It was a weekend of firsts. Saturday morning was Sophie’s first mountain-bike ride, and my second mountain-bike ride. We went on fairly-flat beginner’s trails in Penasquitos Canyon, with Ben pulling Sophie in the bike trailer. I think I had more fun than she did, but she liked the shady bridge over the bubbling creek. I think it was the first small waterfall she’s ever seen. I’m hoping for more family outings like this.

Saturday afternoon I went hula-dancing, when I finally mastered moving the hula to my shoulders and also to my hand over my head and then back down again, while constantly revolving in a somewhat smooth motion. It’s not too smooth though, I know because Ben laughed when I showed him my new skills.

Then, on Saturday night we had our first babysitter. It was our neighbor Katie, who is only 11 years old, which is terrifying to me until I remember that 11 was when I myself started babysitting. Sophie was already asleep, so all Katie had to do was call us if Sophie cried, while we went to a friends’ party for 2 baby-free hours. I felt like a grown-up again. I got to be in a group and not endlessly talk about my baby. Saturday was a day when I wasn’t only reading kids’ books over and over, making the same circuit among the baby-toys in our house that I always make. Saturday was a day with more than 2 outings. Saturday left me feeling energetic.

While we were out, our cat caught her first lizard, which terrified Katie, but Katie was smart enough to phone her mom, who came over and conveniently disposed of the lizard. Then Sophie woke up, but Katie managed to talk her back to sleep. Pretty good for an eleven-year-old on her first babysitting job.

Then Sunday was Sophie’s and my first time watching a mountain-bike race. This meant getting up at 6 am and getting in the car for a two-and-a-half-hour drive, which actually wasn’t bad, since by 8am Sophie had fallen asleep for her first nap. The race was at a ski resort in Big Bear. Sophie and I spent most of the day hanging out in the parking lot, which was shady, thankfully, but also dusty and hot. There were other young kids, some of whom she liked. One child shared his matchbox cars, thrillingly. It was pretty fun, for a parking lot. Kind of like a picnic: there were even burgers for sale. Still, by noon, Sophie was ready to go home. Ben’s race had just started. Sophie cried for a loud half-hour before I finally lulled her to sleep on my lap.

Every 45 minutes or so, Ben would race by on the looping track. I was supposed to hand him waterbottles. All the other wives and girlfriends were nervously practicing their water-bottle hand-off technique. But I had a cranky baby finally sleeping on my lap, so I kept delegating the water-bottle hand-off duties to others (there was a particularly helpful twelve-year-old) – even after Sophie woke up after his first lap. I’m not a good support team, I don’t think. I’m not a good sports-watcher in general. I’m not good with passivity.

Neither is Sophie. In the car-ride home, she napped but then woke up, screaming and furious for the last hour or two of the drive, flinging every toy we offered her, inconsolable. I don’t think we’ll go to any more mountain-bike races, at least not any that are more than an hours’ drive away. Ben says he’s going to wait till Sophie asks to go. But that may be soon, since today Sophie started her baby-sign-language class.

Ben came in fourth, by the way, which is amazing considering that he just moved up in category to Expert, and he’s only been racing now for about a month.


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