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« Plenty bright enough | Main | Snacks vs. treats »

Road signs


When I imagined life as a mother, I don’t think I understood the gravity of being the one making all of the significant decisions.  There are these moments we experience as parents when we seem to be living in some kind of Robert Frost inspired universe, standing at the fork in the road and trying to discern which path is best. 

We squint into the darkness, the haze and the fog, trying to force a vision of the future into being, searching for signs about which path is right.  Or which is wrong.  And the haze is hazier, the fog thicker, the light dimmer because the one bearing the weight of the consequences of these decisions is not ourselves, but the little people standing beside us on the road, clinging to our pant legs and asking pesky questions like: Where are we going now? What’s going to happen? Why? Should I be afraid?

Maybe what we are looking for as we peer out toward the future are road signs.  DO NOT ENTER would be helpful. WRONG WAY. CLEARLY THIS IS THE BEST CHOICE. There are no such signs for us.

As crazy as it seems, many of us are making decisions right now, in February, for school placement next fall.  For our family, the decisions this year are pedestrian compared to the weighty choices we faced at this time last year. 

A year ago we were debating the possibility of waiting a year to begin kindergarten despite WJ’s chronological age.  He would turn five before the cut-off date at our school and would qualify to enter kindergarten.  But the teachers and school director and even we, his parents, had questions about whether or not WJ was ready. 

I have been working this year to document the effects of our decision, which ultimately was to wait.  But many have asked that pesky question, Why?  Why did we decide to wait for kindergarten?  I would like to unpack that a little in the next few weeks.  The reasons were manifold and complicated.

But for now, I am wondering, what have been the toughest decisions you have been faced with on behalf of another?  How do you decide which road to travel?

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Reader Comments (2)

I am eager to see where your blog leads us over the next few weeks, because admitedly I have thought to myself 'why the wait'. Your blog has been a roadsign for those of us who read it: In everything we do as moms and parents AND LIFE, WE are the roadsigns for each other!

So far, our decisions regarding school have been relatively painless, because our twins were born just past the cut-off. Over a year ago, we tried to put them in preschool in the 3's when they were just a couple of weeks shy of 3, but that didn't work: Our daughter could have stayed, but our son would have to go to the younger class, because he wasn't ready. Our decision was to keep them together, so they both went to their age appropriate class.

This year, because of classroom demographics....all the kids were young in the 4's this year....they were bumped up to the 4's one week before school started. There were 2 classes, instead of 1, so suddenly we had to decide whether to keep them together or not. Luckily, the decision was easy....since our daughter had been bossing her brother all summer, we knew it would be good for him to have his own space. So, they went from being 'not ready' last year to 'skipping a grade' this year: They weren't any more mature or brilliant, but it gave them an extra day to be in school and an opportunity to learn more.

Either way, they still have one more year before they will tackle kindergarten. They will be in pre-k next year, which is great, because it takes a lot of the burden off us....since it's questionable whether our son would be ready, even though his sister would be.

I am certain we will have more difficult decisions to make in the future regarding the twins and whether we will keep them together or separate them. Reading blogs like yours helps to see what's ahead and what options there are.

Thanks for being our 'Next Rest Area - 2 Miles Ahead' sign!!

February 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVicki

The decision to come to Germany recognizing we would be alone alot though daddy is here (He is in the Navy). WE have been here two weeks now and we barely see him but for a few moments at night. We left all the security in preschool friendships and play dates to do this. And yet I knew, JUST FELT NUDGED BY GOD if you will, that daddy at this point in her life (she is 4 and has already gone through one other deployment) NEEDED TO BE ACCESSIBLE.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

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