Thursday, August 14, 2008

To Be Certain. It is a Yellow Jersey For Beau. Not a Red Shirt.

Monday was the first day of school for the kids.

In particular, it was Beau's first day of kindergarten.

Beau is not new to school.

He went to the 2 and 3 yr old mother morning out programs and also Ga Prek. Beau has also been receiving speech therapy since he was 2. So you would think with all this schooling Beau would be well prepared for kindergarten. And he probably would be if kindergarten was how it was when I went to kindergarten. But kindergarten these days is like how first grade was for my generation.

Oh geez, my generation. (rolling eyes at self) I have long resisted even thinking that phrase and now here it just clicked right off my finger tips into a blog post. Ugh. I might as well be 78 not 37 using that expression.

Anyway, I started worrying about sending my son with a late summer birthday to kindergarten before he was even born. Most people around here redshirt their boys with summer or spring birthdays. Not so much girls but it is almost assumed that if your child is a boy and is born in June, July, or August you will be keeping them back a year. And I have to admit that when Carmella (a February birthday) was in kindergarten most of the boys that were not redshirted struggled. But I personally think the redshirting--especially simply because of a child's birthday--is creating a viscous cycle and pretty soon kindergarten is going to be exactly like second grade.

This is not to say that some children SHOULD wait. But just because they are a boy and born in July doesn't mean they shouldn't go to kindergarten when they are 5.

In Beau's case I had the extra quandary of his speech problem. On the one hand going to kindergarten would mean more consistent speech therapy. On the other not going would be mean a compromise in therapy. And Beau had, after all, successfully completed Ga Pre K. I just didn't see the point of him repeating prek and missing out on valuable speech therapy. He did say, on many occasions, that pre k was boring.I decided, if need be, repeating kindergarten would be more beneficial for him--even if it carried a social stigma--than repeating prek.

It should also be mentioned that Beau pretty much got in trouble everyday at pre k. Not trouble like you might think. Mostly it was for talking-- like during nap time. Problem was that Beau didn't take naps and an hour nap was a ridiculous amount of time for them to expect him to sit still and be quiet. I couldn't do that. And at the very least, it is hard to discipline a child with a speech disorder for talking too much. I mean, I've spent the last 4 years of Beau's life encouraging him to speak and to say it correctly and to keep saying it. So I am sure it has been confusing for him to hear: Say this, repeat it again. No. Now be quiet. Talk, now be quiet for 6 1/2 hours, unless you raise your hand.

Lastly, it may be easy for some parents to redshirt their children. Their children won't even know. But Beau? Beau knows all about kindergarten and that when you are 5? You go to kindergarten. Beau has been dying to go to kindergarten since Carmella went.There was no getting around not sending Beau without Beau knowing that and being pissed off about it. The kid, if nothing else, knows when he is getting the shaft. I think it might be a second kid thing.

So Monday morning I sent Beau off to kindergarten. And I was nervous. I don't think I was filled with the same sort apprehension I think other parents have when they put their kid on the bus for kindergarten but more of "am I doing the right thing?" anxiety. I will be probably checking myself with that for the rest of Beau's academic life. As I think Beau is going to have an uphill battle with academics.

I did too. But I made it. I did better than I think anyone ever expected me to. I am sure Beau will too.

So yes. Definitely. So far, I think yes. Yes, I have made the right choice for Beau.

Beau is lucky. Luckier than most kindergartners.

Beau is lucky (or unlucky depending on how you look at it) because almost the entire staff at the school knows him.

Why do they know him?

Well first because he is Beau and he does things like go up to strangers and says "My name is Beau. Now you know my name. We are not strangers." But mostly because for the past 2 years his speech therapy has been at the school. He has eaten in the cafeteria, had temper tantrums about NOT going to speech in the front hall, played on the playground, been to assemblies, been up and down all the halls, he's been to the fall festival, used the big kid bathrooms, been to the media center, the school store, to the office etc.

And don't forget.
Big sister Carmella goes to this school.

And remember.
Carmella has the reputation of being the nice girl, the good girl. People like Carmella and Carmella adores her brother. So all of Carmella's classmates from kindergarten and first grade know Beau. The boys think he is funny and the girls think he is adorable. To say the least, Beau has definitely asserted his presence at the school even if he hasn't been a student there until now.

But the best of all is his teacher.
Ms. B, his teacher, was also Carmella's kindergarten teacher. He knows all about being B's "Busy Bee". Heck, Beau has actually participated in about half of homework I know Ms. Bartlett will be sending home since he couldn't stand to be left out when Carmella did her homework.

Not to mention. Ms. B has a soft spot for Beau. I remind her about how naughty he can be. How strong willed he can be.
And she says, "But, he is so cute that he can get away with it."
I warn her to not let him know she thinks that.
She tells me not to worry.
She knows Beau.
He will be fine, she says.

And so far, she is right. He is doing great. Though, Beau did admit to me that he is being a bit shy at kindergarten. I asked if he was going to keep up the shy facade and he said he was. At parent orientation last night I warned them about the shyness and then tried to press Ms. B and her assistant Ms. S for dirt on Beau but they laughed me off. They had nothing. He is good.

And, I am already getting work home. He is drawing. He is cutting. He is pasting. He is writing. He is learning. He is even letting me read stories to him. Generally, Beau is very emphatic that I can only read science books or bird catalogs to him. But last night I got to read Skippy John Jones and he laughed the whole time.

So maybe kindergarten will be Beau's thing. I still have some doubts but I can't argue with the smiles and the excitement I see on his face.

And lastly, I should also mention that my kids and I seem to be fighting childhood obesity single handedly. I know that is probably a boastfully gross statement but the first day of school they rode their bikes to school. There were only 4 bikes that day on the bike rack. One was Carmella's, one was Beau's, one was Carmella's BFF Reina and the 4th was some 5th grader's.

Tuesday I noted a 5th and 6th bike. A set of brothers had been added to our peleton. Wednesday I noted yet another bike, obviously an upper classman since it was a mountain bike. Wednesday, I also noted more people walking their kids and even a few parents on bikes.

Yesterday, Beau recruited our neighbor to ride with us and today when we racked our bikes there were 11 bikes on the rack. They barely had room. The school is going to have to spring for another bike rack soon at this rate.

Oh, and you know that Beau is SO proud to be the only kindergartner that rides his bike to school.


  1. I know that you are proud of Beau. And he is adorable! Let me just say, I am amazed at what an obnoxiously, ridiculously, fantastic mom you are!

    My perspective is skewed, of course, as it is based on us at 18. I will never stop being amazed, though, at your parenting and, of course, your athleticism.


  2. Yeah Beau! Have a great year! You have to know that I am soooo excited that he has the bald eagle we gave him for his birthday!

  3. Nat, you are a really great mom and Beau is going to do so well in school this year! I agree with Ms. B. too - he IS so cute he could get away with almost anything!

    keep it up Beau! You're kickin some butt!

  4. skippy john jones rocks. we love that in our house. so funny.

    good luck to beau!

  5. Yay, Beau! I'm glad you got Mrs. B and that they love him already. And, the biking, priceless. : )