Friday, February 18, 2011
Thank you for all the comments on my last post about possibly giving Kate an extra year.  Y'all gave me a lot to think about.  Most of comments were very thoughtful and insightful.  I still have no idea what we will do with Kate.  However, your comments really helped me clarify my own thoughts and opinions on the topic.  I always find that when I really listen to other people's perspective and opinions (even when they differ greatly from mine), I am better able to really discern my own ideas.  And I read each and every comment a few times.

Kate is smart.  She is confident.  She has incredible fine motor skills. I have no doubt that she could handle kindergarten next year.  It is not really kindergarten that I worry about.  It is down the road.  Where we live it is very, very common to "give kids an extra year" if they are a summer birthday (Our cut-off is August 31st).  I now know that is not as common in other parts of the country.

So, Kate could be between 12-18 months younger than some of her grade level peers. To me, that can spell a lot of trouble down the road.  Even though she is a third child and she has two older brothers, Kate is very "young." We don't expose her to a lot. She is naive and sweet. She is very thoughtful and nurturing. She is not street smart like some of the girls I see her age. She is not at all cliquey or socially savvy.  She is a young 4.  In some ways, she is incredibly perceptive and mature but in other ways not so much.

She will be exposed to sexual issues, drinking, peer pressure, driving,..etc at a younger age if we send her along next year.  I have read from many people about how challenging that can be. Will is in middle school right now and I see what a mine field middle school is (that could be a whole other post).  I can see where it would be easier for Kate to navigate her way through middle school as an older girl in her grade rather than a younger girl.  Just today some boys at Harry's school raised their voices at Kate and she crumbled to tears on the playground.  She was very intimidated. It paralyzed her and some older girls had to come find me to come and get her.

I am not at all a helicopter parent. In fact, some of my friends think I give my kiddos too much independence sometimes.  And I am not trying to give her a leg up on sports or academics.  IQ does not change depending on grade level.  I just want her to be emotionally equipped to deal with all the pressures that kids face today.  I just want her to feel like she does not have to "grow up" quicker because kids in her grade have.  One commenter spoke of how she was the youngest and still wanted to ride her bike and play with her American Girl dolls but all the other girls had moved on and were into boys and dating.  That made me sad.  I don't want her to have to act grown up before she is ready.

Another commenter said this..."would you rather give her an extra year of childhood or an extra year of adulthood?"  I thought that was a powerful way to think about it.

I started kindergarten at 4 and I did not turn 5 until mid-November.  So, I was very young for my grade.  I went to college at 17 and graduated at 21. I had my Ph.D and was a professor at a university by 25.  So, I know being one of  the youngest in a grade can be fine too. But times are very, very different now.  And Kate is different.  So, I know it might sound like my mind is made up but it is not.  One day I feel like she is ready and the next day I feel like she is not.

Changing subjects here....

We have spent the week at doctor's offices for various family issues.  Yesterday, we spent 2 and 1/2 hours at an allergist.  They did a CAT scan on Harry and saw a major sinus infection that was one of the worst they have ever seen.  Among a host of other things, he will be on a very strong antibiotic for 21 days.  The allergist told us that we really need to find another family for our dog Snickers.  Will and Harry both seem to be very allergic to him.  The doctor thinks the allergy is triggering the frequent migraines in both boys too.  Kate is DEVASTATED. She has cried her little eyes out. She told me a few weeks ago that she and Snickers were twins because they were both "adopted" and they both had "foster" mommies.  Snickers was a rescue dog and we thought he was hypo-allergenic like Scout.  He is not.

When we told Kate that we might have to give Snickers away.  She said, "We cannot give him away.  We adopted him.  He is our family.  We love him."  Our hearts are breaking.  Snickers is making our boys very sick.

Some of our very good friends that live a block away are seriously considering taking Snickers for us.  They said they would possibly be his "Godparents" and raise him for us.  We would have liberal visitation.  Please pray that this transition works well.  I know it might sound trivial but there are some deep feelings here that need to be reassured.

