Never say always

Our oldest daughter has a fall birthday that lies after the cut off date for kindergarten. This was a blessing because I didn't have to decide "when" to send her to kindergarten. Now on to the next kid.

January birthday. No decision about school whatsoever.


On to the next daughter, with a birthday 6 days before the cut off date. Didn't even blink an eye about keeping her home another year, 1. because I have always agreed with my school teacher mother who drilled into my brain that it's better to be older in school and 2. she was still the size of a small preschooler.  Also, in July we drove past the letter M on our mesa for the high school and she blurted out from her toddler car seat, "look mom! the number T!"  Annnnnd that's why you're staying home pumpkin.

Now to the son. The only son. The son that all the pressure is on to be masculine, perfect, athletic, smart, handsome and well...perfect.  He literally popped out of me imperfect because he screamed like a girl for 20 minutes and dared to have a summer birthday.

SUMMER BIRTHDAY spelled death to me as an elementary schooler. Those were the kids that had to celebrate their birthday like, the last day or school, or even worse, a pathetic half birthday party in the winter and that really didn't even count. You never, ever, ever, saw those kids on their birthday. And even if they had a party, no one could ever go because, well, summer. I on the other hand had a perfect fall birthday. Lovely weather, lots of leftover candy from Halloween, and I was usually the oldest one in the class. Along with Alex So, he and I always shared our birthday. Every dang year, dang it. Anyway, I enjoyed being both the oldest and the smallest. It was fun, and way better than a lame summer birthday.

As a parent I love summer birthdays! But last February I'm signing Rodney into preschool so I could go nap and there is a little note with a checkbox. Please let me know if your child will be attending kindergarten next year: YES. or NO.  And there was his name. WHAT? He can't go to school. He's only 4. He has a blankie, he naps, he's my baby. And that's when I started freaking out.

Usually, when I have an extremely important decision to make in my life (and even stupid ones) I don't ponder in prayer or meditate first. No, first I call or corner every single friend, sister, mom, teacher I can find. If you know me you know I'm not exaggerating. I want to know what everyone did, thinks, thought, would do different, what their sister's cousin in-law did that worked/didn't work. I want to know it all.  The debate about school went on for 6 months.

After a few knowledgeable and well meaning friends, family and teachers told me he was ready and he really should go, I registered him online and in true Scarlet O'hara fashion, decided not to worry about it until August. I somehow knew my mother would come home from Guatemala and agree, yup, for sure, not even close to ready.

And then she came home and looked me in the eyes and said the worst three words of my life.

He is ready.

That's fine and all, but I wasn't/am not ready for my baby to be in school. ALL DAY school by the way, no thanks to Governor Sandoval and the Nevada legislature. I just spat on my computer screen.

But then the sweetest blessing came, he never had a registration letter arrive which was of course a huge heavenly sign that he wasn't supposed to go and so I kept him registered in preschool and was happy as could be and then...we got his letter a WEEK before school started. He had a teacher and a classroom. What the? Double the ugh ugh. So I decided to (was literally dragged into it) to visit his classroom even though of course he wasn't going and his teacher is so cute and his name was on the wall and what the crap am I going to do with this kid? Send? Keep? Can I get some meds for this? 

In the end...we decided on Saturday night at 8:30pm that he was supposed to go. And I cried for an hour, and I cried in Target while I bought his lunchbox that night at 10pm. This all from a non-crier. And then I dropped him off on his first day, and I hadn't shed a tear and I was really proud and walking back to my car and then my good friend Audrey looked at me and then looked at my hands that were EMPTY and she motioned her hands out to my  EMPTY hands and said, "OH, annie."  That is when I completely lost my shiz and bawled my eyes out for 20 minutes (while calling all of my very close friends/family and snot-cry explain how sad I was).

Then I recovered and had a secret denial plan. The school was going to call me. The school would call and say "We are sorry but your son can't stay in kindergarten, he needs his mommy." And I would drive so fast I'd get 3 speeding tickets and then pick him up and go to the park and a playdate and grocery shopping and take a nap together and not worry about losing my baby, MY BABIES for forever to school for another 12 months and the world would be good and no medication would be needed.

They never called.


Turbo said...

If it is any consolation, I was one of those kids that could have gone either way. Ultimately my parents sent me to K when I was 4 (probably so they could get a break from me wrecking up the house). I graduated as a 17 y/o.... sublime. To this day I thank them for letting me get a jump on academic life, except for not being able to take driver's ed until my Jr. year. But let's be honest, everyone in So. NV is driving by the age of 12 anyway.

Allyson said...

I always worried about having a summer baby for that same reason. I have a fall birthday and loved being the oldest in school!
My first 3 are April, May, and January so I had no hesitation on sending them. But then here comes baby number 4 and he was born July 24th. In Utah our cut off is August 31st. And even though he is only 15 months right now, I can't help but think and worry about what I will do with him when he gets to school age. You give me hope that I don't need to worry about it! It will all work out in the end.

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