With summer sadly winding down, I can’t help but apprehensively anticipate the next adventure for my family.
Public School Kindergarten.
Oh boy…Where do I even start?
We held back our twins a year (they were born at the very end of the year) to give them extra time to develop. We had a great preschool experience at Harbor Light Preschool Academy, so in theory they should be ready. But that doesn’t mean that I’m ready! Sometimes I want to scream in panic and crawl into a ball and cry myself to sleep because this is all so new and overwhelming to me.
Am I being dramatic? Maybe, but let me explain why this is a lot for me to process…
Our neighborhood school will have four kindergarten classes. That’s at least 70 students. That’s three more classes and probably 55 more students than I went to school with. Even my husband, who went to public school, had two kindergarten classes in his school with about 40 total students. Crazy!
We all have fears that stem from our own children’s needs and our own experiences. I did not attend public school nor did I attend a traditional Kindergarten. My first memorable school experiences were in a Montessori school where we looped with our teachers for three years straight. On top of that, when you are three-years-old, you are placed in a class with four and five-year-olds. One of the benefits was always having older peers to look up to. Peer modeling is always a plus.
I’m already starting the year off as “that mom.” I wrote a letter to keep my twins together for their first public school year, despite what many people have told me is best for them. I have very good reasons to want them side-by-side, but mostly I’m terrified and dazed by the whole idea of public school. If our school administrators do decide to keep them together, a huge weight will be lifted off my shoulders. At least I’ll know that every day they are together. If they don’t keep them together, then it will be another learning experience for me. Such is life, as they say.
I know deep-down it will work. They are definitely turning into their own tiny little people. This year they started their journey of individuality. My son discovered a serious passion for baseball and my daughter has developed a new love for gymnastics. Obviously he thinks he’s going to play for the Yankees and she wants to collect as many trophies as possible, so it’s definitely been entertaining watching them grow. They have both come so far since they entered this world. I know that’s “supposed to happen” but when it actually does happen to your own kids, it’s still mind-blowing.
What’s going to be the biggest adjustment for me is – we (them and me) all started at the same preschool together, they as students and I as a teacher. I loved having them at the same school. It gave me a sense of security. I knew they were safe and where they were at all times. This kindergarten stuff is a whole new ball game. The last two years at their preschool they had the same teachers and only attended three half-days a week. Compare that with kindergarten – a new building to maneuver, new teachers, new peers, a completely different schedule, and no mommy around the corner! I need to sit down…
Our mini-me’s were born at exactly 35 weeks and together weighed the size of one healthy baby. They were jaundiced, and needed a feeding tube to eat. They were premature and remained in the hospital after we left which was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done as parents and as a family unit. I will never forget sobbing and hugging my husband in the hospital lobby as we had to leave the hospital without them. At home, I continued to cry my eyes out in their empty nursery trying to produce enough milk for them to survive on.
I will never forget the conversation I had with the hospital’s pediatrician. He told us that they could very well be delayed cognitively but we wouldn’t know that until the academic challenges start. We had no way of telling if that was going to happen or not. I, being a Special Education teacher knew this, but hearing this about your own child is so hard to hear, but the proof was right there. I had them early. They were premature. I had multiple sets of steroid shots in the butt to develop their lungs in-case they were born early. We struggled to become pregnant and now you’re telling me my almost perfectly healthy babies could be academically delayed?! Okay fine, great, whatever, but can I take them home now!?
Luckily, we’ve had minimal struggles with our mini-me’s; some sensory issues with him, some significant shyness, gross motor delays, and expressive language issues with her. Regardless, here we go. Not only do I not know how the whole bus thing will go, but I have no idea what to expect. What materials do we need to bring in? When does that list come? I got their names on their backpacks, will this make it easier for someone to steal them and lure them into their creepy minivan? Will they be in the same class? Will they make new friends? Will they get a nice and interesting teacher? Will they meet their everlasting besties? Will they struggle with reading? Math? Sitting still? Will my daughter develop an anxiety disorder if they’re not together? Will my son play so hard at school that he’ll need stitches?
These are my fears. They are real. But I would like to point out that I’m already impressed with the PTA. They planned a handful of play dates for incoming kindergartners and a parents night out all before the school year started. I have already spoken to so many nice and nervous parents. It has made me realize I am not the only mother of an incoming kindergartner.
Here we go! Wish us luck!