There is so much more I need to blog about.  I will blog about Valentine's Day this weekend.  It has just been an incredibly busy and overwhelming few weeks and I have not been on the computer much at all.

Have a great weekend and more soon:)


  1. Oh, I'm so sorry about the Snickers situation, I can see why that would be so hard and confusing for Kate.

    About your last post regarding bridging, I can see some good points for waiting a year, after your comments. I guess I just wish that EVERYONE except parents of children that are really legitimately not ready, would send their children when they are five. That way, you don't have to worry about all the other people who have held on to their kids, and then are a full year or more older. The majority would be only six months older. Oh well. I'm sure you'll make a good decision.

  2. My parents held my sister (a Kate as well!) back when she was in kindergarten. They think it was the best choice for her. Oddly I was just talking to my cousin about her daughter and this very issue two days ago. C and Kate seem very similar, smart, articulate, etc. Just young. C is now in 2nd grade and my cousin is considering keeping her back. However, now that C has her friends in her class she does not want to hurt C. She wished she would have done it when C would not have known the difference. Good luck. You all will make the right choice for Kate!

  3. PS - In NYC EVERYONE holds their child back to give them an advantage!

  4. I am sorry to hear about your Snickers. Dogs have a way of working themselves into our homes and hearts. I hope everything works out that is best for everyone.

  5. Hi Kim, would love to hear more about what's going on in middle school these days so hope you have time to do a post on that!

    We live in the Midwest where the cut-off is Sept 1 and about 30% redshirt but mostly boys born May-Sept. Some girls born July-Aug are held back too. Can't believe that where you live they would hold someone back Jan-May making them up to 18 months older than Kate. I wish there were more studies on social impacts of starting kindergarten at age 5 or 6 and whether 1 year really makes a difference or not. I tend to think personality, upbringing, and support systems still play a bigger role than age or holding back one year. I would think that Kate would always be more sweet and innocent than most girls so wondering why everyone thinks this one year miraculously matures their kids. Good luck and please keep us posted!

  6. Awwwe, Kate and her Snickers! Our dog was very sick and in the hospital off and on over three weeks last month, and our daughter was a very different little human during that time. Maybe having Snickers down the street will be a good thing for Kate in the long run forging a close relationship with the extended "family" for her.

    How interesting the number of children who start school older than minimum age where you all live! One wonders where and why the trend started. You are heard loudly and clearly on the emotional maturity/ confidence ideas for middle and high school. Your community chosen norms, age level in each grade as well as moral compass, both impact that greatly.

    I wonder if there might be an upper age limit eventually imposed on K and 1st grade? :O

    Hope your boys make a quick recovery and Kate and Snickers make a smooth transition.


  7. You will make the right choice, I know it. That is really hard about snickers. I understand that must be heart breaking. :( I am sad for Kate, especially. I can't wait to hear about the Valentine's day arranged by Dave and I am really looking forward to meeting you in a few short weeks! Ah! What fun we will have!!! P.S. Visit my blog if you get a chance, I posted some fun pics and wrote an update about my stomach issues.

  8. That's such a tough decision, but one that I know you will make with much prayerful consideration.

    We were in the same boat as you, with Breanna. She is amongst the youngest in her class. And though at the time, she tested above many kids her age and they told us she was more than ready, we later found out that she struggled in some areas, that older students in her same class did not. Attention span in the earlier years was one of them. The teachers would tell me that there was almost always a night and day difference between the oldest and the youngest in their classrooms. And that often these struggles can continue until the child reaches 3rd grade levels, which can affect other areas for a child by that age, if left alone. When Breanna was in the 1st grade, we moved to a new town mid-year, and talked to the teachers about holding her back a year. They actually discouraged it at this school, as she 'tested' ready for her level. But we have regretted it ever since. It would've been the perfect time to make that transition with our move, and yet we went with what the school suggested. She is now a sophomore in high school, and some of those earlier struggles still resinate with her. She is smart, bright and beautiful. But I truly believe that we gave her "an extra year of adulthood, over an extra year of childhood." What a truly profound statement that commenter made, because it is so true. Sadly, our children do not even begin to live in the same age that we did. Things have changed a great deal, and as parents, we have to make decisions for our children's best interests, accordingly. Surely, things will be different with Khloe.

