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Kindergarten decision weight goes to Big Guy

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published Feb. 4, 2008, thehive.modbee.com   

His smile was wider than a kid at Toys R Us as he pressed his nose to the library window. “Look at all those books! Can we get some today?” Big Guy asked.

“Not today,” I said.

Before he could work up a decent protest, though, he spotted the multipurpose room and ran to leave nostril prints on that glass. “That’s the biggest stage on <EM>EARTH!”  he shouted. “Do you think I’ll get to sing there?”

“Wouldn’t surprised me,” I replied, invoking the parental non-committal committal learned long ago.

“Can I go see the teacher?” he asked.

“Not now. She’s busy helping the kids study.”

“Oh. OK. Mom, what’s ‘study’”

Thus began Big Guy’s journey to kindergarten, with our trip today to pick up registration papers. It’s an issue that’s pretzelized me for almost a year, as I fretted over options and tried to calculate the optimal combination of academics and logistics.

In the end, I ignored the calculations and went with best for Big Guy. That’s why, instead of driving across town or across the county, we picked up papers just blocks from our house.

Our neighborhood school. Remember that concept? Back in the day before charters and magnets and inter- and intra-district transfers, it was the only game in town. You didn’t even think about it – you knew the day your kids were born what school they would go to.

The friends I went to kindergarten with were the ones I’d played with since we’d moved into our house at age 2. Our gang stuck together for a decade, until I screwed things up by moving at age 12.

The guys, though, have been road warriors since they were little boogers, because I picked a preschool closer to my office than my house. With Big Guy’s medical history in particular, I wanted to be able to get there in a hurry if I had to. I’ve only needed to twice, and once was a bit bogus. The other was for Big Guy’s first asthma attack, so that incident alone validated my decision.

Sometime last fall, though, it started to bug Big Guy that he never sees his friends outside school. And every morning of late, he’s gazed longingly at one particular house just blocks from his preschool. “Mommy, I wish we lived there. Then we could walk to school.”

The guys already know our neighborhood school well. We’ve visited its playground since back when all Big Guy did was scream, eat and fill his diaper. Big Guy likes the idea of it, if for no other reason than his favorite cousin goes there. She’s enough older than him that he’ll never see her, but I bet he never quits looking.

It made the decision a bit easier knowing that our neighborhood school is no slouch academically – it’s well above the state average in students scoring proficient or above in English and math and its similar schools ranking is decent, but not spectacular.

There is one other school that I’d consider, because it has a better academic record and, as a happy coincidence, also is blocks from our house. He was no chance of getting in this year, though – the kindergarten slots are filled.

Logistically, either school in our neighborhood could become a nightmare resulting in an entire lunch hour blown driving Mr. Big Guy.

Oh, well. It will only be for nine months. I seem to recall another nine-month stint of carting him all over the place. At least this time, he’ll ride in the back seat instead of in the front with his foot excavating my rib cage.

I won’t know for another 13 years if this decision is the right one. It feels right right now, though. In the end, logic and calculations failed and I had to listen to my gut.

And to Big Guy.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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