Sunday, October 05, 2014

Settling into our new routine

Today Andrew told me that he was able to reach the soap and tap in the bathroom to wash his hands without even having to stand on his tippy toes.  It reminded me of Raffi’s song, ‘I wonder if I’m growing.’  Hey, I can reach the tap now for the very first time today!  Awww, my little boy really is growing up...and he’s not so little anymore!

He’s really enjoying Kindergarten so far.  He just completed his first week in full time Kindergarten, although he missed Friday due to illness.  I started coming down with a cold on Wednesday and he started feeling symptoms of it Thursday evening.  He decided Friday morning he couldn’t possibly go to school given how he felt, but I thought it was important to at least TRY so off we went to drop him off (it was a bit easier because Margaret had gone downtown to my mil’s for the day, so I didn’t have to haul out the giant stroller to take Andrew to his class with just Emily to carry!)  Sure enough when his teacher asked if he was well enough to stay he said he wasn’t, and I brought him home, but at least we showed up and didn’t give the impression of not even trying.  Quite a few people in the class were sick and the teacher knew I already had a cold, so it wasn’t a surprise that Andrew came down with it.

I really love his teacher and I’m just so pleased with how everything is going so far with Andrew’s own experience at school, as well as mine there.  I was bummed when we found out he didn’t get accepted to the school we actually live WAY closer to, because I liked the convenience factor of having it so close.  But the one we’re in the catchment area of, even if we ARE right on the EDGE of the catchment area, literally takes 2 minutes to drive to (maybe 5 if there’s traffic!)  It’s not a big deal AT ALL.  Walking would take a lot longer but it’s not that far...I just haven’t done it yet usually due to weather, but also because Andrew’s still getting used to the long days and I don’t think he’d fair too well if we added walking 20 minutes to and from school to his day at this point.  But we’ll get there eventually!  I do want the extra exercise for myself, although truthfully just the act of getting everyone ready when normally I wouldn’t, and getting out of the house every day like that has made a world of difference for me already.

I’ve joined the parents’ council to feel like I’m more connected to what Andrew’s doing, and I’ve already met some really nice people through that as well as a few of the parents’ of other kids in Andrew’s class and the other Kindergarten class.  Everyone I’ve encountered at the school has been SO friendly, including the principal, who I have to say I am really impressed by.  He’s super involved with the kids and really takes the time to talk to the kids AND the parents and genuinely seems to care about how everyone is feeling about their school situation.  I honestly couldn’t feel much better about the experience so far.

A few days into school, Andrew’s teacher asked me to stay for a moment after all the kids went into class in the morning, because she had something she needed to talk to me about.  She’d been looking at the kids’ information and noticed that Andrew was born in 2008, which means he technically could have started Kindergarten last year (which we knew).  The way she presented it was that no one legally HAS to do Kindergarten, so he would have to be bumped up to a Grade One class because of his age.  I was dumb-founded, because the way I’d heard it was that you were allowed to hold your child back as long as they’d be 5 when they started school, which Andrew is.  He was ready to do Kindergarten last fall and definitely we COULD have enrolled him then, but it saddened me the thought of him starting school when he was 4, and being 4 for half the year.  If I was a parent who was working full time and Andrew was going to be in daycare if not school, it would be a no-brainer and we’d have put him in Kindergarten earlier.  But because I’m a stay at home mom, it just didn’t make sense for him to start school so young and have that whole year taken away from us being able to just hang out and have that special time together.  He got to have more bonding time with me and his sisters and I don’t regret for one second the decision to hold him back.  I also think it’s advantageous to be one of the oldest kids in the class, which he is because of our decision to start him in school once he was actually 5-almost-6 rather than 4-almost-5.

Sure enough because it had been our choice to hold him back, it wasn’t an issue and he was ‘allowed’ to stay in Kindergarten - which his teacher was happy about, it wasn’t that she wanted him to have to transfer.  Quite the contrary, she wanted to keep him in her class so badly that she’d offered to the principal to make her classroom a K-1 class so she could offer him the Grade One cirriculum despite the rest of the class being in Kindergarten!  But the principal was able to just make a note in his file that he’s indeed meant to be in Kindergarten and all was well.

We were a bit taken aback by the whole questioning of it, though, and started to wonder if maybe we SHOULD bump him up to Grade One.  He’s very mature for his age anyway, and his teacher said she DID think he would be ready to do Grade One should we decide to go that route.  But in the end, after talking it over and me chatting a bit with the principal and his teacher about it, we decided to keep him where he is.  For one thing, he’d lose the advantage of being on the older side if we bumped him up, and as well he’d miss out on what Kindergarten does have to offer.  Even though it’s much more play based than Grade One, that’s not to say they don’t learn a lot, too.  I also have such fond memories of my own Kindergarten experience, and I didn’t want to take that away from Andrew.  Let him just be a kid and when he’s finished Kindergarten he can move onto Grade One and so on, just the way it should be!  It’s heart-warming to know that he’s doing so well, adjusting perfectly, is enthusiastic about school, and has already shown signs of learning and maturing just in the few weeks he’s been in school so far!  He has also made a few friends, which is so wonderful.  

I’ve had a really hard time connecting with others in our community, despite living here for several years.  Part of that is just because of my personality, being so introverted and not really having an easy time putting myself out there.  But I have to say that I feel like we’re a part of a community now through Andrew’s school, and I’m already loving that aspect of it.  It’s forcing me to put myself out there when normally I wouldn’t, and while it’s easier to not have to break out of my shell, it’s been so good for me to be getting out most days of the week, having to chat with other adults, and feeling like there are opportunities for us to be involved with things.  It’s definitely complicated at times with the girls, but for the most part everything is still doable, and they get to enjoy being out and experiencing new things, too.

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