GirlTwo (3 1/2) learned to pedal a trike this morning. She's been trying it for a little while now, but never quite got the hang of it for more than a quarter turn at best; she'd always end up using her toes to push the trike along.
But today, it all clicked and she PEDALED that thing! Oh the concentration on her tiny face as she looked where she was going, then down at her feet that were carefully propelling her there. She was conscious of every muscle tightening and in which order, watching her feet to make sure they did it right, and so clearly thinking thinking thinking to keep the rhythm going.
At one point, she had the two pedals level with each other and no matter how hard she pushed her feet, that trike would not go forward. You see, she was pushing the pedals equally, so neither could get going ahead of the other and make the trike start moving. She had to resort to using her toes to push the trike forward a little, then was able to get it going (because the pedals were no longer level with each other). She didn't figure out why the trike wouldn't go, but next time that happens, I'll try to get to her before she resorts to her toes so I can show her how to make the pedals work independently.
Another time, she put the littlest bit more pressure in the wrong direction and the trike started going backwards. The startled look on her face was priceless--she hadn't realized the trike could do that!
This is what I love best about caring for children--getting to be the one watching when they figure out yet another tricky task along their road. It's such a magical thing, watching the 'ah ha' moments, seeing the final piece of that particular puzzle fall into place, and sharing their joy at their new accomplishment.
NieceK is due in a few weeks. I'd better get some babysitting time, or I'll go into miniature people withdrawal.