    Anyway, that is more than my two-cents on the issue. It's not meant to sway you in anyway. Just speaking from personal experience and know how helpful that can be, especially if your heart is already leading you in one direction. Often time God will use others to affirm what He has already shown you.

    Praying for you and sending hugs your way!

    Love and Blessings,
    ~ Tanya

  9. Although I agree that some children do need to start school later, I find it very sad and disheartening that it's been abused to the point that it is now the "norm" in many areas, causing many people to now have this dilemma that was rare in the past. I still believe that 5 is a good age to start school - that really is where kids should be - but all the older children are making it harder for those who are starting on time. Many of these older children really seem out of place in the younger grades, but now many of the younger kids are the ones feeling the negative effects. Like Trena mentioned, maybe there should be a maximum age imposed or else professional testing/observation to determine when the child in question should start. Good luck with your decisions for Kate's schooling and your transitioning Snickers to live with his Godparents, Cathy

  10. I am so sorry to hear about your dog, Snickers. I will pray it works out well for everyone.

    It was interesting reading your recap of the "extra year" debate. I will have to revisit the comments, but I have 1 more thought to share (though I think a previous commenter already said it). My daughter turned 15 in November. When she started kindergarten she was 5 (almost 6). Of course with the early birthday I never would have considered holding her back. She is now in 9th grade and has always been a remarkable student. Though she is one of the "older" ones in her class - she truly seems "younger" as she has always been innocent and naive. I guess what I am trying to say is that those issues (growing up too fast, etc.) will be there whether you hold her back or send her. My daughter played with her American girl dolls throught middle school. Best of luck with your decision.

  11. I was one of the younger kids in my grade, and I was forced to grow up quite fast - I was still content with my dolls when the other girls were into boys and clothes. I was academically ready, but I find it sad that I missed out on a few extra years of dolls and fairies.

    On the other side my sister was very young for her grade and in high school (an absolutely terribly school) she went away to boarding school and repeated a year, resulting in her being the right age and enjoyed it immensely. So, yes, the bridging sounds very appealing to me.

    I'm so sorry about Snickers as well. There's nothing worse than parting with a beloved pet :(

  12. Hi. I found your blog through my friend's. I am a teacher, and I have never heard a parent say they wish they had not given their child an extra year. However, I have talked with many who say they wish they had.

  13. Poor lil Kate..and Will and harry! You have got to move the Dog, I went through the same thing as a child..terrible allergies, still do and we had to get rid of our BEAGLE!! "HAPPY" I still remember her name.. I say get her a fish... I know as far as school goes I agree 100% with the maturity thing!!

  14. sounds like you need a nice quiet weekend to enjoy.

    I will look forward to your Valentine's post.


  15. So sorry the boys have been so sick and that your new pup is creating the allergies issues for them. It must be so difficult especially with Kate thinking of it as an "adoption" just like hers. I wish you the best with that transition and hope that your fiends close by can take him and allow Kate to keep contact with him.

    I've loved reading all the replies to your "bridging" post. So much food for thought and I can appreciate all your concerns and think about these things for Emma who is alway super smart and confident but also young and naive and I'm not sure I want all her creative, sweet, loving spirit squashed by either the demands of kindergarten (which isn't at all what kindergarten was originally designed to be, developmentally speaking). On top of the pressures of kindergarten being more like first grade, the girls are "faster", meaner and clickier (thanks Disney Channel, etc.). I feel sad to see her go in many ways. But, one comment that stuck out for me was when someone, a teacher, I think, said that kindergarten was meant for 5 year olds!

