The other day I was riding in the van with my son Liam. We were going to his doubleheader soccer game on a Saturday which he had been talking about since we signed up for soccer this fall. I turned on the audiobook of Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel for him to listen to on the way to the field. Frog and Toad is one of his favorites. He will go on and on retelling different adventures they share in the books.
When the story about Frog and Toad going sledding came on, he reminded me again of how I told him that story when I was teaching him to ride his bike earlier this year. In the story, for those of you who haven’t had the privilege of reading it yet, Frog convinces Toad to go on a sled ride. Toad is hesitant and unsure feeling that it may not be safe. Frog suggests they do it together, and then it will be safer. Toad reluctantly agrees. Part way down the hill, they hit a bump, and Frog flies off the sled leaving Toad alone to navigate the hill by himself. Toad continues down the hill having fun, not realizing Frog is no longer on the sled. He tells Frog, who is no longer behind him, how great it is that they are doing this together until a bird comes by and tells him he is on the sled alone. Toad panics, looks behind him to confirm what the bird has said, and crashes the sled. Toad then decides that bed is a better option than sledding.
I used this story to help my son ride his bike alone. I told him not to worry about whether I was holding onto the seat or not while running beside him. I reminded him that Toad was doing great sledding down the hill by himself. It wasn’t until he got nervous that Frog wasn’t with him and looked back that he crashed the sled. It took about another fifteen minutes and he was riding like a professional 3 year old. Liam smiled and laughed, and apparently he has never forgotten the time I used this story the teach him how to ride a bike because there are many times in the van, at the dinner table, on walks, during bedtime, etc. that he says, “Remember when you told me about Toad when you were teaching me to ride my bike…”