Oh. This kid. This one. He’s given us quite the run around. Kindergarten started this year and its been quite the adventure. He was so excited. SO. EXCITED. He loves to learn. And now. Now there would be school. And at school we learn more stuff Mommy. And then, three days in. I don’t want to go to school. I hate school. School is dumb. Please don’t make me go.
Its the transition, of course. That’s what everyone thinks at first. Its just getting used to the whole day and the new group and new teachers. After all, we sent him to the Alfie Kohn progressive education school which focused on project based learning. Which would be perfect for him, right? And we observed him in class and we talked to his teachers. And. From the start though, we could see it wasn’t working. But we couldn’t tell them why really. We had some vague ideas, things that we do at home, but we could see they wouldn’t work in the classroom really. And then we had his first conference. And that’s when it really started to fall apart. He won’t join the group. He doesn’t tell us what’s going on. He has really great ideas, but they’re disruptive. We don’t know what to do with him. Does he play with other children well at home (why yes, he does. Lots). We need him to conform. Excuse me, madame progressive ed, you need him to what? OK, let’s deal with things. We told them from our observations he didn’t seem engaged. Maybe he needed to move more. Could they incorporate some of his ideas in the classroom? They asked if we’d had him tested. For what? No one would really say. They recommended that he repeat kindergarten. None of this fit with the child we knew, but we couldn’t seem to find an effective way to communicate this with them. Everyone was very frustrated.
Here I should back track. The small one was early. Really early. Born at 29 weeks via c-section because of placental abruption. Spent 6 weeks in the NICU with brain bleeds and Brady’s and all those things that preemies have. But. Still. He was fine. Despite all the warnings (the NICU is famous for not promising parents anything and letting you know all the things that could go wrong) he was fine. Hit all his milestones, passed all the early intervention tests, seemed OK. But still. Part of me has always been waiting for the shoe to drop. For it all to catch up with us. So when this hit, even though lots of things didn’t add up, part of me thought, well OK. Here we go. Now we find out what the damage was from that early start.
So we took him to some specialists. Talked with a child psychologist friend about what we saw vs. what the teachers were saying. Did a full sensory evaluation. Both said he’s fine. You know he’s fine. This is not the problem. However, have you considered having him tested for gifted? (No, actually we hadn’t. I mean I love him and all and sure he’s exceptionally good at science and music, but he’s not been off inventing a cure for cancer in the basement or anything. I mean he’s not even really reading yet). So we had him tested. Yes. Gifted. Sorry, the test took longer than expected because he kept doing so well. Do not, under any circumstances hold this child back a year, he should never have any problems in school. Wait, what?
So now we figure out what this means. How do we advocate for the learning of our little electronics obsessed, marble run loving, show me how it works, crazy drummer, perfectly normal little boy? How do we find the right school for him? Because right now he thinks he’s doing something wrong. That’s what kindergarten has done for him. He doesn’t want to get in trouble. He can’t make them understand what he’s trying to tell them. He’s five. He’s fine. He’s better than fine. He’s ahead of the curve. That’s what his early arrival was letting us know. Hey Mom and Dad, guess what? I’m always going to surprise you and you’re going to race to catch up for the next eighteen years. There are worse things to worry about. And whew. Gifted. That’s what’s “wrong” with him.Maybe now I can stop waiting for the big thing we’ve missed.