We've broken ground on some new territory here, starting first and foremost with Jonas' biking skills. He quickly went from needing a 'shadow' running next to him during biking to being a pretty shrewd biker.
We skipped traning wheels and instead would jog next to Jonas as he got the hang of a pedal bike. His balance started off really great, thanks to a few years on his balance bike, but he didn't really understand the concept of pedaling, especially to go up even a slight change in elevation. Jonas' bike, a sharp, orange Hedgehog made by a SF company called Cleary, also has hand brakes, as opposed to coaster brakes. Convincing Jonas he didn't need to drag his feet to brake (a la balance bike) was another obstacle. There were a lot of elements to adjust to and we spend a lot of time in shadow mode. Soon enough though, he was able to do most of the parts of biking without help. Getting started on his own might take the whole length of our street, but he could do it!
Now the challenge was to keep the kid in control and safe. He was a bit of a speed demon and would zip around corners and we had to bike along with him to keep up. This meant being a lot further away and giving up control over him on his bike. Nick was the primary bike partner and things were really improving fast. Every day Jonas wanted to do the bike loop around our house. We're lucky to have the pond with pedestrian trails literally behind our house, since it is a good place for a beginning biker to improve his skills. Jonas was feeling pretty impressed with himself one evening and wanted me to come along for a final family ride of the day. At one point, Nick moved to the right and slowed down to let Jonas past, but Jonas just kept following him, not slowing at all, and ended up catching the rear tire of Nick's bike, careening off into a parked car and then doing a face-dive into the gravel driveway.
He had a pretty nasty cut on his chin that didn't stop bleeding on its own, so after 15 minutes of deliberation, we decided to rush him over to Seattle Children's Hospital's Urgent Care before it closed. We were able to get seen right away and they never made a fuss about us bringing in a kid who might need stitches 10 minutes before they closed. I work in the outpatient pharmacy of the hospital which is right across from Urgent Care and talk to the providers quite a bit during my evening shifts, so I know they're a good crew. We had a nurse taking care of us who had seen us back in April when Jonas came in with pink eye. She is a great nurse and was so good at putting Jonas at ease. He was very opposed about going in to Urgent Care and as we were racing over there stated that he thought they were probably closed already so we should just go back home. But when it came down to it, he was quite brave through the process and held very still for the two stitches that went in his chin.
The chin has healed pretty nicely, but he has a bit of a scar remaining. More importantly, he was not deterred from bike riding and has been on a few longer rides and showing a great deal of control and navigation skills. He also learned how to stop using the brakes and is saving the soles of his shoes from lots of wear and tear.
Another first that came soon after his first stitches, was the first day of Pre-K. We moved from our co-operative preschool to a very sweet school in our neighborhood called Little Nest. Jonas is in the Pre-K group called the Owls and they do a lot of playing and exploring in addition to doing some Kindergarten readiness. The teachers are all very loving and invested in what they do. The school is also fairly small and has a good sense of community. It's Montessouri-inspired, but incorporates many teaching styles.
Jonas seems to really enjoy school when he is there, but does a bit of dragging when its time to get ready in the morning. He's there four days a week for a four-hour session, which is a nice step up towards kindergarten. It also allows me a good chunk of time to work on projects and take care of household business.
The other first we've had is first sports experience. Jonas is playing on a U5 soccer team in a neighborhood soccer club. The team was sparked by a group of parents from our preschool last year, so we see lots of kids we know on the pitch. It also happens to be at the elementary school 2 blocks from our house and is a nice walk in the evening. We've had great weather for practice, which is nice, since I volunteered to coach the team and have to be there. Coaching is a first for me, and definitely a stretch of my skills. Still, its fun to see the kids running around and I'm glad I can help get them out there.