Thursday, August 14, 2008

Balance is a very good thing

One of the most incredibly wonderful things about Switzerland is the Ludotech (I hope I spelled that right), or toy lending library. Virtually every town has a Ludotech and for a small yearly membership fee you can borrow toys for your kids much like you would books at a library. Imagine how thrilled I was when we discovered that our local toy library had a small assortment of gliding bikes. I had seen these in action during our last trip to Switzerland two years ago and was amazed that even young toddlers seemed to get the hang of balancing on two wheels when they started out without the trouble of peddles. I don't know why they aren't popular in the US but I've never seen one here.

Oliver took to the thing immediately and within seconds he had figured out how to maneuver the it quite gracefully by running while astride. Within the first hour he was gliding short distances and after that we could barely get him off the thing. Here is a short video clip that was taken on the first day -- check out the smile on that boy's face!!

When we got home I was anxious to see if success on the gliding bike would translate to success on a two-wheeler with peddles. So on Tuesday I removed the training wheels from his bike and handed him over to Nik -- I'm far too nervous to be the primary parent on this one. But I didn't have to worry: without a moment of hesitation, Oliver hopped on the bike, feet to peddles and took off. So now we have balance, we have propulsion, we have steering -- but what we don't have is stopping. But we're working on it. And until then, our bicycling adventures are confined to the track with all of its soft, cushy grass on each side. But boy, the ease of this particular learning adventure feels like a small gift from heaven!


  1. Anonymous7:45 AM

    WOOHOO!!! that is so EXCITING! congratulations!

  2. Anonymous9:36 AM

    Hooray, Oliver! That smile is truly priceless.

  3. That is so awesome! And the glider bike? Looks like something my Nik would enjoy; he hasn't quite grasped the concept of pedals —except as the things that whack his legs when they get too close!

  4. A TOY library?! How incredibly cool is that?!

  5. Carolyn7:27 PM

    Welcome back, Christine!
    They have toy libraries in quite a few councils in Australia, as well as in a lot of Early Intervention centres. At our local council, they have the "toy lady" (a teacher, I think) who does home visits for kids with disabilities and liaises with the parents to bring along the appropriate toys for the child . . . but one family I was speaking to yesterday said "never again" because they couldn't recover and return half the puzzle pieces, plastic bits and bobs that had been scattered all over the house!