Tomorrow is Allie’s last day of preschool. She has grown up so much since the first day she arrived with her brand new lunch pail and such excitement to meet all the KIDS! KIDS! I failed in the “keeping my eyes dry” department, despite my best efforts.
I wondered if I was making the right decision, putting her in preschool, rather than continuing to teach her Zoophonics at home. She was making so much progress and we were both enjoying the curriculum. I waited until this January to enter her into preschool because I just was not ready to let her go just yet. In hindsight, I know it was a perfect choice both waiting and putting her in preschool. I have savored the moments we have had together.
Yet, a new era begins on Tuesday. She enters Kindergarten at F O U R. She does not turn five until November 3rd and I have struggled with this decision. Soon after giving birth, I vowed that she would be home with me until she was five, turning six a few months later. I worried about sending a 17 year old to college, remembering my college self that made poor decisions such as going to Tijuana and the trouble I could have been in. As time went on, however, Mr. Bear’s aunt (who was born in late November and started Kindergarten at four) and my mom (also a November baby and started Kindergarten at four) assured us that she would be fine.
A few months ago, we took Allie to her pre-K physical with her pediatrician. The nurse did her exam and Allie was being silly. She acts silly when she is uncomfortable or with new people. She kept asking if they were going to give her a shot. The nurse asked several questions and told us the doctor would be in. The doctor began her exam, then asked Allie if she could write her name and draw a square on the tissue paper on the exam table. Allie began trying to write her name on the wrinkled paper. The pen was not working on the tissue paper and Allie told her she did not know if she could draw a square.
The pediatrician then asked me if she was in preschool. Yes. Does her preschool teacher think she is ready for Kindergarten? Yes, she is fine. She was very abrupt. I grabbed a pen and paper out of my purse and asked Allie to write her name, which she gladly did, with a backward ‘S’ in her name. The doctor seemed underwhelmed by her performance. She then told me that I need to work on writing her name at home with her. I was taken by surprise and speechless. I think my response was something like, “Yes, ma’am.” She was not listening anyhow. She was also in and out in five minutes.
Then, they strong-armed me into giving her an “optional” vaccination that I refused on the previous visit.
Allie writes her name at home all the time. She draws and paints all the time. She had been doing so for well over a year at that point. However, she does it on paper, without someone that may give her a shot hovering over her, waiting for her quick response. I felt like a failure. Was I making the right choice? Is there ever a way to know? After all, does anyone ever fail Kindergarten? No, really. Does anyone?
Yesterday, I was driving over to pick Allie up from preschool, when I heard that the California Senate voted to delay Kindergarten age from the December 2nd cut-off to September 1. Had this decision been made last year, Allie would be home another year with me. The doubt crept in. The choice has been made, however, and we are steadfast in our decision.
We will be taking Allie to Kindergarten, entourage in tow. Both grandmothers will be here for the big day and I wonder if they are going to be here for my support, or Allie’s, when the big day arrives. Daddy will be taking the day off to walk her to the door. I will have the support of friends and family, but will bring plenty of tissues. Oh, my heart.
Anyone have any stories of delaying or not delaying Kindergarten? How did you decide? What was the result? Do you have any regrets?