Did you hear the click?

By Mir
May 23, 2008

Yesterday was the first day of summer vacation.

Yesterday I was trying very hard to make some of that “magic” I hear so much about, while still managing to get my work done and do those fabulous, exciting things like going for groceries because we didn’t have any food.

Yesterday afternoon my children had already decided they couldn’t stand each other, and there were tears and bickering and pouting and I gave up. “I HAVE WORK I NEED TO FINISH!” I bellowed. “YOU TWO NEED TO GO PLAY OUTSIDE. NICELY. GOOD-BYE!” And then just to rub salt in their wounds (because I’m SUCH A GOOD MOM) I blurted out, “Hey Monkey, why don’t you work on your bike for a little bit while you’re out there?”

You may recall that Monkey cannot ride a bike, and I have been trying to find him a nice pair of training wheels with the Yale logo, or whatever, so that he can take them to college with him.

The children trudged outside and I turned back to my desk with a sigh, barely glancing up when I saw each of them—through the screen door which separates my office from the garage—grab their bikes and disappear.

Then Chickadee started whooping and screaming like a crazy person, and I walked to the door just in time to see Monkey ride his bike up the driveway, easy as you please. He turned around and rode it back down again and stopped at my feet.

“Hey, Mama!” he gasped, grin splitting his face in that way that makes me want to swallow him whole and lick the sugar from my fingers, “Apparently I know how to ride my bike, now!”


Yeah, he’d just walked out there, picked up his bike, and ridden it. The end.

We kept talking about the click, you know. The moment when he’d get it. I’d begun to think we had a better chance of finding a unicorn in the woods than getting him going on that stupid bike, but I should’ve listened to my own wise words about him doing it in his own time, blah blah blah. Whatever. He rides!!

Monkey! Rides! Bike! from woulda on Vimeo.

Is he not the most adorable little drunken cyclist you’ve ever seen? Weaving and bobbing, but not falling down.

Right after this movie he started going up and down the driveway screeching, “MONKEYPANTS MCGEE DOES IT AGAIN! AND THE CROWD GOES WILD!”

(It’s possible that he inherited my melodramatic streak.)

(And yes, he does refer to himself as Monkeypants McGee; that’s not a pseudonym I made up.)

True to our word—the promise of a new, correct-size bike rather than the too-small one he has there—after he did about fifty million laps up and down the driveway, we headed out to the sports store and let him pick out a shiny new bike.

(Well, sort of. The first bike he picked out was $200. I told him it was very nice and then showed him the MUCH COOLER bike that was less than half that. Ahem.)

As Chickadee was the one who’d done the most work with him to get him to ride, and we are ALL ABOUT the bribery, we had promised her a new bike, too. She wants one with 21 speeds. Because when you’re 10, you have a NEED for SPEED(s).

We went to two different stores before dinner, scoring Monkey’s bike at the second one. The second store didn’t have a good bike for Chickadee, though, so she proceeded to have a gigantic meltdown because that store had the ONLY BIKES IN THE WORLD and we were heartlessly refusing to buy her one because WE ARE MEAN. We told her we were just waiting to find JUST the right one, but she knew the truth—that we love him more than we love her.

In other words, everything is back to normal. Phew!


  1. Randi

    Yay! Monkey rides! I needed to see this – I’ve been disparing of Toad (who is 7) ever learning how to ride on his own. We have a dirt driveway and he’s scared to DEATH of it – so he rides around in circles in the garage. He’ll be the adult on the road who only likes to take right hand turns when he grows up :)

  2. Bikini

    Well, I didn’t learn to ride a two-wheeler until I was 9, although my training wheels made cool motorcycle-like sounds. Glad he learned to ride!

