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Taking Off 

My 6-year-old son, Graham, recently learned to ride a two-wheeler. Early one November morning, he and I walked his bicycle to the parking lot across the street for a demonstration. He'd figured out what he called the "curb trick" the day before, while I was at work, and couldn't wait to show me.

Graham pulled the bike up next to a curb at the edge of the lot. He stood on the curb, put his left foot on a pedal then pushed off with his right. Suddenly, he was riding.

I cheered him on. After he looped around the lot once, I got out my iPhone to shoot a video. I was so proud of him.

Even so, the moment was bittersweet. I teared up briefly when I realized that he was literally racing away from me. But I kept smiling and cheering — for his sake.

Watching kids exercise a newfound freedom often inspires a range of emotions in parents. Growing up in Vermont, Erin Hanley never learned to ski, but she was determined her daughter would; she recounts both the humorous and terrifying parts of that experience in this month's "Use Your Words" essay.

Some kids rise to the challenge and take it to new heights. In "Higher Learning," Sarah Tuff peeks inside Vermont's elite ski academies. Ken Picard visits the new Regal Gymnastics Academy in Essex, where the new coach has promised to produce Vermont's first Olympic-caliber gymnast within eight years.

You'll have plenty of time to spend with these stories; our annual double issue of Kids VT will carry you through January. Meanwhile, look for useful updates throughout the holidays on our website, kidsvt.com. You can sign up there to receive the Thursday Wee-Mail, an informative e-newsletter featuring family-friendly events and local parenting resources.

The next print edition — the February issue — comes out on January 29, just in time for the 16th annual Kids VT Camp and School Fair on Saturday, February 2, at the Burlington Hilton. Believe it or not, it's almost time to start thinking about summer camp. Especially when you've got kids, time really does fly, like an eager 6-year-old on a new bike.

P.S. Kids VT has a new managing editor. Carolyn Fox graduated from Champlain College in 2009 and has been the Seven Days calendar editor for the past three years. Welcome, Carolyn!

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