Tomorrow I officially become the mother of a kindergartener.
For those who are not up to speed: my daughter is a big girl. She was born a big girl and she stayed that way, despite people’s predictions that she would eventually slow down. She is 4 years old, will not be 5 until the end of October, and she’s 4′ tall and weighs 60 lbs. This makes her approximately the size of a 7-year-old. The kid’s going to be able to kick my ass by the time she’s 10.
Not only is she physically advanced but she’s mentally precocious, as well. She was 22 months when she started preschool so she was put into the 1-year-olds’ class. By the time she turned 2 we had secured special permission to move her up a class. There she stayed, a year ahead, and did wonderfully.
This left us with a bit of a problem at the end of last school year, however. The cutoff date in this district is September 1st. Incoming kindergarteners had to be 5 by that date. However, Robert and I and Madalyn’s teachers all felt she was a special case and should be allowed in this year. Making sure kids are not bored in school is something I feel very very very strongly about. I was bored in school and I slacked off and goofed around and got crap grades. As in, I barely graduated high school. So there was NO way I was going to allow my child to be told she had to repeat a year of pre-K and have her start kindergarten next year, already bored stiff because she knew everything they were studying. That, in my opinion, would have been the absolute worst way for her to start her school career.
Well, it took some maneuvering, but we accomplished our goal. Madalyn had to have an actual evaluation down at the school. As expected, she passed with flying colors. She tested about a year ahead of her actual age, though the eval. lady said Madalyn may have done better on a few of the questions but was distracted by someone who had walked into the room.
Now we do know that it’s not just academics that make a child ready for kindergarten. There’s the emotional and social aspect, too. And I can tell you, without a doubt, that she is most definitely on the same level as the rest of the kindergarteners. There’s not a doubt in my mind. I trust her preschool teachers wholeheartedly and I believe that, if there was an area in which Madalyn wasn’t ready, they would have told me. But her pre-K teacher told us at the end of the year to insist that she enter kindergarten this year. So it’s not just my imagination.
And I do have to say that, although this had nothing to do with my insistence on getting her in, it does feel good to be vindicated. I am not the hysterical mother who thinks her four-year-old is a genius just because she can write her name. I’m not some pushy overachiever who is trying to force this through as some kind of status symbol. I know my daughter and I know what’s best for her and that’s my only concern.
As for how I feel about my baby starting school? Well, I don’t know. It’s kind of unbelievable, on the one hand. Me, the mother of a school-age kid? That’s new and different! On the other hand, Miss Mad is so big and so smart she has seemed like a kindergartener for a couple of years now! Plus, as I mentioned, she has been in preschool since she was 22 months, so I don’t have that first-time separation anxiety (and neither does she, which was my entire point in putting her in preschool that young to begin with). Mostly I’m just excited for her because I think she will do wonderfully. Although I do admit that I kind of wish I could grab onto time and slow it down a bit.