, it simply looked just as green as summer – and as it does all year round.

So the leaves didn’t turn brown. Or yellow, red, orange. It was here that I finally realised that autumn in the UK was actually pretty glorious, an explosion of colour that heralds the onset of winter.

We lived in New Zealand for 4 years, but since we returned to the UK I have made it a point to take the time to pay attention to autumn. It’s a season to be celebrated as something magical, and the fleeting appearance of all the wonderful colours make it even more precious.

Because of my late appreciation for autumn, I have been at pains to encourage our daughter to see it this way from an early age too. This is backed up at school where the classroom autumn display sent many a child foraging for multi-coloured leaves and assorted autumn artefacts.

So when we’re out and about these months, I make sure to talk to her about all the colours, and how special they are because their appearance is so brief. How lucky we are to live somewhere that has autumn.

I often write about encouraging my daughter to revel in the range of colours there are in the world, not just pink as many girls are directed to. Autumn is a wonderful time to celebrate colours.

 

Photalife