Second school-related fret (first fret here), I will tell it to you:
My first two kids went to preschool. Rob did a LOT of preschool (3-year-old preschool, 4-year-old preschool, plus Summer Preschool ages 3, 4, and 5) because he had assorted developmental things such as articulation delays, suspected Asperger’s/autism, unusual fears, poor motor skills, etc., etc., and the pediatrician AND the speech therapist AND the pediatric neurologist ALL said he’d benefit from as much peer group stuff as possible.
William did less: just 4-year-old preschool. He didn’t have any of the issues Rob had, and also he’d had a sibling his whole life, and also when he was three years old Paul was out of work and I was supporting us on $8.50/hour, so preschool was out of the question that year anyway.
The twins had no preschool. It’s $300/month for 3-morning/week preschool here. Times two, is $600/month. That’s hard to justify, or even to WANT to justify, particularly for children who have one built-in peer plus three other children in the house.
So the twins started kindergarten cold, in an area where preschool is common (and of course daycare is very common too). Elizabeth is doing great, making friends left and right. She knows everyone’s name in her class, in Edward’s class (there’s a door between the classrooms, and the two classes do some things together), and on their bus. She’s confident and having a wonderful time.
Edward got referred for speech delays AND social skill delays. I know—I KNOW—this is no big deal. He registered on a screening, that’s all. And Rob was in speech therapy for more than three years, so I know it’s not scary, and it’s even the same therapist as before so I know her.
And the social skills thing, maybe it’s kind of early for them to be leaping on it, or maybe it’s nice they’re on top of things, or really I think it’s both. Won’t hurt to get right on it, and nice to have him get a little help if he’s just a bit shy or slow to start.
Nevertheless, it feels like someone yoinked him off the production line for quality control issues. It’s like they’re saying something’s wrong with him—and that it’s something obvious, something they can see at first glance.
And I am fretful because now I’m second-guessing previous decisions: Elizabeth clearly DIDN’T need preschool, but maybe Edward DID. And this is a pointless fret, because we can’t go back and change it, nor could we have seen both outcomes ahead of time and chosen the best one. We chose what we thought was the right and sensible decision—and for all we know it WAS right. Maybe preschool wouldn’t have helped ANYWAY, and we’ve saved $6,000 that we can now set aside for later therapy. But maybe it would have been PERFECT. And round and round I go.
And we had the option to put the twins in the same classroom. We went back and forth, back and forth, and finally decided to go with the school’s default of separating twins. This has worked great for Elizabeth, but maybe Edward would have done better if there was a familiar (and bossy) face to help him out. Or maybe not, because then maybe he would have depended on Elizabeth too much, or maybe this would have made Elizabeth thrive less than she has, or maybe the teacher would have seen his introversion as even more of a “problem” in the face of Elizabeth’s extroversion. But again: we couldn’t see both outcomes ahead of time, and possibly it wouldn’t have been any better the other way anyway.