Everyone is smiling and laughing as we ride our bikes in the sunshine beside a crystal blue ocean. If you added a boppy, uplifting soundtrack we could be on a commercial for bottled water or tampons… (although possibly not tampons since we are the wrong demographic and no one is wearing short shorts or a bikini). Because everything is going so perfectly we ride further than usual, but with every meter we travel further from the house I am tempting disaster.
Suddenly it's less bottled water commercial and more Saving Private Ryan. The smallest child has tumbled from his bike and scraped his elbow. Nothing serious, but he is screaming inconsolably and stamping in a circle whilst flapping his arms. This strange chicken like dance is performed so that everyone will know he is certainly going to die… imminently. I assess the wound, and assure him it's not that bad and everything is going to be fine, while internally panicking because everything is not going to be fine because we are a LONG way from home and I have to somehow get us back with this sobbing child in tow.
Now the sun seems oppressive rather than idyllic, and I realise we are all wearing way too many clothes. The mix of sweat and blood acts like a barrel of burley thrown into shark infested waters and suddenly all the blow flies in a 20km radius are swarmed around us in a haze of black.
First I try my impression of a motivational sports coach, "hop back on that bike and ride home a champion"… this doesn't really work as the small child snivels between sobs, "what's a champion mummy?". Then I try bribery, "if you can make it home you can have some jelly beans". The number of jelly beans on offer steadily increases as the sobs continue. In this manner we limp almost half way home, at which point the child decides even a truck load of jelly beans aren't worth it and gives up. As he lies prostrate on someone's lawn, thoughts of putting my feet up at home with a cup of tea and One Hundred Years of Solitude flash before me, mirage like, tantalising yet unattainably just out of reach. I am ashamed to say this is when I embrace my last motivational strategy… fear. I absently note that the flies are 'eating' his wound. Alarmed the child peels himself from the grass and examines his elbow with increasing horror. "The only way to get rid of them is to ride fast enough so they won't be able to keep up." The child is back on his bike and now I am Jillian Michaels on a bad day, "Peddle, peddle, peddle, balance!!', I bark as he weaves his way up the final hill. For good measure I add, "…and if you make it home you can have a movie!"
I know he looks broken here but never fear he was back up and nagging to go to the local BMX track an hour later so the event can't have been too scarring!