  3. What can mint and bok choi make together?

    GO MONKEY!!! ps just bought a super cool container planter via amazon. thanks, Want! :)

  4. Mom24

    I am incredibly jealous–and hopeful that by the simple act of reading of your miracle it will transform itself to our house and the boy will learn by osmosis how to ride his bike. Either that, or I will be expecting a very helpful post on college-themed training wheels over at Whatnot. I suppose we actually need to dig the damn thing out and work on it though. *sigh*

    I don’t think it’s at all a good thing that lately in response to “but why did you let ____ do it?” I am so tempted to say “because I love ____ more than you, obviously.” I’m biting my tongue, but I’m not sure how much longer I can!

  5. Jenn

    If we ever have kids, my husband is in charge of teaching them to ride a bike because I didn’t learn to ride a bike until, well, ever.

  6. Leandra

    Yay Monkey! We took off Bubba’s training wheels a couple of weeks ago in an effort to speed up the process, but he has since steadfastly refused to get on the bike assuring us that he will as soon as he turns 6 — six months from now.

  7. Bob

    he just missed tour de georgia. maybe next year.

    maybe he’ll be just as late getting his driver’s license and will entirely miss the high-insurance years.

  8. Zuska

    So happy for Monkeypants McGee!!! What an accomplishment!! Thanks for that video- made me giggle.

  9. All Adither

    I can hear the click from Seattle. Way to go Monkey!

  10. Sue

    This worked for me: I did NO work helping my 7-year-old learn, until one day she came home from a playdate and announced “Abby taught me how to ride a bike!” (another first grader.) Nice, Mom.

  11. Jamie AZ

    Woo hoo, Monkey! My 4 year old wants us to take the training wheels off of his bike, but I think we need to go to a nice grassy area to do that. Living in Arizona with a gravel front yard doesn’t make for good bike training I don’t think.

  12. Katherine

    I’m hoping this magical bike-riding as soon as school is out works all over GA, because my 9yo (last day of school today) is still not riding his bike. Or rather, he doesn’t believe he can. When I tried to get him to practice last week, he said, “Why do you want me to get hurt?” Ummm… I don’t want you to get hurt – and you won’t get hurt riding your bike in the grass of our front yard. Sigh. Hoping for the click here SOON!

  13. laurie

    I just experienced the magic “click” with my 8 year old and her bike riding skills. And it was indeed, magic for all….

  14. Crista

    Wow, just like that! That is so awesome! Congrats Monkey! and to all of you! And I am loving the !!!! today :)
    That’s two days in a row you’ve made me cry…and I’m not even pms’ing

  15. Brandy

    My son did the EXACT same thing this past monday. Same drunken ride too! How very exciting. But we bought him the new bike just BEFORE learning and I think that helped him b/c he wasn’t trying to balance on such a little one :)

    Way to go Monkey!!! (and lucas!!!!)

  16. Headless Mom

    I have two boys here that need to hear the click. Do you rent Chickie out for lessons?

  17. Jules


  18. StephLove

    Woo Hoo! Go, Monkeypant McGee! This gives me hope maybe my balance-challenged 7 y/o will follow suit soon. Or sometime in the next couple years. I was nine before I could ride a bike myself. My partner thinks I have a touch of SPD, too.

  19. Crafty Stitchwitch

    Oh my! Congrats to YOUR monkey!

    You seem to have acquired a clone of my son (who also has the nickname Monkey). My monkey WILL NOT ride his bike without training wheels. And he is now too big for his bike (what is with these growth spurts?!) Even the bribe of a shiny new gameboy (which he wants more than ANYthing) will not get him to ride that bike.

    Hey, if he wants training wheels, I’ll be glad to find some for him as his high school graduation gift. I’ll even paint his chosen college emblem on them myself. At least he’s potty trained. :)

  20. Beth

    Yay!!!! You go, Monkey! You’re three years ahead of me — I was 10 when I learned how to ride a bike.

    And I don’t see any wobbling there… drunken weaving, yes, but he seemed pretty stable, wobble-wise.

  21. Liza

    I was almost 9 when I learned to ride my bike too. Congratulations, Monkeypants McGee! The crowd is indeed going wild.