    The cutoff where we are is Sept 1st (MA) and I don't see many kids being held a year unless their are obvious issues/concerns and even then, it is more often the boys and not girls. Still, I know very few who are held for the public school. For private schools, it is much more common, but I only know about private boy's schools here. Chris is an August birthday and there was only one boy in his grade younger than he..many were nearly or year (or more) older. It really seems to be a strategy used by parents of private schooled children to give them a leg up. I think it is just part of the private school culture for boys here. Another common option I noticed was having the boys redo 9th grade as the switch to a new private high school if they seem to need an advantage at that point.

    Good luck deciding. Too bad we didn't just keep schools (and society) developmentally appropriate. I can't wait to see the movie, "Race To Nowhere"...the stress is too high on kids from the beginning in many school systems.

  16. If your four year old crumbles on the playground simply because some older boys raised their voices at her, she is too naive, and you are hiding her from the real world.

    Welcome to reality there mommy... Kids are going to learn things no matter how hard you try to shield them. Feelings will get hurt. Tears will be shed. However, in the end, they will stand back up and continue moving forward.

    If she's as "mature" as you claim she is, and she's as "smart and social" as you claim she is, you would only be doing her wrong to hold her back simply because you were worried about what MIGHT happen years down the road.

    You grow up Mommy... Cut the apron strings and realize your baby isn't a baby anymore.

  17. Sounds like you have a lot to consider when it comes to Kate's school. I don't know how you feel about the good ol' pro/con list but i've found it helps my clients make decisions once you put this little twist on it: add a value to each item on the list. You may have an equal number of items under pro and con, but I'm sure certain items weigh more on your heart than others. Maybe it'll help.

    Praying for wisdom for you! And that your family will adjust to losing Snickers. Poor Kate is probably a bit freaked out- the adopted dog is going to another family and she was also adopted into your family. . . I'll be praying that she'll understand.

  18. I'm sure you've already done this, but you may want to talk to Kate about the difference between adopting a dog and a child. It may just make her feel better to know that even though you sometimes need to find a new home for a dog you will never, ever find a new home for her. Kids are so literal and it's probably difficult for her to understand the nuances especially since the word "adoption" is used in both instances.

  19. My daughter is an october bday (making her the oldest in her class) but she is still a "young" one emotionally/socially. I think that some girls just mature faster than others. Kate may be one of the sweet, innocent ones regardless of when she starts kindergarten. I'm so sorry to hear about about Snickers. I hope this isn't too intrusive, but please make sure that Kate understands the difference between adopting Snickers and her. It sounds as though she might be equating them and that could set up a fear of "you sent the dog away, will you do the same to me if I cause problems?" Best wishes for your family!

  20. Kim,

    This post makes the previously posted picture of Kate and her Snickers all the more precious! I'm so hoping your friend and neighbor are able to keep him close to Kate!

    We buried my Eliza Grace's hermit crab, Crabbie, today. She got him at Rehobeth last summer. Every family picture since then has included Crabbie along with our dog, Maggie. For her soccer number this fall, Crabbie and Maggie were counted to come up with her jersey number. She wanted her number to reflect the members in her family.

    Well... she's been devastated. She has cried and cried over Crabbie. We waited a bit to bury him because of the weather.

    She placed him carefully in a box with all of his "things".... sand and extra shells. She wrote his name on top and the year he died. She placed a cross at his grave and said a prayer.

    Having to let go of those we love, animals we love, can be really hard.

    Hugs to Kate and Snickers!

    P.S. Just in case you are still praying over it... no one would be allergic to a baby sister! :)

  21. I am so sad to read about your situation with Snickers. Poor little Kate! Hoping and praying your friends can take him.

  22. It's been a while since I've caught up here, but I'm definitely going to have to read the comments regarding your bridge post. While Babes was born in April, our next baby will be born in the summer and it's something that even now we begin to think about...

    I'm so sorry about Snickers. How hard for a child to let go of a dear friend! But it sounds like it's really for the best - I'm allergic to dogs and cats so I can definitely relate to constant allergy infections.

  23. 'Oh Kim - so sorry about Snikers - but grateful you may have found the cause for the sicknesses (at least part of it). Praying that SNicker's Godparents situation works out for all & that Kate's heart heals...


Thank you for your kindness.