Lliam has recently transformed from an indifferent rider to an avid, adventurous 2.75-year-old cyclist. He has a little red bike with no pedals or training wheels, so he pushes off with his feet and lifts them up to coast for short distances. He seemed ready for a longer ride, so this morning we took him out to our local greenbelt path, despite the threat of rain.
Lliam's riding style is primarily inspired by stop-and-go traffic, as he is quite intrigued by the concept of braking with his feet, especially when applied at arbitrary moments. As a result, our typical marital conversations as we're walking alongside him sound a little like this: "...so, I was at the grocery store, and--WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING--there was this lady--KEEP GOING--in front of me at the checkout--STAY TO THE RIGHT--who must have had 50 cans of cat food..." This left us wistfully remarking that there should be an iPhone app allowing parents to dispense pre-recorded instructions to their children at regular intervals.
Despite our slow progress, we had actually gone quite far before the rain and wind struck. Will immediately deployed the umbrella in front of Lliam's bike, at which point Lliam swerved around it to get a better view of the trail ahead. So much for keeping him dry. The rain had subsided by the time we reached the park, which lay on the other side of a dirt hill, where we planned to turn in and head home. True to his 2-year-old nature, Lliam launched into a full-scale protest at the change of direction. We realized it didn't matter too much if we continued on our previous trajectory so we changed course once again. Within seconds, Lliam was wholeheartedly "off-roading" over the hill to the park.
Miraculously, we made it through the park without a major blow-out for not stopping at the playground. We were back on our neighborhood sidewalk when Lliam asked Will to kiss his hand, as if it was hurt. We were puzzled until Will realized that Lliam's hands were quite icy, but he refused our repeated offers of picking him up for a while so he could warm his hands. As the wind gusted, I caught a whiff of a fire wafting from a nearby chimney. I was about to make a remark to Will about how cozy it would be to have a fire when we got home, when Lliam said "somebody has a cozy fire." My jaw dropped. Not only did he observe the smell, but he recognized it as a chimney fire and was able to articulate the fact, splashing in an adjective for flare.
When we returned home, I charted our route using Google maps, and the total distance came in at 2.47 miles, 2.33 miles of which Lliam rode his bike. It did take a while (1 hour and 20 minutes), but I was quite proud of Lliam for riding for so long and without complaint about the weather.