  22. jen

    Oh Thank God…good to know that it’ll click for A someday. That said, if you find training wheels with the CU logo, please pass it along. ;)

  23. Deb

    yep, those click moments just happen. We had virtually the same experience with my son, some 20 odd years ago. Nice to know that things don’t change. Kids will be kids. The same “click” happens with math, science and reading, and on to chemistry, physics and literature…Ain’t life a kick?

  24. jennielynn

    Hooray! I suddenly have hope that my almost 4 year old will learn to pedal her bike!

  25. E

    Boy + Bike = FREEDOM!

    (Well, sort of. Freedom as long as his mom knows where he is and he’s allowed to go there.)

  26. Lori

    Go Monkey!!!

    Thanks for the intense feeling of glee! I got from reading your account. Apparently is my new favorite word today. (And yes, it is perfectly acceptable to punctuate incorrectly after the word glee! – especially when you have a deadline you are avoiding.)

  27. themuttprincess


    Now they can entertain themselves even better!! :)

  28. The Other Leanne

    “I had that zen sort of “all things in good time” calmness that I wish was a more permanent part of me.”
    I think this is a teachable moment for everyone…

    Ride Free, Monkeypants McGee!

  29. elizabeth

    and the crowd goes wild!!
    yeah Monkeypants!

  30. Nancy R

    WOOOOO! Get on your bikes and RIDE!

  31. Aimee

    Yay! Monkey Rides Again!

  32. Chuck

    Awesome! This should motivate me to go get my bike tuned up, but I can’t do anything strenuous until next week when I get the OK from my doc. I will get it done soon, though. And congrats to Mr. Monkeypants.

  33. crockpot lady

    we had the same bike-riding experience. for years, nothing. then one day, she picked it up and rode away.

    beyond weird and perfectly perfect all at the same time.

  34. Heidi

    I remember the sense of freedom I felt as a kid when I learned how to ride a bike. How exciting for Monkey!

  35. Melisa

    Yay for Monkey! I hope Miss 7 does the same. That’s how it happened for Miss 13. Crazy kids!

  36. Vane

    Yay Monkey! :)

  37. Cele

    Burp would like to schedule biking riding lessons with Chickie when she’s available. The sooner the better, he’s rapidly facing geriatrics as we speak.

  38. Tootsie Farklepants

    Yay Monkey!!! Honestly, is there no better feeling as a mother than when your own children are so darn proud of themselves? I swear I cry every time. Then my kids are like, “Mama, what’s wrong”? *sobbing* I JUST LOVE YOU SO MuuUUHHUUCH!

  39. mommytherobot

    my god! how exciting! i deff cannot wait for my 2 year old to hit that “click”. we keep pushing her on little toddler bikes but no-go. and kids do take their time. my little one could “walk” by 9 mos but she only let go and really walked by 12 mos. she just took her time!

  40. Katie in MA

    Yeeeeayyyyy Mr. Monkeypants McGee!! (P.S. – love the name, little dude. I was known the world over as Galoot Sassafrass when I was younger.)

  41. RubiaLala

    That’s awesome. Hooray for Monkey!

  42. Rebecca

    WTG Monkey!!! Can you send Chickadee down to FL to work with my reluctant rider?

  43. lizneust

    Hooray! Kudos to a brave Monkey and his tireless Chickadee teacher!

  44. Mom101

    Had sent you 47 big wet sloppy smooches yesterday but I think the computer ate my comment. I’d like to request that you redirect some of them towards Monkey.

  45. Amy-Go

    Way to go, Monkeyman. Good for you!

  46. Megan

    We lived in Alaska for the learning-to-ride years so our kids had the choice of learning to ride now! Right now! or waiting another year until the snow melted. I can happily say they were all quick and easy bike riders. Now, ask me about how many of my children know how to drive?

  47. Shelly

    With everyones comments on here about their children having a hard time learning how to ride a bike.. This lady put up an excellant video on how some people are teaching kids how to ride a bike.. maybe this will help!!


