Thursday, June 17, 2010


We've been outside all morning, the little boys and I.

There is a shiny new red trike and a perfectly miniaturized 'little man's' bike with teeny tiny training wheels in the carport that beg to be ridden every waking moment.

We had been squeezing the last ounce of usability out of a third generation tricycle, all battered and 'loved up'. The wheels didn't turn anymore very well, and the steering was stiff and uncooperative. So we took the plunge and headed to the store to see what we could get for the two little boys to keep them busy this summer. A new tricycle for the nearly 2 yr. old and a new bike for the just turned 3 yr. old.

Of course this should be a staight forward transaction, right? Liam, 3, will ride his new bike, and Eamonn, nearly 2, will ride his new trike.

Maybe not.

Each morning we head outside, I with my ever-present, sanity-saving cuppa coffee, and the boys, tumbling over each other and me to be the first one out the door.

There is a moment, all of us perched on the top step of the porch, when these two lovely angels survey the carport and assess the 'playing field' with experienced toddler eyes. It reminds me of the eye scanning machines you see in sci-fi films. Left to right, right to left, deep breath in, and then ... the CHARGE!

If they would only charge for their own riding machine things would go smoothly. Instead they both either want the trike or the bike.

A power struggle ensues.

The owner of the chosen vehicle starts to shreak things like: "Noooo! Want that!!! MINE!". To which the non-owner shreaks back: "Nooooo! Want that!!! MINE!

I call out firmly, "Boys - You need to share. Share. Sharing is nice. Big boys share." My efforts at instruction in the delicately balanced art of sharing go unacknowledged. The argument continues full throttle.

So I try another tack.

"Liam," I call out to the three year old first as he can be easier to reason with than his younger brother. "Come here Peach....LiLi, come here!" Shoulders drop and an audibly exaggerated sigh escapes from Liam as he turns away from the tricyle and trudges over to where I am sitting.

"Liam, that's Eamonn's trike and he gets to ride it first, ok? We can ask him to share it in a little while after he's had a turn."

Sigh. "But I want it." Simply stated.

"I know you do sweetie, but it's Eamonn's tricycle, so he gets to have the first turn."

Another sigh, this one bigger than the first, and Liam cocks his head to one side, looks up at me with big hazel eyes and says seriously, "Eamonn's naughty."
Hiding a smile, I respectfully consider this statement. "Weeelll....We are all naughty sometimes, but it's not naughty for Eamonn to want the first turn on his trike." I put my arm around him and pull him in for a sweet hug. "It's the same way you get to have the first turn when it's your bike. We can ask him to share in a little bit, ok?"
Liam screws up his face thoughtfully for a moment and considers this mommy logic. "OK."

He trudges over to his own bicycle, which unfortunately has now been taken over by Eamonn, who, having abandoned his tricycle in favor of Liam's new bike, is now madly scrambling to mount it before his brother can reach him. The tables have been turned.

"Mine." Eamonn wails plainatively the moment Liam touches the handlebars.

I watch, waiting for the argument to start from scratch.

Instead, Liam puts one arm along his little brother's shoulders, pulls 'Mody' in for a hug and says, "I'm not naughty Mody. That's my bike."

"Want 'dat," his brother asserts himself firmly, and resumes his clumsy attempt to climb onto the bicycle.

I watch the wheels turning in Liam's head as he studies the situation for a moment. Reaching some unknown conclusion, Liam helps his brother onto the seat of the bicyle and says, "Dats ok Mody. We have to share."

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Millie said...

This lovely post brings back such sweet memories of all our boys & their bikes! Gosh what a hard life those bikes had. What a gorgeous boy your Liam is Julia.
Millie ^_^

Amalia K said...

Ah, can I have just a little feed of your motherly wisdom?? Honestly, you make it sound so easy... I'm still learning, stumbling, and falling, with bruises to match. :)

Tammie said...

Oh my goodness, you are such a wonderful writer and mother! Thank goodness for that cuppa in your hands! I bow to you~ ;-}

Julia Christie said...

Thank you all - I think the coffee keeps me grounded :-)

Kristin said...

You are amazing!!!! A wonderful Mommy and storyteller . . . these snippets of conversations will be so nice for the boys to have as they grow up - you have all the best parts of childhood right here! (I assume that you are going to make a blog book - I plan to when I finish my first blog year). What a great story!
And thank you for your comments about our studio - yes, don't all we Mommies end up at the kitchen counter! And btw, it took over a week to organize that stuff last summer - so happy it's done but boy does it get trashed fast . . . Kristin xo

BECKY said...

Awwww, sweet!!

Ces said...

Now that is a heart-tugging moment forever etched in your memory.

Mine are teenagers now and they love each other so much, it is wonderful. I once told them that they should watch out for each other and protect each other even from me, when I was irrational. Of course I tried not to be but that somehow carried through. They are loving and loyal to each other.

Julia, thank you for stopping by my blog. I am glad you did. Ah! Childhood. I long for the days when mine were that age. So innocent so fun, so UNCOMPLICATED. I think I enjoyed their toys more than I did.

What a cool tricycle is that?

Have fun! I love their names. Liam and Eamonn