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My Kindergarten Son: An Academic Red Shirt

AustinK2The age eligibility cut-off date for kindergarten in our town:  Oct 1st.

Our son’s birthday:  Sept 24th.

The dilemma:  To send or not to send.

Conventional wisdom:  No kid has ever been harmed by being held back, especially boys who are generally thought of as less mature.

My biggest fear:  Not giving my son the opportunity to reach his fullest potential.

My wife’s biggest fear:  Making the wrong decision and it not bearing out until years later.

Continue reading the rest of this post at Dads Round Table…

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Posted by on January 21, 2013 in Brad the Dad, Dads Round Table

 

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The Night Before: An Adventure Story

He didn’t know who to trust.

His senses were dulled, his mind numb.

It’s been too long.  Why hasn’t anyone come to get him yet?  If this was another training exercise he will have to reconsider exactly what-it-is that stops him from quitting this team.

“I don’t need them,” is supposed to come out of his lips at this point, but it never does.

Is it because his head feels like it’s full of jelly, or is it because he truly doesn’t believe those words.  Either way, he has been half-awake for far too long.  If he is going to face the challenges of tomorrow, sleep will be absolutely necessary.  The only problem was that this is exactly what he has been telling himself for the past 3 hours.  It sounds good in theory, but why isn’t it happening?

Fine.  Time to face the problem head on.  It’s another training exercise.

What were his instructions again?  Enter an arena you have never been in before.  Enter it without anybody you know, anybody you trust, or even anybody you know enough not to trust.  Enter it alone.  And alone he will enter, positive that it is all he will ever be.

The only other instruction?  Listen.

This one almost seemed more emphasized than the first.  Listen no matter what and at all costs.  The person that is not you, is right.  Oh, this was made abundantly clear.  So clear that he was purposely staying up an extra 3 hours to remind himself of this most important instruction.  There, that was the reason he couldn’t sleep.  He was practicing.

Practicing freaking out.

It happened without him even knowing, and it happened shortly after that last thought.  Sleep came, and unbeknownst to him, sleep came after 3 minutes of tossing and turning, not 3 hours.  His thoughts became one with the night and the day before him awaited with a patience grace.

The challenging day knows when to arrive and what to do.  It’s coming no matter what.

Right on cue the day came, and not only did he pass his challenge with flying colors, he decided that he wants more.  He wants back into the arena he was desperately trying to avoid last night.  Somehow he forgot about the instructions regarding having fun, making new friends, and playing with new and exciting toys.  He forgot about how exciting the school bus was rumored to be, he forgot about being told that his teacher is awesome.

Turns out, kindergarten is fun.

Just like Mommy and Daddy said it would be.

Brad the Dad can be reached at bradmarmo@gmail.com and found on: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

This article originally appeared on Chelmsford Patch on 9/15/12.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in Brad the Dad, Chelmsford Patch

 

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Kindergarten Orientation, Bus Schedules and AM/PM Controversy, Oh My!

My eyes have been opened.

I realize now that I know very little about a significant part of parenting – school. That this realization came on the heels of kindergarten orientation is probably equally shocking to me as it is funny to many of you.

“Aaah, Brad the (relatively new) Dad, your articles have been so cute with all your talk about toys, naps, brotherly bonding, dinner time blues, and diapers…but you haven’t seen anything yet. Muwhahaha.”

Ok, maybe you thought this without the evil laugh at the end (visually in my head I also added dark skies and flashing lightning), but your point is accurate – I really haven’t seen anything yet.

Like work for many adults, school pretty much dominates the hours of a kid’s day Monday through Friday. Speaking solely on my own experience, life basically becomes school during the day and playing with friends after. Parents are there for food and there is not much else beyond that in a kid’s world besides the nuisances of homework and brushing teeth.

So, what’s really happening is that my child is about to embark on an enormous adventure that will dominate the next two decades of his life. Wow.

But skipping back to orientation night, I honestly wasn’t prepared for the complexity of information received. Bus schedules are weird and confusing, the drop off and pick-up procedures sound more like engineering flow charts than anything else, safe lunch practices to avoid allergy related issues are appreciated as much as they are scary, and the medical information and requirements necessary simply to be allowed to enter kindergarten, while logical, also carry a bit of – whoa, really?

I found myself often looking over to my wife asking questions with my eyes, “You knew about that, right?”

“So wait, what happens again if we are running late to pick him up?”

“Did she just say head lice?”

But then the fun started. A big change was just implemented this year in our school system and it was not welcomed with open arms by all. In the past, all kindergartners who started out on the AM schedule would switch to the PM schedule half way through the year, and vice versa. This year, not so much. Your child will either be on the AM or PM schedule for the entire year and there is nothing you can do about it.

As a simple minded male, this really doesn’t bother me and part of me prefers it for the consistency aspect. With respect to moms, I can understand your frustration and emotional reactions. We all want what is best for our children and in most cases moms are much more in tune with those needs than dads. I believe this stems from the nurturing nature of moms. Dads? In general we are “see problem, fix problem” creatures and our nurturing oftentimes comes in the form of throwing our children to the wolves and gauging their reaction.

Would my child learn better in the morning? Maybe, but he might be on the PM schedule so we will need to buck up and figure it out.

I know there is so much more to it than this, but hey, you’re reading a dad’s column and a dad’s point of view.

To sum this all up, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world of parental puzzle solving that lies before us. Whatever comes our way my wife and I will deal with as we see best for our children. You can only “play the game” with the hand you are dealt, and if you want a different hand, make sure you are involved in the shuffling process.

Friends tell me that having open communication with teachers is vital and I will gladly take that advice to the bank. Ultimately, I look forward to the challenge and hope to always keep in perspective that as long as my boys are having fun and learning, the rest is in my head.

‘Brad the Dad’ can be reached at bradmarmo@gmail.com. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter at keyword: readbradthedad

This article originally appeared on Chelmsford Patch on 6/2/12.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in Brad the Dad, Chelmsford Patch

 

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