Tonight I experienced the same set of emotions that I imagine a mother bird must as she watches her baby birds fly free from her nest: heart swelling with pride at a major accomplishment met with accompanying pain in the pit of my stomach at the knowledge that her access to the world just became a little bit wider. You know, if birds actually have emotions that is.
It was a long time coming - a significant fraction of her biggest supporters believed it might never come to fruition - but tonight Shortcake finally showed her bike who is boss.
We tried multiple techniques, Googling and canvasing advice from parents who've been there before, and almost all trials were met with Shortcake's steadfast hesitation and trepidation. We bought her a new bike thinking that would be motivation to learn. When she refused to try riding without training wheels we took the bike away thinking that would be motivation learn. She could not be swayed by the fact that all her friends and even some friends two to three years younger were riding with wild abandon. She was as happy as could be riding her Hello Kitty bike with four wheels to the road.
We should have just trusted in her timing. Because here she is, by the fading light of a mild Illinois mid-winter evening, riding her bike like it's no big deal.
You go, Shortcake. Ride on with your bad self.