So. Annabel has been a little resistant to learning to ride her bike without training wheels. We've been working on it with her since last spring.
Last weekend it all clicked and she took off, two-wheeling like a pro around the court and down the sidewalk. Good, right? Jon and I think "yay!" We can plan family outings on the Prairie Path, etc.
Tonight we got home and I dropped everyone off, then headed to the grocery store for a few things. Annabel got out her bike, and Jon told her she could ride around the neighborhood with her friend from across the court. They put on their helmets and were off.
I came back and unloaded groceries, and while I was finishing up Annabel appeared, cruised casually up to the garage, and hopped off while chewing something. "What did you find to eat on a bike ride?" I asked, slightly alarmed. I'm thinking she ran into a friend, or had a piece of leftover Halloween candy in her bike basket, or something like that.
"I got a cookie at Jewel-Osco but don't tell daddy."
I felt my eyes get big. "You went to JEWEL? Why don't you want to tell Daddy?"
"Because I got four cookies but I didn't have any money so I couldn't buy any for Daddy."
She RODE HER BIKE TO JEWEL-OSCO with her friend, parked, and her friend stayed with the bikes while Annabel ran into the store and back to the bakery. Normally they have cookie samples out, but the sample tray was empty so Annabel asked someone if they had any more, and they fell under the spell of her big brown eyes and GAVE HER FOUR COOKIES. She kept two, gave her friend two, and they rode home.
I can't decide how to feel. Proud? Appalled? Terrified? Amused? A little of each, maybe. I can't believe I didn't run into her. I can't imagine what I'd done if I had.
It makes me feel a little better to know that lots of kids ride bikes around this area to go to McDonalds, shop at the stores in the strip mall, and so on. I mean usually they're older - middle school and up - but it's normal. And she's ridden around with us enough to know how to get there safely.
Luckily for Annabel, her daddy's favorite cookies were on sale and I'd grabbed a bag while I was there, so she didn't have to worry about him missing out.
Unluckily for Annabel, we'll have a serious discussion this weekend about where she can and can't go without her parents. Da Jewel will be on the *can't* list from now on.
On the other hand, Aldi is right next door and less hectic, and it might be nice to be able to send her over with a list and some cash... Hm...
(ps: we live behind a big strip mall anchored by the grocery store - no streets were crossed by the adventurers)
(pps: anyone have any experience with those GPS tracker wristband watch type things you can get for kids at Verizon?)
(ppps: I owe Jewel-Osco for some cookies)