Friday, September 2, 2011

I'm Not Ready for Kindergarten

I've had so many random thoughts for posts running through my head this week. I've even started drafting several posts. But, I just can't seem to complete my thoughts. I hit a roadblock---either I can't figure out how to connect what I want together, I think it shouldn't be shared with the world, or I get distracted. I have been so easily distracted this week. I know it is my emotions getting the better of me. That is part of my lack of posting and reading blogs too. I have found myself getting angry with other posts or annoyed. I've been yelling at the news a lot too. I didn't want my emotional opinions out for the world to read because I might regret them after I return to normal.

So, you may be wondering what has my emotions in a tizzy. Even if you don't wonder, I'm going to say it: I'm freaking out about kindergarten starting on Tuesday. I worry that TRex is not ready. I worry that his dislike for coloring or writing will hurt him. I worry that at 17 months old he knew all of his letters, upper and lower case, and he was beginning to recognize words. But today, he can barely recognize his own name and he doesn't know all of the letters. I worry this is going to hurt him, even though I was told it would not be a problem. I worry that he won't make friends. That he will be scared. That I won't be able to protect him from how horrible children are; how they ostracize, make fun, and hurt others. I worry that he will be the one ostracizing, making fun, and hurting someone else.

But my true over-riding concern is that I have failed him in the past. I allowed him to forget his letters. I didn't force him to write or color when he didn't want to. I kept him in his long-time preschool until last December.  I tried to keep him emotionally stable to the detriment of his learning because I couldn't handle two children in crisis at the same time. What if I do it all again when the stakes are so much higher? I've been worried all week about what will happen to TRex when DQ ends up in the hospital this winter. What if I revert to parenting in the moment, concentrating on treading water, and can't propel TRex forward like he needs? And TRex does need that push. He often lets his fears prevent him from moving forward. What if I'm incapable of pushing when he needs it most? What if TRex starts having problems at school? What if he is bullied or doesn't have any friends or is miserable? What if I miss it because I'm distracted? Will I fail my son again?

Yes, a lot of my fears about kindergarten have been very self-centered. But when it comes down to it, I have to be the parent to two children and sometimes it feels like TRex gets the lesser end of the parenting because he is not sick and not delayed. I don't want him to feel that way. He deserves a mom who is just as attentive to him, who will pick up on the problems that happen at school. And now that he is in kindergarten, there will be so many more factors that I cannot control, cannot know all about. I won't be able to protect him the way that I want. And I'm so afraid that nobody else will care or know if he is hurting.

I have been paralyzed with this fear that I will let TRex down . . . until today.

Today, I sent TRex's new kindergarten teacher an email, explaining his backstory and his connection to his sister. I explained how he gets upset when she is sick and in the hospital and how we never know when it will be. I explained the seriousness of DQ's conditions and how TRex is just beginning to understand it as well. And then I told her if TRex started acting out or withdrawing from class that it would likely be related to his sister.

It felt good to send the email. I knew then that TRex's teacher at least would know what to expect. I didn't hold out much hope of getting a response on the Friday before the holiday.  (My experience with teachers in our public school system has been limited to DQ's special ed preschool teacher from last year and she left me angry on several occassions and NEVER responded to any messages, by any means sent, until I had tried to communicate with her about 5 times.) But, even if TRex's teacher never responded, I felt better knowing I had started the ball rolling. I planned to follow up by mentioning my email on the first day and go from there.

But I didn't need to do any of that!  TRex's teacher responded to me within an hour, thanking me for letting her know. She wants to set up a meeting for the Mad Scientist, myself, the principal, and her to discuss and make a contingency plan. I already love this woman! Maybe this school year won't be so hard after all.


  1. I recognized so many of my fears in you. Fears that I had as the mother of two healthy boys. Not to say that our situations are the same but the fears are--being bullied, shut out, not being able to do the work, not wanting to do the work. Most of my fears were never realized. They just didn't happen. I will share, however, that our oldest son never colored or drew in school. From pre-school through elementary school, I was the mother with nothing on the refrigerator door. Anything to do with art, had nothing to do with A. What does he do today? He is an artist and animator with a master's degree. He took his first art class in college and we were shocked!

    I'm thrilled to hear about TRex's teacher. She sounds like someone every parent wants for their child. There's nothing like getting off on the right foot the first day of school.


  2. It sounds like you've a got a winner! It's so awesome when you wind up with a really great teacher!

  3. So glad that TRex will have a teacher who is so responsive and looking to make sure he is taken care of.

    Despite all the stress in your family, all your feelings are normal for ANY mom! We all worry about those things. Just remember what an awesome kid you have and know that you and his teacher will help him grow and be resilient and become independent. And don't worry - his letters will come back to him. :)

    Good luck to him!

  4. I haven't been here in a while! I see we are both about to embark on the Kindergarten adventure! Your feelings are totally normal, and in fact, indicative of your deeply rooted love and concern for your child.

    PS Love the look of your site!


Having a child with a CHD is like being given an extra sense---the true ability to appreciate life. Each breath, each hug, each meal is a blessing when you've watched your child live off a ventilator, trapped in an ICU bed, being fed through a tube. Each minute is a miracle when you've watched your child almost die and come back to you.
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