Remember Learning to Ride a Bike?

Sometimes it’s fun to live vicariously through your children. They learn so fast and have so much fun doing it. Plus they get rewarded for their efforts.

My daughter just learnt to ride her bike. There’s a video here to prove it, but more on that later.

When was the last time you got a certificate in recognition of your achievements?

No one’s going to give me the Nobel Peace Prize, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing anything worthwhile, or worthy of at least a little pat on the back.

So what have I been up to since February?

Let me see…

  • I washed and dried 256 loads of laundry. Approximately.
  • I shopped for, prepared and served 392 meals. More or less.
  • I learnt how to set up and publicise my blog, then wrote 83 articles for it.
  • I finished my 68,000 word manuscript. It still needs oodles of work, but what I’ve done so far is a reasonable start.
  • I got a travel article published in a national newspaper and some financial remuneration for my effort.
  • I entered a couple of writing contests. Didn’t win but we tell the kids it’s all about taking part and having fun…
  • I helped about 50 kids (not all mine) with their spelling or reading.
  • I launched Mucho, our new web design and Internet marketing business, with my hubby.
  • I wrote a shed load of web copy and sales copy emails.
  • I got out and about networking at business meetings and meeting some good people for fun.
  • I surfed. Not as much as I should have but I pulled on my wetsuit and gave it a go.
  • I resisted the urge to give up on several projects and kept on slogging away at them.
  • I taught my four year old to ride a bike. Now that’s a major parenting achievement and not as easy as it sounds.

Just look at all those action verbs.

Then there’s the vicarious living through my kids…

My 11 year old son won a prize for dancing at the school disco. He was the only kid in his class chosen to take part in a national science exam and was chosen to be part of a special reading program run by a university in Queensland because he’s a super reader. He loves learning the guitar and playing basketball.

My 8 year old son got sent out of his violin lesson for laughing. The the same thing happened in his drama class a few days later. When he saw a book called Puberty Boy with diagrams of a penis he wanted to know if I had a book with pictures like that of girls. I lied and told him I didn’t. He was the only kid in his class who was nominated to take part in the national maths exam and got a credit.

Both my sons have reading levels well above average for their age group despite the fact that they have been bandied around Central America of 18 months and spent a year being educated solely in Spanish in the Costa Rican education system.

My four year old daughter just got an orange belt in karate. She’s been doing karate for 10 months and in order to get her orange  belt she earned stripes for co-ordination, fitness, discipline, memory, teamwork, control, balance and focus. She kicks butt and keeps her family in line, especially her older brothers.

She just learnt to ride a bike too. Oh, maybe I mentioned that already?

4 Tips on Learning Something New

Because we bloggers are supposed to provide our readers with useful information here are a few lessons gleaned from the learning to ride a bike experience. You can apply them to learning any new skill or doing something you’ve never done before.

1. Make sure you’re wearing the appropriate safety gear. You will crash from time to time.

2. Start down hill. Make life easy on yourself, and don’t try to go too far to begin with.

3. Find someone patient to help you. If you can find more people to clap and cheer you on that’s even better.

4. Go easy on yourself. If you can just balance and pedal you’re off to a flying start. Learning to steer, stop gracefully, wave at people as you go by and ride with no hands can come later.

Check out the video

I think you’ll enjoy this 18 second video of my daughter riding her bike without trainer wheels.

Hear the proud mummy praise her, see how her little face glows with achievement, then cast your mind back to something you’ve done recently to be proud of. I’m sure there’s heaps of stuff you haven’t even had time to consider.

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  1. CoralM November 6, 2009 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    I’m still learning to ride my bike Annabel! Thanks for all the great posts and congrats on all the subscribers.

    • Annabel Candy November 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm - Reply

      That’s funny! When I uploaded my video to Youtube (a proud moment as I belatedly join the Gen Youtube) there is one video of an adult learning to ride a bike. No matter, I’m sure you will be riding with no hands on the bars soon. I shouldn’t laugh anyway. I went for a bike ride this morning and fell off. Sooo embarassing. Luckily it was a slow motion fall so not too much damage. Just a little bit of road rash:)

  2. Robin Dickinson November 6, 2009 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    What about the fact that you built a fantastic group of followers on Twitter! ;)

    Fantastic work ethic, Annabel.

    Loved our skype discussion the other day. This social networking thing is truly marvelous.

    Keep up the great work.


  3. Oscar - freestyle mind November 6, 2009 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Hey, looks like you did a lot of things, and congratulations for *thinking* about it!

  4. Eric | Eden Journal November 7, 2009 at 12:01 am - Reply

    That’s a great video! My daughter will be 4 soon, and I expect bike riding will be on the list of things to do.

    We don’t always get recognition for the things we do, but I bet it felt good making out that list of accomplishments. It’s a little like a performance review at work, except you just review yourself and you get to decide how well you did.

