Monday, July 26, 2010

Teaching Children to Commute

Samuel learned to ride his bike about a year ago! He was not even 4 yrs old. We were so proud! It was sooo cute watching a tiny little kid on a tiny little bike ride around with no training wheels or anything. Samuel loved the independence and the feeling of being "big".

Now we are slowly working on teaching him road safety. This idea alone was so frightening to me as a mom. However, the reality of my experience commuting with kids is quite the opposite. I think my main block was imagining a little boy riding down the road with traffic... terrifying. The reality is that we go very very slow. First we learned to ride in a strait line. Then we road a couple blocks in our neighborhood to the park. We practice listening to mom, stopping when I say to stop, looking for traffic signs, looking for driveways, stopping when we get to a street. We turn riding into a game and see who can find all the driveways we pass. I ride or walk behind with his little brother in a stroller so I can see what he is doing and give instruction. This makes me slower than Samuel and that gives him a chance to stop and wait for me and to listen carefully.

This practice is producing wonderful fruit! He is becoming much more aware than I ever imagined possible for a little boy. It also helps him to co-regulate an activity with me and helps with concentration and social skills. Ok, this is a far cry from kids riding with traffic like I imagined! We only go in our neighborhood to the library or the park. We treat it with the same respect and caution that I would on a regular road and I am confident that as his readiness increases and he rides with me more and more he will be a very safe and competent commuter.

Garden Follow Up

Learned something new on winter gardening. The winter garden over-wintered well. However, in the spring, everything got big and went to seed. I spoke with Anthony's dad who was a beet farmer for many years. Turns out that the things I grew were biennials which means that they seed in their second year. The cold winter triggered them to go to seed. So everything I planted August 15th began to grow but didn't finish maturing before the cold set in. In the spring it didn't finish growing, it went to seed. Lesson learned: winter gardening is basically in-ground storage. The growing must be complete and ready for harvest before the cold sets in. I think I will have to plant things by July 15 to accomplish this.

In light of that I planted carrots July 8 and spinach July 15. Not getting very consistent germination despite watering gently 2x day. Any tips on this?