I’m bringing this live to you from a field somewhere. The actual where isn’t important, what’s important is the experience.
D loves being outdoors, he has done since he was a baby. His first camping expedition was when he was 4 months old. He slept on a sheepskin rug between me and his sister and spent the rest of the time in a carrier on my back watching the world go by.
He’s always more relaxed outdoors, freer and grounded. The pace of life suits him. Outdoor cooking stokes his appetite, and he falls asleep at night before his head even touches the floor.
It’s a simple pleasure with little demands. He feels able to chat more, to be able to express how he feels on a very basic human level. Like the outdoors ground him and makes him feel part of something bigger.
He is able to practise climbing trees, getting physically stronger. He is able to collect kindling for the fire, helping him to feel useful, he is able to take responsibility and be part of a group.
Each time we come I feel him growing like the trees surrounding this field. It makes the trappings of modern life, the relentless pressure of trying to learn to a confining curriculum, the conformity of it all, feel very far away.
Here in this field he isn’t defined by all the things he can’t do, but by all the thing he can.
And that is why we shall return, maybe not here, but to places that carry the same essence, and that feeling of grounding we maybe all need sometimes.
It’s as easy as riding a bike.
Well when you think about it riding a bike isn’t actually all that easy – especially if you have any kind of motor co-ordination issues.
You need to be able to:-
co-ordinate stopping and using your brake
co-ordinate using your brake and peddling and turning
be aware and responsive to the changing environment around you
get your brain to tell your hands and legs what to do at the right times
All a big ask for a brain that is a little wonky.
But my little boy has grit and determination in spades. And he wanted a big red pedal bike just like his sisters. So we put a plan in place to work towards that goal.
Phase 1: Learn to scoot (this took a long time!) – to build balance and awareness
Phase 2: Practise peddling on trikes (this took quite a while as well)
Phase 3: Balance bike (D was 5 by now) with brakes – almost daily practise in the local parks and school runs
Phase 4: Bring it all together for shiny red bike on 6th Birthday.
Result – a (very happy) little boy who is now mobile on his Big Red Pedal Bike. (if still a little wobbly at times 🙂 )
There have been multiple bumps and scrapes along the way. His shins have taken a battering and his knee caps have borne the brunt of many falls. There have been many tears most easily fixed with a quick cuddle. But he has got back up each time, got back on and kept going.
Watching him and his sister cycle together around the local park led by our ever ready dog brings a feeling of such immense joy and satisfaction. For D, in a world where we have to talk about all the things he can’t do with monotonous regularity, here is proof of just what can be achieved with planning, patience and practise.