  5. teresa November 7, 2009 at 3:49 am - Reply

    Ahhhhh that was so sweet I watched it 3 times but I couldn’t get the sound to work…boo hoo!
    I loved your list of achievements. It really made me think how much we do and just forget to appreciate ourselves enough. I may write a list like that myself:

    *help a friend through being told her mother has terminal cancer
    *cook healthily for myself
    *support a friend when playing in a band
    *work a full time job
    *dog walking for extra money in the evening & dinner hour

    and that’s just in the last day!

    I find I constantly critisize myself for not doing enough…thanks for helping me realise that we are all doing what we can!

  6. Boris November 7, 2009 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    I really liked your post. Do you know how did I get the most benefit of your post? While I was reading your post and I realized that trying something new and challenging as “learning to ride a bike” is exciting, and it makes us grow. We should try new things with more frequency. In this way our life would be more fun.

  7. Annabel Candy November 8, 2009 at 10:13 am - Reply

    Robin – Ah, yes, I do have a bit of a Twitter following but still haven’t worked out quite what to do with that. I have met some cool people though, like you, @Robin_Dickinson, plus @kikirobinson and @PunkLogic so that iteself has made Twitter worthwhile.

    Oscar – So great to have a new commenter. I guess you found me via my ZH post. Delightful news.

    Teresa – Brilliant to hear that you are looking after yourself by eating healthy food because you are giving out lots to other people. Keep up the good work.

    Boris – Thank you! You’re absolutely right, we can relive the thrill or learning to ride a bike by doing new things daily in our lives:) Great reminder.

  8. Connie November 8, 2009 at 11:27 am - Reply

    I think the fact that your kids were exposed to foreign languages will contribute to them being better at their own language.

    • Annabel Candy November 8, 2009 at 2:29 pm - Reply

      Connie – Yes, hopefully:) They are losing it all now but I hear it will all come flooding back to them if they return to Central America/Spain! I’d be happy to escort them there…

  9. Steven November 8, 2009 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Hey Annabel,

    I think every mother in the world should get a prize for just being mothers. I heard it’s the toughest job you can get, is it true? (lol)

    Anyways, I really respect you for having a lot things accomplished while you still have your whole family to take care of. And it’s so awesome that your kids are excelling in a great rate, I’m sure you are always proud of them.

    I hope you have a great day and maybe even a great vacation (lol).

    I’ll give you the prize now *hands over the mother’s prize* :)


  10. Annabel Candy November 9, 2009 at 8:48 am - Reply

    Steven – Thanks for the mothering prize – I needed that:) I don’t think it’s the hardest job in the world until you combine it with any other job and then it’s pretty tough:)

  11. Fiona Marsden November 9, 2009 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Hi Annabel

    I read the post about your 2009 achievements with interest. You’ve certainly had a busy year – lots of ‘doing’ words in the list!

    Do you find, though, that as you get older, the emphasis shifts from doing and achieving things, and towards how you feel about what you’re doing?

    One of the reasons I became a freelance writer was to spend my days doing what really matters to me, rather than things I think I ‘should’ do because everyone else seems to.

    I’ve found I’m a lot happier when I try to live according to my own ‘script’, even if I’m making it up as I go along! That doesn’t mean my life is perfect – far from it! But it’s a start.


    • Annabel Candy November 9, 2009 at 10:46 am - Reply

      Fiona – Thanks for commenting. It’s great to connect with you and so many other interesting people through my blog. I’m feeling like a very lucky lady at the moment.

      Well done for becoming a freelancer. I know it’s a huge leap of faith for many people so it’s great to hear that you’re enjoying the emotional benefits of working for yourself. My life isn’t perfect either ~ is anyone’s?! I do worry that people may think it is because I write a lot of self help and personal development articles. What I’m trying to do is help people realise that they have to take responsibility for their own happiness and actively seek happiness on a daily basis. That’s the realisation I’ve come to in life and my writing and research is as much to remind me of it and make me focus that as it is for my readers. Of course, I’m hoping that my interests will intersect with my readers and that they will be able to relate to my writing because it comes from an average person, not a self development guru. I think it’s working too which I’m pretty excited about.

      To finally answer your question re shifting from doing and achieving things, towards how you feel about what you’re doing? I do agree, how you’re feeling is the most important thing. I think I made the list because sometimes it feels as if I haven’t achieved much because I am setting high goals for myself. So I wanted to show that actually I have done lots, then the very writing of the list made me feel happier which was an added bonus. Hope that makes sense:)

  12. Sawranw November 9, 2009 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    wow!!!! good learning idea.

  13. Lisa Alexiou May 27, 2010 at 12:30 am - Reply

    I’ve been trawling your blog and came across this post – how beautiful. Your children are wonderful – congratulations to the parents I say. Most of all your post has reminded me (again) what matters most in life. Go out and get a little crazy, be a bit daring, learn a new skill. Who wants to be a kid again? – pick me I say and live life in the now!

    Thanks Annabel for a great post.

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