Tuesday, March 10, 2009


There are many times in parenting when you find yourself in flat denial about something that really…you can’t deny.

But darned if you don’t try anyway.

A few weeks ago, we got a notice that we were going to have an IEP meeting for Captain Adventure yesterday to discuss his NUH-UH!!!!!

Ahem. Let me try that again.

To discuss his transfer from NUH-UH!!!!!!!!!

Sigh. What I meant to say was, To discuss his transfer from preschool to NUH-UH NUH-UH NUH-UH I CAN’T HEAR YOU LA LA LA LA LA!!!!!

Argh. One more time…to discuss his transfer from-preschool-to-kindergarten-there-I-said-it.

I admit I have a real problem understanding that my baby boy is actually going to be turning five this summer.

Which means he “should” be going to kindergarten next year.

But honestly, even in my most firmly denial-oriented moments, I can’t fathom the idea of him actually being in kindergarten. I mean, first of all, he’s my baby. Fourth-n-final. My wee one.

And then the fact that he still behaves like a much younger child sort of adds to the overall impression that he’s still just a baby. Barely out of toddlerhood.

But he’s not. He’s almost five. And that’s when my other children started kindergarten, because that is how it is done out here, for the most part.

I was nervous but happy when the others went off to kindergarten. It was exciting. I hoped they’d make some friends, and have fun, and get a good grounding for the rest of their school careers. I worried a little.

For Captain Adventure, though, I worry a lot.

Oh sure, in some ways, he’s totally ready. He can count to thirty. He knows all his letters, upper and lower case. He can name just about any shape you care to toss at him. He does extremely good drawings (albeit with the pencil clutched in his fist rather than pinching it like most of us do). He can memorize entire books and repeat them verbatim. He can even recognize a few words, and signs his name to his papers and artwork unprompted and (mostly) correctly.

Cognitively, in other words, he’d be just fine in a kindergarten setting.

But his language skills are still sadly lacking. The speech therapist estimates that to an third party listener, only about 30% of what he says would be intelligible. I have to agree with him, because I am a first party, his biggest fan and favorite mommy, and yet I understand only about half of what he says – and frankly, a lot of that is based on context more than actually understanding the sounds he’s making.

And his social skills are…ahem. Yeah. Well.

He’d be that kid who hit your kid in the head with a train because he didn’t want to share. When ‘transitioning’ from one activity to another, if he doesn’t wanna, there’s a 50% chance he’ll fall to the floor and make displeased grunting noises instead of going quietly to the next station.

There’s a 40% chance he will also kick off his shoes.

And if he does kick off his shoes, there’s a 75% chance that he will kick them off at someone. (Like the teacher.)

His tantrums have decreased significantly, but they still happen about 20% of the time. Massive meltdowns that make the average Terrible Two tantrum look like something cute.

And there’s even a slight chance, slight but there, that he will bite the teacher foolish enough to try to get him back on his feet and engaged in the classroom’s business again.


He can’t mainstream. Not yet. He needs a tiny class size, and teachers who are trained to understand his behavior.

And to duck quickly. And to realize when the mere grinding of teeth is about to turn to gnashing of their flesh.

So it was with some trepidation that I went to this IEP. I was afraid they were going to try to say something like, “OK, he’s good to go! We’ll just send him back to his home school next year, thanks for dropping by!”

I’d have to get rather firm at that point, and I dislike confrontation.

But (un)fortunately, they agree with me that he is only ready in certain ways. (If there was ever a time I hoped to be proven wrong…gosh no, Tama, he’s absolutely exactly like a typically developing kindergartener in every way! Silly mommy!)

So next year, he will start kindergarten…in a special needs environment with certain activities shared with mainstream kids, but most education happening in a tiny classroom with other kids at his level.

And teachers who know when to duck.

…still feels weird, though. My baby, going to kindergarten.

Time surely does keep on moving, doesn’t it…whether you care to keep up or not, it just.keeps.going.


Anonymous said...

ChaosGirl starts kindergarten this year too. She wants to ride the big yellow bus. The one without seat belts and who-knows-what sort of older kids doing who-knows-what in the seat across from her. Noooooooo I say.

froggiemeanie said...

We have junior kindergarten here so Claire has been in 'real' school for almost a year. All those teensy weensy four-year-olds in the same school as kids in grade eight. Keeps a mother up nights (she got a great teacher though...whew).

Best of luck to your captain!

Anonymous said...

I have a very strong memory that it seemed like FOREVER for me to get from kindergarten through graduating from high school. Those same 12 years fly by now at mock speed. Go figure!

His IEP sounds like a great plan. Hope it will be a good year for you all.