At the end of July, my son Brady will turn four, and about a month afterward, he will begin preschool. These events will recur the following year, except, because he will be five, Brady will move on to Kindergarten.
Redshirting kindergarten is a hot topic in my house and head. I’m not alone, either; I posted a question about keeping kids in preschool an extra year on my WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion Facebook page, and I got so many fantastic responses from parents and teachers; one woman linked to a post she had written about redshirting. It wasn’t one of those obnoxious I’m-pretending-to-be-interested-in-what-you-have-to-say-just-to-pimp-out-my-own-writing kind of link. Elizabeth is legit. She has a Ph.D in clinical psychology, with a specialty in children and families. So, yeah, she knows stuff. Please read her post for the statistics and research; ya ain’t gettin’ that here.
All I have to offer is my anxiety and indecision. My son is smart, yet awkward when it comes to social situations. He’s kind and empathetic, but not outgoing. He often plays by himself while the other kids are playing together, and I’ve witnessed on more than one occasion someone take his toys and he just shrugs his shoulders and moves on.
I know. I should be counting my lucky stars he doesn’t roundhouse the toy thief like I know my daughter would.
Does that mean he’s bully fodder? Does that mean he doesn’t see his own value? Does that mean I’m an absolute nutjob already worrying about this stuff?
Probably not. Nope. Very likely.
My good friend published a children’s book called Everyone is Special But Me. The first time I read it to my Brady, he was very concerned about David, the little boy in the book, because David couldn’t read as well as his friends, couldn’t run as fast, etc. But by the end of the book, David finds what makes him extraordinary, and when we read that part, my son audibly exhaled as if to say, “thank goodness! That kid is special!”
And then he made me read it 23, 923 more times.
I thought Brady just enjoyed the story and adorable illustrations, but it turns out he was really paying attention to each character and his/her strength. When we were at the park, he pointed out a kid who was swinging really high, and said, “He swings higher than me, but I bet he can’t play the guitar like me.”
Holy. Cannoli. He gets it!
And I can’t tell you how my heart just swelled because my little guy was 1. acknowledging the special in someone else and 2. appreciating what he’s good at it, too.
My hope is that Brady’s quiet confidence prevails during his school years, but I would be a big fat liarhead if I said I am ready for said school years.
And there it is: am I redshirting for his benefit or mine?
So many of my Facebook pals cited “they grow up too fast” as a motive to delay elementary school, and while I hadn’t thought of that as being a valid reason, all of a sudden, my future started flashing right before my eyes.
My husband and I are fortunate in that we’ve got the gift of time to make our decision, but my sixth sense (moms, you know the one) and background in education are leaning toward redshirting Brady. I may be singing a different tune at this time next year, but the possibility of an extra year of Brady snuggles is too tempting to ignore.
The author of Everyone is Special But Me is a paid sponsor of WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion, but the story and opinions I’ve shared with you today are for reals, yo. If you want to get a copy of Everyone is Special But Me (and it’s super adorable!) for your kiddo or grandchild, click HERE!