  48. Andrea

    YEAH, Monkey! I remember commenting that this day would indeed come. Ours did last year, and gulp, the child is too big for his bike still. (A little leary about the switch to hand brakes with his lil’ hands…)

  49. Andrea

    That is exactly what my DH did…remove the pedals and that helped it “click” at our house! Magic yet so simple.

  50. suburbancorrespondent

    See? It is good for children to be ignored by the mothers for a while each day.

  51. Lady M

    Congratulations, Monkey!

    I have the best memories of toodling around on my bike to the elementary school playground. Somehow doing laps around the asphalt was really fun then.

  52. Flea

    YAY MONKEY!!! That’s fantastic!

    I always told my kids that their tastes change every seven years, so they had to try new foods every birthday. Some birthdays yucky foods just clicked! Like riding a bike! Maybe that will work for Monkey too. :)

  53. Daisy

    My own monkey-like one doesn’t have the balance or the vision to ride a two-wheeler, so he rides a recumbent three-wheeler called a Joyrider. We really have a lot of fun riding together. I hope for a lot of bike-riding fun for Monkeypants McGee and the rest of you!

  54. becky

    woohoo! go monkey!

    and is that your driveway? that’s a loooooong driveway. how nice to be away from the street!

  55. jennP

    this just happened in our house too in the last couple of weeks! My daughter spent countless hours going up and down the road trying to get the bike going. On the forth day (of 3 hour spurts) off she went….
    needless to say the house was a mess as I had been with her every minute for 4 days straight! only 30 minutes to have supper and out again!
    congrats to monke… :) when they are determined enough, they will do it

  56. Dawn @ Coming to a Nursery Near You

    LOL Love the Yale bumper sticker idea lol

    Hubby bought me an 18 speed bike for mother’s day – as if I have more than one speed. silly man.

    congrats to monkey boy though – freedom!

  57. Manager Mom

    I think a daily dose of ignoration is what helps kids learn to be creative and self-sufficient.

    I think I was cosmically yelling the same thing at the same time to my kids. Although my son is 5 so no working on bikes for him, yet.

  58. crazyjane

    on the other hand, there is something fairly scary about seeing your 3 y/o (still in diapers!) pick up the neighbor’s 2 wheeler, no training wheels, and just ride away. trust me.

  59. Stephanie

    Whoop! Congratulations, Monkey! Sydney just learned to ride her bike sans training wheels, as well. Her path was a bit rockier, but she got there…8 years 1 month old.

    And the BEST part is that YOU got to be a part of that very important historical moment of his life. These are the moments that make it all worth it! :-)

  60. Chathol-linn

    Hello, Dawn @ Coming to a Nursery Near You! I have an 18 speed hybrid bike. I don’t know how to ride it. As a kid I rode a single speed bike. What is the difference, what are the gears for, how do I learn to ride an 18 speed bike? Can I just hop on and stop pedalling?

    I’m really into low-maintenance machnes in my life. Should I trade it for a single speed?

  61. Becky

    That is just so exciting! I am hoping for that click to happen over here as well. I have a 6 yr old who won’t get on the bike with training wheels. Nope, he won’t. Taking it with us to see the OT next week. He usually works miracles on the boy, so we’re hoping for a big one come next Tuesday!

  62. Deb

    Wahoo!! Glad it finally clicked. Still waiting for Bubby (7) to get it. Doesn’t help that I was 23 when i learned *blush*.


  63. Astrogirl426

    …and the flip side (because you know I’m all about bringing the mood down and all) is that Monkey could be the kind of child who HAS NO FEAR. The kind of child who will, at the tender age of 4 1/2, actually ride his tricycle down the front steps, to land with a graceless PLOP at the bottom. Who when asked, will claim that it “was a assident, Mama,” as he is being rushed to the ER (with no evident injuries, but with a father who is a teensy weensy bit neurotic about that sort of thing, which is a handicap in itself).

    The kind of child who will then tell Mama, several weeks after the “accident”, “When I rode my bike down the steps? It wasn’t a assident. It was on purpose.”

    In other words, you could have my child.

    You (and Monkey) have my congratulations on the accomplishment. Just stay away from stairs!

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