The Squeaky Wheel

The squeaky wheel gets the grease

Ever heard this saying? Basically meaning that those who complain the loudest get the attention/service. Not always true in the case of me, my daughter, and her bicycle…

Once upon a time there was a 6 year old girl who had a bicycle. She loved this bike even though it wasn’t pink or purple or girly in any way whatsoever. She loved it even though it was second hand and rusted and far from shiny. She loved it for the freedom it provided her and because when she rode her bike, she was in complete control.

This is my Kate. She’s quite an amazing little thing for many reasons but this story focuses on her biking skills. She’s been on the coveted “two-wheeler” for nearly a year and has greatly increased her speed and endurance during this time. She’s able to go impressively far (like the 20km route we did today!) and can navigate hills, ruts, and sharp turns on the trails.

So what’s the issue *every story has got to have a conflict right?! In this case, it was the pedal.

From my view riding behind her I could see for awhile now that her pedal was not pivoting. So as a result, every time the pedal went around, she had to lift her foot off and then put it back to replace the intended action of the pedal spinning. Make sense? If not, go out and check out your pedal, imagine if it turned in the larger sense (to move your bike forward) but not in the smaller intended spin to allow the foot to stay on the pedal during a full circle…hopefully I’ve explained this well enough…back to my story…

Kate is not exactly a whiner but doesn’t let things go unnoticed. She pointed out many times that her pedal was not spinning and each time I gave her the same answer. I would remind her where the grease was and that she could spray it at any time just the same as she greases her chain.

Skip ahead approx. 3 months. As we are biking Kate again complains about her pedal in which I again respond with the directions to how she can fix it. She becomes very upset that I don’t just fix it for her or even remind her to grease it when we are home. According to this 6 year old it is soooooo unfair that no one can help her solve this problem. Then, because she’s brilliant, she decides to take matters into her own hands.

At that moment we were stopped at a stop light waiting for the lights to change. We just happened to be stopped right in front of a auto-repair shop. She asks if they would have grease there and if it would cost more than $4 for her to get some (this is how much money is in her wallet at the moment), of course I tell her there is only one way to find out!

We enter the shop and are greeted by a white haired, grease stained man with a very curious look on his face. Far from tall enough to be seen over the counter she begins to tell the man what is wrong with her bike (and how her mother has not fixed it and never reminds her to fix it herself!) and she explains how it slows her down and she can’t go as fast as she used to and how much harder it is going up hills and how it isn’t safe because if her foot is lifted off the pedal then it takes longer to push the pedal backwards to use her brakes because she doesn’t have a hand break because it broke so her mother simply cut the wire and now all she has are backwards pedalling kind of breaks…..this of course is all said to the man as one sentence and all in one breath.

His reply is that she is to bring the bike in once he opens the big door out front. After a quick spray with some WD-40 and a few chuckles from the other guys working in the garage the pedal is finally fixed. She offers her $4 but the man refuses.

As we left the garage and resumed our ride she was quiet. I asked how the pedal was working and without even acknowledging my question she quickly decided, out loud, that she needed to make that man a thank you card and deliver it to him ASAP before he thought she wasn’t thankful or before he forgot about her.

The moral of the story: the pedal might not have been squeaky (it did make an awful grinding noise when you tried to twirl it though) but the kid sure was squeaky about it. She complained and even cried on a few occasions.  Complaining wasn’t enough to get the pedal fixed though, I don’t believe that the squeaky wheel gets anything – maybe elsewhere in life but not in my house! Eventually Kate took matters into her own hands and got the job done. Not only that but she definitely swelled my heart (and head) a little with her gesture of gratitude. My heart because it’s just so darn sweet when kids are, well, sweet! And my head because that is my kid! I made her and I like to think I’ve played a lead role in teaching her to do things like send thank you cards!

Here’s what the card looked like, we’ll be delivering it tomorrow.




One thought on “The Squeaky Wheel

  1. Love this post because:
    1. You taught your child responsibility
    2. Taught her to fix things instead of complain – valuable lesson
    3. She handled her own business
    4. She learned about money
    5. She learned from you about saying “thank you.”
    6. WD-40 is one of my favorite products
    7) The note is the cutest thing ever
    8) your explanation made me imagine the greasy man chuckling

    Great lessons for your child and you.

    Nicely written.


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