Thursday, July 13, 2006

A father's chronicle (Learning to ride a bicycle)

I am having a break, so I got myself into action - removed the two hind wheels of my son's bicycle. He was on a four-wheeler for some time already and now it is about time to get going in life.

Actually, I could not recall how I really got the idea of cycling. I mean... I could recall my brother helping me to get onto one, and holding onto the bicycle and riding downslope (downslope training is easier, but more dangerous?) And then... somewhere along the way, I could balance and ride on my own. It was not just as if I aquired the skill all in one day. I believe it was more like a week of practising.

So, today's is the first day I expose him to a really bicycle. Not that he was not on a real thing, but it was with two additional supporting back wheels. I removed those back wheels and brought him down to the park....

As usual, I go through the theory. Being an engineer here does help, I think?

First, it is how to get onto the bicycle. Ya, if you know how to ride on one, this is almost like second nature. But to one who is entirely new to this experience... ghosh, we really got to get to the basic and never ignore the steep learning curve.

As I said, it is how to get onto the bicycle. Part 1 was short. Holding onto the handles, climbing over, adjusting the peddles. Being familiar with which leg might be a "stronger" one which can help you to peddle off at the first push... due to job hazard, I even mentioned the angle of the foot peddle at starting point that will give the best push forward! It is as if I am going to calculate the force of the foot press... anyway, he did it quite naturely. At times, it was tough for him. He need to make sure that he has one foot on the ground. Balance himself and holding onto the handles, and ... once done... look up! He can get engrossed in the whole process of preparation that he fail to look up and move off.

I held onto his handles as I let him taste the fun of riding without the back two wheels. It was fun for him... well... not entirely enjoyable for my back after 20 minutes . The bending over and holding onto the handles was breaking my back. Good thing, I brought along his water bottle. We took breaks in between and look at the clouds and bring back the world of dinosaurs.

He is still not capable to ride on his own without support. But since it is just the first 40 minutes of training (module 1?) well... I think he is doing fine . I don't expect things to be magical. It is not like the movie E.T - with the touch of a finger, we take off into the air!

Overall, I did enjoy the company and the learning together. Yan did appear at the second half of the training. She got her hands dirtied. It is always good to have another method of teaching. Who knows? In this area, perhaps, her method might be more suitable? But her expectations were higher - she expects him to ride without support today (well, with a bit of falling off, of course).

It has been a great day.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A father's chronicle (Book 1)

And so I did what I really believed in - I bought him a (sub-)set of Chronicles of Narnia.

One thing that attracted me to this set is that it is broken up to nice set of 2 volumes each. Futhermore, it is a full-color gift edition box set. However, there is a miss on the order of those volumes. My current box contains "The Magician's Nephew" together with "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Ahhh!!! I thought it should have been in this order:

1. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
2. Prince Caspian
3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
4. The Silver Chair
5. The Horse and His Boy
6. The Magician's Nephew
7. The Last Battle

To be honest, I did not know that it was more suitable for ages 8 and beyond. I bought it with the intention to read it together with Theophilus. And as an introductory material for him to go beyond into the more advance stages of reading.

He went beyond my expectations....

He read more than 2 chapters on his own and came asking for more. In fact, he stopped just to let me continue on the reading tonight that we might enjoy it together. (So nice of him to do just that). It was a delight to know that he is capable to move on to more advance materials (and even sometimes ... "dry" materials).

I notice from the publisher's website that I might be stuck with just this set... I could not find the rest of the volumes.... I hope this is just a temporary situation and that they will print all the rest quickly. I wrote in to enquire about it... let's hope it will turn out positive.