Piglet started learning how to ride a two-wheel scooter when he was two.
That’s almost two years ago, when I got pregnant with Roo.
But I still remember.
That first step on the gleaming, shiny deck. Hands tentatively holding the grips, not daring to push off.
We guided his hands as he held on. He learned to navigate, walking on one side, both feet on the ground.
We celebrated the day he pushed off with one foot on the deck even though he stumbled back on two feet again soon after.
We stood back and he gradually developed enough courage to let go and allow the scooter to slide a short distance, keeping one foot on.
After a few months, he finally managed a straight line along the entire length of the driveway, balancing with one leg on and the other leg off.
From that moment, it was no turning back.
Most mornings after breakfast I’d sweep the driveway while Roo stared from her stroller and Piglet zipped around in circles.
Growing in confidence with so much joy.
When he was happy enough with his progress, we went to the park and I watched, breathless, as he pushed uphill eagerly and began careening down the slope, tiny wisps of hair sticking out from beneath his helmet and blowing backwards fiercely in the wind.
Strangers paused to stare. This small daredevil of a three year old, zooming past joggers and weaving in between adults on a casual stroll.
I am glad we never insisted that Piglet do more than he felt ready for. It would have been pointless anyway. He would do what he was ready for, when he was ready for it, and in time the whole family would exult in his success.
Some months ago, Sweet Man got out the old bike Puppy got for her third birthday five years ago. The first kid bike in the family. It was worn, had a flat tire and the chain had fallen out of position. Nevertheless, cleaned and fixed, it was good to go.
The trainer wheels had been ditched years back so Sweet Man helped Piglet balance on the seat and guided him a short way as his feet couldn’t touch the ground.
After that first attempt, Piglet didn’t try biking again for a long while because it was not very interesting having to be helped so much like that while Puppy and Lamb swooped past him independently and effortlessly on their bigger bikes.
One morning when the older kids were at school I asked if he wanted me to help him bike. He wasn’t interested so I left him to scooter about.
Four months ago however, Sweet Man asked him if he was ready to try again and he was more than willing. I watched from the kitchen window as he put his feet on the pedals and held on tightly as Sweet Man pushed.
Some evenings after work, Sweet Man would hold up one wheel slightly so that the bike remained stationary and Piglet learned how to move the pedals with his own feet.
Two months ago he discovered he could balance on his own, sitting on the bike at an angle with one foot leaning on the ground. Both feet still dangled in the air if he sat up straight, but he was ready for more.
Sweet Man pushed him off, let go gently without any warning and Piglet went on his own. Right across the driveway, somewhat shakily, all by himself. He tottered slightly at the end and Sweet Man caught him before he fell.
Puppy and Lamb cheered. I left the cooking and ran for the camera.
He didn’t try it again for sometime because we were all busy, but last week Sweet Man helped him get on and he managed a circle all on his own!
Monday morning this week, I left Roo in her stroller and helped push him off and he did it, again, right across the driveway.
I watched as he turned at the corner, went past the laundry and came back towards me, his face tight with concentration. He made it around the pillar, almost banged into Pegs the dog, fell down and got up to do it all over again, undeterred.
I laughed, cheered, clapped and made all the silly noises only a parent will understand.
That same evening as Puppy and Lamb played tennis, he went cycling around the court.
For half an hour.
My heart ached.
From a two-wheel scooter to bicycle, Piglet’s come a long way. It’s a milestone he’ll likely forget when he turns four next year and joins his older siblings on bike trips with his very own wheels, unassisted.
As for me, I’ll spend some time yet this week, looking back and remembering just how I birthed this amazing little baby into the world and being awed simply at how quickly he is growing up.