Taken for a ride

This afternoon​, when I was feeling a bit better (or perhaps just rattling more, given how many pills I’d taken) we took the girls down to the East Coast Park so they could play on their scooter and bicycle. There’s a big shop selling nothing but scooters and inline skates there, so we could pick up a helmet for Destroyer and she could ride the scooter, while her sister rode her bike.

Except, of course, La Serpiente would never relinquish her grip on her scooter, didn’t want to ride her bike, and Destroyer found a little plastic trike that she rode around the shop for an hour without pause. At least when we finally wrested it from her grip, we’d also acquired a helmet for her, and a new helmet for La Serpiente, as the one she’s been wearing for the past two years is actually still too big for her. Great parenting there…

We got Destroyer a scooter that converts into a push-along bike, with a pole sticking out the back so a parent can push and steer the whole contraption. Eventually she came to enjoy this, making squeaking noises as I rushed her down the path, but the pole makes it impossible for her to dismount, which is another source of rage.

As the photo shows, the main thing the children want to do when you’ve bought them small vehicles is to use them as seats while they eat snacks. That wasn’t all they did; La Serpiente hopped down to the beach and encouraged her sister to throw sand. And then complained she had sand on her hands.

At some point, I cajoled La Serpiente onto the bike, and then pushed her along. Apparently, the trick to this is to hold and steady the child, so they can sense when you’re holding them up, and not the bike, otherwise when you relinquish your grip they’ll crash. It turns out that even if you’re holding your child, if they don’t know the first thing about bicycles (it has been almost a week, what else has she got to learn about?) they won’t understand that a swift 90° turn of the bars isn’t a good way to steer at speed, but a reliable way to crash. Or panic their father.

Up and down the path we plied, dodging ignoramuses riding bikes at full speed down the pedestrian path. They weren’t to blame; it wasn’t as if they could ride where they were meant to because there were idiots walking abreast on the bike path, as if there was a general campaign of civil disobedience being organised against Singapore road safety in the park today. (That didn’t spill over into any unicyclists on the freeway, or a guy with a pogostick negotiating the MRT. But maybe that’s scheduled for next weekend. Or maybe not.)

Anyway, at some point La Serpiente tired of her father pushing her on her bike, tired of her stroller, and demanded ice cream, at which point I got in a snit and took everyone home. If i cant have sugar, why should they?

(Hypocritically, after they were in bed I went out and bought a dark chocolate torte, but then I am under the weather. Or perhaps I’m under the weather from not eating enough refined sugar. How can we tell?)

The kids go to sleep swiftly these days, which is a mercy. By 830 we’re both free to lie on our bed, too tired to hold a conversation. But we could if we wanted to. If we could, that is…

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