When Katya arrived home weak from starvation and neglect, and shut-down in so many ways from trauma and abuse, we had to scale back the time frame and expectations for many things. But even so, Kristina never gave up on her ultimate goal. She had to revamp her goals when it quickly became apparent that Katya didn't possess even the strength to pedal, let alone the understanding. But she didn't give up.
When it was immediately apparent that a bike would not work, Kristina first started Katya on a small kids plastic trike that she could push while Katya's feet were on the pedals. Katya was content to sit and be pushed along. Eventually, with coaxing, cajoling, pleading and treats, and hours and hours of work, Kristina got Katya where she would half-heartedly make some pedaling attempts. Since her legs were entirely too long for the small size of the trike, it never worked real well, but at least she was getting some idea of the pedaling.
Eventually, that well worn toy disinigrated, and there was no point in trying to replace it as Katya was simply too big to use it properly. So Kristina next transitioned her to a small bike with training wheels. Katya hated it. She would whine and cry and try to get right back off. She wanted NOTHING to do with pedaling that bike.
There were many times Kristina would come into the house in tears and storming in frustration. We would hug her and tell her that if anyone could teach Katya, it would be her. We would try to brainstorm and work out new strategies together, but in all honesty, the bulk of the endeavor was on Kristina. She would gain new courage and go back again and again to work with Katya.
Week after week went by . . . and month after month. Katya began to make tiny signs of progress in small areas as Kristina coaxed, cajoled, pleaded,
Eventually, Kristina came in one day glowing, to tell us that Katya had actually been able to pedal the bike forward for a short stretch while she helped hold the bike up. This gave Kristina new courage, and she pressed on in the lovely fall days we have had the last few weeks.
Yesterday, it became apparent that Katya is really being able to start to ride the bike! Yes, she has training wheels, but she can actually keep it upright and pedaling forward for a short distance even wtihout Kristina holding it up and pushing her! Given that she is pedaling on our gravel driveway or in the grass, this is a huge feat, and should be celebrated! Kristina's patience and persistence and hours of love that she has poured into her little sister should be celebrated too!
Katya couldn't have done it without her big sister!!
(Photo taken late Summer 2011)