It started mildly, but ended in a full-blown case of two-wheelin' love. The Kid would point and tell me the colors of each bike parked at the rack at his school. Then he started insisting that we slow down to look more closely. And he got a stern look from a lady at the park for touching the sparkly handlebar of her daughter's bike, abandoned in the grass. (Which, I'll admit, sort of just irritated me, but eh.) Pretty soon it began to remind me of my own childhood dream of getting a pony. Everywhere we went, he was invariably drawn to the bicycles with longing in his little blue eyes.
I originally thought he wasn't big enough yet, but when he cruised up to me one afternoon on the balance bike at his school I told Sweet Husband, "Maybe we should start looking for a bike for him?"
And we did, a little. But even a small bike is not a small purchase, and there was part of me that was holding back for fear of spoiling him. The major gift giving holidays are quite a long way off. He's still too young to completely understand, it's true, but if we fill his every wish instantly, all the time....well, that just doesn't seem like a good thing to be setting ourselves up for. It's so easy to succumb to the desire to delight him, but this time I felt like I needed to reign myself in.
Grandparents, however, I do not hold to the same standards.
In my very early days of motherhood, I read a rule that I've tried to take to heart--the distance your child lives from his grandparents should be inverse to the degree they're allowed to spoil him. In other words, if you live next door to your child's grandparents, then they basically need to adhere to the everyday rules about junk food and bedtimes and so on. But, if your child sees his grandparents less often, relaxing the rules is ok, and even encouraged.
What this means for us is, the Kid gets to rough house with my dad (once or twice a year) as much as he wants, and my mom (more like four or five times a year) can let him eat candy until he's had his fill. And even Sweet Husband's parents (who probably make it back and forth the most due to their more flexible schedules, but still only once every few months) can randomly bring presents--particularly the good, outside, Kid-powered presents--even when his birthday and Christmas are still half the year away.
Which is all a long way of saying, the Kid got a new bike this weekend. It's shiny and red and and oh-my-goodness does he love it! We've had some little crashes and bang ups, but on the whole I think he's going to spend the summer zooming around the yard.