Sunday, September 16, 2012

Time travel, in real(ish) time

Ok. I'm ready to start talking about how my BABY is in Kindergarten. See also: holy.shit.
How did we go from that to this?

Here's what happened: we lived in the Northeast and because of the kid's birthday (end of September), she was in this weird purgatory where we could choose go to enroll her into Kindergarten for 2012 or 2013. The truth is: when we talked about it, we were always planning on a 2012 enrollment. Why? She's ready.  She's been ready.  More than being smart (and she's smart) she's (just about) the tallest kid it any circle she is in, she gravitates to the older kids, and always thrives with the oldest cats.Why would we hold her back? {insert argument for "redshirting" here. And then my favorite, nobody eeevvver regrets holding a child back.}

We moved to St. Louis and due to her birthday, the only choice was a 2013 enrollment.  We talked about sending her to private Kindergarten (spending money for cutting & the alphabet = crazy.town) because we knew we'd (eventually) be going back to the Northeast. Ultimately, all the reasons "nobody eeeever regrets holding a child back" are valid. She'd be the oldest, hopefully a bit more mature, and with more time - a bit ahead of the game when it comes to academics.

Who am I kidding? Forget the report card. I was thinking with more year, maybe she'd be less susceptible to peer pressures (pipe dream). I'm sure all the reasons that have to do with keeping a kid back, academically, have merit - but I wanted to hold her back to give her a year to grow (some confidence. Chutzpah. Balls. whatever).  She tends to be a people pleaser, more of a follower than a leader.  I know she's only four years old, but I believe her personality will have a red thread in it now - that will carry on throughout her life. Why not hold her back to give her more time? 

The bottom line: she's ready. I'm not ready. I can't hold her back because I'm nervous her 14 year old self will get sucked into an after school special with mean older girls and peer pressures that if only she was 1 year older she would have been able to handle {insert spiral of convoluted story that only I follow anyway}.

I was talking a friend about the move, before we left. She asked how I was doing, I said "fine, but freaking out..." and then explained the whole birthday cut off situation and how in addition to dealing with moving in 5 weeks, a few days after we arrive - the kid starts Kindergarten. I told her how I was freaking out, but I was getting better.  I laid out the whole birthday cut offs, St. Louis vs. Cleveland, etc, etc. I explained how I envisioned her preteen years and how I was being unreasonable and needed to relax. Her response?

"Oh.my.God. You're telling me her WHOLE life has changed, by this move? She's lost an entire year of her life! It's as if she had a personal day light savings time. Her life has been forever altered!"

To which I promptly had a silent panic attack. 


:: fast forward ::

A few days after we moved, I registered her for Kindergarten. The Friday before school began (Monday). Nothing says prepared like the day before school starts, signing your kid up for school. The thing of it was, while we were in Cleveland a few days prior to the day I registered, you have to make an appointment and needed specific paperwork to register. Friday was the soonest I could get in.

While I think the final count was 8 pieces of documentation, that ranged from proof of birth to proof of residency - I made sure I didn't waste any time. I brought every single piece of identifying paperwork I have. Passports, insurance, school loan paperwork, Baptism records, marriage certificate, car titles, warranties, etc - if I have it, it was with me. 
Kindergarten registration was not going to get the best of me.

I walked in, fighting back tears (as you do), and got the job done.  Before the tears began though, as I walked in with my accordion folder, I was made.

"First child to go to Kindergarten, huh?"

I don't know what gave it away. The foot-wide folder of documentation, the fear in my heart, or the near tear eyes.

My first child is in Kindergarten. And not only is she ready, she's thriving. My little girl is blowing cutting and the alphabet out of the water. Me? I'm taking it one day at a time.

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