Friday, August 31, 2007

...and beginnings.

Life Chez Crazy will never be the same again: JJ started Kindergarten on Monday.

Anyone who knows me in real life will want to run screaming into traffic when they see the word "Kindergarten" on my blog. I literally agonized for months about whether to send JJ this year. It got to the point where even Jack was sick of hearing about it. But it was a tough decision: JJ's birthday is in November, just a month before our state's cut-off date. Which means that he's starting Kindergarten at age four.

That wouldn't trouble me too much if it weren't for the trend of redshirting that's sweeping the nation. After all, I was four when I started Kindergarten. And like JJ, I was small for my age. (Of course, I was a girl, which I'm told makes a huge difference.) But because so many parents are holding their children back an extra year, many of JJ's classmates are more than a year older than he is. He's not the smallest child in his class, but there are certainly plenty of kids who tower over him. And when I think of what his life might be like in middle school, I break out in a cold sweat.

It's not that JJ's behind academically or socially. In fact, I'd venture to say that he's one of the more socially advanced boys of his age. But he's young. And maybe a little bit sheltered. (Which is undoubtedly my fault.) While the other boys are running around the playground being "bad guys" and gunning each other down, my sweet child is pretending to be a mermaid.

It's hard to know how to take his reports of school. On Monday he was excited: "We got to hear two stories! And sing lots of songs!" His enthusiasm carried over through Tuesday: "Today we got to hold the guinea pigs! They're so soft!" But Wednesday he seemed a little tearful: "No one wanted to play with me." And yesterday he told me he doesn't like school: "Two boys hit me. On the playground and then in the classroom." On the way to school today he said, "I just wish I were sick so I could stay home with you."

This is uncharted territory for me. JJ went to a cooperative preschool, so I was aware of most of what was happening even when he was away from me. Now there's a yawning four-hour period of his day that I know almost nothing about. I have this sick feeling in my stomach that makes me wonder if we've made a terrible mistake starting him so young.

I realize that any big decision we make will surely translate into years of future therapy, but this one really has me worried.


Stephanie said...

Oh man, I really hope things are going better. I'm already stressing about this, and we have a year to go.

I wish they had MIT for little kids, where all the little brainy and nice kid could go and be loved and accepted and the president of the chess club would be prom king.

g.c. said...

hi you...
Good to see you blogging again! I am so sorry about your uncle. I experienced a loss this August too and it has been terrible. The start of the school year has been a good mental turning point for me as I look to the future and moving on!

Well, yeah, we're part of that whole "red shirting trend" too. Argh - I detest being part of a trend, especially one for privileged sorts! Sorry if peer pressure made your decision harder. I am sure you're doing the right thing for your little guy. In our case, I think that the social and interactive and group skills are just wayyyy too far off (when we asked our preschool teacher if little man was ready for kindergarten, she shook her head so hard I thought she would fall out of her chair). And I am a third generation "kicked out of kindergartener" (my grandma, who didn't speak english, my dad who was too smart, and myself, who apparently didn't like following rules on the monkey bars). Maybe I'll be able to break the chain!

Good luck with week 2.


followthatdog said...

He'll be fine, and if he really doesn't adjust, you can pull him out and start him next year. Really, there is no permanent damage being done here. Well, except maybe to you.

Both of my kids will be among the oldest in their class, and that can be hard too. I was, and I didn't socialize with my classmates, I really had friends a year ahead of me and when they went on to high school before me, my world was turned upside down.

I think all kids have a hard time adjusting to starting school. I'd bet a bunch of the other kids who are busy playing Bad Guys are also hating going to school every morning. They just aren't your kid, so you don't hear about it.

Give him some time, and get yourself a cocktail.