This week’s lesson: Don’t leave your bike out or it may get stolen.
In a way, this lesson has been in the making since last year. We were still in the rented house over the summer and it had steps leading down to the garage. These steps, combined with Mr. Forgetful’s innate ability to never be responsible for anything led to him not putting his bike away for the majority of summer last year. Ian would frequently remind him to put it away, and yet he would leave it out for weeks at a time (apparently being in the fenced-in back yard protected it). We moved. There are no steps leading to the garage – though there are a few once you get IN the garage…unless you go in from the back alley, in which case there are none.
In the spring, he passed a bike safety test so we told him he’d get to ride to specific places in the neighbourhood this summer. He didn’t. To be fair, the first part of the summer saw the boys banned from playing in the yard due to a massive ant population that Ian was trying to deal with (ask me about the ant wars sometime). I’m convinced that since the survivors merely migrated to the back corner of the lot that they actually won, but that has nothing to do with Aiden and his bike. Later in the summer, he would occasionally go to the park by our old place to play with the kids he played with last year. I recall one incident where his chain came off and he left his bike on the side of the road to continue home to get a toy!
Finally, September rolled around and we sent him off to school..on his bike…with a bike lock. Pretty much the whole household was sick at the beginning of September (I blame Ian). One morning, Aiden left his agenda on the table when he left. I (while still sick) took it up to the school for him and took that chance to check out his bike. He was actually using his bike lock! And then he would come home and leave his bike in the backyard. Of course, he learned last year that a fence would protect it!
Nearly two months went by with Aiden leaving his bike in the yard instead of the garage and Ian reminding him, to no avail, to put it away. Then a few things happened: first, Aiden broke the lock on the gate (I swear it sounded like he was trying to kick the door in). Second, he brought friends over (one of whom had never met before but that’s a story for another day) through the backyard where his bike supposedly still was. Third, when he left to go to school on Monday, his bike was missing. Not only was his bike missing, but Mr. Forgetful forgot what he had done with it. He grabbed my key to check the garage, then checked his backpack to see if he had his bike lock in case he left his bike behind at school on Friday(!) and then he started thinking that he had left it across the street on the weekend even though he hadn’t touched his helmet since he got home from school on Friday. I believe reality set in a little when he had to walk to school Monday morning…especially since he had been wasting time before getting ready to leave and didn’t have time to go across the street to look for his bike.
Ian replaced the lock on Sunday and I didn’t hear anyone trying to get in the gate after that, so chances are that it was gone before then. It may not have been one of the kids that Aiden brought over on Saturday, but the timing strikes me as odd since he’d left the bike out for months and it only disappeared after a couple of shorter kids realized that it was really easy to open our gate when the lock was broken.
This is by far the biggest ticket item that he has lost over the past year (the others being 3 water bottles and a pair of snow pants). Unsurprisingly, he’s not too concerned about replacing his bike now that he knows he’ll be paying a portion of the cost of a new one. In fact, when I informed him that he’d be shelling out some of his own money for a new bike, he resorted to his standard passive-aggressive behaviour for when things don’t get handed to him for nothing and told me that he didn’t want a new bike anyway. The sad news there is that he doesn’t have much of a choice. If he wants some freedom, he’s going to want a bike and he’ll have to take care of it, too.
Really, this boils down to two lessons: 1) don’t leave things out or they may get stolen and 2) listen to your father when he tells you to do something.